Politics and business in the Indian newspapers of colonial Tanganyika.
This article examines the history of two Indian newspapers, Tanganyika Opinion and Tanganyika Herald, to demonstrate how business considerations provided both the opportunity for East African Indians to make public arguments and the central limitation on the arguments that could be made. Founded on the inspiration of mass nationalist action through a territorial hartal, the Tanganyika Opinion and later the Herald blazed the trails that articulated 'Greater India' among the Anglo-Gujarati reading public in Tanganyika. But growing conservative sentiments within this vulnerable minority, along with rising sectarian division, reduced both the patronage and audience for a singular 'anticolonial' politics by the 1930s and 1940s. Moreover, as a marginal print node along the Indian Ocean littoral, the Opinion and Herald came to rely on an opportunistic mixture of wire services and consular propaganda to keep abreast of regional and international news developments. Ultimately, the shrinking market for Anglo-Gujarati newspapers and rising opportunities in Swahili-language journals had sealed the doom of these and similar Indian newspapers by the time 'African' political independence arrived in the early 1960s.
Cet article examine l'histoire de deux journaux indiens, le Tanganyika Opinion et le Tanganyika Herald, pour demontrer comment des considerations commerciales ont donne l'opportunite aux Indiens d'Afrique orientale de formuler des arguments publics, et la limitation centrale s'exercant sur ces arguments. Nes de l'inspiration du mouvement nationaliste de masse par le biais d'un hartal territorial, le Tanganyika Opinion puis plus tard le Herald ont ete les premiers a donner expression a la << Grande Inde >> aupres du lectorat anglo-gujarati du Tanganyika. Or, la montee des sentiments conservateurs au sein de cette minorite vulnerable, et la montee de la division sectaire, ont reduit le soutien et le lectorat en faveur d'une politique << anticoloniale >> singuliere au detour des annees 1930 et 1940. De plus, en tant que pole d'impression marginal sur le littoral de l'ocean Indien, l'Opinion et le Herald en etaient venus a dependre des agentes de presse et de la propagande consulaire, de maniere opportuniste, pour se tenir au courant de l'actualite regionale et internationale. La baisse de la demande des journaux anglo-gujarati et les opportunites croissantes des revues en langue swahili ont fini par sceller le sort de ces journaux et autres journaux indiens similaires, avant meme que n'arrive l'independance politique de l'Afrique au debut des annees 1960.
This article examines one small corner of Indian Ocean print culture by mapping the biographies of two Indian newspapers, Tanganyika Opinion (1923-55) and Tanganyika Herald (1929-62). The figures who emerged from this Anglo-Gujarati print public centred in Dar es Salaam resemble those studied by T.N. Harper in Singapore, who 'seem to present impossibly contradictory layers of belonging' (Harper 2002: 152). The contradictory communities envisioned in Tanganyika's Indian newspapers were in part ideological, bundling together claims of imperial citizenship with diasporic universalisms of religion and nation. Loyalty to the British Empire was a frequent refrain of editors and letter writers, in part to maintain favour with colonial censors but also as a genuine expression of generic aspirations for self-improvement through a universal 'civilization' that accompanied colonial rule. Such sentiments stood oddly alongside nationalist challenges to imperial authority produced by the same writers, which invoked civilization for anti-colonial ends, most obviously in the ideology of Indian National Congress (INC) protests. But more central to this article's concerns are the contradictions that emerged out of the very business of newspaper production. The sharpest of these was the tension between the Gandhian vision of a print culture that was 'a strategy to produce a moral community' independent of both market and state (Hofmeyr 2008: 15), on the one hand, and the messy business of securing resources and readership from an insecure mercantile minority in East Africa on the other. The print culture created by this Indian diasporic intelligentsia, resting upon a socio-economic base of Furnivallian pluralism, with its tight communal atoms linked together by the weak bonds of marketplace interaction, found itself tightly tethered by the limits of willing advertisers, censors, and reading public appetites of colonial Tanganyika.
Historians often use newspapers as depositories of facts and vessels of ideologies in order to reconstruct political narratives and historical imaginations. The present author has used the same two Indian newspapers for such ends in an earlier project (Brennan 1999). But newspapers themselves were produced as informational fragments in composite, a naked business model of advertisements, sports results, commodity prices, official departures and arrivals, and other local notices that competed for space with historians' more conventional source material of political editorials and letters of protest. As fragile business enterprises, these newspapers relied upon an ungainly combination of selfless Gandhian patronage, calculating advertisers, a fickle and thrifty reading public, and a shifting network of professional and volunteer journalists to assemble weekly and daily publications on the cheap. The thin profit margins that resulted limited the scale and scope of this Indian print public, characterized during this period as broadly challenging the premises of colonial rule while narrowly securing diasporic political privileges. The political trajectory of newspaper content was not simply a mirror of changing Indian political sentiment, but also the product of a shifting business and patronage terrain. Following an initial explosion of broad anti-colonial editorializing in the 1920s and early 1930s, both Tanganyika Herald and Tanganyika Opinion retreated from confrontation with the colonial state, and instead conformed to the increasingly communal and politically cautious sentiments of their audience and advertisers.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
Indian business capital and political ideas flowed in and out of East Africa throughout the period under discussion here (1923-62), during which nationalist arguments were often employed for commercial ends. Indian intellectuals in Tanganyika linked parochial politics to diasporic narratives that extolled imperial loyalties and embraced Gandhian anti-imperialism. By invoking and dramatizing the contradictions of loyalty and resistance, this Gujarati transoceanic community ably navigated one imperial corner of an Indian Ocean bound together by 'particular kinds of social diversity' with which they were readily familiar (Simpson and Kresse 2007: 14). Tanganyika's two principal Indian newspapers, both Hindu-owned, in particular embraced the universalist elements of Gandhian nationalism, which downplayed racial distinctiveness and celebrated colonial victimhood in order to 'reach into the conscience of the oppressor' (Kelly and Kaplan 2001: 75). But their universalist conceits withered under the scorn of their fellow colonial subjects local Indian Muslims distraught at their own homeland and diasporic victimhood by the 1940s, and increasingly politicized Africans who sought their own nationalist heroes by the 1950s. Local patrons begged out of Tanganyika's Anglo-Gujarati print public while post-war consulates begged in, displacing the rich contradictions of diasporic Gandhian nationalism with the thin opportunism of Cold War clientage.
These Indian newspapers emerged in Tanganyika during the 1920s, just as a thriving merchant minority was beginning to make bold nationalist and subimperial political claims in an impoverished colonial setting. Historical literature on Indians in East Africa often characterizes them as benefactors who contributed health care and education to Africans and crucially assisted African nationalists against the colonial state (Gregory 1971; 1992; 1993a; 1993b; Patel 1997; 2006). These studies employ analytical frameworks of anti-colonialism and African nationalism, ascribing to Indians the role of either nationalist heroes or colonialist collaborators. Indians could be both, but, as the present author has argued elsewhere (Brennan 1999), over much of the colonial period they were above all advocates of Indian secular and religious nationalisms, which overlapped in both fruitful and destructive ways with emergent African nationalisms. South Asian nationalists in East Africa were Janus-faced, playing the role of sub-imperialists as well as anti-colonialists. In the case of Tanganyika, (1) Indian nationalists sought to make German East Africa an Indian colony following the First World War, yet also contributed greatly to the nationalist movement for independence in the 1950s. Analyses anchored in anti-colonialism alone have flattened these contradictions, and the pervasive framework of African nationalism has obscured the scope, ambition and influence of Indian nationalist projects.
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
The Indian presence in East Africa long pre-dates European colonial rule. During the nineteenth century, Indian immigrants settled in towns along the Swahili coast and in Zanzibar, where commercial links between Gujarat, Oman and the African interior met (Mangat 1969: 1-26; Bhacker 1992: 67-76). Most immigrants originated from the western Gujarat regions of Saurashtra and Kachchh, which from the 1860s were under the control of various princely states. (2) Although the focus of Indian immigration shifted northwards to Kenya following the construction of the Uganda railway in the 1890s, many still came to German East Africa via Zanzibar, and by 1910 numbered 6,723, with more than a quarter living in the capital of Dares Salaam (Iliffe 1969: 94). In Zanzibar, Indians formed a legal community as British subjects, distinct from non-subject Arabs and Africans, and most spoke either Gujarati or Kachchhi. (3) However, this immensely diverse community organized socially along lines of religion and/or caste, rather than legal status or linguistic commonality. In Zanzibar and German East Africa, the majority of Indians were Muslims--most of whom were Shi'a of the Ismaili (Khoja), Ithna'asheri (Khoja), and Bohora sects, with a tiny Sunni minority. The remainder were Hindus (most either Gujarati Patels or Kachchhi Lohanas), Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis or Sinhalese Buddhists (Honey 1982: 297). (4)
Indian nationalism in East Africa blossomed during the First World War as activists from India stirred local political appetites. Narsimbhai Ishwarbhai Patel, a founding leader of the Swadeshi ('own country') movement (5) in Kheda District (Gujarat) from 1908, who was expelled from Baroda after translating bombmaking manuals from Bengali into Gujarati, toured German East Africa during the early war years to work as a teacher, translator and outspoken activist (Nair 2001; Mehta 1966: 125). The conflict between the British and German colonial states in East Africa forced Britain to dispatch Indian regiments to the theatre, intimating to India that, in return, Indians would receive settlement privileges in the territory or even be given the territory itself as a colony. (6) During the war, prominent Indian political leaders such as the Aga Khan asked that ex-German East Africa be made a colony of India; the India government itself lobbied Whitehall in support. (7) Britain ultimately dropped the plan, and the ex-German colony became the British territory of Tanganyika mandated by the League of Nations. Arguably, it enjoyed greater political and economic freedom than any other territory in British Africa- and as a result Indians rushed into Tanganyika during the 1920s. Its Indian population more than doubled over the decade, from 10,209 in 1921 to 25,144 in 1931 (Gregory 1992: 4). (8) In Dar es Salaam Indians formed roughly between a quarter and a third of the population during the period under consideration, but in Tanganyika as a whole they were only a tiny minority numbering barely 1 per cent of the population.
