The Making of a Social Reformer
[ Gandhi In South Africa, 1893-1914 ]


Primary, Printed Sources, & Newspapers

National Archives, Gandhi Archives, Museums, and Libraries in India
At the National Archives of India in New Delhi, we consulted the Guide to the Records in the National Archives, New Delhi, 1980. This guide listed eight categories of records, among them the records of the following departments: Home, Revenue, Foreign, and Agriculture. Each one of these had an index. The Home and Foreign department records had a few relevant records. In the first we examined the following years: 1858-64, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871, 1871-75, 1876-80, 1872, 1873, 1875, 1905, 1911, and 1914. In the Foreign department series, we examined selectively from 1875 to 1913, but found little that was directly relevant to our study. However, there was some very useful information in the Private Archives section in the following sets of papers: Gandhi-Kallenbach Papers, Gandhi-Polak Papers, Gokhale Papers, Pyarelal Papers, and C.F. Andrews Papers.
At the National Gandhi Museum and Library in New Delhi, we searched through the card index of letters to Gandhi. In addition, we examined the new material presented in the most recent publications of the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi. The last seven supplementary volumes appeared between 1989 and 1994. Volume 96 was relevant to our study as it contained additional correspondence between Gandhi and Kallenbach. In volume 65, there is reference to his discovery in South Africa of selfless service as "spiritual sadhana."
At the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, otherwise known as the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, we worked from a 40-page prepared list of material given to us by Mr. E. S. Reddy, and found at least a dozen letters that were relevant to our study. We also looked through SN (Serial Number) items of Gandhi’s newspaper cuttings, which showed how meticulously he kept track of events while in South Africa.
South Africa
At the Natal Archives Repository (NAR) in Pietermaritzburg, we searched through the several groups of sources with mixed results. Indian Immigration (II) did not have many direct references to cultural and religious events. The focus in official records was rather on health, criminal behavior, assaults, desertions, malingering, drunk and disorderly conduct, withholding of rations and wages, cruelty, murder trials, suicide, requests for passes, and depositions of various other kinds. There were numerous cases of abuses by owners, and workers who took the initiative to file complaints especially during the 1900s. We found some useful material in the Colonial Secretary's Office (CSO) series. A search in Secretary of Native Affairs (SNA) series revealed over 30 instances of Indo-African relations.
We also consulted the following series at the NAR: Surveyor General's Office (SGO), Attorney General's Office (AGO), Chief Native Commissioner (CNC), Immigration Restrictions Department (IRD), Natal Government Railways (NGR), and a variety of others like 1/EPI (Magistrate and Commissioners, Empangeni), 1/LDS (Magistrates and Commissioners, Ladysmith), MJPW (Minister of Justice and Public Works), 3/PMB (Pietermaritzburg), PWD (Public Works Department), DPH (Department of Public Health), PVS (Principal Veterinary Surgeon), NT (Natal Treasury), and NHD (Natal Harbour Department). Printed sources consulted for this study included the Protector's Reports from the 1880s to 1911, Blue Books and their successors Statistical Year Books.
There were several important sources which provided a lens to Indian cultural and religious life. At the Durban Local History Museum, we found some excellent photographs that illustrated dress and attire for the early period. We found photographs and assorted documents as they related to cultural and religious organizations at the Gandhi-Luthuli Centre (formerly Documentation Centre) at University of Durban-Westville. The vernacular sections of Indian Opinion and African Chronicle provided rich material on culture and religion.

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