Page:Speeches And Writings MKGandhi.djvu/728
of South Africa gave to the movement. They know that we were as harmless as we were determined. It was easy enough for that body of men to cut to pieces those who arrested me. It would have not only been a most cowardly thing to do, but it. would have been a treacherous breach of their own pledge, and it would have meant ruin to ths struggle for freedom and the forcible deportation of every Indian from South Africa. But the men were no rabble. They were disciplined soldiers and all the .better for being unarmed. Though 1 was to inform them, they did not disperse, nor did they turn back. They marched on to their destination till they were every one of them arrested and imprisoned, So far as I am aware, this was one instance of discipline and non- violence for which there is no parallel in history. Without such restraint I see no hope of successful mass civil disobedience here.
We must dismiss the idea of overawing the- Government by huge demonstrations every time some one is arrested. On the contrary we must treat arrest as the normal condition of the life of a non-co operator. For we" must seek arrest and imprisonment as a soldier who goes to a battle to seek death. We expect to bear down the opposition of the Government by courting and not by avoiding imprisonment even though it be by showing our supposed readiness to be arrested and imprisoned. Civil disobedience then emphatically means our desire to surrender to a single unarmed policeman. Our triumph consists in thousands being led to the prisons like lambs to the slaughter house. If the lambs of the world had been willingly led they had jong ago saved themselves from the butcher's knife.