Page:Mahatma Gandhi, his life, writings and speeches.djvu/53

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'open door.' But what they had been agitating against all these years and what they could not reconcile themselves to was that this object should be compassed by laws which tended to differentiate them on any ground of colour or race. The principle of equality of all races before the law, however much its application may have to be tempered by considerations of circumstance, had been the very head and front of their demands. And now defiance and contempt were hurled at them in the shape of this new law. It was at the same time a certainty that it was but the precursor in the Transvaal and in other parts of South Africa of more insidious and flagrant measures intended to drive out the Indian Community once and for ever. And it was hailed by the colonials as the beginning of the end, while the Indian Community was convulsed with indignation.

Meanwhile Mr. Gandhi and his co-workers were not idle. They proceeded to interview the member of the Government in charge of the new bill, but when they succeeded only in getting women excluded from its operation it was realised that there was now nothing left for persuasion to accomplish. The