'GREATER INDIA' IN TANGANYIKA OPINION AND TANGANYIKA HERALD
Newspapers were a marginal business in East Africa that attracted rather marginal figures. Editors of Indian newspapers, nearly all of whom were first-generation immigrants of Gujarati or Kachchhi extraction, struggled from these economic margins to gain the attention of a population that, if one may generalize, measured status primarily by business success. Urban regions in Gujarat had long enjoyed a robust tradition of political newspapers since the 1860s, similarly surviving on shoestring budgets (Desai 1978: 288-90; Das Gupta 1977: 219). Tanzania's first Indian newspaper, the weekly Samachar, was established in Zanzibar in 1900 by Fazal Janmohammed Master, a Shi'a Ithna'asheri Khoja from Jamnagar, Kachchh. Samachar began as a single-sheet Gujarati paper dealing only with communal affairs, and began to cover politics and print English-language items only in 1918. (9) It was at this point after the First World War--as East Africa's Indian population underwent rapid politicization over the future of Indians in Kenya (see the contributions by Bodil Folke Frederiksen and Sana Aiyar in this special issue) and ex-German East Africa-that key figures emerged to lead Dar es Salaam's Indian press expansion.
This coincided with and flowed directly from Gandhi's efforts to wed press activity with nationalist mobilization in India following the war. Gandhi's newspapers provided tremendous political guidance, but were not easily exportable business models. While living in South Africa, Gandhi had helped to found the Natal-based Indian Opinion in 1903. Initially produced 'for a cause, not for profit', the paper sprinted to insolvency until it changed its business model in 1904 to solicit advertising and, most extraordinarily, to communalize production costs by relocating the press to Gandhi's Phoenix Settlement commune near Durban. Indian Opinion aspired to reach a white imperial audience in addition to its Indian reading public. It sought to proclaim Indians' grievances and largely separatist political demands, while also working to dissolve divisions of sectionalism, religion and caste to realize one Indian nation; and it pioneered civil disobedience theory and tactics, coining the term satyagraha ('soulforce') along the way. Most of the paper's content, however, was produced for South Africa's Gujarati merchant elite, even as Gandhi's rapidly growing charisma and financial support from India permitted it the luxury of banning advertisements in 1912 (Mesthrie 1997). After returning to India, Gandhi took over publication of nationalist papers in both Gujarati (in his paper Navajivan) and English (Young India). Typically ascetic, didactic and ambitious, Gandhi disapproved of advertisements and believed that papers were justified only by the public support they received. He positively encouraged editors throughout India to embrace the causes of Swaraj ('self-rule') and Khilafat (10) despite the Press Act restrictions, as well as to engage freely in criticism of other Indian papers (Natarajan 1962: 185-203; Brown 1989: 42, 50, 135, 140).
The years immediately following the First World War witnessed the beginning of mass protest in India and organized Indian politics in Tanganyika, where political leadership shifted from established Muslim merchants to more recent immigrants, many of whom were Hindu professionals (Mangat 1969:118). This refreshed connection between Gujarat and East Africa enhanced the flow of communication within the 'Greater India' of politically engaged Indian nationalists living outside South Asia. When the British India government arrested Gandhi in March 1922 for leading the non-cooperation campaign, Indians in Dares Salaam protested with a one-day hartal, a closure of shops. The Dar es Salaam Indian Association, the leading Indian political organization of the territory, held a public meeting where speakers asked their audience to boycott British-manufactured clothing and to join the Indian National Congress. (11)
Tanganyika Opinion was born in this time of protest, and accounts of its founding reveal the mixing elements of marginal business opportunity and external political inspiration. The paper was founded in 1923 by Mohanlal Devchand Patel. After arriving in Tanganyika in 1920, he had started Kanti printing press and a shop that sold English novels and stationery. But his command of English was poor, and he relinquished all writing to the editor while he concentrated on the business side. The editor often wrote the articles in English first and had them translated into Gujarati, running them both in the same issue (12)--in fact, most of Opinion's Gujarati section, at least for issues examined in the 1930s, simply repeated the English-language content. (13) Patel's Tanganyika Opinion was initially edited by a Gujarati Jain named Tribhowan Bechardas Sheth, who unlike most editors graduated to major business success. He was succeeded in 1925-6 by U. K. Oza, a graduate of Bombay University who served as editor from 1926-34 and 1938-40. (14) According to Robert Gregory, Oza had been sent to East Africa in 1924 by Gandhi to 'assist the Asian community in its struggle against discrimination and closer union'; after taking over Tanganyika Opinion, he quickly forged ties with M. A. Desai, Kenya's leading Indian newspaper editor, helped Jomo Kenyatta to found his newspaper Muigwithania, edited the Mombasa-based Democrat, and assumed a high position in the Nairobi-based East African Indian National Congress, the main regional body of Indian nationalist activism. Returned to India in 1940 by the Tanganyika government because, according to Robert Gregory, of his 'pro-African views', Oza eventually settled in Rajkot, Gujarat as a newspaper editor (Gregory 1992: 180). He was replaced as editor of Tanganyika Opinion by K.M. Patel, the son of the proprietor. (15)
Opinion was a direct product of Tanganyika's 1923 hartal or closure of shops itself a tactic borrowed from Gandhi's 1919 anti-Rowlatt satyagraha, and regarded by Gandhians as 'acts of mourning, penance, and self-sacrifice' (Haynes 1991: 242). Indians throughout Tanganyika closed their shops to protest a new law that imposed a 4 per cent tax on profits and demanded that accounts be kept in English or Swahili but not Gujarati, the language of most Indian shopkeepers. The legislation attacked not only the largely unwritten system of commerce based on intimate knowledge of merchants' relative creditworthiness, but also the Gujarati language itself, thus wedding commercial anxieties with Indian nationalist sentiments. A territory-wide hartal led by Hindu and Muslim shopkeepers began on 1 April 1923 and lasted for 54 days, bringing commerce to a complete halt in Dares Salaam (Walji 1974:151-2; Iliffe 1979: 265). The Dar es Salaam Indian Association enlisted the support of the Indian government and Indian National Congress- the former pressured the British government to revise the legislation, and the latter called for a boycott of British goods in India (Honey 1982: 333-4). (16) After Sarojini Naidu visited East Africa and asked that the hartal be kept alive in the spirit of a newspaper, V.R. Boal (b. 1891), a university graduate from Rajkot, took heed and convinced M. D. Patel to form Tanganyika Opinion as a weekly in August 1923. (17) Boal would never match Sheth's success as a merchant, but in 1929 he did become founder, proprietor, printer and editor of Tanganyika's second Indian newspaper, Tanganyika Herald, with its associated Herald Printing Works. In this venture, Boal was backed by the fabulously wealthy entrepreneur Mathuradas Kalidas Mehta. (18)
The political touchstone of both Tanganyika Opinion and Tanganyika Herald during the inter-war period was the idea of 'Greater India', a project fuelled by Indian Ocean textual circuits. V. R. Boal was in regular correspondence with the Indian Nationalist Congress during these years, and Gandhi himself wrote directly (in Gujarati) to Dares Salaam's Indian Association about ongoing political negotiations. (19) Boal used the letter pages of newspapers in India to publicize the travails of Tanganyika's Indians. (20) Indian nationalist speakers regularly visited Dares Salaam to elaborate what 'Greater India' meant. K.A. Master lectured an audience to drop communal prejudice in order to get on with the Darwinian struggle at hand:
When you leave India you must leave behind you all caste and creed. Abroad you must be Indians--first and foremost Indians. Thus, and thus alone you can fight with success the battle of existence against other nations. (21)
