The Colonial-Born and Settlers' Indian Association and Natal Indian politics, 1933-1939.
This thesis seeks to examine Indian political development in South Africa during the period 1933-1939, with specific reference to the emergence of the Colonial-Born and Settlers' Indian Association and its influence on the course of Natal Indian politics. The primary aim of the thesis is to examine the role played by this Association in obstructing the Union government's assisted emigration plans and colonisation scheme. To achieve this aim it was necessary to examine the establishment of the Association and to determine whether the Association fulfilled its main objective. After a brief exposition of early Indian immigration, the activities of the successive Agent-Generals are examined in the context of their relationship with the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) and the Association and how these diplomats articulated the aspirations of their government. The Agency attempted to secure improvements in the socio-economic position of the South African Indian community. In terms of various directives from the Indian government it was clear that they emphasised the value of negotiations and compromise and aggressively suppressed the strategies of those who opposed this approach. This attitude surfaced particularly in its relationship with the Association relative to the Association's stance on the colonisation issue. Notwitstanding the disabilities experienced by the Association in its fight for the equal status of its supporters and for the right to remain in South Africa, the Association is seen to have succeeded in the realisation of its fundamental objective. The thesis also seeks to establish that there was a need for the creation of the Association and later after it had served its function the need for its dissolution. In this process the author also deals with the general activities of the Association and the crucial negotiations conducted with the Congress to the point of amalgamation in 1939 when the Association and the NIC amalgamated to form the Natal Indian Association. The significant influence of the Agency in the process of negotiations is emphasised. There are three main themes in this study. The first reflects the manner In which the moderate leadership articulated the aspirations of their supporters. Secondly, it demonstrates the internal differences, sectionalism and the class struggles within the Indian organisations. , The third theme seeks to reveal the often devious roles played by the respective governments, their intransigence, connivance and particularly the apathy of the government of India.