From the book: A.I. Kajee His Work for the Southern African Indian Community by C. H. Calpin

Kajee was always acutely aware that his Congress was not recognised officially by the Union Government and the Government of India. It was important that the position of Congress vis-Á -vis the two Governments should be satisfactorily clarified. "When Sir Rama Rau's successor, Sir Shafa'at Ahmed Khan arrived in South Africa, Kajee had several talks with him on the general question of Indian unity and on the more particular issue of the recognition of the Natal Indian Congress. Sir Rama Rau had refused any such recognition, the advice of his Government, pointing to the legal opinion of Mr. Graham Mackeurtan, K.C., and Mr. A. Milne that the amalgamation with the Colonial-born Indian Settlers' Association was legal, that there had been a complete merger of the two bodies into the one new body, with the extinction of the identity of the two old bodies. In effect, this meant that the Natal Indian Congress was defunct.

The Congress answer, which, of course, was Kajee's answer, insisted that the Agent General would be well advised not to be unduly influenced by legal points, and they were probably based on a one-sided story. Kajee too took legal advice and received the assurance "from equally able counsel" that no constitutional merger of the two bodies had taken place. He informed the Agent-General that whatever counsel might say about the Con­gress having no members it remained a fact that the membership roll contained 2,000 names in Durban and 1,500 names in the branches.

Refusing to concede Kajee's point, Mr. Rama Rau admitted "it is open to you and your supporters to constitute yourselves into a new body, if you should desire to do so". While deploring the existence of two rival organisations he would be quite prepared to consider impartially the possibility of working with such a body. "But he added the warning that active assistance can, of course, be given only to those who work in agreement with the policy of the Government of India whom he (The Agent General) represented in this country".

In his letter the Agent-General reminded Kajee that he was present at the amalgamation meetings which resulted in the formation of the Natal Indian Association. This, wrote Kajee, "cannot by any stretch of imagination make right what was obviously wrong". As for the point the Agent-General raised about giving assistance only to those who work in agreement with the policy of the Government of India Kajee emphasised that that is what Congress had already done. This policy, he maintained, was expressed within the four corners of the Cape Town Agreement.

This was one of those occasions when Kajee believed that the Agent-General, Mr. Rama Rau and his secretary, Mr. S. Ridley, had a personal grudge against him which they showed by a refusal to consider the recognition of his Congress.

The non-recognition of Congress became a personal affront. It affected Kajee's amour-propre and anything which did that infuriated him beyond measure. He could not remain calm in the knowledge that his political rivals were recognised by Delhi when he was not, and he looked as an insult upon the diplomatically-couched phraseology of the Agent-General's letters repeating the Government of India's decision.

Sir Shafa'at Ahmed Khan came imbued with the hope that he might achieve what his predecessors had failed to achieve, the unity of Indians in South Africa. Sir Shafa'at Ahmed Khan was a man of very different temper from Sir Rama Rau. Most of his life had been spent in the field of education. He was a brilliant scholar, a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, and an authority on various aspects of Indian culture. He was less a diplomat than many of those he followed, and at times was guilty of rather clumsy approach to his ambassadorial functions. His opinion of Indian leaders in South Africa, and indeed of the whole Indian community, was not very high. His relations with the Union Government were never very happy, and there was a time when he was not persona grata with the Ministry in power.

The situation of the Indian community when he arrived was about as bad as it could be. By this time, as a gesture to India's valiant part in the war against the Nazis, the Smuts Ministry had raised the status of the Government of India's representative from that of Agent-General to that of High Commissioner. Mr. Rama Rau was so honoured, and Sir Shafa'at Ahmed Khan followed as the second Indian High Commissioner in the Union. If his relations with the Union Government were at times strained, much credit must go to Sir Shafa'at for a shrewd approach to the difficulties that beset local Indians in their politics and their public affairs. It took some months but he was finally successful in persuading the Government of India to give de-facto recognition to the Natal Indian Congress though he always insisted that the Natal Indian Association should have first claim as the legally and officially recognised political organisation. This de facto recognition was a step forward in Kajee's policy of re-establishing himself as a leader of the community. It would simplify his approach to the Union Government.

