When the British Empire controlled India, it used legislation like the salt tax to control the population. Learn how Gandhi's non-violent salt march triggered a wave of protest leading to Indian independence in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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and at tat time had entertained me returned by staff priority grandma either gathers eighteen months ago we did a pipe cast about civil rights movement and it's interesting about me with king juniors ideals is that they warrant entirely unique to help he actually got a lot of his inspiration from gandhi and we really honoured gandhi as being a man who planted the seed of non violent protest in kings mind but we didn't sell a going to backtrack little bed and talk about gandhi and one of his most successful campaigns and really one of the most successful campaigns in history because its to incite what would be the tail end
of the indian revolt against british colonial rule and we started talking about that it a little bit with the package on the east india company we mention the seaport rebellion and we also said they did bread the fight for indian independence for we deserve a zone pike as an i'm starting to think it deserves many bycatch because on organ but today is only a small fraction of that fight about going back little bit to the sea play rebellion then happened in eighteen fifty seven and it was sort of a revolt against the east india company were which was sort of britain's sing and monopoly over the trade in that area and it by this time gotten a very oppressive rule over india in the sea boys who were soldiers army for the east and the accompanying either indian soldiers revolted at that time but genitally that revolt failed more than that afterwards the british decided to dissolve the east india company and instead
with a rule india directly and this started the rash and direct british governance of the indian sub continent created very very much a hostile environment between the indians and the british because their own culture was essentially oppressed by these new administrative policies at the british brought in and the british instilled all sorts of taxes and lies to govern these people and keep them under their thumb and one of the items that they taxed with salt and it may sound irrelevant to us today this idea of taxing salt because many of us just tell us to reduce our cells and take it sodium versions of our favorite foods bites in it especially the climate being so in human and contributing to so much sweating salt was probably necessary and additives so long
time ago when people used you hunt animals they would get most of their salt from raw meat and then people shunned the sort of hunter gatherer lifestyle for more permanent establishment on farms and turn to die of meat and plants they had add solve their diet because salt is very nice during our bodies in order to orchestrate electrical impulses the fire among our nerves and its consent a great way to generate revenue for governments throughout the course of history to tax salt because people needed not only for sustenance but there is a preservatives and this is before at the dawn of refrigeration of course people have just been using salt four year and so the idea of the british coming into india and taxing salt which is so necessary to the culture was seen as a great tool of oppression the people because there their diet is chiefly vegetarian there as part of a religious rules as well so wise
recently they needed supplementary salt in particular it like you said governments historically tax date if you back to your pike s front revolution this is actually one of the biggest things that cause there is well that's all tax there was known as the global and people actually tried to get rid of it for awhile during the french revolution after that took place by buying in time they actually had to reign instituted and so most countries by that time we're still using this all tax ironically however you it was one of the first countries to get rid of their own salt tax really because of protest against it but because it became salt became them weren't mineral in the industrial revolution for economic reasons so at this time a very important historical figure emerges gandhi
and i was born behind us gandhi but he became so revered by the people that they called him mahatma gandhi and essential aim hot means great sold and he did have a really great saw he preached non violence and peaceful protests and he believed in the idea of civil disobedience and we mention that martin luther king get alot of his ideas from gandhi and gandhi and turn got many of his ideas from lear tolstoy an henry david throw the row of course is very famous for his essay on civil disobedience but you could do say that even though you can see these roots lie gandhi was really the first one to two really put it in play and he is he promoted what was at that time a very revolutionary idea may never have a country overthrowing its government through peaceful
means only i mean that's just incredible to think about and so accounts of his protests you can see that the way that the british forces risk then being beaten nonviolent submission but through how ready pretty submissive because their protesting by peaceful means i find the idea of them being beaten into submission but already pretty submissive because their protesting by peaceful means anyway it was just a resounding gandhi really thought that this could work so as you mentioned the sole tax was a major issue and became a major symbol of of the british oppression and gandhi himself as a particularly on hurtful for the poor man and so these were the reason i he set out on a salt march and he said from a place called sob howdy ashram which is one of his dwellings and here he set out without seventy eight other people although more joined along the way because the the whole trip was
two hundred and forty miles and i covered between ten and fifteen miles a day is it about twenty four day march and it is pretty incredible to think gandhi was fifty one years old by this time and he is not in the best of health but a red historic they they like actually walking so fast that some other people younger people were actually trouble keeping up with him he was such like an energetic and devoted man obviously anticipate there are different villages on his way to the iranian see he would encourage officials to resign from their posts and he would encourage other people to join him in his march so after his two under forty miles track on he reached the arabian see he did something that by government standards was criminal and incredibly insolent actually gathered salt from the ground and he encouraged everyone else to do the same in this one thing it's amazing
