Published on: March 14, 2022

DANDI MARCH

DANDI MARCH

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PM paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi and all the eminent persons who marched to Dandi in order to protest injustice and protect our nation’s self-esteem. The day also marks beginning of Civil Disobedience Movement

Holland CDM & DANDI MARCH

CAUSES

  • Formation of the Simon Commission
  • Failure of Demand for Dominion Status
  • Protests against the arrest of social revolutionaries

BACKGROUND

INC Emergency session in Lahore in December 1929 under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru

  • Declared Complete Independence, or ‘PurnaSwaraj,’ as the Congress goal
  • Gave Mahatma Gandhi the power to launch a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience at any time and place he chose.

HOW IT STARTED

  • On January 31, 1930, Mahatma Gandhi wrote Viceroy Irwin a letter outlining and imposing eleven demands
  • The demand to abolish the salt tax, which is consumed by both the rich and the poor, was the most stirring of all the demands
  • The demands had to be met by March 11th, or the Congress would launch a civil disobedience campaign
  • Mahatma Gandhi led the popular salt march, which was accompanied by 78 of his trusted volunteers. From Gandhiji’s ashram in Sabarmati to the Gujarati coastal town of Dandi, the march covered over 240 miles
  • On the 6th of April, he arrived in Dandi and ceremonially broke the law by boiling seawater to make salt
  • The Civil Disobedience Movement got its start with this movement

IMPORTANCE OF SALT

  • As Gandhi famously stated, “There is no other item outside of water that the government can tax in order to reach the starving millions, the sick, the maimed, and the completely helpless. It is the most inhumane poll tax that man’s ingenuity can concoct.”
  • In an instant, salt connected the ideal of swaraj to a very real and universal grievance of the rural poor (and with no socially divisive implications like a no-rent campaign).
  • Salt, like khadi, provided a meagre but psychologically important income for the poor through self-help.

SALT SATYAGRAHA

  • On March 12, 1930, Gandhiji set out from Sabarmati with 78 followers on a 241-mile march to the coastal town of Dandi on the Arabian Sea. There, Gandhi and his supporters were to defy British policy by making salt from seawater.
  • At Dandi, thousands more followed his lead, and in the coastal cities of Bombay and Karachi, Indian nationalists led crowds of citizens in making salt.
  • Civil disobedience broke out all across India, soon involving millions of Indians, and British authorities arrested more than 60,000 people. Gandhiji himself was arrested on May 5, but the satyagraha continued without him.
  • On May 21, the poet Sarojini Naidu led 2,500 marchers on the Dharasana Salt Works, some 150 miles north of Bombay. The incident, recorded by American journalist Webb Miller, prompted an international outcry against British policy in India.
  • In January 1931, Gandhiji was released from prison. He later met with Lord Irwin, the viceroy of India, and agreed to call off the satyagraha in exchange for an equal negotiating role at a London conference on India’s future.
  • In August 1931, Gandhiji traveled to the conference as the sole representative of the nationalist Indian National Congress. The meeting was a disappointment, but British leaders had acknowledged him as a force they could not suppress or ignore.

DID IT INFLUENCE OTHER PARTS

  • After Gandhi’s symbolic breaking of the salt laws at Dandi, defiance of the laws spread throughout the country. CDM involved students, women, tribals, merchants and petty traders, workers and peasants from all walks of life.
  • Salt laws were defied in various provinces as well, under the leadership of various leaders. The Salt Satyagraha was led by C Rajagopalachari in Tamil Nadu, K Kelappan in Malabar, and Sarojini Naidu and Manilal Gandhi in Dharasana Salt Works (Gujarat).
  • The defiance of salt laws at Dharasana salt works is noteworthy for its scale, as a group of 2000 volunteers offered nonviolent resistance in the face of a large police force armed with steel-tipped lathis, which attacked non-resisting Satyagrahis (protestors) until they fell down.
  • The Gandhi-Irwin pact put an end to the civil disobedience movement. On March 5, 1931, Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India, signed it.