CONSTRUCTIONS OF COMMUNITY AND IDENTITY AMONG INDIANS IN COLONIAL NATAL, 1860–1910: THE ROLE OF THE MUHARRAM FESTIVAL
This article is concerned with the historical construction of communities, cultures and identities in colonial Natal, in this case an Indian grouping that emerged from the heterogeneous collection of indentured workers imported between 1860 and 1911. Despite the difficulties of indenture, Indians set about re-establishing their culture and religion in Durban. The most visible and public expression of ritual was the festival of Muhurram, which played an important role in forging a pan-Indian ‘Indianness’ within a white and African colonial society. This was significant when one considers that the nationalist movement was in its formative stages and there was no national identity when indentured workers had left India.