Incentives of Gandhi and Nonviolence

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Imperialism a common act done by developed nations colonizing less developed nations for their people, resources, land, etc. Prior to freedom in India, the British effectively exploited their lands for their own economic and political gain. During the British occupation of India, a nonviolent civil disobedience march was held to protest the unjust control of India by Britain. The march was led and driven by Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi. In his letter, Gandhi employs a passive-aggressive tone by foreshadowing his plan for the march continuously and explicitly in order to convince the British to act before he does.

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Gandhi is aware that embarking violence will only result in catastrophe and will ruin his incentives of nonviolence. He aims to convince the British into thinking of their past and examining the horrible actions they have done to India. Trying to convince the British he understands it has to be in a polite and respectful way. Gandhi conveys he has “blindly” been working for a tyrannical monopoly in which has opened his eyes showing him the true colors of the British. Gandhi makes his intentions still and clear by stating that he “does not seek to harm [his] people” reassuring the actions he plans to take. He is certain his people will accompany him in taking the peace route, but he indirectly blames the conflict on the “Brtish nation sooner retracing its steps.” This bold statement by Gandhi is not only precarious demonstrating that he is standing up to the British but evokes guilt and shame on the British as it pressures them into making a decision without Gandhi merely asking. It also appeals to emotion as the British actions causing many Indians to suffer and “will be enough to melt the stoniest hearts.”

Gandhi’s wise choice of words allows him to emphasize his offer without deliberately conveying it in a violent tone. He lists out the benefits that could come with India whence the British alter their policy. Imperative verbs are used throughout his letter to Viceroy Lord Irwin in which they seem to affect the tone but are well “hidden” in the structure of Gandhi’s writing. For example, the phrase “I invite you” sounds very neighborly, but indirectly recommends and orders the British to change their cruel policies. Gandhi goes on and states that if Lord Irwin cannot comply with this offer he shall proceed and “disregard the provisions of the salt laws.” Gandhi brings down the act as it is “iniquitous” from a poor man’s perspective. He then covers his words by alluding back to how the people of India have been submitted to the monopoly for so long. Gandhi once again states this letter is not in any way a threat but is a civil favor that had to be done for his people. 

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