From the book: Passive Resistance 1946 - A Selection of Documents compiled by E.S. Reddy & Fatima Meer



First Deputation to India

Messrs Sorabjee Rustomjee, S.R. Naidoo, A.S. Kajee and A.A Mirza left for Mombasa at daybreak on Wednesday by seaplane or the first leg of their journey to India, where they will put the cause of the South African Indians before the Government and the people of India on behalf of the South African Indian Congress.

Carrying the Brown Man's Burden

Delegation's motives are suspect

M.D. Naidoo, Joint Secretary of the Natal Indian Congress, has declared that the SAIC delegation to India will accept a compromise settlement along the lines of the Pretoria Agreement, and has refused to be associated with the delegation.

In a letter to the leader of the delegation, Mr. Rustomjee, Mr. Naidoo states: "The logical step is to analyse the motives of the leader and majority members of this delegation, as expressed in speeches made at the conference in Cape Town. Here I find that, should such a thing as compromise settlement along the lines of the Pretoria Agreement emerge from the Round Table discussions, it will be acceptable to you and your colleagues.

"You are aware of the history of the Natal Indian Congress elections and how they were fought on the issue of the Pretoria Agreement.

You are also aware of our very deep and uncompromising opposition to such a compromise settlement. You will, therefore, appreciate my unwillingness to be associated with a delegation whose motives are suspect."

"Finally, I wish to draw your attention to the fact that the legislation proposed by the Government, apart from the question of communal franchise, is a Natal question. The Natal Indian Congress had decided, long before the idea of a South African Indian Congress Conference was mooted, to send a delegation to India. This resolution still stands and in view of the decision of the South African Indian Congress not being in conformity with it, and being taken in the full knowledge that such a resolution existed, I can construe the action of the conference as a refusal to co-operate with the Natal Indian Congress."

Flying to England next week

The South African Indian Congress delegation to Britain will leave on Saturday next, 23 March by air.

There have been additions to the delegation which was decided upon at Cape Town. The following will leave next week: Mr. A.I. Kajee. Mr. Ashwin Choudree, Mr. P.R. Pather, Mr. S. Paruk and Reverend B.L.E. Sigamoney. Mr. A.M. Moolla will join the delegation later in England. Dr Dadoo, The Leader understands, has not yet made a final decision, and the question whether he will go or not go is still n abeyance.

Mr Choudree to advise at UNO

Next week Mr. Ashwin Choudree, who led the South Africa Indian Congress delegation to England, will leave the Union by flying.'' boat on the first stage of his journey to America and the UNO, according to a Passive Resistance Council announcement.

He is going to America to provide the Indian delegate to the UNO, Sir Ramaswami Mudalair, with any information which he may require when India's protest against the treatment of the Indians South Africa under the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representative Act is raised.

The original intention was that Mr. Choudree was to accompany Mr. Sorabjee Rustomjee to America. However, Mr. Rustomjee was sentenced to three months' imprisonment following a conviction under the Riotous Assemblies Act.

" Moderates" and "radicals" pursue international support

In 1946, while the "radicals" had taken over the NIC and TIC, the SAIC still remained in the control of the "moderates" .

Shoring up international support was an important strategy, pursued by both radicals and moderates.

The moderates themselves were in a state of flux, some remaining Moderates, others considering seriously whether in fact, times had not changed and the way to go was the radical way.

Sorabjee Rustomjee left the moderate fold and joined the radicals. As India and Pakistan moved towards independence, the UNO became M important platform to pursue the plight of Indians. The moderates, represented by Albert Christopher, A.I. Kajee, and P.R. Pather, flew off to the UNO on the heels of H.A. Naidoo, PRC delegate. Rustomjee Mowed, also representing the PRC.

The critics calculated the cost. A.I. Kajee paid his own way, Rustomjee was rumoured to have collected between £5000-£7000 for the two PRC delegates, including himself.

The Kajee-Pather trip to India cost £4800. The PRC paid £1,500 ' towards Ashwin Choudree, another PRC delegate to the UNO.


"No passports for Law-Breakers"

It is learnt that the refusal of a passport to Dr Naicker, President of the Natal Indian Congress, and the "impounding" of the certificate of identity given to Dr Dadoo, President of the Transvaal Indian Congress, are not departmental decisions but the action of the Government

The Government feels that no facilities should be granted!' people who have deliberately broken the laws of the land in further of the Passive Resistance Campaign.

