[World History] Gandhi in South Africa, Transvaal March, Zulu War, Boer War, civil rights movement

Timeline Gandhi in South Africa 1

[World History] Gandhi in South Africa, Transvaal March, Zulu War, Boer War, civil rights movement

  1. Gandhi in South Africa
  2. Gandhi: 1890s till 1900s
  3. Gandhi in Boer War (1899)
  4. Gandhi in Zulu Wars (1906)
  5. 1913-14: The Peak of protests
  6. Transvaal March 1913
  7. Sugarcane Protests
  8. December Enquiry
  9. Evaluation of Gandhi in S.Africa
    1. #1: Gandhi as an “Integrationist”
    2. #2: Gandhi, the Feminist
    3. #3: Gandhi the “Mahatma”
    4. #4: Gandhi vs his Critiques
    5. #5: Gandhi, the British Patriot
    6. #6: Gandhi’s “Kesar-e-Hind”

Gandhi in South Africa

  • Topic in news because Ramachandra Guha released a new book –Gandhi Before India. Later EPW put a review article about this book.
  • And previously even PIB ran an article on Transvaal March (we saw that already)
  • But Since UPSC included world history in General studies Mains paper I-hence topic becomes important- what did Gandhi do before coming to India? How did he fight the imperialist powers in South Africa?

Gandhi: 1890s till 1900s

Timeline Gandhi in South Africa 1

  • 1893: Gandhi Arrives in South Africa, to fight Dadabhai Abdulla’s case.
  • Indian businessmen admired him for his fluency in English, legal matters and Gujarati background.
  • But Gandhi did not serve only those rich businessmen. He also fought cases for indentured laborers- mainly permit renewal type litigations.
  • Interestingly, he was the only Indian barrister practicing in Natal. Hence very busy with work.
1893 thrown out of a train from Durban to Pretoria, despite having a valid ticket to travel in the first class.
1894 founded Natal India Congress and became its first Secretary.
1899 another Indian barrister Rahim Karim Khan arrived.

Gandhi’s workload decreased, he starts spending more time reading about religion, politics.

authors How did they influence Gandhi?
Henry David Thoreau concept of Civil Disobedience
John Ruskin “Unto his last” – ideas of simple living, community living. Work by hands better than by machines. (same reflect in his “Hind Swaraj” later on).
Ralf Waldo Emerson concept of Individualism
Tolstoy The kingdom of God is within you.

Timeline Gandhi in South Africa 2

Gandhi in Boer War (1899)

  • Transvaal was rich in gold, so British plotted to overthrow Boer government.
  • This led to the Boer War (1899)=>Boers were defeated but they continued to live here.
  • During Boer war, Gandhi served from British side, as an assistant superintendent of the Indian volunteer stretcher-bearer corps.
  • Gandhi earned Boer war medal for his services.

He wrote in the autobiography:

When the war was declared, my personal sympathies were all with the Boers, but my loyalty to the British rule drove me to participation with the British in that war. I felt that, if I demanded rights as a British citizen, it was also my duty, as such to participate in the defence of the British Empire. so I collected together as many comrades as possible, and with very great difficulty got their services accepted as an ambulance corps.

Phoenix Farm

  • 1904: Inspired by Tolstoy, Gandhi setups Phoenix farm. There he begins treating all ailments and preaching and writing about hygiene, sanitation, good diet, natural cures, and sexual abstinence. This sheds an important light on the origin of Gandhi Ashrams in India.
  • 1904: starts printing newspaper “Indian Opinion” from his farm.

Gandhi in Zulu Wars (1906)

  • British attacked Zulu population and made them serve as labour in the diamond mines across Southern Africa.
  • In 1906, the Zulu Rebellion broke out in Natal province of South Africa
  • Zulus demanded land rights and abolition of heavy taxes.
  • However, the whites declared war against the Zulus.
  • In this Zulu war/rebellion, Gandhi (Again) served from British side, as the officer in charge of the Indian volunteer ambulance corps and earned Zulu War Medal for his services.

Fight against Registration Act

1906-07 A new law required Indians to carry registration certificates all the time. Gandhi begins first passive resistance campaign / Satyagraha. He asks people to burn their certificates.
1908 Gandhi arrested for this campaign against registration act
1909 Gandhi travels to London, finally Transvaal registration act repealed.

1913-14: The Peak of protests

Timeline Gandhi in South Africa 3

March 1913
  • Supreme Court in Cape Town nullified all non-Christian marriages, and declared all Indian wives as mistress and their kids as bastards.
  • Gandhi immediately demanded a change in the law, declaring that declaring that “Any nation that fails to protect the honour of its women, any individual who fails to protect the honour of his wife is considered lower in level than a brute”.
  • Kasturba spearheaded a passive resistance. Women volunteered to go to jail on their own initiative.
April 1913 South African Union’s PM General Smuts introduced even harsher immigration bill. The bill included an ongoing provision for the £3 poll tax
May 1913 Gandhi demands poll tax and marriage issues be settled together. All Indians and Transvaal and Natal rally up behind him. But the immigration bill soon passed.
June 1913 King gives assent to bill and it became an “Act”.
Sep 1913 Gandhi launches the “passive resistance” courts arrest along with his followers- including women.
Oct 1913 5000 Indian coal miners of northern Natal go on strike. Gandhi and his co-workers were instrumental in encouraging the strike.
  • The coal miners’ strike provided the committed mass of supporters to Gandhi.
  • His movement gains attention of Indian press, Gandhi starts receiving funds from Gokhale, Aurobindo Ghosh and Wealthy Indians, even from princely states of India.
  • This money helped him to launch a long Transaaval march- arranging food and supplies for those protestors and their families.

Transvaal March 1913

  • Along with 2000 Natal coal miners, Gandhi began March towards Transvaal. At that time, crossing border from Natal to Transvaal required Permit- But they crossed border without permit.
  • Gen. Smuts downplayed this march thinking it’d soon collapse. (Just like how Lord Irwin thought Dandi Salt March would be an #EPICFAIL).
  • But since the protest did not collapse, General Smuts ordered police to arrest coal miners. Miners were sent to hard labour camps. Gandhi was thrown into Jail again.

SA2: Transvaal March

Q. Discuss the events leading to Transvaal March and how they helped transforming Gandhi as a mass leader? (10 marks | 200 words)
Topic important because completed 100 years in 2013.
First brainstorm for ideas

  1. What was the problem of Indians in S.Africa?
    1. registration
    2. migration difficult
    3. marriage invalid
  2. Gen. Smut wasn’t listening. Transval march=>Gen.Smut Listened.
  3. If he “transformed” as mass leader then in what wisdom did he gain during Transval March?

Now let’s frame the answer

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