14 July 2016
Centenary of Satyagraha - South Africa that made “Mohandas into a Mahatma 2.10.2007
A set of four commemorative postage stamps on the occasion of centenary ofSatyagraha which portrays the stirrings of Satyagraha in a beautiful and inspiring depiction.
The year 1906 was a significant year in the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a young lawyer, 37 years of age, in South Africa. He arrived in 1893 and his transformation began through a multitude of events culminating in some significant changes he decided to make to his life style.
The Zulu “rebellion” was full of new experiences and gave me much food for thought. The Boer War had not brought home to me the horrors of war with anything like the vividness that the “rebellion” did. This was no war but a man-hunt,…To hear every morning reports of the soldiers’ rifles exploding like crackers in innocent Hamlets, and to live in the midst of them was a trial. But I swallowed the bitter draught, especially as the work of my Corps consisted only in nursing the wounded Zulus. I could see that but for us the Zulus would have been uncared for. This work, therefore , eased my conscience.
In a word, I could not live both after the flesh and the spirit. On the present occasion, for instance, I should not have been able to throw myself into the fray, had my wife been expecting a baby. Without the observance of brahmacharya service of the family would be inconsistent with service of the community. …Man is man because he is capable of, and only so far as he exercises, self-restraint.”
This therefore was the turning point in his life. A time when he made the conscious decision to throw himself body and soul into the service of humanity.
But it is on 11 September 2006 (9/11) that South Africa in particular and the world in general will be observing the centenary of the birth of Satyagraha. It all started at the Empire Theatre in Johannesburg when at a meeting convened by Mahatma Gandhi who lived in South Africa for 21 years and during this period transformed from a young lawyer to a Great soul- the Mahatma, that Satyagraha or non-violent action was born. South Africa must claim that important legacy. And I agree with the Indian Prime Minister who during his visit to South Africa said, on 8th July 2016 that, it was South Africa that made “Mohandas into a Mahatma”.