Dandi March to Mark 75 Years of Independence
- 12 Mar 2021
- 6 min read
Why in News
The Prime Minister has flagged off a commemorative ‘Dandi March’ (on 12th March) to launch the celebrations of the 75th year of Independence - ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
- About the 2021 Dandi March:
- The padyatra is being undertaken by 81 marchers from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to Dandi in Navsari, a journey of 386 km. The march will end after 25 days, on 5th April 2021.
- Descendants of those who walked the Salt March (in 1930) will be honoured.
- Marchers will traverse the route in memory of the 78 who accompanied Mahatma Gandhi in 1930 from Ahmedabad to Dandi and two others who had joined mid-route.
- Big events will be organised at six places associated with Gandhi. These include MK Gandhi’s birthplace Porbandar, along with Rajkot, Vadodara, Bardoli (Surat), Mandvi (Kutch) and Dandi (Navsari).
- Cultural programmes are planned at 21 spots on the route at the nightly stops for the walkers.
- About the 1930 Dandi March:
- The Dandi March, also known as the Salt March and the Dandi Satyagraha was an act of nonviolent civil disobedience led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
- The march lasted from 12th March, 1930 to 6th April, 1930 as a direct action campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly.
- On 12th March, 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 5th May, but the satyagraha continued without him.
- On 21st May, 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.
- 1930 Dandi March (Background):
- The Lahore Congress of 1929 had authorized the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to launch a programme of civil disobedience including non-payment of taxes.
- On 26th January 1930, “Independence Day” was observed, with the national flag being hoisted in different venues, and patriotic songs being sung.
- In February 1930, CWC meeting at Sabarmati Ashram, invested Gandhiji with full powers to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement at a time and place of his choice.
- Gandhiji’s ultimatum to Lord Irwin, the Viceroy of India (1926-31), stating the minimum demands had been ignored and there was only one way out-civil disobedience.
- Effect of the Movement:
- Civil Disobedience in different forms continued in different provinces. Special stress was laid on the boycott of foreign goods.
- In eastern India, payment of chowkidari tax was refused. This no-tax campaign became very popular in Bihar.
- In Bengal, J.N. Sengupta defied Government laws by reading openly the books banned by the government.
- Defiance of forest laws assumed a mass character in Maharashtra.
- The movement had taken a fire hold in provinces of U.P., Orissa. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Assam.
- Imports from Britain had fallen considerably. For example, imports of cloth from Britain had fallen by half.
- The movement was more widespread than the previous one. Mass participation including women, peasants, workers, students, urban elements like merchants, shopkeepers provided the Congress a new all-India status.
- The support that the movement had garnered from the poor and the illiterate both in the town and countryside was remarkable.
- For Indian women, the movement was the most liberating experience to date and can truly be said to have marked their entry into the public space.
- Although the Congress withdrew the Civil Disobedience in 1934, the movement received global attention and marked a critically important stage in the progress of the anti-imperialist struggle.