Boal himself appealed for more political assistance from India by arguing that '[t]he Greater India and Swaraj are inter-dependent and hence it is more necessary for India to work for the solution of both of them side by side'. (22) A special issue of Tanganyika Herald published in 1935 to commemorate the twelfth anniversary of the 1923 hartal described the event as 'the Red Letter Day in the annals of the Tanganyika Indian community'. (23) Boal stated that people 'appear to forget the day' that no less notable a figure than the Aga Khan proclaimed 'as a heroic act unprecedented in the history of the world'. What followed was a series of hagiographic portraits of leading Indian businessmen, politicians and earlier 'pioneers' in Tanganyika--who, tellingly, were initially reluctant to participate, fearing that they would be asked to pay advertising costs-as well as collective portraits of Indian suffering and success through economic hardship and colonial abuse. Both papers served as reliable community advocates. The Opinion described Indian journalism in East Africa as 'always in opposition to the Government', while the Herald unambiguously assessed its primary role in Tanganyika as 'propaganda work'. (24) Both papers were fond of heroic dramatization. The Opinion wrote that, '[j]ournalism, like the Crown, is not a bed of roses but a field of battle which makes high calls on the mental, moral and material resources of those engaged in it'. (25) Criticizing Hilton Young's support of closer union between Tanganyika and settler-dominated Kenya, the Herald compared Kenya to Kurukshetra, the epic battle site in the Mahabharata where Kaurava and Pandya fought. Young's sympathy for Kenya's white settlers and dismissal of East African Indians was, the editor explained, 'not his fault: it is the fault of the soil, the Kurukshetra where the devil's spirits still dominate'. (26)
Herald and Opinion published in Gujarati and English in roughly equal amounts to match the reading abilities and preferences of their audience. English was the language of prestige and authority, and Tanganyika's paper of record was first the locally owned settler paper Dares Salaam Times (1919-25, retitled as Tanganyika Times for 1925-30), and subsequently the Tanganyika Standard (1930-72), an English-language daily owned by the East African Standard Corporation of Nairobi. English was employed not only to keep up with the 'papers of record' and be taken seriously by the government, but often as the language of choice among the papers' editors, and language of correspondence among INC supporters in East Africa as well as the INC's Foreign Affairs bureau. In the early 1930s, a linguistic survey found that 57 per cent of Tanganyika's Indian community was literate, with Gujarati ranking as the predominant reading language, followed closely by English, and more distantly by Punjabi, Hindi, Arabic and Marathi. (27) Subscription numbers were never large, vastly outpaced in circulation by European newspapers and, by the 1950s, African newspapers. Tanganyika Herald circulated 780 weekly and 250 daily copies in 1937; Tanganyika Opinion carried 200-500 daily copies between 1927 and 1960, and expanded from 325 weekly copies in 1921 to a peak of 5,000 weekly copies in 1947 (Sturmer 1998: 99-100). British officials indeed formed a significant audience segment for both papers. (28) A visiting Kenyan Indian journalist and founder of the Kenya Democrat newspaper, Sitara Achariar, (29) explained in an interview with Boal that the chief obstacle facing Indian publishers was that, for the average Indian in East Africa, '[b]uilding temples and mosques appeals to him more than the conducting of newspapers or political Associations'. (30) In seeking financial support for the above-mentioned 1935 Herald special issue, Boal explained that '[i]n Tanganyika Indian Journalism is a ONE MAN'S [sic] SHOW and needs much improvement'. (31) Indeed, Boal was unafraid to call out the wealthiest of Dares Salaam's Indian community by name to finance the creation of a 'first class up-to-date Indian Daily in Dares Salaam'. (32) As fragile and chronically undercapitalized businesses, both papers shrewdly eschewed actionable slander and 'subversion' that would instigate costly legal fees and endanger registration sureties hazards which, in Kenya's larger and more radical newspaper market, often induced investor pressure to moderate editorial policies. (33)
Indian newspapers in Dares Salaam were jagged reflections of the communities they served, advocating for specific Indian businesses, generic Indian political rights, and homesick Indian consumer desires. As a form of print capital, these publications commercialized the reproduction of ideas and images of Indian nationalist agitation while also domesticating Indian life and business in East Africa. Advertising in the Opinion and Herald expressed a bizarre mixture of lifestyle aspiration goods, (34) Vedic medicines, (35) professional horoscopes, new film releases, insurance, (36) bicycles and hard-edged business propositions. (37) Kanti Printing Works, like Herald Printers with offices on the prestigious Acacia Avenue in Dares Salaam, advertised office stationery (38) as well as magazines such as The Astrological Magazine, Indian India, The Athletic East and Dipali, and books such as India's Case for Swaraj, (39) Gandhi versus the Empire, Uncle Sham, Unhappy India, and An Echo of Miss Mayo. Newspapers also served a defensive policing function. Indians in Tanganyika were keenly anxious, even obsessed, with African crime, which Herald and Opinion reported in fretful, voyeuristic detail. In one typical editorial, Herald reported that '[a]n old Indian was overpowered by a gang of loafers in the heart of the town and robbed of his golden chain'. (40)
A shared nationalist imagination and a local political framework of bounded racial categories (European/Asian/Native) undergirded Indian political unity in inter-war Dar es Salaam. Opinion and Herald were at their best when they juxtaposed promises of lofty imperial rhetoric alongside the mocking indignities of petty colonial politics. The Opinion agreed that the Tanganyika Rifle Association played an important role in imperial defence on the eve of the Second World War and deserved its public subsidies, but then attacked the rhetoric of 'common loyalties' and 'Empire solidarity' when it pointed out that Indians were prohibited from joining the organization. When Tanganyika's Chief Secretary suggested Indians form a separate branch of the Tanganyika Rifle Association, as 'Indians are not considered good enough to practise shooting alongside with Britishers', the Opinion wondered if those who died would 'go to different heavens and different "other" places?' (41) An Opinion editorial on the racially discriminatory treatment of Indian passengers on Tanganyika Railways brought about a formal protest from the India Office to the Colonial Office. (42) By this time, Tanganyika Opinion in particular had become a leading proponent of ideas that would form part of the intellectual framework for African nationalism in Tanganyika. It argued that only the term 'African' was suitable, for just as the Gujarati epithet gola meant 'a people destined for the condition of slavery for all times', the English term 'native' had become an epithet that similarly meant 'primitiveness, lack of culture and civilization, barbarism and subjectivity [sic] to slavery'. (43) But this was still, until the late 1940s, a tutelary relationship between continents and civilizations. Indian civilization, these papers argued, was far more suitable for grafting onto African soil than was that of the West. U. K. Oza, editor of the Opinion, made this point by using the image of a visit by the famous American journalist Negley Farson, who, 'sweating and perspiring in the Daressalaam sun strangled in his tie and apparel boot laces and tight fitting coat could never harmonize with African surroundings and must always remain an alien'. (44) Farson, who was overwhelmingly impressed by the Indian 'achievement' in Tanganyika on his tour of ex-German colonies in Africa for the Daily Mail when Hitler was demanding their return, effectively concurred with Oza by including a letter from him in a travel narrative that explained how the country's mandate status enabled India itself to 'feel a sense of ownership', for 'India knows that she is safe in Tanganyika from the open segregational and disabling measures to which she is subject in the British colonies' (Farson 1941: 173).
Widening sectarian and class divisions, however, began to sour 'Greater India' in Tanganyika during the 1930s and 1940s. The political comity of the 1920s yielded to a sharpened sense of class division among Indians by the 1930s. Martha Honey has argued that the Asian commercial bourgeoisie increasingly sided with the colonial state after 1925 to the economic and political detriment of smaller Indian traders and professionals, a process that only accelerated in the depression years of the 1930s as larger firms sought legislative support to limit competition (Honey 1982: 446-7). More significantly, news from India of Muslim-Hindu political strife was appropriated and mobilized among Muslim and Hindu communities in East Africa. Communal counter-publics overshadowed the universalist public of emancipatory nationalism as more rapid and thorough reporting of growing communalism, carried on wire services, made clear the contested and fragile nature of 'Greater India'.
