n Historia - The impact of the First World War on the Indian commercial class in Natal

Volume 46, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X
  • Author K. Hiralal
  • Source : Historia, Volume 46, Issue 2, Nov 2001, p. 426 - 440
  • Accreditation : Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)
    SciELO SA
    The International Bibliography of Social Sciences (IBSS)



Die impak van Wêreldoorlog I op die Indiese handelsklas in Natal Ten tyde van die uitbreek van Wêreldoorlog I het die Indiese handelsklas in Natal net sowat 10 persent van die totale bevolking uitgemaak. Ondanks geringe getalle was hulle egter 'n formidabele factor in die Natalse ekonomie. Hulle het inisiatief, handelsvaardighedeen in sommige gevalle kapitale bronne gehad. Hulle het familiegebaseerde ondernemings in Natal gevestig en teen 1914 die handle met swartes beheer. As Britse onderdane het hulle die oorlogspoging gesteun wat vir hulle ook ekonomiese geleenthede geskep het. Die oorlog het ook baie van hulle eksploiterende bedrywighede op die lappe gebring. Onredelike winsneming het later nadelig op die nie-handelaars in Indiërgeledere ingewerk. In die artikel word die impak van die oorlog op die Indiërgemeenskap in Natal ondersoek. Ook word op groepsverhoudinge in die provinsie gedurende die oorlogsjare gelet. End

The impact of the First World War on the Indian commercial class in Natal At the outbreak of the First World War the Indian the trading class constituted only 10% of the total Indian population. Despite their small numbers, they were a formidable factor in the economy of Natal. Imbued with initiative, trade expertise, and in some cases capital, they established family orientated businesses throughout Natal and monopolised the Indian and the African trade by 1914. As British subjects, they eagerly supported the war effort. It also created economic opportunities for many established businesses who expanded into wholesaling. However, the war also highlighted the unscrupulous nature of some Indian traders who sought to exploit existing conditions for personal gain. This profiteering by several merchants and retail dealers created further divisions and hostility between the trading and non-trading sections of the Indian population. The latter were also targets of petty White traders whose resentment unleashed a wave of anti-Indianism during and after the First world war. This article will examine the impact of the war on Indian family businesses and the nature of trade relations which existed among the various racial groups in Natal. End

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