The Indian Bazaar was previously located at the entrance to Rensburg. Rensburg was where the first Hindu temple stood, whilst Heidelberg central in Van der Westhuizen Street was home to the second oldest mosque (1903) in the old Transvaal.
F M Badat was the last duly appointed member of the initial Consultive Committee for Indian Community of Heidelberg, who passed away on the 7th of July, 2018. They being Asmal, Adia, Naidoo, Stanley and Badat decided on the name Shalimar Ridge for the new Indian township known as Heidelberg Extention 7. According to Mr. Badat: “It was chosen from a few Hindi words as we thought it to be the Garden of Eden in the apartheids years. That is if we compare it to the conditions we lived in previously”. The meaning of Shalimar is that of a ‘beautiful garden’ and is there also a Shalimar Gardens in Pakistan.Political resistance and opinion led to the changing of street names in 1992, just before the general elections of 1994. As a result, Badat Street became Kismet, Moti Street became Sagar and Naidoo Street changed to Sundesh.
Heidelberg always had an active Indian business community. They even met with Gandhi at the Old Station in 1910. The father of FM Badat and grandfather of Moti were present and can be seen on the photo. The third generation business of Moti and Sons, is still located in Shalimar Ridge and dates back to 1908. As Gandhi they were from the State of Gugerati, part of a class system still in use in India today. They provided in Gandh’s vegan dietary needs when he was imprisoned in the home of the station commissioner. The reason for his imprisonment in Heidelberg was that his permit allegedly expired. It was against this oppressed system that Gandhi launched his passive resistance campaigns. The Chinese, under the leadership of Zoong Quinn, supported him. Alinah “anti-pass” Mokoena and other women were motivated by this in their march against the pass laws in 1956.
Three of the founders of the Kholvad House, which was used as a community centre in central Johannesburg in 1941, were also from Heidelberg. They were M.A Badat, father of Badat (quoted above), E.A Timol and I Moollabha. On the 3rd floor in flat no13, Mandela and Kathrada would run their first attorney’s office.
During the struggle senator Robbert Kennedy would visit South Africa and even met up with chief Albert Luthuli. F M Badat was one of those to greet him. He jumped on the roof of a vehicle at the then, Jan Smuts Airport to greet him with a kiss on the 5th of June, 1966. This event was photographed and published on the front page of the Sunday Express. This innocent gesture sealed his fate as exactly two years later, Robert Kennedy was assassinated by Palestinian borne Sirhan Sirhan during America’s presidential campaign on the 5th of June, 1968. Assassinations hit the news worldwide. Malcom X was assassinated on 21 February, 1965, Martin Luther King on 4 April 1968, and the premier of the Heidelberg Seat, H.F Verwoerd on the 6thof September, 1966. Spanner Badat, as he was known in soccer fraternity, would not have thought that his innocent gesture would add Kennedy to the list.
The contribution of the Shalimar residents to the History of Heidelberg is a garden of remembrance. Ghandhi would later use his passive resistance to good effect in India’s fight for independence from the British – far removed from him being a “stretcher bearer” for them during the Anglo Boer War.