Just as communal strife was critically shaping India's politics in the 1930s, Muslims in Dares Salaam increasingly voiced their perceived exclusion from the Hindu-owned and edited Opinion and Herald. (45) Both papers offered generous space for items concerning Dares Salaam's Arya Samaj branch, which had formed in 1926 and established Tanganyika's Hindu Volunteer Corps, Aryan Social Service League, and Hanuman Physical Culture Institute-the latter dedicated to teaching Hindu children martial arts (Hindu Mandal: 47-9). Numerous Arya Samaj lecturers and philosophers visited East Africa, some of whom permanently settled, in order to reform and purify local Hindu thought and practice through 'Sanskritization' and iconoclasm (Bharati 1972: 187-8, 278-81, 305). The Ismailia Council petitioned the government to censor Tanganyika Opinion because it had published various articles which were 'deliberately calculated attempts by a newspaper owned by persons of a different religion to belittle His Highness [the Aga Khan] and to bring his name into ridicule'. (46) In particular, Ismailis took offence at an article that attacked the Aga Khan for assisting the British in dividing India through communal franchise. (47) Growing tensions between Ismailis and Hindus led to a near-fatal assault on M. D. Patel, owner of Tanganyika Opinion, by sixteen Ismaili youths for allegedly insulting the Aga Khan as well as accusing a local businessman of cavorting with 'Indian dancing girls' in the paper's 'Mr Gossip' column. (48) Boal warned the Governor that this attack had 'stirred the Indian (Hindu) community to boiling point'. (49) Boal himself was later severely beaten for an innocent printing error. Abdulkarim Karimjee, a Bohora from the wealthiest Indian family in Tanganyika, had placed an advertisement selling reconditioned lorries returned from the Ethiopian front in the Herald's Gujarati section, but the paper mistakenly used the Gujarati equivalent character of 'H' instead of 'L', producing the shortened form for Bohoras ('horries for sale') and unwittingly inducing a vicious assault by a gang of angry Bohoras. (50) The Herald declared Mohamed Ali Jinnah a traitor after he criticized the Indian National Congress for resigning from government, an action it had taken to protest Britain's refusal to grant India immediate independence in exchange for its wartime cooperation. (51) Tanganyika Opinion voiced its hostility to these rising communalist tides in well-intentioned but clumsy ways. When the Muslim League's boycott against singing the Indian national song Vande Mataram on grounds that it involved worshipping a Hindu goddess spread to Tanganyika, the Opinion wondered aloud about Mohamed Ali Jinnah's Lohana parentage and his family's relatively recent conversion to Islam- sub-textually referencing all Shi'a Khojas in East Africa:
Why should a change over in religion lessen one's attachment to one's Motherland? What has a country got to do with any religion? Religion is indeed a thing which can be changed at will, but we cannot at all change our country, i.e. our race and our nationality. For instance, if a Hindu became a Muhammadan and thereafter imagined himself to be an Egyptian or Turk just because his new religion originated in those parts, he will be living in a fool's paradise. (52)
Vande Mataram had become a 'symbol of Nationalism in India', and its true meaning had not to do with a Hindu Goddess but with the criminal offence that the song's spirit of nationalism had become, as it became 'associated in the minds of people with a fight against British Imperialism'. (53) Communal violence generally consisted of petty fracas in Dar es Salaam through the 1940s, such as youths throwing rocks at parades honouring the birthday of Gandhi or the Aga Khan. (54) Religious-based political associations could not mobilize support as the pan-communal Indian Association had easily done in the 1920s. The Hindu-dominated Nationals of India Association's effort to organize a hartal to protest South Africa's anti-Indian laws in 1946 ended in dismal failure, for which the Herald blamed Reuter's biased reporting (see below). (55) Indian Ocean print circuits thus facilitated a 'Greater India' full of sectarian division as well as one of unified anti-colonialism. Furthermore, these print circuits were often hardly independent circuits at all, but marginal local nodes heavily reliant upon imperial and corporate institutions whose very size and reach shaped the fabric of news and information.
MEDIATING THE INDIAN OCEAN: WAR, WIRE SERVICES AND PROPAGANDA
Most of the news that appeared in Dares Salaam's newspapers was not about East Africa, but rather about India, Europe and North America. Some international news came via the large number of English-language papers from the UK, South Africa and India that circulated among Europeans and Indians in Tanganyika; in addition there were a number of 'purely vernacular Indian papers'. (56) Longer print items from radical journals such as the New York-based Negro Worm and Bombay-based Indian Social Reformer were occasionally excerpted. (57) During the 1930s, small numbers of communist publications reached Dares Salaam from the Soviet Union's International Red Aid branches in Britain, France and the United States, as well as from South Africa's weekly Umsebenzi. (58) But the principal news connection between the presses of Dares Salaam and India were international wire services, (59) and Reuters was indisputably the main news source for East Africa. Samachar and Tanganyika Opinion had both taken Reuters subscriptions in the 1920s through the Smith Mackenzie shipping agency. (60) Yet over-reliance bred contempt, and frustration with Reuters' effective monopoly was regularly evident. The Opinion accused Reuters of blacking out news about Gandhi after he left London in late 1931. (61) Tanganyika Herald complained that 'the only source through which we are supposed to obtain Indian news is the Reuter and the Reuter has remained silent'. Despite trying other sources, the newspaper found that 'it was impossible for any news agency in India to broadcast the congress and other political news' under pressure from government censorship--a frustration shared in Natal by Gandhi's son Manilal, who had taken over Indian Opinion in 1920 and remained similarly dependent on Reuters for timely political news. (62) In a revealing feedback loop, the Herald reproduced criticisms from the Karachi weekly Parsi Sansar that bemoaned the failure of Reuters to report an Indian merchants' conference held in Dares Salaam, in order for the Herald to criticize local publicity efforts. 'This is the age of agitation and propaganda', its editorial explained. 'If East African Indians want that their causes should receive support of India and that their interest [should be] protected by continuous propaganda in India, it is imperative for them to represent as fully and effectually as possible their case to people in India,' (63) As the Depression squeezed newspaper revenues, both the Herald and the Opinion cancelled their Reuters subscription in 1933, leaving the Tanganyika Standard as the territory's sole subscriber. (64) Herald and Opinion instead turned to the British Official Wireless Service for its free international news items. (65) News theft was temptingly effortless, and competitors as well as wire services policed the use of copyright material. The Indian-owned Kenya Daily Mail brought to the attention of Reuters Tanganyika Herald's illegal use of All India Radio broadcasts in 1939 and again in 1945, which had infringed on the Daily Mail's own regional print monopoly of this source. (66)
The frequent and free-flowing anti-colonial bromides of the Indian press against the colonial government in Tanganyika slowed considerably with the outbreak of the Second World War. Officials feared potential disorder from Indian activists, particularly given the poor state of political intelligence. 'All information regarding Indians', an India government intelligence officer visiting Tanganyika complained, 'was obtained through trusted Government officials and Indian Sub-Inspectors... It]here are no reliable Indian informers in the Territory'. (67) Yet war quickly ushered in tighter and better-financed government controls over information, as well as new publicity ambitions. The Tanganyika government's newly created Information Department coordinated a massive expansion of both literacy and government censorship across the country. Print propaganda efforts in Swahili, Nicholas Westcott argues, 'reach[ed] more Tanganyikans than ever before ... it was the war more than anything else that made Africans aware of a wider world where distant events over which they had little or no control could impinge dramatically on their lives' (Westcott 1982: 40). Boal (Herald) and Oza (Opinion) were quickly co-opted on the territorial information and propaganda advisory committee. (68) Tanganyika relied heavily on official British news sources, either from the transcribed news bulletins of the British Broadcasting Corporation or wireless items from Reuters. The Opinion sailed close to the wind by illegally publishing Reuters material broadcast on foreign radio stations such as Ankara while simultaneously bargaining for a cut-rate Reuters subscription. (69) More generally, international news dominated all of Dares Salaam's newspapers during the war years. By 1941, fully half of the content in the European-owned Tanganyika Standard, the leading newspaper of the territory, derived from material provided by its Reuters subscription or BBC transcription. Averse to the high prices of Reuters and BBC, the Opinion sought out free information from official government services of Britain, the US and Turkey, as well as from the cheaper General News Service of London, General London Press, and its own 'correspondent' in Delhi who communicated by mail. (70) With critical battles being fought throughout the world in 1941, each requiring the most careful public relations interpretation, the Opinion discomforted government officers by jumping well ahead of official accounts of events. Its youthful editor was 'prone to splash headlines with sensational announcements obtained from the wireless broadcasts from New York and Cincinnati ... [n]ews especially from the latter station is often richly coloured and sometimes anticipates the official Reuter and BBC news by several days'. (71) Working with government officials, a Reuters agent successfully negotiated an agreement in late 1941 whereby the government and Tanganyika Standard together paid for a special Reuters subscription, after which Tanganyika Opinion and Tanganyika Herald would gain access to the news material from the Standard. The Reuters agent stated that he was anxious, 'as Government probably was, to limit the catholicity of the Indian papers' news sources, and to bind them to authoritative British news services'. (72) Government officials and the Reuters agent rejoiced when they finally brokered an agreement in which the Opinion and Herald had agreed 'to accept this Reuters news and to refrain from now onwards from publishing news from Cincinnati and other foreign stations unless such news has passed the local censor in the Information Office', at a highly subsidized cost of 65 [pounds sterling] per annum. The Information Officer advised that 'It]his is, as you are aware, a very great achievement'. (73) Neither the Herald nor Opinion championed the deeply subversive 'Quit India' campaign that broke out in August 1942. Anxious to secure scarce newsprint stock, Boal appealed that his Herald was 'always ready to cooperate with Government in its war effort'. (74) During 1943-5, the Opinion carried very little local news or opinion, and largely served as a vessel for officially approved wire service reportage.
