Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

Gandhi and the Natal Indian Ambulance Corp

By Heather M. Brown

In the late nineteenth century, the socio-economic status of the indentured Indian population in South Africa changed as the growing ‘Arab’ population challenged white merchants for market dominance. As a result, the white European population retaliated with public prejudice that manifested itself “not only in humiliating, discriminatory social conventions, but also in legislation and municipal ordinances restricting Indian civil rights, franchise and freedom to enter, live and trade at will." It was in South Africa that the once-shy London-educated lawyer from Gujarat, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, spent twenty-one years of his life challenging the “increasingly strident and locally present determination of white settlers to maintain white superiority in matters social, economic and political.”



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