Gandhi Versus the Empire

By Haridas T. Muzumdar | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
HOW THE BRITISH RAJ GOVERNS

On the eve of his arrest ( May 5, 1930), Mahatma Gandhi drafted the text of a second letter to Viceroy Irwin from Camp Karadi, detailing the workings of British lathi Raj (lynch law regime) and setting forth his grim resolve to take possession of government salt works at Dharasana, non-violently and in the name of the people of India. His swift arrest without due process of law prevented the Mahatma from giving finishing touches to the letter as well as from carrying out the projected "raid" upon government salt works at Dharasana and elsewhere. The letter appeared in Young India, May 8, 1930:

DEAR FRIEND:God willing, it is my intention . . . to set out for Dharasana and reach there with my companions on . . . and demand possession of the Salt Works. The public have been told that Dharasana is private property. This is mere camouflage. It is as effectively under government control as the Viceroy's House. Not a pinch of salt can be removed without the previous sanction of the authorities.It is possible for you to prevent this "raid," as it has been playfully and mischievously called, in three ways:
by removing the salt tax;
by arresting me and my party unless the country can, as I hope it will, replace every one taken away;
by sheer goondaism [lynch law terrorism] unless every head broken is replaced, as I hope it will be.

-103-

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