The commercial fortunes of the Opinion and Herald diverged sharply during this period. Tanganyika Opinion ambitiously launched a Swahili-language version, Dunia, in 1939. Edited by a local African intellectual, Ramadhan Machado Plantan, it circulated 1,000 copies a week and mainly took Swahili-translated articles from the Opinion. The Herald, however, entered into a tumultuous period of insolvency, editorial turnover, and management changes during the Second World War. Boal left Tanganyika in late 1939 and sold the Herald Printing Works in 1941 to a company named 'National Publications' that consisted of three shareholders, two of whom were soon indicted but acquitted of theft of Herald Company's property in charges brought against them by the Registrar General. (75) The new management had allowed the paper's editorial line to become too abrasive to government. (76) Another short-lived Indian newspaper, the Ismaili Khoja-owned Africa Sentinel, had been launched in 1940 amidst these tensions. Kassum Sunderji Samji, the leading Ismaili figure in Tanganyika, explained that 'the patriotic and pro-British sentiment of the Khoja community found no proper representation in the local Indian Press, and that the community wished for this to be rectified'. (77)
Anonymous and incendiary pamphlets known in Gujarati as patrika had mushroomed throughout Dares Salaam in 1940, making scurrilous attacks on various Indian communities which led to 'feelings of hostility and ill-feeling in different classes of the population'. (78) Such patrika were then serving as the vital communication technology back in Gujarat to mobilize protests during the Quit India movement, particularly in Ahmedabad, the protest's 'Stalingrad of India' (Hardiman 2007: 159-60). This medium's anonymity drove officials to despair. In Dares Salaam, the Commissioner of Police reported:
Considerable difficulty has been encountered in tracing the printers of these and other pamphlets. There are nine printing presses in the town, of which five are owned by general jobbing printers who conduct an extremely competitive business and who decline to give any information regarding their business or customers. (79)
Venomous patrika that circulated in Dares Salaam did not, however, instigate an East African Stalingrad, but rather aggravated a bitter communal controversy over playing Vande Mataram while showing a slide of a goddess in Dares Salaam's cinemas. Muslims threatened cinema owners with boycotts, vandalism and arson. A provocative letter published in the Herald referring to Muslims as 'bastards' inspired publication of more angry patrika. Hindus closed their accounts with Muslim merchants; Muslim boys were prohibited from playing at the Vyamshala (gymnasium); 'disrespectful words' were written on photographs of Muslim leaders. After cinema owners acquiesced and stopped playing Vande Mataram, Hindu-penned patrika threatened their own boycotts. (80) But Tanganyika's registered Indian newspapers never took this course during these critical wartime years. In this uneasy climate, and after further management turnover and financial crises, Boal re-purchased the newspaper in March 1942, (81) and remained cooperative with Reuters and the government until after the war, when he resumed attacking Reuters' coverage of Indian affairs in Dar es Salaam. (82)
Boal's Herald closed due to 'economic problems' in late 1948. (83) He unwisely revived the paper on the cheap, publishing items on 'Indo-African unity' under the name of Ramadhan Machado Plantan; in September 1949 the Herald's proprietor and editor were convicted and fined on charges of publishing a newspaper without having paid registration. (84) Boal sold the paper in November 1949, by which time the Herald had degenerated into 'a third class medium for advertising purposes'. (85) The paper suspended publication in 1950. Having returned to India, Boal remained in correspondence with Indian nationalists by coordinating East African Indian protests against colonial immigration restrictions with Nehru's lobbying at a Commonwealth Conference in 1956. (86) He returned to Tanganyika in 1958 to restart publication of the Herald, but was met with high start-up costs and a far more competitive newspaper market. (87) Boal's newspaper was poorly revived with a weekly run of 2,000 copies, making little impact except on the government's over-anxious intelligence reports. (88) The last issues of the Herald in the early 1960s appear to have been a forum for dyspeptic Indian opinion about the future of an African-ruled Tanganyika, attacking the Asian Association as an organization of TANU 'yes-men' who 'always urged cooperation with Africans, forgetting that TANU leaders did not urge followers to cooperate with Asians but, on the contrary, organized boycotts of Asian shops'. (89) India remained for Boal the final measure of East African politics. In his last letters to the Tanganyika Standard just after independence, he praised Nyerere's surprise resignation and despaired at the efforts of Christopher Tumbo, a radical trade unionist, to purge Tanganyika's railways of non-African workers through non-violent civil disobedience. Nyerere, Boal argued, was appropriately imitating Gandhi, while Tumbo was bastardizing Gandhi by disrupting post-colonial unity and cooperation. (90) In March 1962 Boal closed out his Tanganyika Herald and retired to Bombay with neither savings nor regrets, explaining that 'I had many temptations to make money but my conscience will not let me.' (91)
Tanganyika Opinion, by contrast, took mercenary advantage of the informational largesse provided by competing consulate propaganda that exploded shortly after the war, in particular the Government of India's Information Office in Nairobi. Deeper transnational socialist networks also emerged. In 1949, the Opinion's printer, Kanti Printing Works, began to receive the Council of African Affairs' publication New Africa from the Civil Rights Congress in New York, considered by Special Branch to be subversive communist propaganda, reproducing (via New York) material from the 'Zik' Press of Nnamdi Azikiwe's West African Pilot, (92) as well as other extracts prominently featuring an anti-colonial speech by W. E. B. Du Bois and an item on the 'Trenton Six', both of which were deeply critical of the United States government. (93) The Indian communist newspaper Blitz had been banned in Kenya but was still reaching three subscribers in Tanganyika at this time-the government let the matter rest lest a formal ban attract attention. (94) The Opinion gained the attention of intelligence officials by advertising George Padmore's banned book Africa." Britain's Third Empire, as well as by borrowing liberally from Daily Chronicle, the 'Communist Indian paper published in Nairobi' that, in the words of intelligence officials, produced 'anti-white, anti-government bias' in the editorials and news items which the Opinion reproduced. (95) Nicholas Feld, a United States Information Service (USIS) officer stationed at the US consulate in Dares Salaam, responded by cultivating a friendship with Tanganyika Opinion's new editor Amrit Patel, a man of 'suspected communist sympathies' who held a BA from Bombay University. Highlighting the mercenary nature of the post-war Indian press, Feld related what Patel had told him:
Mr Patel has assured me that he is not a Communist but pointed out that his small daily newspaper caters to the lower class Asian and African and due to the small profit which he makes, he is not able to afford the services of a first class news agency. He stated that it was for this reason that he found it necessary to utilize any free material which was sent to him by the left wing organizations, particularly those items of a sensational nature which aroused reader interest. I informed Mr Patel that the United States Information Service was in a position to furnish him with a more than adequate flow of current news, information, news pictures, and cartoons, and that in this connection the services of the Consulate were at his disposal. Since the Consulate first started sending material to the Opinion, the results have been most gratifying and it can be conservatively stated that exclusive of advertising, one half of the Opinion is now made up of USIS material. (96)
For the remainder of 1949, Tanganyika Opinion was dominated by USIS material, such as items on the Marshall Plan and the new United Nations Building in New York. (97)
But loyalty could not be bought for long. One year later, the newspaper published an editorial criticizing American tactics in Korea as 'barbaric'. (98) The American consulate dismissed the once-more troublesome paper as 'one of the poorest samples of journalism which it is possible to imagine even in Africa'. (99)
The Opinion's content remained largely extraverted-colonial intelligence concluded that it 'rarely reports news of the local associations, but has to turn to Kenya or the East African Indian National Congress for its reports'. (100) In May 1951 the Opinion ran an item reporting the appeal of Dr Ram Manchar Lohia, Chairman of the Indian Socialist Party's Foreign Affairs Committee, for Africans to 'liberate Africa' by the end of the year. It also ran an editorial supporting Lohia's position for East Africa, and asked for local 'African creators of public opinion' to heed this call. (101) It was the first outright demand for liberation made in registered print media in Tanganyika's history, as well as the first to implicitly invoke violence as a means to that end. An emergency meeting was held in the Secretariat, but it was decided that no immediate action be taken against Amrit Patel, as such action would yield far greater publicity than the item itself, which was limited to a small circulation of Asians and 'a very few literate Africans'. (102) At the same time, the town's Indo-African Literary Society busied itself distributing free copies of Gandhi's speeches translated into Swahili (Khutba za Gandhij'i). (103) In keeping with its catholic attitude towards patronage, the Opinion published another large USIS information piece at the end of that month, giving the piece the slightly extortionist title of 'The USIS-more publicity required'. (104) As late as 1955, the paper ran anti-NATO publicity from the Indian consulate fight alongside pro-American publicity from United States Information Service (USIS) articles placed by the American consulate. (105) Short of funds, the paper announced its cessation of publication in its final issue on 30 December 1955. (106) It was finally stricken from the registration list in 1960. (107)
The end of the Herald and Opinion roughly coincided with the rise of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) in the late 1950s and Tanganyika's independence in December 1961. Though pioneering in their rhetorical confrontations with the colonial state at various junctures between 1923 and 1951, by the 1950s both Opinion and Herald had become hollow shells of their former selves. Before the 1950s, the Tanganyikan elaboration of 'Greater India' had simultaneously projected a universalist anti-colonialism but also carried with it the tutelary condescension of proposing a more suitable 'civilization' towards which Africans might aspire. But by the 1950s leading Indian political figures in the country had heeded Nehru's call to assist African nationalists in their country's liberation, and had taken on a decidedly ancillary role in territorial politics (Brennan 1999: 314). Indian politicians shrewdly rephrased public arguments from the ranked language of race and civilization into the more egalitarian vocabulary of territorial citizenship and development, while Indian capital flowed into the emerging African nationalist newspapers of the 1950s, such as Zuhra, Mwafrika, and Sauti ya TANU. These papers embraced the generic anticolonialism of earlier Indian papers, while TANU party activists similarly embraced the patrika tactics of the anonymous seditious pamphlet. TANU's territorial nationalism was firmly grounded on African racial pride, rather than gift-bearing civilizers from more celebrated regions of the Indian Ocean. Furthermore, Tanganyika's Anglo-Gujarati readership was rapidly shrinking--the Aga Khan having instructed Ismaili Khojas to move from Gujarati-based to English-based education in 1952-at the same time that the Swahili reading public was rapidly expanding. Recognizing these shifts, Randhir Bhanushanker Thaker launched the independent Swahili-language newspaper Ngurumo ('Thunder') in 1959 to cater to audiences seeking TANU-supporting politics as well as popular cartoons, sports, and entertainment (Gregory 1992:181 2). Thaker, who began publishing the official party Swahili newssheet Sauti ya TANU ('Voice of TANU'), also launched Dares Salaam's lone Swahili-language independent newspaper to thrive into the 1970s.
