Page:Speeches And Writings MKGandhi.djvu/38

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mutally hostile to or suspicious of each other, or amicably co-operating in the securing of the welfare of the State and the building-up, of a wise-administration of its assets.


THE PHŒNIX SETTLEMENT

Accordingly, he determined that the very first thing to be done was to put an end to the divorce of the workers from the land, and from this determination arose what has since become known as the Phoenix Settlement. Phoenix is situated about 12 miles from Durban, in the midst of a sugar-growing country, and Mr. Gandhi invested his savings, in the purchase of an estate of about 100 acres of land about two miles distant from the station, on which were erected the press buildings and machinery. A number of selected Indians and Europeans were invited to become settlers, and the original conditions were these—that they should have entire management of all the assets of the press, including the land itself; that each should practically vow himself to a life of poverty, accepting no more £3 (Rs. 45) a month, expenses being high in South Africa, and an equal share in the profits, if any; that a house should be built for him, for which he should pay when able, and in whatever instalments might seem suitable to him, without interest; that he should have two acres of land as his own for cultivation, payment being on similar conditions, and that he should devote himself to working for the public good, Indian Opinion being meanwhile the mainspring of the work. Whilst the fundamental principles remained, it became necessary later, in the light of further experience, to modify these conditions. Subsequently the Phoenix settlers extended the scope of their labours, to the task of educating some at least of the children of the lakh-and-a-half of Indians in South Africa. It is true that, in comparison with the magnitude of the task, only a small beginning was made, but this was principally due to the lack of qualified workers and also to the state of the exchequer.


SERVICE IN PLAGUE AREAS

In 1904, an outbreak of plague occurred in the Indian Location, Johannesburg, largely owing to gross negligence