Brown Man, Black Country: On the Foothills of Uhuru by J.M. Nazareth
Caught between settler domination and racism on the one hand and the rising tide of African nationalism and racism on the other — “the white devil and the deep black sea” — the Indians of Kenya emerge almost as a pariah group in the years of struggle leading to Kenya’s independence in December 1963. Their failure then, and in subsequent years, to secure fair representation, rights to land ownership and freedom from racial discrimination form the subject of this book.
The author played a prominent role in Indian political life in Kenya from 1944 to 1960. Through the records of the East Africa Indian Congress, his own speeches and those of others, newspaper reports and teh recording of the thrust and parry of parliamentary debate, he documents the fractured state of Indian political life, including the fatal Hindu-Muslim division over separate electorates, skilfully manipulated by the colonial government to the advantage of the European settlers.
The fine words recorded here invariably met with failed action and little or no gain for Indians (Asians, as they were called), ending in their being “squeezed out” of post-independence Kenya. Nevertheless, this book is an impressive statement of principle, perhaps unmatched in the recording of Kenya’s political history. Indians played an honourable role in the fight for justice in Kenya and, coming when it did, the victory secured by the African majority was, in no small part, owed to them. This book bears eloquent testimony to that fact.
Price Rs 200; Euro 3 (ebook). Rs 400 (p&p extra) print, previous edition.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nairobi-born John Maximian Nazareth studied in Bombay (Mumbai) and later at the Inns of Court in London, where he was called to the Bar in 1933. A distinguished lawyer, subsequently appointed Queen’s Counsel, he was awarded during his legal studies the Special Prize of the Council of Legal Education in Criminal Law (1931), the Poland Prize of the Inner Temple in Criminal Law (1931) and the Profumo Prize of the Inner Temple (1932). In Kenya, he served as the president of the EA Indian Congress from 1950 to 1952, and was an elected member of the Kenya Legislative Council from 1956 to 1960, representing the Western Electoral Area. He served as a pusine judge of the Supreme Court in 1953 and became president of the Kenya Law Society in 1954. He was president of the Gandhi Memorial Academy Society and chairman of the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi Trust at the University of Nairobi.
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