Passport Protest

Several hundred Indians were present at a meeting at the Gandhi Hall convened by the Transvaal Indian Congress to protest against the refusal to grant passports to Doctors Dadoo and Naicker. Fraternal speakers were present from the African National Congress, the African people's Organisation and the Council for Asiatic Rights.

Arbitrary Action

"The action of the South African Government in refusing passports to Dr. Y.M. Dadoo and Dr G.M. Naicker and impounding their certificates of identity was wholly unwarranted and arbitrary," said Mr. Gandhi

Rustomjee and Meer for UN - Rustomjee says he represents Rustomjee

Mr. Sorabjee Rustomjee left by air during the week for Lake Success to attend the forthcoming sessions of the United Nations. He goes as a delegate of the Joint Passive Resistance Council. Mr. A.I. Meer, who is the second member of the delegation, leaves on 9 September by air.

It is expected that the Joint Council will meet over the weekend to discuss the possibility of sending other delegates.

Earlier in the week Mr. Rustomjee told a Leader representative that he was "representing Rustomjee" at Lake Success. At that time it was not known whom Mr. Rustomjee would represent. Behind this statement is, apparently, a story which sent Dr Naicker by air to Johannesburg to consult colleague Dr Dadoo. It is a story of heated arguments, debates and discord.

It will be recalled that when Mr. Sorabjee Rustomjee went to Lake Success last year, he made his own collection of funds.

On his return, the Joint Passive Resistance Council of the Natal and Transvaal Indian Congresses asked him for a financial statement of his journey to and from Lake Success. Mr. Rustomjee told the Council that he was not responsible to it, as he had not been financed by it.

The expenses which Mr. Rustomjee incurred are not reflected in the books of the Resistance Council.

This year, it is understood, Mr. Rustomjee set about preparing to go to Lake Success while the Resistance Council and Congress were absorbed in other matters.


NIO Deputation to Smuts - To discuss Round Table talks

A deputation consisting of representatives of the Natal Indian Organisation, the Transversal Indian Organisation and the Cape Indian Congress will call on the Prime Minister on Thursday next (29 January) "Cape Town in connection with the impasse in Indo-European relations. The deputation will discuss with the Premier the necessity of the Round Table Conference between the Union and the Governments of India and Pakistan.

The following have been elected to the deputation from the NIO. Messrs A.S. Kajee, President of the NIO, P.R. Pather Secretary, Naidoo.C.M. Anglia, A.B. Moosa, A.M. Moolla, M.R. Parekh, and one representative each from Northern Natal and the North Coast. The TIO will have six representatives and the Cape Indian Congress three. The deputation will leave Durban tomorrow afternoon.

How they reacted

In view to the fact that the Natal Indian Organisation is keen on sending a deputation to India and Pakistan with the "approval" of the Prime Minister to bring about "goodwill" between those countries and the Union, a Leader reporter was asked to find out the reaction of the average individual Indian to the proposal. He fell in with paper's cartoonist, and between them they produced the results shown above. Both the reporter and the cartoonist arc emphatic that A Appelsamy, cane spirit in hand, the immaculate Jazzbanch, the obviously hysterical popatlall, Bijiee, in an uncomfortably aggressive mood, and Seth Mia Jhundoo have to say on the NIO proposal to go to India, conveys a cross-section of the feeling of the Indian people on this subject. The Indian people do not want any deputations and Pakistan.

His Silence is not Golden: SAIC President Criticises Christopher

Mr. Ahmad Ismail, President of the South African Indian Congress does not consider Mr. A. Christopher's silence on the subjects of this visit to India and UN, golden. Mr. Christopher, it will be recalled was one of those deputed by the SAIC to go to India and the UN to campaign against the Ghetto Act.

As a community we are entitled to hear Mr. Christopher several important matters relating to the Indian community for to views, based on the knowledge acquired during his overseas visits which would have been very useful, Mr. Ismail told a leader He added: "I do not consider his silence golden."

The SAIC President also criticised members of the delegations to India and UN for failing to report on their mission to the Sow African Indian Congress.

The deputations included the late Mr. A.I. Kajee, Messrs P. Pather, A. Christopher, Sorabjee Rustomjee, A.S. Kajee, A.A. Mirza and S.R. Naidoo.