Back | Next

STUDENTS' PROJECTS > THE STORY OF MY LIFE > PART VIII : IN SOUTH AFRICA AGAIN > The Zulu Rebellion

 

36. The Zulu Rebellion

Just when I felt that I should be  breathing in peace, an unexpected event happened. The papers brought the news of the outbreak of the Zulu ‘rebellion’ in Natal. I bore no grudge against the Zulus, they had harmed no Indian. I had doubts about the ‘rebellion’ itself. But I then believed that the British Empire existed for the welfare of the world. Natal had a Volunteer Defence Force.

I considered myself a citizen of Natal, being intimately connected with it. So I wrote to the Governor, expressing my readiness, if necessary, to form an Indian Ambulance Corps. He replied immediately accepting the offer.

I went to Durban and appealed for men. In order to give me a status and to facilitate work, as also in accordance with the existing convention, the Chief Medical Officer appointed me to the temporary rank of Sergeant Major and three men selected by me to the ranks of sergeants and one to that of corporal. We also received our uniforms from the Government.

Our Corps was on active service for nearly six weeks. Our main work was to be the nursing of the wounded Zulus. The Medical Officer in charge welcomed us. He said the white people were not willing nurses for the wounded Zulus, that their wounds were festering, and that he was at his wits' end. He hailed our arrival as a godsend for those innocent people.