The History of Arya Samaj South Africa
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By the end of 1925 a number of Arya Samajs were well established in Natal. There was no central organisation to co-ordinate and give the work done by the different early pioneers any kind of unity. At a meeting of Vedic bodies, it was Mr. D.G. Satyadeva who mooted the idea of a central organisation, which readily met with strong approval from the delegates. He considered it well-timed to use the occasion of the birth Centenary Celebration of Swami Dayanand to establish the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha. Thus Shivaratri day, 22 February 1925, heralded the establishment of the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha in Natal. Pt. Bhawani Dayal moved the following resolution: “The delegates attending the Rishi Dayanand Centenary Celebration resolved to establish an Arya Pratinidhi Sabha through which medium the cause of Vedic Religion be advanced.”
The first officials elected were Pt. Bhawani Dayal (President), B.A. Mahrajh (Secretary), P.R. Pather (Assistant Secretary), and R.K. Kapitan (Treasurer), with Durban as the headquarters. Two years later on 23 October 1927, the officials of the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha agreed to affiliate to the Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha or the International Arya League.
India had been a long-standing supporter of the anti-apartheid struggle. In South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi established the Natal Indian Congress even before the African National Congress came into being. To exert the utmost pressure on the apartheid regime in South Africa and to give full effect to the liberation struggle, India employed a total boycott of South Africa and imposed the strictest of sanctions. While the oppressed South Africans would applaud this strategic role played by India, the price paid by Hindus locally was a great one.
Isolated from any contact with the motherland, the community had to rely on its own resources to keep the spirit of Hinduism and culture alive.