”Segregation Or Progress”: An Appeal To Natal Indians, March 1945

The Congress elections on the 18th March will decide the destiny, not only of Natal Indians but of South African Indians as a whole for many, many years to come.

It is imperative that Natal Indians elect a leadership which will have the courage of its convictions to face the present dangerous situation which confronts us, with a progressive policy of united action against all forms of segregation and for full democratic rights for our people.

It must be clear to all thinking Indians what the Kajee-Pather leadership has meant to the Indian community. It concluded the notorious Pretoria Agreement without the knowledge or the consent of the people and thus bartered away the elementary right of the Indians to live where they chose. This policy made it possible for the Natal Provincial Council to pass the Natal segregation Ordinance with impunity, and it put serious obstacles in the way of India in her great stand on our behalf. It is tragic that the Kajee-Pather group should be so weak when all leaders and major organisations in India, Congress and Muslim League alike, ever stand firmly united against the humiliating treatment meted out to South African Indians.

Events have proved that the Kajee-Pather leadership has played right into the hands of the Natal English racialist and the segregationist Government. If this leadership is allowed to pursue its mad career it will lead the Indian people to certain ruin, ghettos and deprivation of economic rights and privileges for all, rich and poor alike.

Have we an alternative to this blundering leadership? The Anti-Segregation Council provides the answer. The leadership of the Anti-Segregation Council has a record of unflinching faith in the united strength of the people, and of a bold and uncompromising stand against the Pegging Act, the Pretoria Agreement, the Natal Ordinances and all measures of segregation - a record that, with the united support of the people, can lead the community out of the present miserable condition to a bright and hopeful future.

The choice is before Natal Indians. Support for the Kajee-Pather leadership will spell complete segregation. Support for the Anti-Segregation Council will lead the Indian people along a path of struggle against national humiliation and oppression, and for equal opportunities and full democratic rights for all.

A victory for the Anti-Segregation Council will be acclaimed by all progressives in South Africa and the world as a step forward in the fight for progress and human freedom.

We, therefore, appeal to all members of the Natal Indian Congress to vote for the candidates of the Anti-Segregation Council on March 18th.

Signed: (Dr.) Yusuf M. Dadoo
H. A. Naidoo
I. C. Meer
Moulvi I. A. Cachalia
A. I. Meer

Yusuf Mohamed Dadoo South Africa's Freedom Struggle: Statements, Speeches and Articles including Correspondence with Mahatma Gandhi

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