The Famous Salt March
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi born in October 2nd, 1869 Indian lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer who became the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of India and he was the man who changed India as he was an activist who fought for India’s rights and ultimately gained independence for India from the British army in 1947. Gandhi had many techniques to persuade or fight the British army in order to receive their independence but one of the main method used to fight the British army was the use of Gandhi’s nonviolent movement which is known as Satyagraha or The Salt March. This social movement took place from March to April 1930 in India, was an act of civil disobedience led by Mohandas Gandhi to protest British rule in India. During the march, thousands of Indians followed Gandhi from his religious retreat near Ahmedabad to the Arabian Sea coast at a distance of 240 miles. Mahatma Gandhi was able to organize such a big march due to the main role-play of strong and the weak ties which made the overall strength of the march increase immensely. “A movement starts because of the social habits of the friendship of strong and weak ties between close acquaintances”(Charles Duhigg, Pg 87). The march resulted in the arrest of nearly 60,000 people, including Gandhi himself and this eventually led to the independence after several years of people protesting. Although he was met with a large amount of criticism, violent resistance and incarcerations throughout his life but his movements did manage to make a direct impact throughout India. Mahatma Gandhi was then known as the ‘Father of the Nation’.
This social movement created a huge impact on Indian economy and it was a great success since Gandhi had many personal experiences associated with racism such as he was thrown out of the train from first class as he refused to leave the train as he wanted to fight for the equal right for the passengers who paid the same ticket but the passengers were seated due caste or race system, this was one of the trigger moment that led to change of India’s power to make it into nation of equality which is mentioned in Mahatma Gandhi and India’s Independence in World History. This particular incident can be also related to the events which took place in Montgomery on 1955 as it was related to the seating in the bus as they were seated according to their race which led to a huge social movement similar to salt march. Mahatma Gandhi wanted to give the Indian community the equal rights and the power to make their own decision for the betterment of the country rather than just following the orders given by the upper-class people thus Gandhi was the voice of the people that ranged from rich to the poor families across India. This is where untouchables such as Dr. B.R Ambedkar played a huge role in Indian independence.
In many instances Mahatma Gandhi’s moral was tested as it first started when he was at the age of 8-9 when an inspector showed up in the classroom while spelling test was going on, his teacher noticed a spelling mistake on Gandhi’s paper and encouraged him to copy from partner but he sternly refused to do which clearly shows his determination to work towards his goals and what ultimately led him to become a lawyer and an activist which is mentioned in one of his biographies. During the nonviolence social movement, Mahatma Gandhi tried to bring all Indians together regardless of their caste and religion which made India much powerful since bringing in untouchables was a challenge to the society as everyone looked down upon them. The lower caste people were looked down upon because they had value less than a living animal and they were not allowed to use the same resources that are used by castes above them such as water, food etc. In the book Mahatma Gandhi and India’s Independence in World History, Mahatma Gandhi mentioned about a certain leader “A man born in lower caste of India but overcome all the difficulties in his life to be what nobody can think of even today”(Mahatma Gandhi and India’s Independence in World History) he was respected among the untouchable known as Dr. B.R Ambedkar.
Dr. B.R Ambedkar was a lawyer similar to Mahatma Gandhi and he brought in a major change in the social movement led by Gandhi, he taught many people about the importance of equality between Indians and he also put these measurements into practice, soon the untouchables were no longer discriminated thus the social movement rapidly gained in strength thus coining a term known as ‘The Ambedkar Movement’ that is mentioned in the evolution of ideology. Mahatma Gandhi also mentions in one of his autobiographies ‘Mohandas K.Gandhi’ without the involvement of the untouchables the social movement would have been nearly impossible as the majority of the people in the movement roughly 30,000 people were the untouchables. Dr. B.R Ambedkar also had honorable mentions in Gandhi’s autobiography “but a true icon for whole India. His legacy, his works, and his contribution will affect each and every Indian in a positive manner every day”(Mohandas K. Gandhi), Ambedkar helped Indians not only to spread equality among people but also he fought for agricultural and land reforms to help the farmers in India, he also proposed about free economy and liberalization as he could relate these problems to many people due to his untouchable background.
On 1932, Mahatma Gandhi began his first hunger strike against British people in his cell at the Yerovda jail located near Bombay in order to change their electoral system of caste, later on in January he returned to India in order to form another civil campaign and he was jailed again after the movement got shut down by the British army. After eight months Gandhi announced to the public that he is going to start his hunger strike against the British army which was known as ‘fast unto death’ (Mohandas K. Gandhi bio). Mahatma Gandhi decided to fast for the settlement between the higher and the lower caste system working along with Dr. B.R Ambedkar as Ambedkar tried to bring Indian people closer with the eradication of the discrimination system. After six days of fast, the British government accepted the proposal made by Mahatma Gandhi in order to reverse the separation decision.
India made great progression with the many decision and actions that led to many into their favor, as Gandhi’s influence on the public was still growing. Soon Gandhi started to influence the United States thus influencing 2 big social movements that are the civil right struggle for their equality of Afro- Americans and also the Cesar Chavez’s advocacy for Latino farmworkers. Martin Luther King mentions that he was influenced by Mohandas Gandhi’s work and the techniques used for his social movement really interested him. “Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale,” King remarked (60 Years after Death, Gandhi Is Making World a Better Place).
Martin Luther King was himself introduced to Gandhi’s vision by African-American Gandhians, even outside the United States, Gandhi had a similar effect. “Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, imprisoned Burmese Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize-winner Rigoberta Menchu—all these giants of our time have acknowledged Gandhi as a guiding light.” (60 Years after Death, Gandhi Is Making World a Better Place).On January 30 he was assassinated by a Hindu extremist on his way to an evening prayer meeting, Gandhi wanted to unite Muslims and Hindus together and some people really didn’t like the fact of different religion uniting into one. Gandhi had a clear vision of India even before he led the Salt March, he also understood that nonviolence movement had a very large appeal. “Gandhi himself said, “There go my people; I must run to catch up with them for I am their leader.”(60 Years after Death, Gandhi Is Making World a Better Place). Gandhi was in overall a very important man who brought in a huge change in the society and after his death which was more than half a century ago he still influences many people, we need more leaders in this modern society such as Gandhi who tried to make this world a better place by maintaining close relations with people who follow him.