Every Piece Matters
Throughout time non-violent protestors, anti-political challengers, and peaceful demonstrators have been urging the masses or the government to swing one way or another various decisions; well, like them, Mahatma Gandhi was doing the same. Most people think that Gandhi just woke up one morning and decided to become chaste and an advocate for India’s freedom; that is not that case. Gandhi studied to be a lawyer in London but then he went back to India and tried to be a successful lawyer, he failed. Comment by Nathan William Bollig: hook
In 1893 he went to South Africa and created the National Indian Congress, which then led him to set up the Ambulance Corps during the Boer War. Finally, in 1906, after being active in various war organizations and meeting various nationalist leaders, he was able to become celibate and leaves his wife and children. From 1908 to 1930 Gandhi was involved in many different protests including the protests against the Transvaal registration law, Rowlatt act as well as writing the Declaration of Independence of India; which then leads to one of his biggest protests: the Salt Marches. This was a protest against the monopolistic companies that controlled all of the salt in India; it lasted from March 12 – April 6, 1931. Before Gandhi was arrested on May 5, 1931 for his protest on the monopoly he gave a speech encouraging the people of India to keep fighting for what is right (SparkNotes). In this paper I will provide reasons as to why Gandhi was successful in persuading the people of India to continue his fight for equality, fairness and rights even when he couldn’t by using emotion and logic. Comment by Nathan William Bollig: Contextual information Comment by Nathan William Bollig: Thesis Statement
The taxation of salt has always been in place around the world, especially in India. However, its taxation was most severe during the reign of the British East India Company. There were three ways to break the Salt laws put in place to advance the sales of salt with the company. “Wherever possible, civil disobedience of salt should be started. These laws can be violated in three ways. It is an offence to manufacture salt wherever there are facilities for doing so. The possession and sale of contraband salt, which includes natural salt or salt earth, is also an offence. The purchasers of salt will be equally guilty. To carry away the natural salt deposits on the seashore is likewise violation of law. So is the hawking of such salt. In short, you may choose any one or all of these devices to break the salt monopoly” (Gandhi). Gandhi’s extensive knowledge with the laws and punishments within India helped him give guidance to his followers on how to break the monopoly. Without this knowledge of the laws and the workings of India’s legal system he could not have pulled off his Salt March so wittily and peacefully.
He also provided an alternative for those who were not able to participate in the salt tax protest due to hindrances such as medical problems or they simply didn’t want to take on the march. Especially the women who had to stay at home because he would not allow women to march and run the risk of getting hurt. “Much can be done in many other ways besides these. The liquor and foreign cloth shops can be picketed. We can refuse to pay taxes if we have the requisite strength. The lawyers can give up practice. The public can boycott the law courts by refraining from litigation. Government servants can resign their posts” (Gandhi). Here Gandhi thought of other ways that he knew would hurt the government. Due to his extensive knowledge of the government and it’s organizations he was able to give the people of India ways of boycotting and turning against the government while being peaceful and effective. Comment by Nathan William Bollig: Quotation
Along with Gandhi’s extensive knowledge of laws and government organizations he was also very good with people and had a way of reaching out to them and making them understand how important everything in life is. “In the midst of the despair reigning all around, people quake with fear of losing employment. Such men are unfit for Swaraj. But why this despair? The number of government servants in the country does not exceed a few hundred thousand. What about the rest? Where are they to go? Even free India will not be able to accommodate a greater number of public servants” (Gandhi). Gandhi understood that people are naturally afraid of change and that with a little push the people of India would rise up with a new self-confidence and help him create a better world with a government run by the people for the people. “The history of the world is full of instances of men who rose up to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery and tenacity. We too, if we sincerely aspire to self-govern (Swaraj) and are impatient to attain it, should have similar self-confidence. Our ranks will swell and our hearts strengthen, as the number of our arrests by the government increases” (Gandhi). He said that trying to encourage people that even though hundreds and thousands were being arrested that they should not give up and run. Comment by Nathan William Bollig: Quote Comment by Nathan William Bollig: explanation
Although Gandhi started most of the protests and retaliations, he was involved in he tries to push the weight of it over onto the people. He wants the people of India to understand that they can’t expect someone to make the world better for them and that they have to make a stand for the things they want from life. He tried to make people get emotionally involved and pushed to the edge so that they would help him fight. “I shall eagerly await the news that ten batches are ready as soon as my batch is arrested. I believe there are men in India to complete the work begun by me. I have faith in the righteousness of our cause and the purity of our weapons” (Gandhi). This reached out to the hearts of the people of India by persuading them to not let Gandhi down. Comment by Nathan William Bollig: Is this enough analysis?
He always believed in using his words to arouse emotion from people and get them involved with their community. Even after the Salt March he led India onto even more great things before being assassinated, such as the Round Table Conference, protests of the treatment of the untouchables, the Cripps proposal and negotiating boarders once winning India’s independence and creating India and Pakistan.
Gandhi’s speech during his Salt March was more than persuasive. It moved an entire country to move against the government and become its own. The people of India fought for their freedom, fairness when dealing with laws and equality where necessary. When people around the world are asked who the most influential people were in the non-violent movement of equality and rights are, two names always come up: Martin Luther King Junior and Mahatma Gandhi. These men are known in practically every inch of the world for their persuasiveness and their ability to get people to do the right thing and get involved in the world around them. Leaders like these, and speeches like these are what make changes. After all, Gandhi did once say, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
· SparkNotes. September 8, 2013. Mohandas Gandhi Timeline. SparkNotes.
· Gandhi Research Foundation. September 8, 2013. On the Eve of Historic Dandi March. Gandhi Research Foundation.
· Wikipedia. September 8, 2013. History of the British Salt Tax in India. Wikipedia.