Page:Speeches And Writings MKGandhi.djvu/37

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departure from South Africa, he was the Honorary Secretary and principal legal adviser.


FOUNDING OF "THE INDIAN OPINION"

About the middle of 1903, it had occurred to him that, if the South African Indians were to be brought into closer association with each other and with their European fellow-colonists, and to be politically and socially educated, it was absolutely necessary to have a newspaper, and, after consultation, he provided the greater part of the capital for its inauguration, with the late Mr. M. H. Nazar as editor, and thus the Indian Opinion was born. It was first published in English, Gujarati, Hindi and Tamil, For various reasons it afterwards became necessary to dispense with the Tamil and Hindi columns. But although Mr. Gandhi, had, in theory, delegated much of the work of conducting the paper to others, he was unremitting in his own efforts to make it a success. His purse was ever open to make good the deficits that continually occurred owing to the circumstances of its production, and to its English and Gujarati columns he contributed month after month and year after year out of the fund of his own political and spiritual wisdom and his unique knowledge of South African Indian affairs.

Towards the end of 1904, however, finding that the paper was absorbing most of the money that could be spared without making any appreciable financial headway, he went to Durban to investigate the situation. During the journey he became absorbed in the perusal of Ruskin’s "Unto this Last," and he received certain impressions that were confirmed whilst on a visit to some relatives, who had started a trading enterprise in an up-country village. His conclusions were that the town conditions in which the paper was produced were such as almost to compel unlimited waste; to act as a check upon the originality and individuality of the workers, and to prevent the realisation of his dearest desire to so infuse the columns of the paper with a spirit of tolerance and persuasiveness as to bring together all that was best in the European and Indian communities, whose fate it was to dwell side by side, either