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The Path To Freedom Essay

1944 words - 8 pages

In an effort to help free India from the British rule, Mahatma Gandhi contributed to a protest against salt taxes, which was known as the Salt March. This protest advocated Gandhi’s theory of satyagraha, or nonviolent disobedience, as the nation came together on March 12, 1930, to walk the 241 mile-long journey to the shores of Dandi to attain salt. Gandhi motivated the Indians to act robustly against the injustices of the salt taxes through nonviolent means. Although some Indians criticized Gandhi for not achieving direct independence from the Raj or British rule, Gandhi’s execution of the Salt March and its subsequent events, including the Dharsana protest and the “Quit India” campaign, not only helped to create a stronger nation, but also subsequently brought India closer than before to obtaining independence.
Gandhi’s implementation of the Salt March was a result of the British colonization of India, which had caused a change in Indians’ lifestyle. In 1975, the East India Company established manufacturing monopolies, which assisted the British in exercising their powers over the salt facilities located in India by applying salt taxes. As the British occupied the salt works, the Indian population became deprived of one of their most important resources. Thus, the Indians in the nation began to suffer because of this stricter British rule, which in turn restricted the Indians from staging a revolt against the salt taxes. The Salt March was a way that Gandhi sought to inspire a strong sense of unity. The inspired Indians soon adapted to Gandhi’s nonviolent belief and became known as the satyagrahis, advocates of the “satyagraha” movement. The term satyagraha, “mean[s] ‘truth force’ or ‘truth love’… [and] can be defined as civil disobedience, passive resistance, or nonviolent cooperation” (Todd 41). Gandhi believed that if the satyagrahis maintained a strong position, then satyagraha would become even more effective.
After the trip to Dandi, Gandhi and other protesters were arrested for conducting the Salt March and being involved in “buying, selling, or making [of] salt,” respectively (Gold 86). While Gandhi was being held captive, a poet and close disciple of Gandhi, Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, took advantage of the new attention that the Satyagrahis and Gandhi had aroused by leading another protest to the Dharsana Salt Works, which eventually led to intense physical harm to the protestors. Anne Todd asserts that Naidu, as an inspirational leader, reminded the satyagrahis that even though “Gandhi’s body is in jail…his soul is with you. India’s prestige is in your hands. You must not use any violence under any circumstances. You will be beaten but you must not resist; you must not even raise a hand to ward off blows” (66). As the protestors approached the site, they encountered the British police officers who were trying to block the oncoming protestors and were brutally bashing these Indians with “five-foot-long steel-tipped clubs” (Todd 66)....

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