IT ALL STARTED WITH A PINCH OF SALT
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
I am often asked the question “What can I do to help the Resistance?” My answer is usually along the lines of “do whatever you can do.” Talk to someone. Express your frustrations, your expectations and your solutions. Write to someone. A letter to the editor, an op-ed, a post, if you are visually inclined, a meme or a tweet, or retweet. And always remember to smile at someone at least once a day. You’d be surprised what a difference even one slight upward movement of the lips can bring. There are many accounts of depressed, suicidal persons who were saved from death because someone, a stranger, smiled at them. My other advice is “starting now.” When do you want to start changing the world? How about right here and right now? Or at least, how about today? Too much attention is placed on creating a “better” tomorrow, and not nearly enough on improving our lives today. The take-away? No positive act is too small to consider doing. This is also true of politics.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma is a title of reverence given to a holy person or sage) was a great man who in many tangible ways is responsible for freeing a nation from bondage. Liberating his native India from British colonial rule. He never held political office. He never fired, or recommended that anyone yearning to be free fire a weapon of any type in opposition to their foreign oppressors. He proved non-violent revolution is as effective, or perhaps modernly, even more effective method of producing a successful change of rule. When the British asked Gandhi what and his supporters wanted, he told them to go home. That they had to go home. Simply, leave. Eventually they did. History reminds us India’s emancipation started with a simple, non-aggressive singular act of defiance. It all started with a pinch of salt.
The history of salt and its influence on the world cannot be overstated. At one point, salt was a more valued source of wealth and trading than any coin or piece of paper can ever hope to be. After all, you can’t flavor your soup with a rupee, pound note or even a silver shekel, now can you? In India salt was a basic ingredient of Indian cooking and cuisine. In an act of thinly veiled colonial style taxation the native Indians were forbidden from producing their own salt. They were required to purchase far more expensive salt from their British Nabobs and the like although for centuries India, being surrounded by water produced an abundance of natural sea salt. This left many of the India people without the ability to purchase this most basic of seasonings.
There are historians who will tell you the fall of Constantinople, precipitating the end of the Silk Road and the loss of the West’s ability to purchase otherwise unavailable spices, was one of the motivating factors behind the Crusades (seems the Pope liked his food on the spicy side). In comparison, the response and ruckus caused by India’s loss of a seasoning seems rather mild in comparison.
On March 12, 1930 Mahatma Gandhi and 78 of his closest followers began a highly visible, 24 day, 240-mile non-violent protest to the coastal town of Dandi with the purpose of defying British law by, wait for it, each taking a single pinch of salt from the beach. They did. Today, this act known as the Salt March, Dandi March or Dandi Satyagraha led to thousands of arrests. It also exposed thousands of potential followers to Gandhi’s nonviolent civil disobedience movement as their path to freedom. As Yoda, another master of celestial wisdom would say, “follow, they did.”
On the 15th of August 1947 via the Quit India Resolution in Parliament, the British Raj (rule) was over.
On that day, the beginning of the removal of British troops from Indian soil ended 89 years (1858-1947) of British dominance and rule. It all started with a long walk and a pinch of salt. Yes, it did. Now what did you say you were going to do today?