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


We accumulated personal debts to many people who helped us over the six years it has taken to complete this study. We are grateful to Professor James D. Hunt who gave us material from his personal library, and to Dr. Enuga S. Reddy, who allowed us access to Gandhi’s South African newspaper cuttings, and to a list of records at the Sabarmati Archives in Ahmedabad. Hassim Seedat kindly gave us a copy of the 1905 Mehafil Eslam Mota-Varachha Trust Deed, which appears as Appendix 3 in this study.
Various individuals read parts of the original manuscript and have made suggestions which have been helpful. Professor Surendra Gupta gave insights into Gandhi’s role in Indian politics after he left South Africa. We gained deeper understanding of South Indian culture and religion from Mr. R.R. Bala Subramania’s fountain of knowledge. Professor Herby Govinden very liberally provided information on the history of the South African Indian Christian communities. Others like Professor Vinay Lal and Professor Angel Kwolek-Folland pointed to books we should read. We learned much from the assistance of these and other individuals, but the shortcomings in this book are our own.
In a study such as this, we relied heavily on the generous help of the personnel of archives, documentation centers, libraries, and museums in India and South Africa. India’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Gopalkrishna Gopal, kindly helped with the introduction that allowed us access to material at the National Archives in New Delhi. It was, however, the staff of Mr. Sukumar Sarkar, the Director-General of the National Archives, who helped us search through relevant material. While in New Delhi for some two months in 1999, Surendra Bhana’s affiliation with Jawarharlal Nehru University was largely due to the support of Professor Vijay Gupta, who was then the director of the Centre of West Asian and African Studies. Professor Gupta and his wife provided invaluable help with our research. At the National Gandhi Museum in New Delhi, Surendra Bhana was given every support and consideration by the director, Dr. Y.P. Anand, and librarians Dr. H.S. Mathur and Mr. S.K. Bhatnagar. At the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalay, better known as the Sabaramati Ashram, Director Amrutbhai Modi went out of his way to make Surendra Bhana’s stay memorable.
Ms Judith Hawley and her staff at the Natal Archives Repository in Pietermaritzburg were very helpful in searching through the vast collection of material that makes up the core of our study. Ms Narissa Ramdhani and Mr. K. Chetty provided us with relevant material at the Gandhi-Luthuli Centre, University of Durban–Westville. We are grateful to Dr. G. Murugan who translated the Tamil text from the African Chronicle at the Killie-Campbell Museum and Library, University of Natal. Dr. Paul Tichmann kindly gave us access to the huge collection of photographs at the Local History Museum in Durban, and arranged for copies to be made for the ones we selected.
Our two respective institutions, University of Kansas and the University of Durban-Westville, gave us several periods of leave, and in other ways made it possible for us to take advantage of library and research facilities. A grant from Hall Center for Humanities made it possible for Surendra Bhana to travel to India and South Africa. The two authors met almost every year since 1998 to deliberate on their research and writing, although they were able to communicate weekly through email messages.
Preparing the manuscript is a time-consuming endeavor, and we were fortunate to have access to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Word Processing Center. We were also able to take advantage of Linda McMillen’s expertise on copy-editing for the original manuscript.
Finally, we are grateful to members of the extended family who gave us unhesitating support in our endeavors. We are particularly grateful to our wives, Kala and Taskeen, for their patience and understanding during the weeks and months we were away following up research leads.