17 January, 2021

The Impact Of Gandhi's Satyagraha And An Indian Victory In Racist South Africa

Mahatma Gandhi's patient battle with General JC Smuts, the colonial secretary of Transvaal in 1907, helped pass the Indians' Relief Bill in 1914. This was a major triumph for Indians living in a land full of racial overtones

The Impact Of Gandhi's Satyagraha And An Indian Victory In Racist South Africa

Gandhi arrived in South Africa in 1893 to fight a case for an Indian merchant, but stayed on when his services as a London-educated barrister were required by the fast-growing Indian community to combat the Natal legislature’s Franchise Amendment Bill—a racist law that aimed to withdraw voting rights from Indians—fearful that a fast proliferating people would soon outvote the ruling Whites.

In this Natal was united with the racist Boers in inland Transvaal and the Orange Free State. Gen J.C. Smuts was app­ointed colonial secretary of the Transvaal in 1907, as post Boer War reconciliation between the British and ‘natives’ of Dutch anc­estry thickened.

Well-edu­ca­ted and cosmopolitan, he was, however, as racist as others on the grant of equal franchise to ‘coolies’, the entry of Asians into the Tra­nsvaal and the steep £3-tax that ind­entured Indians had to pay when their contract expired. Gandhi first met Smuts in April 1907 to appeal against the compulsory registration of Asians, inv­olving...



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