VOL. 12: 15 JULY, 1911 - 8 MARCH, 1913
Those of our Colonial-born friends who have not read thespecial contribution
to this journal on the Native IndustriesExhibition in Durban, and [
] published last week, we trust, willhasten to read it and ponder over it. It is written by one who is himself an idealist and who knows thoroughly what he is writing about. He is,moreover, a friend and fellow-worker in the Indian cause. Ourcontributor’s remarks are therefore worthy of careful considerationby every Indian whose life-mould has not yet been cast or, if it isalready cast, does not give real satisfaction. Our future in South Africadepends largely upon the conduct of those who are born in thiscountry and to whom India is merely a geographical expression.We associate ourselves with the remarks of our contributor that“lolling on stools in lawyers’ offices” is no “
ambition”. Amoment’s thought ought to convince our friends that a nation cannotbe built out of clerks or even merchants.“Back to the land” isGeneral Botha’s advice even to the Europeans who, after all, do followmany useful occupations. The world lives on its farmers and thosewho are indispensable to farmers, e.g., carpenters, shoemakers, black-smiths, masons, bricklayers, tailors, barbers, etc. It is a sad fact thatvery few Colonial
born Indians are found willing enough to learn ortake up these truly noble (because useful) professions. We all liveupon the great industry of the Natives and Indians engaged in usefuloccupations in this country. In this sense they are more civilized thanany of us, not excluding European non-producers, inhabiting thiscontinent. Every speculator may leave the country; every lawyer mayshut down his office, every merchant may wind up his business; andyet we should live comfortably on this land endowed by nature with abeneficent climate. But if the great Native races were to stop work fora week, we should probably be starving. It must, then, be a privilegefor us to be able to copy their productive industry and their ability asmatters of useful handicraft. We assure our friends that, even if all the
The witer had praised the Natives’ industry, manual skill and intelligencewhich were in the evidence at the exhibition. He felt that Colonial-born Indians hadno desire to be useful, that education would merely serve to produce clerks amongthem and that practical training in agriculture or a useful trade was the best way toequip them for public service as well as for life.