Friday, January 13, 2006

On the name of this blog

On April 6, 1930, (an interesting date to Mormons) a small and frail 61 year old man, wearing only a peasant's homespun loincloth walked into the sea, prayed and then picked up a few grains of salt left by evaporated sea water on the shore.* Twenty four days earlier he had set out on his Salt March to Dandi with only a few followers. Peasants threw flowers in their path and sprinkled water on the ground to stop the dust from rising. When the old man picked up the salt between his fingers, word traveled like lightening through India and echoed aroundthe world.

When India's political leaders first heard that Gandhi intended to break the law that gave the British government in India a monopoly over the salt trade, they were baffled. They had asked him to lead them to independence. Why give attention to such a minor issue at this critical time. The British viceroy didn't even bother to try to stop Gandhi.Both sides underestimated his powerful ideas. Gandhi understood that salt was essential to the diet of India's poor labourers, who comprised the majority of the Indian people. They needed salt to replenish the body's supplies lost in perspiration as they worked in sweltering heat. That being said, salt was a necessity that cut acrossregional, class and ethnic boundaries -- everyone-- aristocrat and peasant needed and used it in their daily lives. Even though they could produce it themselves, they were forced to buy it from the British.The people could see that the freedom to produce salt should be their right. This act proved to be a powerful non-violent act which engaged thousands of people.

* there is some disagreement if an actual grain, pinch or mudball with sand was picked up.

When I shared this story with my Sunday school class of eight 14-15year olds, they looked at the small grains of salt I had sprinkled into their hands with great interest. I then moved on to the story of another "Mahatma, or great soul" that had also used salt as a metaphor to teach. We talked about how Jesus used tiny, everyday common thingsto teach great lessons -- salt, mustard seeds, coins and lambs.From there we moved on to non-violent resistance and we talked about things like turning the other cheek and giving your cloak along with your coat. I shared some of the things I had read in Eugene England's Making Peace, about peaceful resistance -- how it was not just peaceful, but that it actually was resistance. They shared their own interpretations. It was a great discussion; I think we learned a lot from each other.

Thus, the title of my blog -- can a grain of salt make a difference? Is anything I write worth its salt? Should one take everything I write with a grain of salt? I think, yes.

kris at 7:17 PM



at 10:13 PM Blogger kris said...


at 10:37 PM Blogger kris said...

test 2

at 10:11 PM Blogger Stephen said...

Nice start, nice graphics.

Would you be interested in exchanging links?

BTW, I've always loved how he brought an end to the great fence (the British used the salt trade as a way to tax all of India and had, of all things, a fence that pretty much divided the country. It is gone now, the thorns are all pulled, but books and essays about it remaain.

at 3:09 PM Blogger Heather P. said...

kris, I haven't told you that I'm glad your personal blog is back up. I've loved this piece on the meditations that go with the name of your blog. Nice new look too.

at 11:41 PM Blogger fMhLisa said...

That's a great story. I always wonder when I'm preparing my lessons, how I should bring in examples from my own interests and ideals. And usually I feel totally inadaquate to the task. It sounds like you have it in the bag. I'm jealous!

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