Brown Man, Black Country: On the Foothills of Uhuru


Author: John Maximian Nazareth

HB | pp. 541 | 1981 | Tidings Publications

Brown Man, Black Country by John Maximian Nazareth consists many facts about Indians in Africa and the seeds of racial discrimination sown by the British.

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Kenya today under the able leadership of President Moi is a beacon for the whole African continent. A luscious and beautiful country situated near the equator, Kenya has the best ties with India and is developing fast.

How did Indians go to Africa? This is an absorbing question. They did not go to make money as is commonly believed. They went to construct roads and railways, bring the sprawling Kenyan lands under the plough and help in opening out East Africa for development. The small trader (”Dukawala”) was a catalyst in opening up the interior.

When the drums of freedom sounded in India their echoes were heard in Africa. The British lost no time in planting a wedge between Indians and Africans. Suddenly they developed concern for the ”native”. Ormsby Gore called Indians ‘interlopers’. Indian efforts to join KANU proved initially futile. Meanwhile the British grabbed the most fertile Highlands and appropriated it to themselves.

From then on it was a struggle in which the Indian role was no less in spite of the British splitting the East African Congress. The Muslims had demanded and got the separate electorate. ”A dagger pointed at the heart of the community” as Nazareth says.

With detachment and objectivity, Nazareth reconstructs with historical and personal records the entire story for the benefit of posterity.

As happened in India it was the same story of white perfidy, double talk and double act.

“The greatest triumph of European racism was the way in which it succeeded in deflecting African hostility from the European to a helpless scapegoat,” says Nazareth. So blatant was British hostility that Lord Emmot said that the Indians in East Africa were almost treated as pariahs.

These and hundreds more of startling facts from the pen of one who came out of retirement to fight the spreading racial poison.


John Maximian Nazareth





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About the Author

Nairobi-born John Maximian Nazareth studied in Bombay (Mumbai) and later at the Inns of Court in London, where he was called to the Bar in 1933. A distinguished lawyer, subsequently appointed Queen’s Counsel, he was awarded during his legal studies the Special Prize of the Council of Legal Education in Criminal Law (1931), the Poland Prize of the Inner Temple in Criminal Law (1931) and the Profumo Prize of the Inner Temple (1932). In Kenya, he served as the president of the EA Indian Congress from 1950 to 1952, and was an elected member of the Kenya Legislative Council from 1956 to 1960, representing the Western Electoral Area. He served as a pusine judge of the Supreme Court in 1953 and became president of the Kenya Law Society in 1954. He was president of the Gandhi Memorial Academy Society and chairman of the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi Trust at the University of Nairobi.


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