The Indian Trader

The Indian trader made his appearance shortly after the arrival of the Indentured Indian. This pattern is evident wherever the Indentured Indian set foot, be it Mauritius, Trinidad, British Guiana or any of the British colonies. This was to be expected as the Indian is unique in his manner of dressing, his religion, his customs, folklore and general life-style. The Indian trader was able to provide for the indentured Indians needs : clothing, musical instruments, specific foods, religious artifacts and the like.

 Indian trader : Artist Vedant Nanackchand  Modi and Sons (Shop) : Stanger

Moosa Hajee Cassim buys ship to carry goods from India (Indian_Who_Who_1936-1937)

The Indian trader prospered. He was able to make a successful living by trading with the local black population in the remote areas, giving items on credit, selling items in small quantities and often cheaper than his white counter-parts. This invoked the envy of the White trader, who by virtue of his political standing was able to influence the government of the day to pass numerous anti-Indian legislation which restricted the Indian trader as to where he could live and trade. Indians were restricted into locations and bazaars. These restrictions were bitterly opposed by the merchant class, who contested the many anti-Indian legislation meeting with limited success.

The ex-indentured Indian on the other hand prospered. He rented and leased land after the expiration of indenture, grew vegetables on a small scale and sold them at the market or went from door to door selling his products (hawkers).

 Market gardeners selling vegetables  Market gardens near Durban