salt tax we should mention is that you couldn't buys all without the tax but you couldn't gather your own salt from the sea water from the natural deposits along the sea that was there was an illegal act so indian labourers who worked on the coast especially sometimes they would you're huge natural deposits assault and at the end of the day they would have to go into town and actually pay something they could have gotten on their own from the land that was surrounding them so the idea of collecting your own sought was incredibly rebel canary and it led to thousands of arrests for gandhi followers really interesting to think about why will what was going on in gandhi mind when he came up with this idea of assault march because you know you didn't have to walk you know and i mentioned he wasn't in the best health and he could have just taken a train or a car to the coast to pick up some salt really in crude terms it was a big publicity stunt really he knew what he was doing he knew how to work
city in the media to to make his point and this is what was so effective about it is that i mentioned bickerton effect while the and this is a kind of relatively slow not only because he stopped and villages like you mentioned but also because he wanted to give the media chances to catch up make their story of the day and the new york times actually covered in almost daily and this is one of the things i made it so incredibly effective and long before the thought march and nineteen thirty gandhi it had a pretty extensive political career he started out with a law practice and what was then bombay failed and so an indian affirm the scent interposed in south africa and in south africa indians were so poorly mister especially those of the lowest cost that he started campaigning for human rights and political rights and twenty years he spent in south africa and when he came back to india he joined the campaign to get indian and
thence from the british government and the indian national congress actually appointed him to an executive position and nineteen twenty one but his tactics didn't really work guns there the british because they were so violent that gandhi i think for a while started to recollect his idea and really re evaluate how he was going to accomplish its goal and so after he was imprisoned by the government he gave up on politics i'm died and you know it's funny because thomas jefferson said the same thing he was done with politics and then he went on to become the president of the united states like obligatory teach over gazing at ninety and so nineteen twenty four when god he was released from prison he was trying to combat this life of politics it was so deeply ingrained in what was happening in his country and he cared so much
and was so innovative and his ideas and the people were veered hand to such a high level that he could not do anything so like jane was saying it sixty one years old it's not like this was the right time in his life to launch revolution but he did and he wrote a letter to a lord erwin who was davis india and he actually asked erwin to abolish the salt tax and he told him that if he wouldn't he was going to go on this march because this was part of gone geology he was going to make his intentions clear who is going to do it in a very peaceful way and very brave to do it and not only that he actually referred to earlier and i regard this tax to be the most iniquitous of all from the poor man standpoint and what made his protest against salt so unique and i think what really brought him back into the political spheres that he
hats to this idea and if he was using the salt march as sort of a media campaign as you are suggesting jane salt was the perfecting to pay hast because no matter your level on society whether you were the richest of the richer the poorest of the poor you had to have salt and whether you have the money we didn't have the money certainly you are irritated you're paying for something that was growing unnatural posits around yo see salt was it sought was the word like you said gondy was a pretty important public figure at this time and so after him this letter to early in pretty much he knew it we're gonna do we could have just gone and arrested him before he started this but that in itself would have caused such an opera because gandhi with such an important public figure and this is what also made some of our countries other campaigns so effective as well i heard of his camp lakes hunger strikes in prison
during that time you know you might think well you know your strike what is the matter if you like why what did the british care if gandhi kills himself you know but it was very important because it would have embarrassed them light if if gandhi died of hunger in this in this strike against the british oppression especially sense you mentioned the rest of the world was watching at this point he had everyone's eyes on him can even see i'm a photographs of his march and he's wearing very humble attire he's wearing a loincloth and a shawl and some very cheap looking glass as and you know he's obviously a man who shunned all material possessions and with this great sense of peace and purpose marching gathering his followers and essentially turning the tides on them for ending independence it had long ago sort have been concluded with it say now this isn t happen and ghani with it
and a lot of people's minds and get enough people on board to subvert the government and irwin and gandhi actually signs a pact that legalised the accent and manufacture of salt and than that and later lifted the salt tax after the pact assign about a year later yes hello made it one of his most successful campaign history and it was one stepping stone in the ultimate independence that india guide in nineteen forty seven so saucy and very rich history yeah and if you are enjoying the history you here on our podcast cast you can get a daily dose on the stuff you missed in history class bog you can't i wrote on this once a day and we write about modern i
teresa news going on and seven in the media that interest ass men has relevance to history that we think you'd be interested to learn as well that when you get that black fisher author to check out this article whited gandhi marked turned forty miles for some unhoused airport stuck for more on this and thousands of other topics that have tough work stockholm let us know what you think send an email to podcast at helstone dot com how do you find a new way forward when suddenly you have two ready or not maybe or relocating or having your first or leaving relationship just starting or just starting over on the road to somewhere we talk about all of it getting really honest we definitely laugh our way through it that's the beauty of this journey emily saws
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-07.