A corner of the office in Albert Street showing 'Harry', one of "A.I."'s most faithful servants

Another corner of the office at Albert Street

The Minister of the Interior, Mr. H. G. Lawrence, showed no inclination to give Congress the authority which Kajee claimed for it. Kajee was anxious to dis­abuse Mr. Lawrence's mind of any impressions left that interference with the work of the Lawrence committee had been part of Congress policy, and several letters were written setting out a defence of the position of Congress. Except for official acknowledgement Mr. Lawrence preferred to negotiate solely with the Natal Indian Organisation.

Baulked in this approach, Kajee went to Mr. J. H. Hofmeyr, and set out the position to him, writing later to ask Mr. Hofmeyr to use his influence with Mr. Lawrence that Congress might be recognised by the Government. Before anything could be done on these lines a situation had arisen which destroyed the need for them. Other things demanded attention. A most serious threat to the whole position of Indians in Natal and the Transvaal relegated small domestic matters to the background, For the events leading up to it is necessary to go back a year or two to the time when in 1937 Mr. Stuttaford was Minister of the Interior. The centre of gravity of Indian politics then lay in the Transvaal. There, a certain section of the Europeans instituted a campaign urging upon the government to introduce restrictions on property transactions by Indians. As a result of this outcry Mr. Stuttaford sponsored a Bill which became known to Indians as the Transvaal Pegging Act. It was supposed to be of a temporary character to keep the situation static until the findings of a Transvaal Commission of Inquiry were published and the Government had time to con­sider what its policy should be. It was an essay in the segregation of Indians. The more conservative of the Transvaal Indian Community were inclined to accept this position and to await the findings of the Commission of Inquiry as to the extent of Indian so-called penetration, satisfied that they could rely with confidence on the figures that the European agitation which had given rise to the act had no real foundation in fact.

The more progressive elements, however, had no mind for this complacent attitude. The leader of these "progressives" was Dr. Yusuf Dadoo, a member of the Communist Party and a believer in the policy of uniting all non-European interests in an aggressive front against the Union Government. This "nationalist bloc", as it was called, gained the support of certain Natal Indian politicians, foremost among whom was Mr. Rustomjee. Mass meetings were held both in Johannesburg and in Durban where it was decided to initiate a passive resistance campaign. Kajee frowned upon such militant action. He insisted that neither the Transvaal Indian Congress nor the Natal Indian Congress, of which respectively the leaders of this passive resistance movement were members, had the right to decide a unilateral or even a joint course of action. The responsibility for policy lay with the South African Indian Congress and individuals or sections could not usurp it.

Enraged by Kajee's opposition to the national bloc and the passive resistance movement, as well as by other incidents which were at the root of their political rivalry, Mr. Sorabjee Rustomjee issued a challenge to Kajee to go up to Johannesburg and face Indians there, offering to pay his fare if he did so. One of Kajee's weaknesses was to rise to any bait offered him. He refused to go to Johannesburg but he eagerly snatched the opportunity to have a shot at his one-time bosom friend and his present accepted political enemy. Kajee, if truth were told, had become a little scared of Sorabjee who was now the proud possessor of the popular name "steam roller". Kajee often preferred to use the indirect method of attack. It may be that his name appeared so' often in the Press and in public reference that he chose occasionally to use the signatures of some of his friends on articles and statements which he himself had prepared. Again it may be that he did not want his name to appear in an exchange of blows which concerned him. Whatever the reason, in his quarrel with Sorabjee, he chose less obvious methods of attack and defence. On this occasion he put into the mouths of others what he himself prepared.

There appeared in one of the Indian weekly Journals an article purporting to come from an old Congressman in answer to Sorabjee's challenge. The article is the same, almost word for word, as a statement written in the first person. "The Rip Van Winkle of Indian public affairs," the statement reads, "again comes to life. The last time he was seen awake was when he was trying to divide the Indian community on the marriage of Sir Raza Ali-that a Moslem should not marry a Hindu. This Rip Van Winkle was then a communalist. Now after four years of sleep he awakes as a passive resister and a member of the Nationalist group. He would soon be nodding again, and then asleep, while others will have to carry on the work of the Indian community.

