Indian South African Timeline: 1910 - 1919
Public Servants Superannuating Act and Teachers Pensions Act. Discrimination against Indians.
South Africa Act, 1909 (Sections 26, 35, 44, 147 and 151) leaves anti-Indian and other discriminatory legislation against black groups intact.
The Immigrants Regulation Act of 1910 consolidates existing immigration laws of the pre-Union colonies and excludes immigration of all persons to the Union considered unsuitable on economic grounds or on account of standard or habits of life. The Act, as amended in 1913 and 1937, prohibits all immigration of Asians to South Africa, except that of wives and minor children of those already domiciled in the country. Hermann Kallenbach gives Tolstoy Farm at Lawley for use of satyagrahi families.
26 February, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi supports the African People's Organisation's (APO) resolution to declare the day of arrival of the Prince of Wales in South Africa as a day of mourning in protest against the South Africa Act's disenfranchisement of Indians, Coloureds and Africans in the upcoming Union of South Africa.
30 September, Mohambry (Monty) Naicker is born.
3 January, The Government of India announces in the Viceroy's Council that emigration to Natal is prohibited with effect from 1 July.
13 March, The Colonial-Born and Settlers Indian Association is formed at a meeting in Durban and has at its aim to fight the infamous £3 poll tax. R.N. Moodley of Pietermaritzburg is the chairman of the meeting and among those present are Lutchman Panday, A. Christopher, S.K. Pather, K.R. Nayanah and H.S.L. Polak.
27 April, Indian passive resistance is suspended when General. J.C. Smuts enters into negotiations with Gandhi.
14 October, Gopal Krishna Gokhale meets Prime Minister, General Louis Botha; General J. C. Smuts (then Minister of Finance, Defence and Mines) and Abraham Fischer (Minister of the Interior.) Gokhale negotiates with the Union Government on behalf of South African Indians and obtains promises that are not kept.
22 October, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, at invitation of Gandhi, arrives in South Africa on a 26-day tour. He also visits Tolstoy Farm.
January, Tolstoy Farm is closed.
14 March, In a judgement of the Cape Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Searle declares that marriages not celebrated according to Christian rites and/or not registered by the Registrar of Marriages, are invalid. All Muslim and Hindu marriages concluded according to traditional rites are therefore declared invalid.
June, The Immigrants Regulation Amendment Act, Act No. 22 of 1913 — persons not literate in a European language and so-called undesirables (persons deemed undesirable on economic grounds or on account of standards or habits of life) could be excluded from country. The Minister of the Interior classifies all Asiatic persons undesirable and Indian immigration is halted indefinitely.
22 September, The first batch of Indian passive resisters, consisting of 12 men and 4 women (including Mrs. Kasturba Gandhi) are arrested at Volksrust and imprisoned in Pietermaritzburg.
19 October, at a meeting of the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) in Durban, NIC secretaries, M. C. Anglia and Dada Osman, severely criticise Gandhi and tender their resignations. However, their resignations are not accepted and the meeting withdraws the NIC's support of the passive resistance campaign. In reaction, Gandhi and his supporters withdraw from the meeting and form a new body, the Natal Indian Association (NIA), at Parsee Rustomjee's house. The NIC would become defunct until its resuscitation in 1920.
28 October, Albert Christopher, Ruben Joseph and three other Colonial-born Indians leave Durban to assist in the strike area.
November, Lord Harding delivers a speech in Madras, India, in which he expresses sympathy with the Indian passive resistance struggle in South Africa.
18 December, The Indian Inquiry Commission, also known as the Solomon Commission, commences its sittings in Pretoria.
14 January, The Gandhi-Smuts Agreement is reached between Gen. J.C. Smuts and Gandhi.
20 January, The first group of Transvaal Indian women satyagrahis are released from Pietermaritzburg Prison after three months' imprisonment. Among them is Valliamma Moonsamy Moodaliar.
10 February - 11 February, In accordance with the understanding reached by General J.C. Smuts and Gandhi on 14 January 1914, 60 passive resistance prisoners are released from the Pietermaritzburg Prison. In addition, 40 passive resisters are released in Durban, 8 in Newcastle and 11 in Port Elizabeth.
26 June, after a protracted passive resistance campaign led by Gandhi, the Indian Relief Act is passed following the report of the Solomon Commission. The Act abolishes the £3 poll tax, recognises marriages contracted in terms of traditional Indian (Muslim or Hindu) rites, and facilitates the entry into the Union of the wives of Indians already domiciled locally. However, Indians remain disenfranchised and are still not allowed to own property in the two former Boer Republics (Transvaal and the Orange Free State), or to live in the Orange Free State. Furthermore, restrictions on Indian trading remain in force.
