Gandhi’s teachings are just as relevant today

This was the message from the Consul General of India (Durban) Dr. Shashank Vikram when he delivered the keynote address at the Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Memorial Committee’s annual commemoration of Gandhi’s seminal incident at the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station on June 07, 1893.
Dr Vakram said the privilege of paying homage to Gandhi at the physical site of such a significant moment in Gandhi’s life, was a “surreal” moment as growing up in India included learning about Gandhi’s role in the struggle for India’s freedom and his impact on world history.


Consul General of India(Durban) Dr. Shashank Virkram

“The people and Government of the Republic of India owe South Africa and its people a debt of gratitude for preserving and sustaining this legacy and we pay tribute specifically for the role of the Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Memorial Committee (PGMC) for persevering this legacy,” said Dr Vakram.
Programme director and deputy president of the PGMC Irshad Motala described Gandhi’s physical eviction from the 1st class carriage as a “callous and racist act” that was catalyst for not just Gandhi’s transformation into an activist but eventually as a catalyst for change in the course of world history.



“Gandhi was not an infallible man and nor was he immortal. He was a man prone to making mistakes and errors of judgement but he left an indelible mark on the world with his teachings influencing even other great work leaders including the father of our nation Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Junior, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi and more lately the young Pakistani social activist Malala Yousafzai,” said Motala.
David Gengan who is the chairman of the PGMC stressed the importance of continually telling the story of our history to “avoid the risk of history fading away”.
“It is critical to tell the story, as we do every year on the same day, June 7th, that Gandhi was evicted right here at this spot. If we do not keep our history alive, we run the risk of our history fading away and future generations will not know who figures such as Gandhi, Mandela, AS Chetty and others were,” said Gengan highlighting that the PGMC had assembled a comprehensive collection of all Gandhi’s writings that is accessible to anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of his teachings.
“Seven decades after his death his legacy still looms large across the world,” said Gengan.
The proceedings closed with Gengan, Dr Vikram and PGMC life president Kay Makan laying a commemorative wreath at the plinth marking the spot Gandhi was evicted from the train.

Public eye reporter

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