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Essays On Gandhi And Civil Disobedience

Essay On Gandhi's Civil Disobedience

02/26/14

Michelle Gu

Nonviolence

Civil Disobedience - Salt March

Salt March is a major nonviolent action in India led by Mohandas K. Gandhi from March to April in 1930. The march was the first act in an ever-larger campaign of civil disobedience. It was proposed by Gandhi and waged to go against British rule of Salt Tax in India that extended into early 1931.

Salt production and contribution in India had been a complete British monopoly after the British government prohibited Indians to sell or produce salt. The British government forced people to buy heavily taxed and expensive salt that was imported from Britain. It infuriated poor people who couldn't afford to pay it. Gandhi's defiance of British colonial laws over the empire's salt monopoly, beginning in March 1930, sparked a wave of civil disobedience to expel the British Empire. Gandhi and his supporters began an expanding march to produce salt and transport it without paying the tax. The British suppressed the march fiercely, arresting tens of thousands, and refused to make any concessions. However, Indians won the independence war with the means of nonviolence. So, the campaign was a valid practice of civil disobedience for three reasons.

First of all, nonviolence applied in this campaign has a powerful outcome while the British use violence, which inflamed Indians and the world. Nonviolence, when met by violence, worked by mobilizing the masses since the Indian population was divided by gender, caste, class and religion, making it quite a challenge to mobilize support for any campaign. The march went from village to village providing opportunities to make public statements of protest and to recruit people into the movement. The making of salt from the Indian Ocean transgressing British law led to widespread arrests and beatings imposed by British troops. While British officials found that massive arrests were unable to slow the movement, they arrested Gandhi with the belief that it would stop the campaign. Adversely, more participants joined the movement with a nonviolent invasion of the Dharasana Salt Works, which resulted in horrible violence. The non-violent satyagrahis did not defend themselves against the policemen, and many were heavily beaten and even killed instantly. Their suffering gained the attention of media worldwide. The violence against unarmed protesters made Britain lose its supporters in England. In order to regain their credit, Gandhi was invited to London to negotiate with government officials about Indian independence. So with nonviolent revolt, Gandhi succeeded in giving rise to widespread dissatisfaction with British officials and their unfair laws among Indian people. However, if they used violence like British officials did, they...

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