Image: Eli Gandhi
JOHN ROBINSON  /  AP
Eli Gandhi, the grand-daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, center, is helped by others during a ceremony to sprinkle the ashes of the Indian independence hero into the waters of Durban Harbour, South Africa, on Saturday.
updated 1/30/2010 1:09:19 PM ET 2010-01-30T18:09:19

Six decades after his death Saturday, some of Mohandas K. Gandhi's ashes were scattered off the coast of South Africa, where he was confronted by racial discrimination during a 21-year sojourn and developed some of his philosophies of peaceful resistance.

An early morning service in a harbor in the eastern city of Durban on the 62nd anniversary of Gandhi's death included the laying of flowers and candles on the water's surface.

Gandhi, known as the Mahatma or "great soul," was shot dead by a Hindu hard-liner in 1948 in New Delhi. His ashes were divided, stored in steel urns and sent across India and beyond for memorial services. It was not unusual for some of the ashes to have been preserved instead of scattered as intended.

South Africa's state broadcaster, SABC, reported the portion of Gandhi's ashes in South Africa was brought here by a family friend. SABC quoted Gandhi's great grandson Kidar Ramgobin as saying Saturday's ceremony included the playing of the national anthems of South Africa and India.

Gandhi first came to South Africa to work as a lawyer in the Indian community.

Soon after his arrival in South Africa in 1893, Gandhi, was thrown off a train for refusing to leave the "whites only" compartment. As a result, he threw himself into the fight for human rights in South Africa.

Gandhi lived in homes and farms across South Africa for two decades, before returning to India at the age of 46 to help fight for independence from Britain.

A large number of South Africans are descended from indentured workers brought from India in the 19th century to work on sugar plantations in the Durban area.

In 2007, some of Gandhi's ashes were sent to a Gandhi museum in Mumbai by an Indian businessman whose father, a friend of Gandhi, had saved them. Those ashes were scattered in the sea off Mumbai in 2008.

In 1997, ashes that had been found in a bank vault in northern India were immersed at the holy spot where India's Ganges and Yamuna rivers met.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments