TURBANS AND TOP HATS Indian Interpreters in the Colony of Natal, 1880-1910
This dissertation is concerned with an historical examination of Indian Interpreters in the British Colony of Natal during the period, 1880 to 1910. These civil servants were intermediaries between the Colonial State and the
wider Indian population, who apart from the ‘Indentureds’, included storekeepers, traders, politicians, railway workers, constables, court messengers, teachers and domestic servants. As members of an Indian elite
and the Natal Civil Service, they were pioneering figures in overcoming the shackles of Indenture but at the same time they were active agents in the perpetuation of colonial oppression, and hegemonic imperialist ideas. Theirs was an ambiguous and liminal position, existing between worlds, as Occidentals and Orientals.