If he thinks that he has the Indian community to support him in the question of passive resistance, he is deluding himself. Natal Indians as a whole will not take part in any movement of passive resistance inaugurated in the Transvaal. Mr. Rustomjee's challenge to me is characteristic of his well-known qualities of showmanship. The Indian community knows his love for the spectacular.

Mr. Rustomjee has generously offered to pay my fare to Johannesburg. He has certainly shown his generosity by taking several of his friends with him. If public necessity required my presence I have never waited until Mr. Rustomjee got generous. He was also in a generous mood a little while ago. He offered passive resistance in connection with the Bell Street slums. But his generosity quickly evaporated with the evaporation, if I may so put it, of his tenacity.

He now probably fears that my criticism may remove his platform of passive resistance so that he will not have an opportunity of basking in the limelight or giving an occasion to help our Rip Van Winkle of showing signs that he awake once more."

The legislation which had given rise to this threat of passive resistance was such as to persuade Mr. J. H. Hofmeyr to consider resigning from the Cabinet. With such powerful opposition to the principle of the Act it was not to be supposed that some Transvaal Indians could do other than go into revolt. Once more Kajee found he diametrically opposed to mass opinion, and must have been a little surprised that Mahatma Gandhi whose cabled advice to Dr. Dadoo was to postpone passive resistance held his view. Mahatma Gandhi's reasons were rather different from Kajee's. The Mahatma was persuaded of the imminence of war and thought the time unpropitious for militant action in South Africa, In addition Mr. Gandhi opposed the idea of Indians in South Africa joining other non-Europeans in a united front. Kajee was not at all times on good terms with Gandhi but during this period he had some correspondence with the Mahatma.

After the outbreak of war he wrote a letter to Shri Gandhiji in which he outlined some of his views on the new Government. One or two of his opinions are worth recording. For example he writes "Mr. Sturrock and Col. Stallard, who are friendly disposed towards Indians are included in the Cabinet". It was not long before

Col. Stallard proved to be most unfriendly. He proceeds:

The present Government is certain to adopt a more liberal attitude on the Indian and Coloured question, due principally to the composition of its cabinet. I do not feel however, that we can be justified in being too optim­istic and it is essential that the future should be watched with care. However friendly the Cabinet itself may be disposed towards us, the constitution of the Union Parlia­ment cannot engender any hope for the substantial relief or progress. It may be expected that the Government will manifest its sympathy by means of administrative reliefs, more especially with reference to employment, and in the administration of the various laws under which Indians suffer in this country, but it would be too much to expect the Union Government to adopt a truly progressive, liberal and effective policy in relation to the Indian question. The Government has a majority of approximately twenty in the legislature, and is fairly safe from defeat in the House on major issues affecting Europeans in South Africa. I am afraid, however, that the majority may cease to be one, on the Indian and colour issue, and in the event of the Government intro­ducing a measure substantially benefiting the coloured and Indian people, it is certain that a few members of the Government party will vote against it, and thereby effect its defeat."

The passive resistance movement was called off. Refer­ence has been made of the intention of the Government to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into the extent of Indian penetration into European areas in Natal. The intention was made public at the time the Lawrence Committee was established. Kajee, and indeed all Indians accepted this proposal with satisfaction. Indians welcome every opportunity for an unbiased judicial analysis of any aspect of their public affairs, convinced, as they are that facts serve two purposes, one of proving their case and two of dispelling the ignorance upon which they maintain most anti-Indian agitation is based.

Rumblings of an anti-Indian campaign had already been heard before the war. They had subsided a little after the General Election of 1938. Early after the outbreak of war however, the outcry about Indian penetration into European areas which had been heard in the Transvaal as early as 1937 and which had resulted in Mr. Stuttaford's legislation restricting the economic freedom of Indians in that province, echoed through Natal. Ever since Union, Natal had remained outside the mainstream of South African politics. For the first two decades after Union it was essentially the all-British Province, and except in Northern Districts, it was a novelty to hear Afrikaans spoken in the towns. To a very large extent it remained if not anti-Afrikaner at least so fervently pro-British as to call from observers inside and out the observation that it was more English than the English. It distrusted General Smuts almost as much as it distrusted General Hertzog. It was the centre of the Dominion Party, one of those third-party organisations which crop up as a protest against the main parties at odd times and which, after having served their purpose, should go out of existence but seldom do. The Dominion Party was formed to defend the British connection in South Africa at a time when it seemed as if, owing to the activities of the Nationalist republicans and owing to certain changes in Commonwealth relations, the British connection was in danger of being loosened.

