Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dandi March: 5 Interesting Facts About Gandhi’s Salt Satyagraha

gandhi salt march facts
Gandhi Salt March/Image Source: Wikimedia
With the first ray of the Sun, on 6th of April, 1930, a 61 year old man, draped in Khaddar, stood up with a lump of salt in one hand and said, “With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire.”

Yes, the old man was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, and the place was Dandi. Gandhi led a successful campaign against British Raj, but the script of this story was written on today. Today, on the 12th of March, eighty five years ago.

Dandi Yatra Map
DANDI WAS NOT THE ACTUAL DESTINATION
Opposite to popular view, Dandi was not the original destination to end the march. The actual destination was somewhere near the Borsad, Gujrat. However, when Gandhi arrived at Borsad, he realised the new intensity of the movement. And to gain wide nationwide support and international exposure, Gandhi extended the march to Dandi. Source: Shreyans Gandhi

Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu during Dandi March
NO ONE WAS INTERESTED IN SALT
Gandhi’s idea of salt as the symbol of protest made him a laughing stock in British and World Media. The Statesman a prominent British daily wrote, “It is difficult not to laugh, and we imagine that will be the mood of most thinking Indians.” Jawaharlal Nehru and other top Congress leaders were also uncertain about the whole idea, Sardar Patel even suggested to work on land revenue boycott. But Gandhi was confident about the idea, and he reasoned the leadership and his followers, that Salt March will catalyze the Purna Swaraj Movement and will spread the message to the lowest strata. Source: The Hindu

Gandhi’s letter to Viceroy, Lord Irwin
GANDHI’S LETTER TO VICEROY, LORD IRWIN
On 2nd of March, 1930, Gandhi wrote a letter to then Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin. In his strong and humble words, Gandhi offered Lord Irwin to stop march if Irwin agreed on eleven demands including signification cutting military expenses, levitating tax on foreign goods, abolishing the salt tax, and reduction of land revenue assessment. But as I mentioned earlier, the whole idea was uncertain among the congress leader, so you can’t blame the Viceroy. Viceroy ignored the appeal.

You can read the transcription of Gandhi’s letter to the Viceroy, Lord Irwin on British Library

Dandi March Statue
THE ORIGINAL 81
When Gandhi finally reached his destination, Dandi and made the first lump of salt, there were around 60,000 to 100,000 marchers behind him. But when he first started the salt march, there were only eighty-one marchers including him. Most of them were young men and women in their early 20s and 30s and hail from every part of United India.

You can read about the details viz. name, age, location of the original 81 who participated in the Dandi salt march. Source: Gandhi Heritage Portal

salt satyagraha
Gandhi making salt in Dandi
A PINCH OF SALT WORTH OF 750 DOLLARS
Dandi salt march break out into mass civil disobedience movement, many Indians broke the law by making or illegaly trading the salt. Gandhi, himself sold a pinch of salt for Rs. 1,600 (then equivalent to 750 USD) to the highest bidder of salt, Dr. Kanuga. The salt march also inspired, Ghaffar Khan, also popularly known as Baccha Khan, to led non-violent movement against the British Raj. Source: The Gandhi Reader: A Sourcebook of His Life and Writings, 1994.

Though Gandhi was unable to get any concessions from Salt Satyagraha, but it did make the noise at the world stage, producing a exiguous progress toward the Independence of India. It is also interesting to note, Gandhi was named Time’s Person of The Year in 1930.

1 comment:

  1. Those were times where conviction of one man has shaken an empire where sun never set.

    ReplyDelete