The Poems in this volume appeared in the Gujarati section of the Indian Opinion from 1909 and 1911, a newspaper edited by mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) while he was in South Africa. Most of them were composed by Indians in South Africa who took part in the satyagraha movement (1906-1914) or were close observers. A few came from poets in India. All the poems were printed in Gujarati even though some were originally in Urdu or Hindi. The two leading contributors were Sheik Mehtab and Ambaram Mangalgi Thaker.
The poems had a performative dimension since they were recited or sung at public gatherings as participatory texts. While Gandhi introduced the concept of satyagraha, it was the poets who presented it with an emotive appeal. They were among the first to recognize its value as a revolutionary concept; and declared its importance to the world through poems incorporating the cultural-literary motifs of their Indian heritage. They helped to sustain the movement by presenting satyagraha as a concept and a historical moment, and by drawing attention to the dynamic releationship between ideals and individual acts of heroism. Their poems are creative products of South Africa's history as well as a distinctive literary genre of an early Indian diaspora community. Gandhi's use of this resource adds a new dimension to understanding satyagraha as a movement and his role as a creative leader in South Africa, which prepared him for his later career in India.