At the outbreak of war in 1939 when the Dominion Party held seven seats in Durban, its leader Col. Stallard held a seat in Maritzburg and became a member of the war Cabinet set up by General Smuts in 1939. The war had made an end of the reasons for the continuation of the Dominion Party. There was no longer any need for a splinter organisation to defend the interests of the British Commonwealth and no longer any need to doubt the bona fides of General Smuts. When this happened, a third party, like the Dominion Party, should automatic­ally disappear and be submerged in one of the major parties, in this case the United Party. The Dominion Party chose to retain its individual identity, with the result that as time went on it had to find a platform other than the one upon which it had been able to claim the popular support. The search for a platform for any political campaign in Durban and Natal is comparatively easy. A cause lies at hand in the presence of Indians, It might be presumption to assume that the Dominion Party deliberately seized upon the growing agitation against Indians as a new cause upon which they sustain­ed themselves in popular esteem. It is probably more accurate to say that the campaign against Indians arose spontaneously amongst certain sections of the public who were most affected by what they alleged to be the penetration of Indians into their residential areas.

The habit of people in South Africa with a grouse against the government on any subject is to pester their M.P's about it. In England and I believe in America the average citizen has to be bullied into "write to your M.P.". In South Africa citizens write to their M.P's as a matter of course, indeed most of the business of being an M.P. in South Africa is to act as the political guardian of the individual voter's interests. As most of the M.P's in Durban were Dominionites the complaints made about Indian penetration went to Dominionites, and the Dominionites Party may thus be said to have merely done its duty in taking the matter up.

Once a fire starts in an area where there is no means of combatting it, it swiftly rages through the community. And there is no better material for a fire in Natal than 180,000 Indians. On this subject no number of facts will quench emotion. The Commission set up by the Government was called the Indian Penetration Commission, and popularly referred to as the First Broome Commission, Mr. Justice F. N. Broome being its Chairman.

The Commission was a purely fact finding Commission. Its appointment settled the matter of the recognition of Kajee's Congress. Noting the existence of the Natal Indian Congress, the Commission referred to the Minister of the Interior and to the Agent General of India request­ing their opinion as to the standing of the two rival bodies, the Natal Indian Association and the Natal Indian Congress. "The Commission formed the opinion that the Natal Indian Association had the stronger claim to official recognition as the representative body, but it was also apparent that the resuscitated Natal Indian Congress was in fact an influential body with a large membership. In these circumstances the Commission felt that it would be wrong to take a narrow official view and that any associ­ation with any substantial claim to be representative ought to be granted de facto recognition."

In passing it is worth nothing that the Nationalist bloc in the Transvaal attempted to get Indians there to boycott the Commission but no apparent interference with the Commission's work was discernible as a result of this minor rebellion. The Commission quickly came to the conclusion that the two organisations came before it as rivals rather than as collaborators, each inclined "to put questions directed to the improvement of his own standing, and the standing of his association, with the Indian public rather than to the subject matter of the Inquiry". A better spirit prevailed as the Commission's work proceeded. Mr. Sorabjee Rustomjee was the chief spokesman of the Natal Indian Association, and, needless to say, Kajee was the chief spokesman of the Natal Indian Congress. The Commission recorded its indebtedness to both of them and remarked on the great ability with which they conducted their cases.

The purpose of this book is not to examine the evidence and findings of Commissions, except into as far as they throw some light upon Kajee and his place in the community. No attempt therefore is made here to review in detail the factual situation or the reasons which such Commissions and such investigations declare as the origins of a particular situation, but it is essential to give the bare facts of penetration as discovered by the Commission. The Commission found that in the old Borough of Durban there were 512 cases where Indians had bought and occupied European property during the years from 1927 to March 1940. In the rest of Natal the number were 328.

