- The Prime Minister of India launched Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate the 75th year of Independence and also flagged off a march to commemorate the 91st anniversary of Dandi March.
What is Dandi March?
- The 1882 Salt Act gave the British a monopoly in the manufacture and sale of salt. Even though salt was freely available on the coasts of India, Indians were forced to buy it from the colonisers.
- After the halt of Non-cooperation movement in 1920’s, Mahatma Gandhi decided that if there was any one product through which civil disobedience movement could be inaugurated, then it was salt. He said “Next to air and water, salt is perhaps the greatest necessity of life,”
- The British government, including the Viceroy Lord Irwin too did not take the prospect of a campaign against the salt tax too seriously.
- The 24-day march from March 12 to April 5, 1930 from Sabarmati ashram in Ahemdabad to a coastal village called Dandi was undertaken.
- It was a tax resistance campaign against the British salt monopoly over salt.
- Women did not participate in the march but Sarojini Naidu undertook the journey in the last stretch of the march.
- Mahatma Gandhi reached Dandi on April 5. The following day, early morning he proceeded along with the other marchers to the sea, where he picked up lumps of natural salt lying in a small pit and said “With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire.”
What was the significance?
- The march shook up the British government. It responded by arresting 95000 people.
- Mahatma Gandhi was arrested and sent to Yerwada Central Jail.
- The Dandi march inspired many leaders across the country. Similar marches were undertaken by Satish Chandra Dasgupta in Bengal, K.F Nariman in Bombay etc and prepared salt.
- What started as salt satyagraha soon grew into mass satyagraha. Forest laws were flouted in Maharashtra, Karnataka and the Central Provinces. Peasants in Gujarat and Bengal refused to pay land and chowkidari taxes.