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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'A Diabolical Conspiracy': The Life and World of Henry Louis Paul (1862-1935)
Author:Badassy, PrinishaISNI
Periodical:Journal of Natal and Zulu History
Geographic terms:South Africa
biographies (form)
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Law, Human Rights and Violence
About person:Henry Louis Paul (1862-1935)
Abstract:In colonial Natal, and South Africa in general, the lot of an interpreter of Indian languages was not a happy one. This essay concentrates on the life of Henry Louis Paul (1862-1935), a Roman Catholic British-Indian who was born in Madras and arrived in the Cape Colony in 1879. At various stages of his life he was criticized for his moral conduct and his deficiencies in Tamil, a fate meted out to other fellower interpreters as well. Where his life differs from the others is his relationship with Gandhi, which reveals that he played an extremely important role in Indian politics in Natal. He was in an ambiguous position. On the one hand he was a civil servant, an interpreter in the Natal Civil Service, and he was also an Indian nationalist who took part in the forming of the Natal Indian Congress (NIC). His history reveals that there was more to the Natal Indians than just the two distinct (and exclusive) categories of Indentured Indians and Gandhi. There was also a host of shopkeepers, traders, politicians, railway workers, constables, teachers, domestic servants, and interpreters. The last mentioned were the most remote from the general Indian community, set apart by their education, which also attracted them to an English lifestyle and culture. Their hand was on the door-handle to upward social mobility. They were a complex mixture of assurance, egotism, despair, and subscribers to English 'gentility', seemingly always doomed to be envied, gossiped about, and to hover in a liminal position. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]