Outlaws! The word often haunts us, as we sit and ponder over it. Usually it brings with it, a sense of insecurity and fear. Sometimes after watching a movie or after reading a crime story, we are scared about going out alone, or sometimes, even in the house we have a feeling, as if someone is watching us.
Why is all this? Why are we scared in our own house? Why are we scared to go out? It is because after watching so many movies, reading the papers and being aware about the crimes happening all around us, we just dont want to take a chance with our lives. Life is to precious a thing to take chances with.
Often we ask ourselves, who are all these people who commit crimes, are they not aware of their actions? Are they the same as us, do they come from the same kind of society as we do?
These criminals are the same as us, they come from the same kind of society as we do, eat the same kind of food, wear the same kind clothes, but still in a way are very different from us. They commit crimes! That is, probably one of the only things, that can differentiate them from us. But why do they commit crimes is the question?
Sometimes it is due to the lack of money, when people are trying to find a quick way to earn some money. Sometimes, it is for revenge and sometimes without any reason. But there are different kinds of outlaws. A person maybe an outlaw in the eyes of some, and innocent according to others. For ex. Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. They fought for the right of the people and did not give into the system and hence in the eyes of the government were considered to be outlaws.
Gandhi played a major role in the fight against the British for the Independence of India. He led India towards Independence and hence is called the Father of the Nation. Before coming to India he was in South Africa for some time and there, he practiced non-violence, to fight for the rights of Indians, residing in South Africa. He was sentenced to prison and after being released; he came back to India. Here he again practiced non-violence and in harmony with a number of other people, was able to force the British Government to leave India and go back to there own Country.
He preached and practiced non-violence and gave it a new name, he called it Satyagraha. According to Gandhi Satyagraha is the vindication of truth not by infliction of suffering on the opponent but on ones self (qtd. in The Life and Death of Mahatma Gandhi 477). During the time when he was fighting against the British, he led a number of movements and hence in the eyes of the British, was considered an Outlaw.
Among the many acts practiced by him, one of them was the Spin and Weave(qtd. in Gandhi and Modern India 132). He asked the Indians to stop buying British clothing and spin the wheel and make cotton for themselves. This gave the British cotton industry a big jolt, as the sales started declining tremendously. In accordance with this movement he also published three inflammatory articles over a period of one year (1921), in a newspaper called Young India (Chadha 260).
In these articles Gandhi openly stated that, the Indians will no longer be submissive to the wants of the British and that, it was time now that the Indians are going to fight back. Due to the publication of these articles and because Gandhi had been fighting the British Empire, he was tried in court on March 18, 1922 and was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment (Chadha 265). The British were compelled to put him into prison, for, they feared his growing popularity and sensed, that they might loose control over India.
Gandhis prison life came to an abrupt end in 1924 when he developed acute appendicitis and had to be admitted into the hospital (Chadha 268). Soon after being released from the hospital, Gandhi planned a march to Dandi, a seacoast near Jalalpur, in order to defy the salt law, which provided that all salt should be taxed. This was the most important movement in the history of India, as it gave the British the message, that Indians would no longer be slaves.
On March 12 1930, a small group of people set out in the direction towards Dandi. The number of followers constantly increased, till the procession became about 2 miles in length. Gandhi marched at the head of the procession. He made frequent stops in villages, enlightening the people with his thoughts and spiritual ideas (Fischer 267).
Gandhi and his followers were playing for the highest possible stakes- swaraj in a few weeks or months. Non-violence, which had been aimless, without focus, now at last possessed a definite aim and a single overwhelming focus. It was aimed at the destruction of British rule not in some period in the future, but now. The march to the sea in order to pick up a few grains of salt seemed illogical, but it possessed an imaginative grandeur and coherence, and a dramatic force.
At last on April 5, after a march of 241 miles in twenty-four days, Gandhi reached the seacoast at Dandi. The night of April 5 nobody slept because of the excitement. Early morning on April 6 Gandhi, accompanied by his followers, walked into the sea and picked up a grain of salt and broke the law (Fischer 267).
After this movement Gandhi and his followers planned to raid the British salt factory, but before the raid Gandhi was arrested and sent to prison. But the factory was still raided under the supervision of Sarojini Naidu. At the factory the satyagrahis who did not lift their hands, as they were practicing non- violence, were knocked of like pins, by the policemen who were armed with mettle tipped lathis (sticks) (Fischer 273).
Eventually Gandhi came out of the prison and after talking with the Government and after having many such movements, was able to force the British out of India.
Throughout this period, when he was fighting the British, the British considered him and every single person fighting for independence, as an outlaw, just because they were fighting for their rights and their freedom.
In my view, the people who fought for the independence are dispensable, for, it is them who got the Indians freedom and it is because of them, that the Indians today, are living the way, they do.
These kinds of people are also considered as outlaws, because they fight for a cause. The cause being religion, freedom, racial discrimination or even injustice done to them. They are outlaws in the eyes of some and law-abiding citizens in the eyes of others. It is just the way you look at things, just as an optimist would say, that a glass is half full and a pessimist would say that its half empty.