It was in the presentation of the Indian case before this Commission that all Kajee's previous experience and knowledge was shown to special advantage. His encyclopedic mind worked at full pressure before and during the proceedings, quick to meet the substantial case put forward by the Durban City Council and swift "to help Indians elsewhere in the province to gather and classify the necessary evidence for Indian defence. To him is due much of the excellence with which Indian evidence was advanced and the voluminous classification of the records as well as the contesting of detailed points continually being raised during the course of the investigation.

There were times when the greatest care was required to avoid serious flaws in Congress policy. Before the Commission Mr. A. M. Moolla, a shrewd and able businessman, who had made a recent entry into active politics, supported A. I. Kajee. One of the great difficulties facing the Commission was to decide at the outset the racial character of particular areas, what areas in fact were predominantly European in 1937. The Commission took the view that whether an area is predominantly European depends upon the racial character of that area and that in determining that character occupation is a more important factor than ownership. The Durban City Council contested this view, maintaining that ownership by reason of its greater permanence was the truer indication. Accurate data of Indian ownership in 1927 was available, and though there was no complete information as to the European and non-European occupation, it was known that the great majority of Indian-owned properties were occupied by Europeans.

In giving evidence it occasionally happened that Kajee and Moolla differed on certain aspects of the issue, and in particular on this question of the character of a particular area. Between the meetings Kajee and he quarrelled, and in a quarrel on a subject so important to their case Kajee was apt to become so angry that it was difficult to remonstrate or to discuss the subject with him calmly. On this question he actually went so far as to refer his conflict of opinion with Mr. Moolla to his attorneys to seek counsel's advice. Actually counsel's opinion favoured the attitude adopted by Mr. Moolla. The instance is recorded here to illustrate the lengths to which Kajee would go to clarify a problem and to make the case he served as invulnerable as possible. It also illustrates a certain lack of confidence first in him and second in people like Mr. Moolla who were there to help and support him in advancing the Indian cause. He was always afraid of being caught in an official inquiry, and it was naturally on this occasion because no lesser person than Mr. Graham Mackeurtan, the most eminent K.C. in Natal at this time, represented the Durban City Council. Neither Kajee nor his colleagues could afford to make mistakes before so shrewd a cross-examiner. It says much for both of them that throughout the whole proceedings they conducted themselves with distinction.

One or two subjects of more general interest were raised during the investigation. Kajee was often called up for a considered opinion at a moments notice on a question which for most Indians, and indeed for most Europeans, would require some careful thought. For example, the question arose of whether when an Indian purchases and occupies a property in a European resident­ial area the value of the neighbouring properties owned and occupied by Europeans depreciates. The question is not so easy as it sounds. The popular view amongst Europeans is that once an Indian enters an area in this way the market price of the rest of the properties falls. Here is what the Commission thought of it.

"At almost every centre in Natal and the Transvaal where penetration was complained of the allegation was made that the acquisition or occupation of sites by Indians depreciated the value of surrounding property. We regard this matter as falling outside our terms of refer­ence and so have made no finding upon it. We feel bound to say, however, that the allegation was not established. Europeans assumed its truth, but when invited to give specific instances were unable or unwilling to do so. The following extracts from the evidence are typical: -

"Have you any samples of properties which have depreciated in value through Indians having purchased property next door?"

"I cannot give you them now,' but it is obviously evident; it must be so."

"You are of that opinion?"

"Definitely so."

"Have you got any facts?"

"I cannot give the facts, no, but it must be of necessity so."

"You claim that an acquisition by an Indian depreciates properties in the immediate neighbourhood?"


"Can you give me instances where such depreciation has taken place?"

"Lot 10, Block "I"."

Chairman: "Has the purchase of Lot 10, Block "I" by an Indian, depreciated the value of surrounding property?"

"I think that is rather a difficult question to answer, sir."

"Mr. Rustomjee asked you to give him figures of the depreciation of surrounding properties as a result of Indian acquisition; can you give any concrete cases of that?

"Is there any reason why we should give a concrete case?"

"If you would rather not do it, you need not. I am asking you to do so if you can?"

