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Gandhi on Civil Disobedience
When we do not like certain laws, we do not break the heads of the law-givers but we suffer and do not submit to the laws. That we should obey laws whether good or bad is a new-fangled notion. There was no such thing in former days. The people disregarded those laws they did not like and suffered the penalties for their breach. It is contrary to our manhood if we obey laws repugnant to our conscience.
If our rulers are doing what in their opinion is wrong, and we feel it is our duty to let them hear our advice even though it may be considered sedition, I urge you to speak sedition-but at your peril, you must be prepared to suffer the consequences. And, when you are ready to suffer the consequences and not hit below the belt, then I think you will have made good your right to have your advice heard even by the Government.
Only he who has mastered the art of obedience to law knows the art of disobedience to law.
Those only can take up civil disobedience who believe in willing obedience even to irksome laws imposed by the State so long as they do not hurt their conscience or religion, and are prepared equally willingly to suffer the penalty of civil disobedience
Complete civil disobedience is rebellion without the element of violence in it. An out- and-out civil resister simply ignores the authority of the State. He never uses force and never resists force when it is used against him. In Fact, he invites imprisonment and other uses of force against himself.... Submission to the State law is the price a citizen pays for his personal liberty. Submission, therefore, to a State law wholly or largely unjust is an immoral barter for liberty. A citizen who thus realizes the evil nature of a State is not satisfied to live on its sufferance, and therefore appears to others who do not share his belief to be a nuisance to society whilst he is endeavoring to compel the State, without committing a moral breach to arrest him. A body of civil resisters is like an army subject to all the discipline of a soldier's life. One perfect civil resister is enough to win the battle of right against wrong.
Extracted from "The Wit and Wisdom of Gandhi" by Homer. A. Jack.
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