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What I owe to Mahatma Gandhi

By G. Mohambry Naicker

I was eight years old when Gandhiji left South Africa. I could not understand then the intricacies of politics or the meaning of the struggle which for two decades he had to wage against the authorities, but I have a very distinct recollection of the image that was stamped upon my young mind of the national hero whose name was a household word among the Indian community. I faintly realised in those early days the powers of the simple man who was to achieve in the fullness of time such miracles as even in their heyday warriors like Napoleon could only dream of. As the years went by I was able to assess the full power of the weapon of satyagraha which Gandhiji had perfected during his career as a public man in South Africa. When I reached the age of reason I began to make a deep study of the writings of Gandhiji, and although I became an adherent of his great principles, little did I think that it would fall to my lot to take up the flaming torch he had left behind. I was scarcely prepared for such a task; I did not feel inclined to be in the forefront of the struggle that began half a century ago. Yet when the call came, the response in me was instantaneous. It was the voice of Mahatma Gandhi calling for action. Without any preparation, without any experience, without the slightest hesitation, I threw myself into the battle. With faith undiminished in the righteousness of the cause we had espoused, I became, with thousands of my fellow countrymen a satyagrahi. I made the vow of reaching the goal that we had in view, no matter what sacrifice was demanded of us.

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