During March 1930, India witnessed the Satyagraha which has been marked as a turning point in the Indian struggle for independence. Led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Baapu) this act of Civil Disobedience movement was popularly known as ‘Dandi March’ and ‘Salt Satyagraha’. Thousands of people stepped out and followed Gandhiji during this march from Sabarmati to Dandi (240 miles). The march resulted in the apprehension of nearly 60,000 people, including Gandhiji himself. This revolution in the history gave rise to many other satyagraha and movements that finally granted India’s Independence in 1947.
DANDI MARCH – BACKGROUND
Production and distribution of salt in India had been a rewarding monopoly of the East India Company. The British Salt Act of 1882 prohibited Indians to produce and sell salt also applied a heavy salt tax on the consumption of this vital mineral. Defying the Salt Act by East India Company, Gandhiji in 1930 decided to mount a highly visible non- violence movement against the British salt policy. This campaign of Mahatma Gandhi was then observed as ‘Mass Civil Disobedience Movement” or ‘Satyagraha’.
DANDI MARCH: 1930
Gandhiji, on March 12, 1930, steps out from his Sabarmati Ashram near Ahmedabad. He was followed by several followers on this trek of 240 miles to Dandi near the Arabian Sea. During his journey number of people joined satyagraha with the aim to defy the Salt Act, Gandhiji addressed a large crowd. Thousands of people joined Gandhi for satyagraha until 5th April. On 6th April, Gandhiji along with his followers picked a handful of salt crystals thus breaking the British Salt Act imposed on Indian populace. Civil Disobedience movement was spread like a fire in many other places of the country involving millions of people. More than 60,000 people were arrested including Gandhiji and Jawaharlal Nehru. But the spirit of satyagraha continued with him.
Gandhiji was released from the custody in January 1931 and began to negotiate with Lord Irwin with the aim to end Civil Disobedience Movement. He later signed Gandhi-Irwin Pact on 5th March 1931. British leader acknowledged Gandhiji as a force that cannot be suppressed or ignored. Later, India was finally set free and on 15th August 1947, under the leadership and calmness of Mahatma Gandhi.