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Paige Castelhano
Mr. Costagliola
Global Studies - A4
24 May 2017

Why Gandhis Acts of Civil Disobedience Werent Effective

Starting in the 19th and continuing into the 20th Century, India strived for independence

from the British Empire. One very influential character in the fight for the nations independence

was Mohandas K. Gandhi. He led many peaceful protests against unjust British laws to display

Indias wish for self-rule. However, Gandhis use of civil disobedience did not prove to be very

effective because many protests were unsuccessful.

On a train from England to South Africa, a passenger reported Gandhi for sitting in first

class because he was a colored man and considered third class. Mohandas Gandhi explained to

the passenger and conductor that he had paid for a first class ticket through the post. Despite his

reasoning for sitting in first class, Gandhi was thrown off the train for breaking the law. This

unfortunate result of nonviolent resistance proves that Gandhi failed at disobeying the

government, and it would not be the last time he did so.

One of Gandhis first protests was a symbolic burning of government identity passes

which took place in South Africa. All Indians were obligated to carry these passes to prove they

were allowed into the country. The protest symbolized the end of discrimination and targeting of

Indians through the passes. Gandhi was arrested for disobeying the government and publicly

beaten. After this poor demonstration of civil disobedience, M.K. Gandhi continued to fight for

freedom in differing ways.


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Following a visit to a man who was barely able to survive due to the low demand for

Indian indigo (which he grew), Gandhi began making his own clothing and encouraged others to

do the same. This way, protesters werent supporting the British cloth and dye industry. These

products were taking business away from Indians who made a living by producing and selling

the same. Despite this boycott, acts of violent revenge struck between the British and Indians. In

one incident during a peaceful gathering of Indians, British soldiers trapped and shot 1,516

innocent people. In retaliation, Indians chased and ignited multiple British police. This protest

and many others of Gandhis had negative effects on India and Britains relationship, making

independence harder to reach.

Gandhis uses of civil disobedience have proven to be unsuccessful for Indias path to

independence. They often resulted in negative effects, and did not show that Britains rule over

India was unjust and harmful in the ways he hoped. Instead, his attempts to defy the British

government brought more troubles in his life, and made the British more angered toward him and

all Indians since he represented their opinions. Although our intentions to improve something

may appear harmless, the results may prove otherwise.