Page:Mahatma Gandhi, his life, writings and speeches.djvu/57

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The passive resistance movement had commenced. The registering officers went about from place to place, but little business had they to do as ninety-five per cent, of the people remained true to their oath. The law took its course and a veritable saturnalia of imprisonments ensued. The gaols became literally crammed with the Indians who suffered for conscience' sake. High and low, rich and poor went to the gaol as to the bridal. Husband was separated from wife, child from parent, and yet the fervour and pertinacity of the sufferers abated not. Mr. Gandhi himself was sentenced to two months' simple imprisonment. During the trial he took full responsibility for the course adopted by the Indian community and asked for the maximum punishment for himself. The authorities were naturally perturbed to see the worm turning and for the first time displayed a chastened mood. Negotiations were opened through the mediation of one, Mr. Cartwright, a journalist, and it was agreed that the new law should be suspended for three months, that in the meanwhile registration should be made voluntarily, and that at the end of the period it should be