18 July, Gandhi leaves South Africa for London.
4 August, Britain, and automatically South Africa as part of the British Empire, declares war against Germany and so enters into the First World War. Gandhi arrives in London.
The Indian Printers' Union and the Indian Workers Union (IWU) formed. The Union's respective secretaries are colonial born Indians, M.K. Moodley and Rev B.L.E. Sigamoney.
16 February, A.H. West and others advise indentured workers in Natal not to re-indenture but to become free men.
March, The Imperial War Conference, attended by representatives of Britain and the British Dominions, commences in London. India's attendance at the Conference raises the hope of Indians in the colonies that they now have some leverage to effect changes for equal treatment.
Gordon Lee of the Industrial Socialist League (ISL) forms the Durban Workers' Industrial Union. The Union enrols Indian members representing printing, tobacco, laundry, dock and municipal workers, miners and ‘sugar slaves’.
27 April, Sir Satyendra P. Sinha of India submits the so-called Reciprocity Resolution to the Imperial War Conference in London. The Conference unanimously accepts the principle of reciprocity between India and the Dominions. Sir Sinha's memorandum also includes grievances of South African Indians in connection with trading licences, the franchise and ownership of land and railway regulations.
Rev. B.L.E. Sigamoney takes over the leadership of the Indian Worker's Union (IWU) from Gordon Lee and represents the Union at the Industrial Socialist League's annual conference.
21 May, In a letter to the Indian Opinion, the Cape British Indian Council calls for a national conference of Indian organisations.
20 October, A.M. Cachalia dies and is succeeded by Ebrahim I. Asvat as elected Chairman of the Transvaal British Indian Association.
11 November, An armistice between the Allied and the Central Powers brings the First World War to an end.
Reneging on the Companies Act of 1909, the Krugersdorp Municipal Council declares a transaction through which an Indian-owned company, Dadoo Limited, purchased land from a White owner, invalid. In addition, the Municipal Council obtains a court interdict restraining a European firm, Messrs TW Beckett and Company, from leasing a Krugersdorp stand to an Indian tailor. In reaction to these incidents, the Transvaal British Indian Association draws up a petition that directly leads to the establishment of a Select Committee of the House of Assembly to look into the acquisition of property in Transvaal by Indians through mortgages and shareholding in private companies.
20 January, The Cape British Indian Council invites Indian organisations to a South African Indian Conference.
26-30 January, The first South African Indian Conference, convened by the Cape British Indian Council, is held in Cape Town. John X. Merriman, the former Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, opens the Conference. The Conference appoints a committee of 12 members to frame the constitution of an organisation to unite all South African Indians. In addition, the conference resolves to agitate for full civil rights and to resort to civil resistance until those rights are granted.
1 May, A Select Committee is established by the House of Assembly to look into the acquisition of property in Transvaal by Indians through mortgages and shareholding in private companies. Following the recommendations of Select Committee, the Asiatics (Land and Trading) (Transvaal) Amendment Act, Act No. 37 of 1919 is proclaimed. Asiatics with rights to trade on property outside designated Asiatic Bazaars are allowed to continue to do so, but a register would be compiled of existing licences and businesses owned by Indians and no new licences would be issued. Asiatics can also no longer acquire land through companies, but will still be able to acquire land through nominees.
12 May, The Transvaal British Indian Association calls a mass meeting to organise opposition to the proposed Asiatics (Land and Trading) (Transvaal) Amendment Act. In terms of the Act, Transvaal Indians are prohibited from owning shares in limited companies.
July, A number of Indian leaders in the Transvaal sign a covenant pledging civil resistance. The signatories include the following officers of the Transvaal British Indian Association: E. I. Asvat, Chairman; N. A. Camay, Vice-Chairman; P.K. Naidoo and B. K. Patel, Joint Secretaries.
The Transvaal Emergency Conference Committee is formed with E.I. Patel as Chairman and N.A.Camay and P.K. Naidoo as joint-secretaries. The Committee calls for a South African National Indian Emergency Conference.
3 August, The Asiatics Land and Trading (Transvaal) Amendment Act, Act No. 37 of 1919, is promulgated.
3-6 August, The second South African Indian Conference is convened in Johannesburg by the Transvaal Emergency Conference Committee with the aim to create a national body to deal with threats to the rights of Indians. However, internal dissensions defeat the aims of the conveners of the Conference.
4-5 September, The Anti-Asiatic League holds a congress in Pretoria with L.J. Philips, an attorney from Krugersdorp, as Chairman. The congress sets up the South African League under the leadership of Abe Bailey. The aims of the League are the expropriation of all immovable property held by Asiatics, as well as the removal of Asiatics that are residing and trading in the Transvaal.
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