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Indian Merchants and Dukawallahs in the Natal Economy, c1875-1914

Bibliographic Details
Journal Title: Journal of Southern African Studies
Authors and Corporations: Padayachee, Vishnu, Morrell, Robert
In: Journal of Southern African Studies, 17, 1991, 1, p. 71-102
Type of Resource: E-Article
Language: English
Oxford University Press
Summary: <p>In the early years of the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Natal provided an ideal environment in which Indian merchants could flourish. Under-supplied with money and goods, with relative stability and with few bureaucratic hindrances, Indians could import both their goods, their skills and their time-tested commercial and financial methods. Although the first wave of merchants found a niche mainly in the market for trade, credit and money-lending within the colony's Indian community, the potential and possibilities for breaking out beyond these limits remained very much alive, if only the battles for full political rights, which the merchants fought so tenaciously, could be won. By the end of the century, however, things had begun to change. Europe had seized Africa, a new conservative attitude to commerce had set in and rivals were regarded with suspicion. Unable successfully to assert a British belongingness, Indians in Natal were caught up in the general xenophobia. Tolerance of their methods, their enterprise and their success, gave way to persecution. In contrast, white interests were shamelessly championed. Capitalists throughout the world have found the patronage or at least the forbearance of the state essential for prosperity. By 1914 this was no longer the case for Indian merchants (the firm of Lockhat Bros, being the best example here) would continue with some considerable economic success in the path of their predecessors, but it would be in the role, politically, of second-class citizens.</p>
Physical Description: 71-102
ISSN: 0305-7070