Passive Resistance 1946 - A Selection of Documents compiled by E.S. Reddy & Fatima Meer - Special Focus: Wrangling between political groups - 1947

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


Kajee accused of betrayal at NIC mass meeting

Allegations that Mr. Kajee had betrayed the interests of the Indian community when he suggested the withdrawal of economic actions, and the restoration of diplomatic relations between the Union and India in order to remove the Indo-Union dispute from the purview of the United Nations were made at a big mass meeting on the Red Square on Sunday morning.

Mr. Kajee, the speakers asserted, spoke for himself and for the community. He had abandoned the community long ago and his politics now consisted of corridor and parlour discussion' his Rotary speech was something of an attempt to stage a comeback.

"As far as we are concerned," Mr. H.A. Naidoo said, "We reject emphatically Mr. Kajee's view on moderation, for it by-passes the will of the people.

"The issue is now a matter of international conflict. The rest of the world is, therefore, watching the march of events here, and under these circumstances, the South African Indian Congress should have been consulted before such a statement was made. Even India should have been informed first."

Formation of new body condemned

Resolutions supporting the policy of the Natal Indian Congress and to give every assistance and strength to the Passive Resistance campaign, which is being waged against the obnoxious Ghetto and against the racial and colour-discriminatory policy of the Union Government," were passed at the inaugural meeting of the Durban Central Congress Branch on Sunday.

"This meeting further condemns all moves to form another Indian body in opposition to the national and representative organisation of the Indian people — the Natal Indian Congress, and is of the opinion that the authors of such moves will be responsible for making the community the victims of the divide and rule policy of the Government at a time when every effort should be made to strengthen our against oppression and renew our determination to appeal unitedly to General Smuts and the Union Government to implement the decision of the United Nations, stated another resolution."

"This meeting is convinced that the UN General A.W resolution may best be put into effect and further worsening of a deteriorating position halted by the immediate holding of a Round Table Conference between the Government of India and South Africa”

After comparative political pee for about twenty months, the Indian community of Natal has now another political body — the Natal Indian Organisation.

The NIO, which was formed on Sunday at a meeting in the Avalon Theatre of about 150 delegates, representing mostly the Indian mercantile community of Natal, owes its origin and existence primarily to the fact, so speakers alleged, that the present Natal Indian Congress is controlled by Communists and Communism.

They asserted that Communist ideals were foreign to the aspirations of Indian people of this country, who would, after all was said and done, still have to live here side by side with the European and African. The "moderates" declared that it was impossible for them to work within the framework of a body superimposed by foreign ideals.

There was, however, no absolute unanimity at the meeting for stalwarts like Mr. S.R. Naidoo, past secretary of the South Africa Indian Congress, Mr. J.W. Godfrey, past president of the South Africa Indian Congress, and Mr. A. Christopher, past chairman of the Natal Indian Association, disagreed with the formation of another body.

They suggested that nothing should be done in this line until the UN General Assembly had met in September. India, they said was not in a temper to deal with or tolerate "moderation" .

They did not vote against the formal resolution constitute the new body. Some speakers suggested the formation of a group work inside the present Natal Indian Congress in the same way as the Anti-Segregation Council had done.

The new body will send a deputation to interview the Prime Minister, and to request him to take immediate steps for the resumption of diplomatic relations between the Union and India; and intimate discussions in accordance with the United Nations resolution between representatives of the Union and Indian Governments in which South African Indians would take part.

It was further decided to request the Prime Minister not to form the proposed Indian Advisory Board and develop the social living and educational amenities for the Indian community.

The leading officials are: Mr. A.S. Kajee, President; Mr. A.I Kajee, Chairman of Committee, and Mr. P.R. Pather, one of the Secretaries

"No Indian," the draft constitution provides, "who is register as a member of the Communist Party, or any other political shall be entitled membership."

The Public Pays

When political factions clash in the Indian community, the Public pays up—apparently good-humouredly — and wonders what next with so many groups claiming to safeguard its interests.

Last week there was an echo of the old litigation between the officials of the Natal Indian Congress and the wing led by Dr dicker, who sought a court order for the holding of the annual meeting of NIC, when the bill of costs was decided upon.

Apparently after getting a favourable court order — that the overdue meeting should be held — those who had sought redress in court forgot about the costs which the then Natal Indian Congress officials were ordered to pay. A few weeks ago, however, they remembered and now the old officials have to pay about £500. It is understood that money has already been collected from the public.

Father and son in opposing political camps

As a result of the formation of the Natal Indian Organisation Mr. P.R. Pather, who has never disguised his dislike of Communists and communism, and his son, Dr Maslamoney Pather, find themselves in opposing political camps. Dr Pather was elected chairman of the Greyville branch of the Natal Indian Congress a week ago after his father had condemned the communist character of the Congress and was himself elected secretary of the NIO Pather Jnr., holds definite Red" views.

Speaking at the election meeting on Sunday, Dr Pather criticised the formation of the new political body, and moved a resold condemning the step of the moderates.

Dr Pather learnt his politics at the Witwatersrand University while he was a medical student there. While his father, Mr. P.R. Pather was engaged in negotiating the Pretoria Agreement and involved what followed, his son Maslamoney, was opposing the policy of the Old Guards" .