Both market and political conditions for Indian journals in post-colonial Tanzania had drastically narrowed. 'Greater India' passed away with India's partition, and Dares Salaam's Indian intelligentsia shifted to find firm footing in this shrinking terrain of East African politics during the 1950s by taking a more publicly auxiliary nationalist role. After independence, most of what constituted public argument either descended from African socialist nostrums of Julius Nyerere and TANU, or arose out of the vibrant popular culture then being crafted by urban Tanzanians (Brennan 2006). Indian businessmen sought a lower profile and more private role, only to find themselves popular targets of political debate during Tanzania's socialist years. The Anglo-Gujarati print culture of the Indian Ocean, connected during the colonial years both by the journals and letters brought by steamships to the region's ports and by the shared sentiments of nationalist writers, had yielded to a more thoroughly international and consciously 'African' print environment.
I would like to thank Isabel Hofmeyr, Preben Kaarsholm and other participants in the Print Cultures workshop in Johannesburg, as well as participants in the University of Illinois History Workshop, for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of this article.
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(1) From 1890 to 1919, the territory was known as German East Africa; from 1919 to 1964, Tanganyika; and from 1964 to the present, Tanzania, following political union with the islands of Zanzibar.
(2) Only 15 per cent of colonial Gujarat was under direct British rule, coinciding roughly with the two major cities of Ahmedabad and Surat. There is, at long last, an accessible general history of Gujarat in Yagnik and Sheth 2005.
(3) All Indians in Zanzibar were recognized as British subjects in 1870 only after a protracted struggle between primarily Kachchhi Indians and the British residency, the former wishing to be subjects of the Sultanate to free them from British prohibitions against slaveholding (Gregory 1971: 21-2).
(4) In 1931, the earliest comprehensive religious census of South Asians on the mainland (then Tanganyika), there were 14,390 Muslims (57.2 per cent), 7,762 Hindus (30.9 per cent), 1,722 Goans (6.8 per cent), 768 Sikhs (3.1 per cent), and 215 Jains (0.9 per cent), 168 non-Goan Christians (0.7 per cent), 52 Parsi (0.2 per cent) and 6 Buddhists. See also Bharati 1972: 17-18
(5) Swadeshi began as a protest movement to boycott British-manufactured products and champion domestic production following the 1905 partition of Bengal.
(6) The best summaries are Gregory 1971:156-76; and Blyth 2003:96-119.
(7) For details of the Aga Khan's campaign, see Honey 1982: 225-30; on the Indian government's role, see Gregory 1971: 162-8.
(8) In 1931, the Indian population (25,144) far outnumbered the European (3,228) and Arab (7,059) populations combined, though of course it was itself dwarfed by the African population (5,022,640) (Gregory 1971: 388). By 1957 there were 71,660 Indians; 4,757 Goans; 19,088 Arabs; 20,534 Europeans; and 8,700,000 Africans (Great Britain 1958: 3).
(9) Interview with Roshanani Hassanali Master by Martha Honey, 11 July 1973. Photocopies of Honey's interviews are in the author's possession, and the author thanks Martha Honey and Robert Gregory for access to them.
(10) The Khilafat movement (1919-24) was a campaign launched by Muslims in British India to protest the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire by Britain and other Western powers. Swaraj was the term Gandhi popularized in 1919 to help mobilize protests against foreign domination in India.
(11) 'Racialism in Tanganyika', Dares Salaam Times, 18 March 1922.
(12) According to coverage of the Patel assault case, reported in the Tanganyika Herald, 3 April 1937.
(13) Relying on my elementary Gujarati, I have checked the Gujarati section of three issues in 1931, 1935, and 1938, which repeat the general content in both advertising and news items of the English-language section. This is not always consistent, though, particularly during the 1940s when Gujarati content increased vis-a-vis English in some years.
(14) Honey 1982:418; Tanganyika Opinion, Special Number, September 1937. Oza was succeeded by Durga Das, an important legal figure in Dares Salaam who left in early 1937, replaced for a few months by A. J. Joshi, who was then 'repatriated' to India. Joshi's replacement was Sitaram Achariar, ex-editor of the Kenyan Democrat; by 1938-9, Oza appears to have returned as editor.
(15) Information Officer to Chief Secretary (hereafter CS), 3 April 1940, Tanzania National Archives, Dar es Salaam (hereafter TNA) 22227 folio (hereafter f.) 6.
(16) In the short term the strike was unsuccessful, but by 1927 the government finally repealed the law in the face of obdurate Indian opposition and the new system's own inefficiency. The profits tax was replaced in 1927 by a system of licence fees. For a full account see Honey 1982: 345-53.
(17) V. R. Boal, a Gujarati Brahmin who arrived in Zanzibar in 1911 and served as a labour clerk recruiting African carriers during the First World War, began his Tanganyika career in 1919 as a court clerk in Tabora, and later moved to Dares Salaam to clerk at a private law firm. He inaugurated his nationalist career by proposing a condolence resolution in 1920 to commemorate the death of B. G. Tilak; he subsequently became secretary of the Dares Salaam Indian Association, the main Indian political body in the territory. Earlier, Boal had publicized Gandhi's arrest in a long letter to the European-owned Dar es Salaam Times that, among other things, justified Tanganyika's first hartal. Letter of V. R. Boal, Dar es Salaam Times, 1 April 1922; interview with Boal by Robert Gregory, 2 July 1973, Bombay, copy in author's possession.
(18) Honey 1982: 290-1; Gregory 1993b: 195; interview with Boal by Robert Gregory, 2 July 1973; Manning to Commissioner of Police, 12 March 1929, TNA 12915/I f.26.
(19) Tanganyika Herald, 23 June 1931.
(20) For example, Boal wrote to the Bombay Chronicle to protest discriminatory taxes in 1932. Gregory 1971: 479.
(21) 'We are Indians first' by K. A. Master, Tanganyika Herald, special issue, 6 May 1935.
(22) 'The Greater India' by V. R. Boal, Tanganyika Herald, 4 March 1933.
(23) Tanganyika Herald special issue, 'Makkum', 6 May 1935.
(24) Tanganyika Opinion, 31 August 1934; 'Propaganda', Tanganyika Herald, 28 March 1936.
(25) Tanganyika Opinion, 1 September 1933.
(26) 'Kurukshetra', Tanganyika Herald, 24 March 1931.
(27) A linguistic survey published in 1934 states that there were 1,174 people literate in Gujarati, 908 in English, 284 in Punjabi, 161 in Hindi, 128 in Arabic, 125 in Marathi, 85 in Tamil, 83 in 'foreign' languages, 53 in Malayalam, 28 in Sindhi, 20 in Bengali, 10 in Telegu, 5 in Kanarese, 4 in Konkani, and 119 in 'other' (Waiz 1934: 408). Gujarati and Kachchhi are related languages, but only Gujarati has a literate tradition.
