In March 1930, Mohandas Gandhi set out from his ashram in western India on a 387-km trek to the sea. Twenty-five days later the tens of thousands who joined that march watched as he stooped, raised a handful of salty mud, and declared the end of British imperialism in India. The march culminated as Gandhi led nonviolent protesters to the doors of the salt factory in Dharasana, where they attempted to push their way into the facility without weapons or raised fists. On that hot day hundreds were beaten, a spectacle that would make its way into newspapers worldwide and change the face of India forever.

If Gandhi were alive today, he would lead protesters to the doors of a clinical research trials facility, where the oppression of the Indian poor dwarfs that of the 1930s. Why? Not because Gandhi was a Luddite, a man who held meetings while spinning...

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