NEW TACTICS ADOPTED. Appeal to Native Women.
Resistance to the law.
CALCUTTA, April 9.
Thousands of villagers who journeyed to Aat, in the Bombay Presidency, yesterday, in expectation of seeing Gandhi’s arrest, were disappointed to find that the authori- ties had not even posted a single constable to stop Gandhi from carrying out his threat to manufacture illicit salt. But before Gandhi performed the task of col-
lecting salt by leading his volunteers into the salt mire, he made a dramatic speech, which even came as a bombshell to his hearers, expounding a new version of his creed of non-violent civil disobedience.
For weeks the mainspring of Gandhi’s campaign had been an appeal to the volun- teers to offer no resistance to the police, but in the new order yesterday he exhorted the people in the following terms:—
“Resist the confiscation of salt from your grips with all your might till blood is spilt. All women and children should resist confiscation, and then let me see whether the police dare to touch our womenfolk. If they do, and if India’s sons and daughters are not so emasculate as to take such an insult lying down, you can take it the whold country will be ablaze. This is a non-violent battle for India’s freedom, and the name of the town of Aat will be written in letters of gold in the history of India. Let every Indian woman hold on to her lump of illicit salt as she would her fond child which was being wrested from her by
After this speech the salt collecting con- tinued with greater zest, and in some dis- tricts the villagers joined in the move-
At Delhi seven volunteers were slightly hurt in a scuffle with the police, the in- jured men being carried through the streets as evidence of the “Government’s repres-
A sentence, in some cases involving the maximum penalty of two years’ with hard labour, has been imposed on persons ar- rested for breaking the salt laws. Ram Das, Gandhi’s son, received six months’ hard labour, while Nariman, the Bombay All-India Congress president, was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment.
The three leaders arrested following the raid at Bombay on the congress camp were each sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour, in addition to a fine of £22. The large crowd outside the court upon hearing the sentences, made a bonfire of British cloth.
[Instead of being the ”crushing burden” that it is frequently alleged to be, the salt tax, which is one of the few methods open to the Government of India to obtain money from the bulk of the native population is calculated to be equal to two fifths of 1 percent of the average amount spent on food a head.]