According to Gandhi's philosophy, the religious factualist becomes a religious innovator. This is where the facts of religion merge with contemporary concerns. Religion in turn is the codebook for moral conduct, and by introducing the element of fasting in the Satyagraha, Gandhi mixed this religious element with Satyagraha and the Satyagraha then became a search for Truth.
In a similar vein, the Gandhi-Irwin pact was established, where Gandhi agreed to abandon his disobedience movement which was held to protest against the British Government heavily taxing locals living in the coastal areas on producing salt among other injustices which Gandhi felt were unacceptable. This example goes to say that for Gandhi the Satyagrahas had a particular goal, and if it was accomplished, then the movement could be abandoned.
Additionally in 1946 he went to Bengal to declare that unless the riots ended in the area he would fast till death, and when conditions improved the fast ended. In the same pattern, he did not celebrate independence and instead fasted to stop riots, and ended only when the leaders on both sides assured him that conditions would improve.
This instances go to say that the movements had a purpose in mind and to this end these protests were carried out.
Answer 3 (a)
Q. Drawing on Gandhi's definition of the successful outcome of a Satyagraha campaign make the strongest case that the 1931 Gandhi-Irwin pact illustrated the outcome of a successful Satyagraha campaign.
The Gandhi Irwin Pact was signed by Gandhi and the then Viceroy of India in 1931. Gandhi was an influential figure of the time, and had much popularity among the common Indian masses, being known for his search for truth and his adamancy in keeping fasts for several days at an end until the truth was reached.
It came after Gandhi boycotted the Round Table Conferences, and the Indian National Congress refused to participate, where only the Muslim League and the Britishers had entered into talks. However it has to be noted here that the hunger strike came about after the Congress had conducted a civil disobedience movement and the British realized that any pact without the participation of the Congress would be futile, as they were the representatives of the larger Hindu population.
The Gandhi Irwin Pact was conducted as a result of the successful civil disobedience movement that broke carefully selected laws, such as selling salt illegally and selling contraband salt as well as the Khadi movement, where it was man against the machine. That is the reason why the British realized that if it formed any pact with the Muslim League it would not be representative and would not be popular among the majority of people, and for that purpose the presence of Gandhi was an important factor.
The reason why the Gandhi Irwin pact came into being was the Satyagraha as can be illustrated by the fact that the first demand of the pact was the discontinuation of the disobedience movement and the participation of the congress at the Round Table conferences. As a part of the pact, the British agreed to free political prisoners who had not been part of violent activities while Gandhi and the Congress discontinued the Civil Disobedience Movement.
Participation by the Indian National Congress in the Round Table Conference was required and the British agreed on restoring captured property for the Satyagrahis. Given the fact that the once condescending British granted these concessions to the Congress, things started improving and for the subcontinent, their dream of independence seemed to be nearing reality.
If the Civil Disobedience Movement had not occurred, and the Congress had accepted the small grants in legal representation, the British would never have realized the power and influence that the Congress and the Hindus exerted. Therefore it was necessary for the movement to have occurred, to make it evident to the British that the Hindus were a force to reckon with and that no change could be made in India without their consent.
The disobedience movement also enabled the British to understand fully the extent to which the congress could go and therefore they returned all the confiscated property as well as allowing people living along the coast to collect and sell salt of their own means. Therefore it was the result of the disobedience movement allowed the Congress to gain some leeway with the otherwise unbending government....
(Sonnleitner, 1985, p. 10)
Answer 3 (B)
Q. Make the strongest case that the 1931 Gandhi-Irwin pact illustrated an unsuccessful Satyagraha campaign.
The 1931 Gandhi Irwin pact was a weak agreement that disregarded many of the demands of the Congress and did not yield any useful results as it stemmed from a Satyagraha campaign that had served to offend the British, who in turn refused to give in more than they had anticipated. (Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal, n.d.)
The Satyagraha or the civil disobedience movement that took place to boycott the British and their laws, culminated in the Gandhi Irwin pact and this in itself is an indication of it being unsuccessful. The disobedience movement was against the law of that time, which was taken as a signal that the locals were amateur politicians as they were resorting to protests rather than dialogue, indicating to the British Government that the locals were not yet ready to govern themselves. It indicated how when locals themselves were bent upon breaking the law, that they probably could not be trusted to participate in the government.
This is the reason why the British only ceded to some of their points, with modifications of their own such as releasing political prisoners who were not accused of violence, whereas Gandhi had demanded that all of them be released. While all of their property was returned and the ban on Congress was lifted the civil disobedience movement came to signify the illegal measures that the party could resort to, and in that case made it difficult for the Congress to be taken seriously as a political party. (Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal, n.d.)
The reason for why the British did concede some of the points include the reasons that while the Viceroy was disgusted at the ungainly sight of Gandhi, there was pressure on the Labor government to keep things intact in India and to avoid such mass protests in the future.
Therefore the disobedience movement only served to destroy the image of the locals in the eyes of the British so that they were then given only a few points that they had to suffice on, and these were indeed not sufficient. However, if they had behaved rationally, and participated in the Round Table Conference they would have been able to have gained more advantage in political terms. This advantage would have been in terms of better explaining their position to the government, as well as securing their demands for a more local representation. Additionally, the British would have taken them as stable, mature politicians. Moreover, many of the Congress leaders including Gandhi would not have been jailed at such a crucial time, and could have asked for a better deal instead of freeing political prisoners. Instead, they gained futile favors in negotiations seeking release of prisoners, an event that could have been avoided in the first place.
Q. How would Gandhi respond to the following hypothetical question from the Oakland, California Chief of Police (following the violence accompanying the removal of Anti- Wall-Street protestors from their encampment) "When one begins a non-violent campaign in a city like Oakland, one knows that such a campaign increases the likelihood of violence -- from the police as well as from the protestors. Knowing this, must not people like you, who initiate nonviolent campaigns, bear some responsibility for any violence the campaign may generate between the Satyagrahis and those confronting the Satyagrahis
Gandhi will try and defend his stance on the Satyagraha movement and will indicate that the campaign that is being carried out has a certain purpose and a certain mission. And this mission is the struggle for truth and the struggle to get to that destination is arduous work.
Foremost, a non-violent campaign is just that, a movement without physical harm caused to any party. It is in fact a battle of intellect where each side should try and seek the truth. Even on part of the authorities that the Wall-street protesters are up against, these authorities should not out rightly dismiss them; instead they should see what the protesters are standing up against and search within themselves for answers. (Sonnleitner, 1985 )
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