'Salt Satyagraha' among most influential protests

Wednesday, 29 June 2011, 10:06 Hrs
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'Salt Satyagraha' among most influential protests
New York: Mahatma Gandhi-led 'Salt Satyagraha' during India's independence struggle has been named among the 'Top 10 Most Influential Protests' in the world by the prestigious Time magazine.

In March 1930, Gandhi embarked on a 24-day march from Sabarmati Ashram near Ahmedabad to the small seaside town of Dandi to produce salt to protest against the British salt monopoly in colonial India.

The non-violent campaign triggered the wider Civil Disobedience Movement against British rule.

Known as the salt "satyagraha" -- a Sanskrit term loosely meaning "truth-force" -- it carried the emotional and moral weight to break British empire, the Time said.

The magazine said Britain's centuries-long rule over India was, in many ways, first and foremost a regime of monopolies over commodities like tea, textiles and even salt.

Under colonial law, Indians were forbidden to extract and sale their own salt, and instead were forced to pay the far costlier price of salt manufactured and imported from the UK.

That act -- for which more than 80,000 Indians would get arrested in the coming months -- sparked years of mass civil disobedience that came to define both the Indian independence struggle as well as Gandhi himself, the Time said.

The January 25 Egyptian revolution against the regime of Hosni Mubarak has also made it to the list.

After 30 years in the top spot, Mubarak received his first serious challenge on January 25, 2011 when more than one million protesters, fuelled by political unrest, massive unemployment and social media, assembled in Tahrir (Liberation) Square, the Time said.

The uprising was mainly a campaign of non-violent civil resistance, which featured a series of demonstrations, marches, acts of civil disobedience, and labour strikes.

Mubarak finally stepped down on February 11. The Tiananmen Square protests in China in 1989 is also on the list. There were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The movement used mainly non-violent methods and can be considered a case of civil resistance.

As crowds swelled to 100,000, similar gatherings across the country joined their pleas for change. Finally, on June 4, 1989, the government gave the green light for troops and tanks to open fire on the square.

The Boston Tea Party Civil Rights 1773; March on Washington, 1963; Stonewall Inn, 1969; Moratorium Against the Vietnam War, 1969; Muharram protests in Iran, 1978; People Power protests, 1986 and Purple Rain Protest in Cape Town 1989 are other movements that have been named in the list.
Source: IANS
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