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Gandhi And His Use Of Civil Disobedience

1107 words - 5 pages

The unjust ruling of the British toward the Indians in South Africa inspired Gandhi to form the idea of satyagraha, meaning devotion to truth, from the teachings of Tolstoy and Thoreau. The father of his country, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as the Mahatma or the ‘great soul’, preached through the use of satyagraha with non violent acts. After presenting the satyagraha he attracted millions of followers which led to Mahatma becoming the leader of the Indian Nationalist movement (BBC). Mahatma Gandhi observed in South Africa that the mainly discriminated group were the Indians of the Sub continent. This was done through restricting their civil rights and degrading them in public. This ...view middle of the document...

“The formation of the Natal Indian Congress on 22 August 1894 marked the birth of the first permanent political organisation to strive to maintain and protect the rights of Indians in South Africa” (sahistory). Gandhi played a major role in this Congress as he was an experienced writer and detailed planner. “In 1907, the Boer legislature passed a law requiring that all Indians register with the police and be fingerprinted. Gandhi…refused to obey this law..the first of many times he [was] imprisoned for disobeying what he believed to be an unjust law (CRF).” This was an escalation of Gandhi’s first encounter of civil disobedience with the law. Here he was dealing with the enforcers of the legislation, which led to greater consequences. He opposed this law because it hindered his people's’ basic right to privacy. This has a great effect on the generation of today because it shows that Gandhi never gave up on something that was unjust and had to be changed. Gandhi,while in Thoreau’s essay on “Civil Disobedience”. He adopted the non-violent activism from Thoreau and coined the Sanskrit word satyagraha as his method for peaceful protest. “Finally, the Boer government agreed to a compromise that ended the most objectionable parts of the registration law (CRF).” His peaceful protest was very effective because the government made changes to the previous oppressive law in favor of his people. Others in Gandhi’s position would have believed that in order to find a solution to their problems, they must use violence, but Gandhi did not think like others because he willingly faced any consequences that approached him without violence.
The most memorable march in Gandhi’s life was the Salt March. “The Salt Tax essentially made it illegal to sell or produce salt, allowing a complete British monopoly (Seymour).” “Gandhi's defiance of British colonial laws over the empire's salt monopoly...sparked a wave...contributing to expelling the British empire” (Seymour). The salt tax affected majority of indians in a critical way because they were unable able to afford it. In effect, this was a restriction on the freedom of fair business for someone of indian background. This tax allowed the British to be the only allowed to sell salt. “Gandhi and 78 male satyagrahis (activists of truth and resolution)...

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