"I refuse to answer the question."

The following was more helpful: -

"Mr., Howes, I do not know whether we have any evidence of the depreciation. Have you any example?"

"No, I have not."

"I do not know how far it is relevant."

"I have my doubt about that too, sir. I have spent a very considerable amount of time and thought on this matter in an endeavour to discover proof somehow of either of the two assertions that are made and I find that I am up against so many obstacles in the way of it, such as the fact that values of properties are not static; they are in a constant state of flux, that it is impossible for me, with my limited ability, to work out proof of either of the two contentions advanced. If one had a district in which one could arrest the fluid state of the values of the properties in it for a sufficient time for the effect of the entrance of Indian purchases into that area to make it felt; if we could do that, then we could work out this result. Of course, one cannot work it out because one cannot do that; values are constantly changing and as I say they are fluid and you can never arrest them at one particular point so as to test these theories put for­ward. That is the conclusion which I have come to."

"Of course, among Europeans the view that depreciation does follow is almost universal-that depreciation follows upon an Indian purchase."

"Yes. Of course, Mr. Chairman, I am inclined to be­lieve that there may be some substance in the contention that depreciation follows; if one's eyes are fixed only on the market consisting only of potential Europeans, that may be the reason for the fallacy of this belief if it is fallacious; but I am not able to say whether it is fallac­ious or not. I do not know."

"Towards the conclusion of our public sittings in Natal, figures were placed before us in support of the allegation and further figures against it, but we were unable to accept either set of figures as conclusive. The truth of the matter probably is that, while the assertion may be true, the truth is incapable of demonstration owing to the many other incalculable factors affecting property values. But however that may be, we regard the quest­ion as falling outside the scope of the enquiry."

Another question put to him as well as to Mr. Rustomjee which still has some validity to-day ran like this: -

"The Chairman.... does the Natal Indian Association look forward to the time when Europeans and Indians residentially will be separated?"

Mr. Rustomjee: "Well, sir, we are against the separ­ation of races; but at the same time we are always prepared to and always do offer the Durban Corporation and other Corporations our collaboration and co-oper­ation in trying to see that the friction that does exist is avoided, and it can only be avoided by a generous feeling on the part of the Corporations concerned in making ample provision for the community."

Chairman: "You have not answered my question. Does your Association look forward to the time when Indians will be living in one portion and Europeans in another portion, on a friendly basis?"

Mr. Rustomjee: "By mutual agreement, yes, but not by compulsion."

Mr. Kajee: "I would reply to the question in this way: firstly that town planning is an essential requirement in any European area; secondly, so far as visualising what will happen in the future is concerned, we would have to fall back on the experience as we see it today and as we saw it in the past; and that experience has been, that natural causes-the causes of affinity of religion, culture and race will always prevail and will always group people of one race, one colour, and one religion into certain areas. Therefore it is not difficult to visualise, from what has been human experience all over the world, -even in the east, in towns like Singapore, Bombay, and elsewhere -that people of one race, one colour and one religion, will always group into certain areas. Therefore, if town planning was done with justice and understanding and was removed above local prejudice and local feelings, we can see in the future that, without compulsion, our race group will live in its own area. We are supported in this, as I said before, by our own experiences here in Durban, from our experience and the facts that have been sub­mitted to you in the Transvaal and Natal in the towns that we have visited where Indians have been settled for 75 years, they have created areas of their own, and, if there has been any overloading, it has been in the areas adjacent and contiguous to those areas, and not into areas belonging to other groups. There will always be a few cases, but those few cases must, in the interests of harmony and goodwill, be overlooked; there will always be a few cases just as much as there will be cases of European acquisition of property in Indian areas, but, the cases would be so few and far between that it would not require any compulsion and the hurting of people's susceptibilities and racial feelings."

Altogether Kajee's appearance before the Commission was a satisfactory piece of work of which any man might be proud, and certainly demonstrated that there are in South African Indian community men of great ability and improved minds.

His final address to the Commission, though it gives no idea of the mass of evidence he presented deserves permanent record.

