Wednesday, September 7, 2011

62. Ab goli kha...

It surprises me even today how `pinch of salt' could rock the colonial boat! But it did and did so effectively that `salt satyagraha' became synonym with country's independence. Could Gandhiji ever predict the impact of his 240 kilometre walk to Dandi? My guess is as good as yours! Although I would imagine `he didn't'!

Other than shaking the pillars of the Raj, the symbolism of `salt satyagraha' by Gandhiji was much deep-rooted. Pinch of salt was not only used as a potent non-violent tool but was used in building `a community of shared experience'. Salt became the rallying point for even the poorest of the poor, everyone on the social ladder felt attached to it. Salt for once had become the glue of social cohesion!

For Indians, `salt' means `namak' and linked to it are two inseparable expressions - `namak haram' (disloyal) and `namak halal' (loyal). Gandhiji didn't want Indians to be `namak haram' of the British. By erasing salt loyalty from everybody's life, Gandhiji had detached the ruler from the ruled by breaking the unwritten social contract. Independence was gained through the non-violence of `namak'.

The 1857 revolt, in contrast, was violentally crushed because, as I understand it today, the masses had demonstrated `salt disloyalty' which could only invite the wrath of the ruler. `Sarkar, maine aapka namak khaya hai'. And the response could only be: `Ab goli kha'.


zenrainman said...

Brilliantly put.

Dr Harish Gena said...

Now a days, the salt "Namak" is replaced by Butter "Makhhan". It is inbuilt in the whole system and most of us are using "Makhhan" for showing loyalty and obedience to be ease in the present system. Wish to return the era of Salt loyalty “Namak Halali” for the country.
Harish Gena

Amulya Tuladhar said...

Re: gandhiji's prescience about the significance of his dandi march, i aver that he very much was aware of it amplified impact because he made sure he had the news, telegram and audiovisual technology and the dynamic of mass media on his mind when he instructed his followers to offer the other cheek when one was hit. And that was what undid the British by robbing the legitimacy from under with mass media. If he had turned his two cheeks without media, he would be dead and begone long ago. ditto, Amitabh's resurgence in Kaun Banega Karodpati was a marriage of his talent and diffuse goodwill for him being transmuted into real crores with STARPLUS media multiplication. Amulya from Nepal