Page:Heroes of the hour- Mahatma Gandhi, Tilak Maharaj, Sir Subramanya Iyer.djvu/46

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Mr. Gandhi chanced to see a local newspaper which announced that a bill was about to be introduced into the colonial Parliament to disfranchise Indians and that other bills of a similar character were soon to follow. With true insight he immediately perceived the gravity of the situation, and explained to the assembled guests that if the Indian community in South Africa was to be saved from utter extinction immediate and resolute action should be taken. At his instance a message was at once sent to the colonial Parliament requesting delay of proceedings, which was soon followed up by a largely signed petition against the new measure. But all this was of no avail. The bill was passed in due course. Now another largely signed petition was sent to the Colonial Secretary in England, and in consequence the Royal Assent was withheld. But this again was of no avail for the same goal was reached by a new bill through a slightly different route. Now it was that Mr. Gandhi seriously mooted the question of a central organization in South Africa to keep vigilant watch over Indian interests. But it was represented to him that such an organization would be impossible un-