"My Lord, before we conclude, I would like to say how deeply grateful the Congress and my colleagues who have worked with me on this Commission are to you, the Members of the Commission, to Mr. Kriegler, the Secretary, to Mr. Rigby, the official reporter, and others, for the kindness, courtesy and patience you have shown to us at all times when we have come before' you with our case. We realise that we may have at times taxed your patience by repetition and the bringing forward of matters that might not have been relevant to the issues, but we ask you to forgive us and to pardon us for those failures; with the understanding that we are a people who feel that the findings of this Commission can go a long way towards creating happiness for us or creating sorrow. Even if we have laid a great deal of stress on the many aspects of our troubles, or troubled life in this country, we trust you will forgive us.

"One word more, my Lord, this Commission, so far as Natal is concerned, is one of the most important Com­missions that has come to enquire into the aspect of our life in this country. We submit, my Lord, that we are a people who have now cut away all our contacts with India. Beyond the fact of the geographical means of looking to India as our Motherland, we desire to become South Africans in the fullest sense of the word. We are doing all the things possible for us to do to become good South Africans, save and except that we do not want to lose our racial characteristics and to remain pure in our race. Beyond that, for all practical purposes we wish to be South Africans. I would like to take all the res­ponsibilities that go with that, and to say that through your findings the day may not be far distant when we will be accepted. We desire to remain tenacious of our race and of certain good things in our culture; we want to contribute what good there may be in our culture towards the growing culture of this land. We have shown by our manifestations, by our life, particularly in the last fifty-years, that we are not only anxious but prepared to do the utmost that is possible in us by self-help in the direction of education and living conditions. In all these things we ask you to take cognisance of what you have seen and what we have expressed to you. The fate of 200,000 Indians resident in South Africa depends upon the Commission's findings. I hope that it has been shown that Indians have been assimilated in the general life of South Africa and are becoming more and more South African in the full sense of the word. India is our country of origin, the country of our fore-fathers but now it is merely a term to us. Since the Cape Town Agreement we have shown by our efforts in the direction of education and attempts to improve our standard of living that we desire to assume the responsibilities, burdens and risks of being true South Africans. At the same time we hope to receive some of the benefits of our South African citizenship. In conclusion I would say that we leave our case in your very judicial hands, and in the impartial hands of Mr. Nimrod Smit and Mr. Charter; and once again I express my grateful thanks to the Commission and to my colleagues; and express the hope that at no far distant date we shall be able to read your report-to which we have so humbly contributed-and rejoice in it."

It is only fair to add that his rival of the Natal Indian Association, Mr. Sorabjee Rustomjee made a like declamation at the end of the proceedings, and that the hopes of neither of them regarding the final outcome of the Commission's findings and recommendations were fulfilled. Not that the report was in anyway damaging to the Indian cause. Indeed the Commission's report proved how little penetration had taken place in the years from 1927-1940. On the evidence provided in the report there was no real cause for European agitation and certainly not for the periodic campaigns of anti-Indianism which had marked the previous two or three years.

Europeans accepted the report's figures with consternation. The figures were unbelievable. They seemed to deny the facts of casual experience and observation. Every day almost there were reports of Indian purchases of property in European areas. As the reports mounted a new demand was heard arising from the question of what had happened after 1940. What v/as happening now, at this very moment, in wartime, in 1943, not what had happened in the thirteen years before 1940 was the question. Mass meetings were held, women sat behind tables in the entrances of West Street shops in Durban urging people to sign petitions demanding another in­quiry. Resolutions were passed calling upon members of parliament to call upon the Government to do what the Government would not do as a result of the Commission's report, that is legislate against Indian purchasers of European property and so save the fair city of Durban from becoming what Europeans said it was fast becoming-another Bombay. The voice of the people rose to high heaven. It was heard above the roar of battle in North Africa. General Smuts could not silence it. As the clamour rose, the hearts of Indians sank, and Kajee's with them. They had put forth a mass of factual evidence. They had spent days and nights in collecting in­formation and in preparing their case. They had spent money with liberality and even with extravagance, and they had met, through Kajee and others, a veritable barrage of attack from European bodies and individuals, apparently to no avail. They said nothing would assuage European thirst or appease European appetite for the destruction of Indians.