Mohandas Gandhi, A ticket to discrimination

22 febrero 2016

This must have happened around 1893, I had just finished my studies in England and I was travelling by train to Pretoria in South Africa, because I got my first job there as a lawyer and I was getting very excited to start because I had heard there were serious discriminations to Indians in South Africa.

So, as I was saying, I was waiting in the first class wagon for the train to start moving and I was reading more information about discrimination on a newspaper when I heard a sound. I looked up and I saw a black man staring at me surprised and maybe a little bit scared, I asked him if there was something wrong but he just turned away and disappeared in the corridor. He went back a few minutes later but this time he was with a white man who told me that I couldn’t be in this wagon because I am coloured and to go to the third class wagon, I answered him that this was impossible because I had paid for this place. The man turned red and started yelling at me, shouting that he was going to call the driver. I chose to stop paying attention to this man, I was getting back to my reading when I felt a huge hand on my shoulder (probably the driver’s hand) and a loud voice that asked me the same thing that the man before:

“I’m sorry but I’m not moving. I have paid for this place!”

The next thing I remember was hitting Pietermantzburg’s station ground and my bags falling after me. It was at this moment when I first understood what was meant by discrimination and I felt bad for the people who lived this injustice every day. This wasn’t normal. And so, it was in that Pietermantzburg’s station when I decided to fight against the discrimination Indian people suffered in South Africa, but I would have never expected the consequences of my acts.