Once when Mahatma Gandhi was twenty-four years old he was working as an attorney in South Africa. He boarded an overnight train with a first-class ticket. At Maritzburg a white man got on, looked at Gandhi, and went to get two railroad officers. When they tried to get him to leave the first-class compartment, he showed them his ticket and refused to move. Gandhi was thrown off the train onto the station platform at the next stop.
Years later Dr. John R. Mott, an American missionary in India, asked Mahatma Gandhi what had been the most creative experiences in his life. And Gandhi told him about the experience at Maritzburg. For here it was that the mild little Indian’s life was redirected to fight the ugliness of color prejudice with the most unusual weapons in his history: love and non-violent resistance.
Source: Louis Fischer (paraphrased), Gandhi, His Life and Message for the World (Mentor: New York, 1954, 1982).
Image: Mahatma Gandhi.