Page:Speeches And Writings MKGandhi.djvu/39

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on the part of the Municipal authorities, in spite of repeated warnings of the insanitary conditions prevailing, A week before the official announcement of the outbreak, Mr. Gandhi sent a final warning that plague had already broken out, but his statement was officialy denied. When, however, a public admission of the existence of plague could no longer be withheld, but before the Municipal authorities had taken any steps to cope with the disease, he at once organised a private hospital and nursing home, and, together with a few devoted friends, personally tended the plague patients; and this work was formally appreciated by the Municipal authorities. In the same year, owing to arbitration proceedings between expropriated Indian stand-holders in the Location and the Johannesburg Municipality, in which he was busily engaged, he earned large professional fees which he afterwards devoted in their entirety to public purposes.


In 1906, a native rebellion broke out in Natal due to many causes, but realising that bloodshed was imminent and that hospital work would necessarily ensue therefrom, Mr. Gandhi offered, on behalf of the Natal Indians, a Stretcher Bearer Corps, which, after some delay, was accepted. Meanwhile, he had sent his family to Phoenix, where he thought it was most proper that they should live, rather than in the dirt, noise, and restlessness of the town. He himself volunteered to lead the Corps, which was on active service for a month, being mentioned in despatches and publicly congratulated and thanked by the Governor for the valuable services rendered. Each member of the Corps has had awarded to him the medal especially struck for the occasion, and as an indication of the manner in which the Transvaal Government appreciated the work so selflessly performed by Mr. Gandhi and his Corps, it may be noted that, together with at least three other members of the Corps, as well as some who belonged to or helped to fit out the old Ambulance Corps, he was flung into gaol, to associate with criminals of the lowest type. The work of the Corps was, besides that of carrying stretch-