Friday, February 21
In the Mahatma's footsteps
Ashish Magotra in Pietermaritzburg,, February 21, 2003

Sachin Tendulkar couldn't make it and the younger lot got into it with Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge on their lips.

That, in a nutshell, explains the Indian World Cup squad's historic train journey from Pietermaritzburg to Pentrich on Friday afternoon.

The very same journey that another Indian -- unaccompanied by the media, unaccompanied by autograph hunters and
unaccompanied by security personnel -- had undertaken 110 years ago. Alone.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

On the night of June 7, 1893, the young Indian barrister had been thrown off a train on this very stretch for refusing to move from a whites-only compartment.

'I was afraid for my very life,' wrote Gandhi later. 'I entered the dark waiting room. There was a white man in the room. I was afraid of him. What was my duty? I asked myself. Should I go back to India, or should I go forward with God as my helper, and face whatever was in store for me? I decided to stay and suffer. My active non-violence began from that date.'

This afternoon the Boys in Blue tried to retrace the historic journey.

As the flash bulbs popped and the autograph hunters thronged the station, there were just two questions in most people's minds.

Would Sourav Ganguly and his boys understand the true value of the occasion? Or would it be just another train journey? [...]
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