The Making of the Mahatma

Synopsis: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was invited to South Africa in 1893 to settle a case for a wealthy Indian settled there. He expected to return in a few months but instead got involved in the freedom movement and eventually stayed for 21 years.
Genre: Drama
144 min

Respected Gandhi-bhai,

Seth Dada Abdullah Haji...

our partner in South Africa

has a big case in the court here

Though we have engaged

the best vakils and barristers...

we do not have anyone

who understands our language

If you send your brother Mohandas

here, he would be useful to us

If they already have vakils

and barristers what will you do?

You will be just another clerk

Anything is better than the corruption

of our courts here, isn't it?

But it is not even a year

since you came back from London

Look, they are going to pay me

hundred pounds plus all my expenses

And it is only going to be

for a few months

I don't think you should go

Hari, don't put so much water

on the Tulsi, it will die

Come here.

- You should stay here

That's what I feel.

- What am I going to do here in Rajkot?

The children will miss you

And what about you?

Durban Harbour,

May 1893

Seth Dada Abdullah?


I'm Dada Abdullah. Welcome.

This is Rustomji Seth


- Hello

I thought it might be you but

you are in European dress...

so I was a little confused.

- It's my normal dress

Come, let us take your luggage.

- I'll manage

Is a hotel far from here?

- Hotel?

You will stay with us at my house.

- Please, come this way

Did you have a good trip?

- Yes

How far is it to Pretoria?

I could leave straightaway

There is no hurry. My advocate Mr Baker

will let you know when he needs you

About the case I only know that

someone owes you 40,000 pounds...

and refuses to pay.

- That someone is his own cousin

Seth Tayab Haji Khan Mohammed.

He's a very big man in Transvaal

But before you go to Pretoria,

you will need to understand...

all the facts. Otherwise Tayab will

try to influence you in his favour

Besides, I also need to know

your abilities

How shall I begin?

- I will take you to the court here

Gandhi-bhai, it is nothing like

anything you have seen in Bombay

Good morning, Mr Eskam.

- Hello Abdullah

This is Mr Gandhi. He is

a Bar of Law from London

This is Mr Eskam. He's our attorney

here, soon to be Attorney General

Mr Gandhi is from Bombay, he is

helping me with my case in Pretoria

May he sit with you in court?

Why not?

Come this way, Gandhi

Who is that next to you, Mr Eskam?

Your Honour, this is Mr Gandhi,

from Bombay. Member of the Bar

Gandhi, remove your hat

Your Honour, this is a turban, as worn

by advocates in all courts in India

Not here. Take it off

Your Honour, according to our custom,

I would show you disrespect...

if I took off my turban.

I would rather leave the court

Gandhi-bhai, please...

You were wearing a turban as well.

They didn't ask you to remove yours

We Muslim traders are allowed to keep

our turbans in court...

other Indians are not.

- Then I shall give up my turban...

and wear a hat.

- No Gandhi-bhai...

you will retain your turban

as we do ours

What am I getting into here? I came

here to help you with your case...

not to start a fight in the courts

Be careful. Don't let Tayab Seth

and his men steal secrets from you

But I must get in touch with him.

- Whatever for?

He is your cousin. Don't you think

it will be better to go in...

for a mutual settlement?

- Not with Tayab. I do not trust him

He doesn't keep his word

Tell me, do you have

anything to read?


take this. It is an

English translation of the Koran

I think it will inspire you.

- Thank you

As soon as you get to Pretoria,

send me a telegram


- God be with you

Hey coolie!

What are you doing here?

Conductor, there's a damn coolie

in my compartment

You are in the wrong compartment.

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Fatima Meer

Fatima Meer (12 August 1928 – 12 March 2010) was a South African writer, academic, screenwriter, and prominent anti-apartheid activist. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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