p class="insert_center inote">From the book: Passive Resistance 1946 - A Selection of Documents compiled by E.S. Reddy & Fatima Meer

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru condemns the South African Government

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, commenting on the Indian policy of the South African Government, said in New Delhi: "The policy pursued by General Smuts is 100 percent similar to the Nazi doctrine."

"What the future is going to be in South Africa I cannot say," he added, "but I can say with the utmost conviction that we are not going to tolerate this policy and we are going to face all the consequences of opposing this policy, not only in South Africa, but in Asia as a whole and in the whole world, because it raises a fundamental racial issue which applies to all Asiatics and Africans, and the so-called coloured races. So long as this issue is not solved satisfactorily, it is going to be a menace to the peace of the world."

It might have been possible," said Pandit Nehru, "to postpone ' the decision for a little while, but General Smuts has seen fit to bring it to the forefront now. Well, I for one am not sorry. It is best to deal with these ugly questions as early as possible."

Pandit Nehru said that he did not expect India to go to war with South Africa on this issue, but, "I do expect the UNO and the rest of the British Empire, if they are in earnest about it, to disassociate themselves from South Africa and cut her away from the family of nations if she follows this Nazi doctrine. If the UNO, Europe or America do not do, the time may soon come when all of Asia may do that, and so might Africa."

Message by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to South Africa, August 1946

Many a time we have sent our greetings and our assurances of solidarity to our countrymen in South Africa as we have followed their heroic struggle for India's honour and human rights. Now on the eve of a change in the government in India, when we are assuming new and onerous responsibilities, I should like to repeat this greeting and assurance.

Wherever we may be and whatever burden we may have to carry, our guiding purpose will be India's freedom and India's honour, and we shall seek to defend them wherever they are threatened. Today they are threatened in South Africa and that question is an all-India question in which all of us are involved. In India or South Africa or in international assemblies we shall fight this issue and we will not give in till we secure full recognition of Indians' rights and India's honour. The struggle in South Africa is, however, not merely an Indian issue. It concerns all Asians whose honour and rights are threatened, and all the people of Asia should, therefore, support it. It concerns ultimately the Africans who have suffered so much by racial discrimination and suppression. It is a struggle for equality of opportunity for all races and against the Nazi doctrine of racialism. Therefore, the Indians in South Africa should help in every way and cooperate with the Africans. Our cause thus becomes a world cause in which all people who believe in freedom are interested.

Nehru advises against violence

New Delhi, Friday: It would be fatal for Indians in South Africa to adopt violent methods. Pandit Nehru, head of the All-India Interim Government and Congress President, said here today. He hoped Indians in South Africa would co-operate with the Africans there, as the issue raised has become something much more than a mere Indian one. He added, "But cooperation can only succeed and be effective on the basis of peaceful methods. It would be folly to indulge in violence."

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

We have followed with anxious interest the struggle of our countrymen in South Africa against racial discrimination and unfair treatment. The issue is one which affects all India intensely. But it is something even more than that for it raises vital problems affecting all Asia and Africa. In South Africa we see today the Nazi doctrine of race in full play. Of course this was no new doctrine for the Nazis, as Asia and Africa well know. In India we have seen the racial arrogance during the last 150 years or more of British rule.

The time has now come when this theory and practice of racial arrogance and discrimination must be challenged. There can be no submission to it. Certainly in India we do not intend to recognise it in any way and we are not going to tolerate our countrymen abroad being subjected to any indignity. It is true that at the present moment we are not strong enough as a nation or as a people to put an end to this racial discrimination and national indignity. But the time is coming soon when we may be strong enough, but whether we are strong enough or not, one thing should be certain: that we prefer any consequence to submission to this evil.

We must remember also that in this matter we do not stand-alone. The whole of Asia and Africa will stand with us and we shall stand with them. Therefore we must not limit our claim to a mere national one but base it on the broader foundation of racial and international equality and equal opportunity for all. Indians in South Africa must be careful not to claim anything which goes against the rights and the dignity of the African people. We cannot claim anything for ourselves which we deny to others.

It is difficult for any of us in India to advise our countrymen in South Africa as to what they should do positively at this juncture, for any positive action necessarily involves certain consequences and they are the best judges of both the action and the consequences. They must remember that ultimately the rights of Indians all over the world will be safeguarded only by India's independence. The real battle has to be fought in India though at the same time there may be many struggles elsewhere. We are engaged in this final battle of India's independence, but we do not forget our countrymen abroad and we shall help them to the best of our ability.

The issue of Indians in South Africa has become a world issue. It is up to the Indians there to realise this fact and to act worthily on the world stage which they occupy in this matter. They have not only their own dignity and interests to safeguard but have the honour of India in their keeping. That is no light obligation. Let no man or woman or child who claims to be an Indian forget this privilege and obligation at any time. Let him remember that the day is coming when the strong arm and the stout heart of India will protect her children wherever they might be. Meanwhile let us carry on the good fight in our respective spheres with all earnestness and with the resolve never to let down the cause of India. For with that cause all our individual lives are bound up.

South African leaders talk with Pandit Nehru

Dr Y.M. Dadoo, President of the Transvaal Indian Congress, and Dr G.M. Naicker, President of the Natal Indian Congress, had talks lasting an hour on Saturday last with Pandit Nehru, the Vice-president of tnot fully learned the lesson of the need for united front action.

But we are making rapid and tremendous progress in that direction. I earnestly hope that the same will prove true in South Africa.

I wish you success in your present passive resistance campaign, and I honour the hundreds of Indian men and women who are defying South African injustice. I assure you that the Council on African Affairs and I personally will do all in our power to see that America is made fully aware of the great and heroic struggle for democracy that is going on today in the Union of South Africa.

•   Chairman of the Council on African Affairs, New York India League of US on: "Equality for Indians everywhere"

New York, Thursday: Mr. Richard J. Walsh, Chairman of the Indian League of America, said today "the League continues to support the case of the Indians of South Africa in accordance with the spirit of the resolution adopted by the United Nations Assembly. As the organisation consists largely of Americans long devoted to the cause of Indian independence, the India League is also committed to equality for Indians everywhere," Mr. Walsh said. "The League successfully seeks to win citizenship and immigration rights for Indians in the United States. It lends its aid at long distance equally to the South African Indian communities in their struggle for their rights. The League will support any and all non-violent measures."

Representative Americans deplore "Ghetto Act"

Ruth Salisbury Lash, of Florida, representative of the One World Association, made a strong attack on the deplorable mentality in South Africa which failed to recognise the ordinary rights of man and denied justice and liberty to an important section of its own people. Dr John R. Andu, President of the Indonesian Club of America, stated, on behalf of 75 000 000 Indonesians who also struggled against injustice, I send wholehearted support to the gallant Indian men and women who today carry on a non-violent struggle in South Africa to vindicate their honour and self-respect. There will be no peace on earth as long as the world allows such iniquities to be perpetuated.