(28) When government instructed its offices throughout the territory to end their weekly Tanganyika Opinion subscriptions as part of a cost-saving retrenchment in 1931, the paper appealed the decision in print by making the case that it was the alternative 'paper of record' to the European-owned Tanganyika Standard. The Opinion, it argued, was the territory's oldest paper; it supported 'progressive policy'; it offered a forum for Muslim and African Christian grievances unavailable elsewhere, and it was 'the main source of information of the Indian Parliament and of the Government of India'. 'Government & the Press', Tanganyika Opinion, 14 August 1931. Tanganyika Herald also beseeched government for advertising revenues at various junctures- see advertisement in TNA 13082/I f.16.
(29) Achariar began his East African career as assistant to M. A. Desai's East African Chronicle. After Desai's paper collapsed in a libel suit, Achariar began the Democrat, which Gregory describes as the 'principal organ of the East African Indian National Congress'. After the Democrat closed, Achariar worked as private secretary for Ali bin Salim, liwali of the Kenya
Coast, and returned to Bombay where he became editor of the Sun. He later died in Madras of 'starvation and neglect'. Gregory 1992: 169-70.
(30) 'Indian journalism in East Africa', Tanganyika Herald, 5 March 1932.
(31) 'Ourselves', Tanganyika Herald, 2 March 1935.
(32) 'Indian journalism', Tanganyika Herald, 15 July 1933. The wealthiest named were 'Messrs. Karimjee Jiwanjee & Co., Mr. Mathuradas Kalidas, Messrs Keshavji Anandji & Co., Messrs. Dhalla Bhimji, Ali Datu Patel, Dawood Haji Nassur, Noorbahi Abdabhai etc.'. Such appeals eventually worked. Mathuradas Kalidas Metha invested in a new printing plant for the Herald and bought two hundred special number copies for free distribution to those personalities 'outside East Africa who are ignorant of the Indian position in this part of the world'. 'Ourselves', Tanganyika Herald, 1 July 1938.
(33) Gregory 1992: 169-179; Durrani 2006: 62-6. For the ingenious strategies that Kenyan publishers employed to overcome political and business obstacles, see Frederiksen 2006: 299.
(34) One example, from Zanzibar's Samachar, is the advertisement for Geimex Racket: 'He was moneyless and jobless. At his uncle's invitation (who was a Forest Officer in Native State) he went to pay him a visit, but he did not forget to take his GEIMEX RACKET with him. One afternoon he played a startling game, and the Ruler of the State took a fancy to his game and next day he was taken on the State staff. He still thinks himself lucky to buy a Geimex Racket. Why don't you try Geimex sports goods? Available at Geimex Sports House, Zanzibar.' Samachar, 28 November 1937.
(35) A few examples from a long list: Zam-Buk, Atank Nigrah Pills, Togal, Siddha Kal Pa Makaradhwaja and Togal. Kanti Printing Works itself supplied 'Ayurvedic Medicine' such as 'Vijaya Pills, Jiwan Sudhar Lep, Pari-Vartan, Nari Mitter, and Kamni Kalyanto' to its customers by acting as an agent for Desh Panl Aushadhalya, located in Rawalpindi. Tanganyika Opinion, 6 May 1935.
(36) A few insurance advertisements were from firms based in Nairobi, but the vast majority of firms (as with the astrologers) were based in India: usually Bombay, Lahore and Poona. Many advertised their exact annual turnover figures to boast their great size and dependability.
(37) These included used vehicle auctions, property auctions, etc.
(38) 'Labour Cards, Time-Books, Ledgers Etc., Fancy Stationery, Visiting Cards, Invitation-Cards, Notepapers, Envelopes and Desk Requisites', Tanganyika Opinion, 7 November 1930.
(39) India's Case for Swaraj, by Waman P. Kabadi, was a memento pictorial compilation of the events that led to the 1932 'rupture' in India; it was available in paper and cloth, in either English or Gujarati. Tanganyika Opinion, 22 December 1933.
(40) 'The police', Tanganyika Herald, 4 June 1932. See also 'Scare in Dares Salaam', Tanganyika Opinion, 7 August 1931; 'Lawlessness', Tanganyika Herald, 16 March 1935; Tanganyika Opinion, 4 April 1938, in TNA 21062/I f.16.
(41) 'Racial discrimination', Tanganyika Opinion, 12 November 1937.
(42) Tanganyika Opinion, 22 March 1938; Young to Macdonald, 7 October 1938, Colonial Office, UK National Archives (hereafter CO) 691/169/13 f.4.
(43) 'African or native', Tanganyika Opinion, 23 June 1939.
(44) 'Mode & culture', Tanganyika Opinion, 9 May 1939.
(45) See for example The Ismaili Voice, 19 August 1936: 'Mutely have Muslims in East Africa celebrated their significant religious occasions which non-Muslims press had no courtesy even to record. No muslim [sic] leader or missionary has ever come to the country who has not been seriously hampered in delivering his message to the masses for lack of due publicity. On the other hand wide publicity has been accorded by the organized non-Muslim Indian press to the views of a handful of so-called Muslim nationalists to undermine the Muslim solidarity on this side of the Indian ocean. Have not for long the news of true Muslim leaders been simply suppressed? Have not for long the muslims [sic] of this place been kept in the dark about the progress of Islam in other countries?... They have suffered and suffered, and are not prepared to suffer any more.' The Ismailia Council, however, disowned the paper and it was denied approval for further publication. See TNA 12915 f.108.
(46) Honorary Secretary, Shia Imami Ismailia Council to CS, 21 June 1935, TNA 19588 f.12.
(47) The article was entitled, 'His Highness the Aga Khan has become the deadly handle of the British axe', English translation of original Gujarati from Tanganyika Opinion, special supplement, 14 June 1935, in TNA 19588 f.14.
(48) For an account of the trial, see Tanganyika Herald, 27 March 1937 and 3 April 1937. The local businessman, E. H. Hasmani, was at the same time imprisoned for forging bills of lading to obtain credit, in what was the biggest credit fraud scandal in East African history to that point.
(49) V. R. Boal to Governor, 27 January 1937, TNA 24612/I f.68. Ismailis formed 40 per cent and Hindus formed 33 per cent of Dares Salaam's Indian community in 1944. Singh to Baker, 7 March 1944, TNA 61/617 f.397.
(50) Interview with Bashir Punja and Badru Velji, 1 August 1999, Dares Salaam.
(51) Tanganyika Herald, 30 December 1939.
(52) 'The hidden hand', Tanganyika Opinion, 22 October 1937.
(54) Interview by author with Bashir Punja and Badru Velji, 1 August 1999, Dares Salaam.
(55) 'No Hartal?', Tanganyika Herald, 1 November 1946. Tanganyikan Asians focused increasingly on the plight of Indians in South Africa after the Second World War, and South African Indians such as Debi Singh passed through Dar es Salaam to speak out against the emerging apartheid order. 'We fight for human rights', Tanganyika Herald, 24 October 1947.
(56) According to a 1939 report, the following English newspapers were in circulation in Dar es Salaam: The Daily Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Manchester Guardian, Scotsman, Yorkshire Post, Mirror, Sketch, News of the World, Punch, Truth, Time and Tide, Spectator, New Statesman, East Africa and Rhodesia, and Crown Colonist. The 'Empire' papers included: Natal Mercury, Johannesburg Star, The Illustrated Weekly of India, Bombay Chronicle, The Servants of India, The Gujarati Illustrated Weekly, and The Weekly Amrit Bazaar Patrika. The vernacular papers included: Kerari (Poona), Sahyadri (Poona), Kirloskar (Satara), Dnyanprakash, Vividavritha (Bombay), Prajamithra (Bombay), Harijan (Ahmedabad) and El Amin. Memorandum on Tanganyika Territory press, enclosed in Young to MacDonald, 15 July 1939, CO 323/1663/7 f.26.
(57) See the Negro World's support of East African Indians in 'Africa for Africans only, excerpted in Tanganyika Herald, 24 March 1931; and the Tuskegee Institute's 1934 lynchings report, excerpted in Kamakshi Natarajan's Indian Social Reformer and subsequently excerpted again in the Herald. 'From our library table', Tanganyika Herald, 16 March 1935.
(58) Tanganyika Intelligence Report January-June 1934, enclosed in MacMichael to Cunliffe-Lister, 1 August 1934, CO 6911140/3 f.1.
(59) Tanganyika Opinion news items sometimes carried the nebulous byline of 'Air Mail News' or 'Air Mail Service'; it also carried official government news via British Official Wireless (BOW).
(60) Interview with Roshanani Hassanali Master by Martha Honey, 11 July 1973.