"When I first pointed this out to Mr. P.R. Pather, not long after Dr Pather had graduated," writes a Leader reporter; he said that he was not interested in his sons political activity, faith of views. He had, however, found a great deal of Red literature when his son spent some time in Durban after he had qualified.

Judging from the violent attack which Mr. Pather has made against the Reds it is quite clear that the son has not been “ educate” the father.

The son has broken out into rebellion. His fall just set him out in practice and the fact, despite the great political chasm between them, they are still the best of friends, is testimony to their mutual tolerance at home.

At the same meeting the following also elected:

Messrs G.G. Pather and Ismail Gangat, Joint Secretaries, Mr. W. Vasanjee, Treasure, and the following Vice-chairmen Messrs R. M. Naidoo Shaik Abdulla, George Singh, S.M. Mayday Ismail.

Among the twenty-three committee members of the branch are six women, a number of prominent businessmen and two doctors. The following was elected Messrs S.S. Pather. M. Rajab, N.S. Devshi, V.M. Pillay, Dr G.M. Naicker, Dhanpal Naidoo Anamalay Govender, A.G. Soobiah, M.S. Mani, S.M. Francis, P. Veerasamy, D. Abrahams, Mrs. Janakie Naidoo, Mrs. S.L. Singh, Mrs. Dina Phiroz, G.H.A. Vadwa, K.R. Pillay, P.S. Kander, D. Roopanand, P.B.A. Reedy, Mrs. Bob, Mrs. G.M. Naicker, and Mrs. Chetty.

Rustomjee on "This Game of Children" Castigates moderates for their step

"This game of children, 'I did it, it was my request, it was our efforts,' must stop," declared Mr. Sorabjee Rustomjee, in the course of his presidential address to the Transvaal Indian Congress "Johannesburg on Sunday last. "It ill-befits the so-called moderates indulge in such childish display. Their self-importance knows no bounds, the last vestige of political awareness seems to have been lost upon them." He added, "Let the community not be fooled by all this. Theirs' is a lost cause. They lost it with the Pretoria Agreement.

Mr. Rustomjee said: "I welcome a Round Table Conference between India and South Africa. It is grossly unfair and manifestly dishonest for some people to project themselves prematurely upon this scene. India is the sole judge upon what basis she will accept a Round Table Conference. For it is not our rights she will have to into account, but the status of a nation comprising one-fifth of humanity.

Exchange between Raza and the NIO

The Natal Indian Organisation has sent a cable to Sir Sayed Raza Ali, a former Agent-General in South Africa, who is reported to have described the Organisation as being the result of an unholy alliance between big Indian money in the Union and General Smuts, who knew how to extricate himself from a tight corner."

In a telegraphic message answering certain questions referred to him the Natal Indian Organisation with regard to his recent statement on South Africa, Mr. Syed Raza Ali, India's former High Commissioner, says that he considers the activities of the new organisation as suicidal and points out that the Government of India would be ill-advised to send back the Indian High Commissioner to theft since his withdrawal is only an inevitable effect and not the cause of the present trouble. Mr. Raza Ali characterises the allegation about domiciled Indians having any track with Communism as a bogey he argues, the uncongenial soil of South Africa denies growth even to the white labour movement, which has always remained lifeless. The latest news shows that instead of Communist, it is Fascist organs'' and Nazi activity that are making headway in the Union. He beseeches those connected with the Natal Indian Organisation not to spoil strong Indian case by collaborating with Field Marshall Smuts Marshall Petain did with Hitler, and counsels the organisation leave the fight to stout hearts.

Kajee repudiates Dadoo

Dr Dadoo, speaking at Dundee last week, alleged that at a let meeting at the Prime Minister's house at Irene, General Smuts W asked Mr. A.I. Kajee to proceed to Pakistan in a last minute to attempt to sabotage the Indian case before the meeting of the United Nations Assembly and to have a High Commissioner sent from Pakistan to establish trade relations with South Africa.

Dr Dadoo also referred to the proposed Goodwill Mission of Muslims to India as a result of a meeting between the Prime Minister and Mr. Kajee at Irene.

Mr. A.I. Kajee, in an interview, described the story as a preposterous and malicious lie intended to libel and vilify him the eyes of Indians.

"It is typical of the ideology," Mr. Kajee said, "that believes in spreading false propaganda, and in the theory that the greater the lie and more often it is said the more easily it will be accepted."

"I have never visited the Prime Minister at Irene," said Mr. Kajee, "nor have I ever discussed with him the sending of a Goodwill mission of Muslims to Pakistan, and I challenge Dr Dadoo to prove this statement.

Old Guard condemns Dadoo

Dr. Dadoo's suggested worldwide boycott move against South African goods if the South African Government did not comply with UN resolution on the Indian question, has been strongly condemned

The "Old Guards."

Mr. P.R. Pather described Dadoo's speech as "mischievous and would do "irreparable harm to the South African Indian cause and there was no difference between Mr. Oswald Pirow and Dr Dadoo." 'Mr. Moolla and Mr. A.I. Kajee also agreed with this point of view.

Support South African History Online

Donate and Make African History Matter

South African History Online is a non profit organisation. We depend on public support to build our website into the most comprehensive educational resource and encyclopaedia on African history.

Your support will help us to build and maintain partnerships with educational institutions in order to strengthen teaching, research and free access to our content.