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New HomelandsHindu Communities in Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad, South Africa, Fiji, and East Africa$
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Paul Younger

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391640

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391640.001.0001

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South Africa: Reform Religion

South Africa: Reform Religion

(p.125) Story Four South Africa: Reform Religion
New Homelands

Paul Younger

Oxford University Press

When the first Indian workers were introduced to the Natal coast of South Africa in 1860, inexperienced entrepreneurs were just learning how to grow sugarcane, and many workers were assigned to civic work in the port city of Durban or the inland provincial capital of Pietermaritzburg. When Muslim traders later arrived in Durban and Gandhi began political organizing in 1893, the primary base of the Indian community was shifted to those cities. Most of the workers in South Africa were from South India, and the temples they built after the beginning of the twentieth century were Sanskritized temples with brāhmanical ritual and a subsidiary role for the goddesses. By 1947, the Natal Indian Congress was fighting for basic political rights for Indians, and that fight inspired the later effort of the African National Congress. Throughout this period, reform religious bodies such as the Arya Samaj, the Ramakrishna Centre, and the Hari Kṛṣṇas grew in importance.

Keywords:   Natal, South Africa, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Sanskritized, Gandhi, Natal Indian Congress, Arya Samaj, Ramakrishna Centre, Hari Kṛṣṇas

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