(61) Tanganyika Opinion, 17 December 1931; Smith Mackenzie to MacNab, 12 January 1932, Dares Salaam Editorial, Microfilm 120, Reuters Archive, London. I would like to thank John Entwisle for his generous assistance at Thomson Reuters.
(62) Tanganyika Herald, 5 March 1932; Mesthrie 2004: 160.
(63) Tanganyika Herald, 30 December 1933.
(64) Smith Mackenzie to Reuters Managing Director, 17 July 1933, Dar es Salaam Editorial, Microfilm 120, Reuters Archive.
(65) Opinion also maintained regular correspondence with the Indian National Congress Foreign Department, as well as Dr Norman Leys and Sir John Harris. See 'Particulars of local newspapers and periodicals in Tanganyika Territory', enclosed in Young to MacDonald, 15 July 1939, CO 323/1663/7 f.26.
(66) Pandya Printing Works (Mombasa) to Smith Mackenzie (Mombasa), 17 July 1945, Mombasa Administration Correspondence, Microfilm 414, Reuters Archive, London.
(67) Extracts from report dated 15 June 1939 by M.F. Cleary, Deputy Director, Intelligence Bureau, Home Department, Government of India, KV 4/276 f.84a [Security Service, UK National Archives].
(68) Minutes of the First Meeting of the Local Advisory Committee on Information and Propaganda, 6 October 1939, TNA 27597 f.lA. Both papers published propaganda photographs from the Ministry of Information throughout the war. See reports in CO 323/1742/5.
(69) Editor, Tanganyika Opinion to Manager, Smith Mackenzie, 9 August 1940, Mombasa Administration, Microfilm 482, Reuters Archive.
(70) Minute of Sillery [Information Officer] to CS, 2 April 1941, TNA 29550.
(71) Tanganyika Information Office Report for June-September 1941, enclosed in Governor's Deputy to Lord Moyne, 28 October 1941, CO 875/8/5 f.5. 'Cincinnati' refers here to shortwave broadcasts from the Cincinnati-based Crosley Broadcasting Corporation's WLW station, which later became part of Voice of America.
(72) Note of Information Committee meeting, 12 September 1941, TNA 27696 f.6.
(73) Isherwood to Lamb, 15 November 1941, TNA 27696 f.10. See also Smith Mackenzie to Reuters Audit and Accounts, 25 September 1943, Dares Salaam Editorial, Microfilm 120, Reuters Archive. The Herald and Opinion had paid 180 [pounds sterling] per annum in the early 1930s for the same subscription.
(74) Boal to Freeston, 23 March 1943, TNA 13082/II f.18. Tanganyika's Information Officer considered Boal as someone who 'supports all local efforts in aid of the war and his leading articles advocating generous contributions to war funds have been particularly noteworthy'. Tanganyika Information Office Report for June-September 1941, enclosed in Governor's Deputy to Lord Moyne, 28 October 1941, CO 875/815 f.5.
(75) 'Farewell party to Mr V. R. Boal', Tanganyika Herald, 2 December 1939; Commissioner of Police to CS, 17 July 1941, TNA 13082/II f.2.
(76) The Registrar [?] noted that '[u]nder its former management the "Herald" did not sail so close to the wind as the "Opinion" has done on occasion.' Registrar [?] to CS, 23 July 1941, TNA 13082/II f.3.
(77) Letter to A.C.S., 19 June 1940, TNA 28798 f.2. Africa Sentinel was succeeded by another Ismaili-owned Anglo-Gujarati paper, Young Africa, which remained in print into the 1950s, though few copies survive.
(78) Commissioner of Police, Dares Salaam, to CS, 15 August 1940, TNA 28974 f. 1.
(79) Commissioner of Police, Dares Salaam to H.C.S., 31 August 1940, TNA 28974 f.2.
(80) 'Translations of some leaflets circulated in Dares Salaam', n. d. [ca. July-August 1940], TNA 28974 f.3A; letter of 'Anuj', Tanganyika Herald, 22 July 1940.
(81) Affidavit of V. R. Boal, in TNA 13082/II f.6A.
(82) Boal attacked Reuters for its reporting on a weakly observed hartal in Dares Salaam in support of South African Indians, the failure of which Reuters attributed to communal conflict among Tanganyika's Indians. Tanganyika Herald, 1 November 1946.
(83) Sturmer 1998:59 and 99; Manager, Kanti Printing Works to Ag. CS, 27 November 1946, TNA 27580 f.10; East African Political Intelligence Report, October-November 1948, CO 537/ 3646.
(84) Political Intelligence Summary August 1949, CO 537/4717 f.4; Colonial Political Intelligence Summary, October-November 1949, CO 537/4335.
(85) Tanganyika Political Intelligence Summary November 1949, CO 537/5933 f.2.
(86) Page-Jones to Mathieson, 13 June 1956, CO 822/861 f.62.
(87) Awtar Singh to CS, 21 October 1958, TNA 226/CS22/57/01 f.253; Awtar Singh to Ministerial Secretary, Office of CS, 20 November 1958, TNA 226/CS22/57/01 f.270. The Registrar demanded a new surety of 5,000 shillings for the paper's re-registration; Boal replied that he had never sold the newspaper, but only the printing press, Africa Printers, to R. M. Plantan, editor of Zuhra and former editor of the Opinion's Swahili paper, Dunia.
(88) See Extracts from Tanganyika Intelligence Summary Report-July 1959, CO 822/1363 f.269; Wren, Ag. Director of Public Relations to All Penn Secretaries, 16 September 1959, TNA 226/SC/4/28 f. 148.
(89) Item 33, Tanganyika Intelligence Appreciation for February 1960, enclosed in Governor's Deputy to Colonial Secretary, 15 March 1960, CO 822/2061 f.2.
(90) Letters of V. R. Boal to Tanganyika Standard, 26 January and 27 February 1962.
(91) Interview with Boal by Robert Gregory, 2 July 1973, Bombay, copy in author's possession.
(92) SLO East Africa Weekly Intelligence Survey for period ending 25 May 1949, CO 537/4340 f.21, referring to 17 May 1949 issue of Tanganyika Opinion; Rutt to Wallace, 29 June 1949, CO 537/4717 f.1.
(93) Tanganyika Opinion, 7 June 1949; Macom to US Consul, Dares Salaam, 8 June 1949, and Feld to Department of State (hereafter DOS), both in American Consulate, Dares Salaam Security-Segregated 1948-1949 120-523.4 Box 1 File 350.21, RG 84, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland (hereafter NARA). The 'Trenton Six' refers to
a 1948 legal case in which six black Americans were convicted of murder of an elderly white shopkeeper by an all-white jury based on five signed confessions; all six were sentenced to death. Their appeal was taken up by the US Communist Party, and the case became an international cause celebre. Four were later acquitted; the remaining two had sentences commuted to life in prison.
(94) political Report on Tanganyika Territory November-December 1948, enclosed in Hutt to Wallace, 8 January 1949, CO 537/4718 f.1.
(95) Tanganyika Political Intelligence Summary December 1949 January 1950, CO 537/5933 f.6. Kenya's Daily Chronicle had a circulation of 250 copies in Tanganyika, 120 of which were in Dares Salaam. Extract from Political Intelligence Summary for Tanganyika, July 1950, CO 537/ 5936 f. 18.
(96) Feld to DOS, 14 November 1949, American Consulate, Dares Salaam Security-Segregated 1948 1949, File 631, RG 84, NARA. It is unclear whether or not Amrit Patel is a relative of the Opinion's owner and founder, M. D. Patel.
(97) See issues of Tanganyika Opinion, October and November 1949.
(98) Tanganyika Opinion, 24 November 1950.
(99) Minnigerode to DOS, 24 November 1950, 978.61/11-2450, RG 59, NARA.
(100) East African Political Intelligence Summary for April 1951, CO 537/7227 f. 14.
(101) Tanganyika Opinion, 14 May 1951.
(102) Minnigerode to DOS, 17 May 1951, 778.00/5-1751, RG 59, NARA.
(103) Tanganyika Political Intelligence Summary, January 1951, CO 537/7225 f.2.
(104) Tanganyika Opinion, 25 May 1951.
(105) Edmondson to DOS, 3 February 1955, 778.00/2-355, RG 59, NARA; Tanganyika Opinion, 20 January 1955.
(106) Tanganyika Opinion, 30 December 1955; McKinnon to DOS, 30 December 1955, 978.61/123055, RG 59, NARA. Sturmer states that the paper continued until 1962 with a print run of 500 copies. Sturmer 1998: 100.
(107) CS to Director of Public Relations, 26 May 1960, TNA 2261I.S.22/57/048 f.2.
JAMES R. BRENNAN is Assistant Professor in African History at the University of Illinois at Urbana, and Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. His research examines the history of political thought and decolonization in Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean World. Email: email@example.com
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|Author:||Brennan, James R.|
|Date:||Feb 1, 2011|
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