Remembering Mahatma Gandhiji , the brave March

Mahatma Gandhi, also known as the Father of the Nation, was a leader of the Indian independence movement and a champion of nonviolence. He inspired millions of Indians to follow his example and resist British colonial rule peacefully. One of his most famous acts of civil disobedience was the Salt March, which took place in 1930.

The Salt March was a protest against the British monopoly on salt production and taxation in India. Salt was an essential commodity for Indians, as it was used for cooking, preserving food, and as a medicine. However, the British government imposed a heavy tax on salt and prohibited Indians from making or selling their own salt. This made salt unaffordable for many poor Indians and violated their right to use a natural resource.

Gandhi decided to challenge the British salt law by leading a march from his ashram in Sabarmati to the coastal village of Dandi, where he planned to make salt from seawater. He announced his intention in a letter to the British Viceroy, Lord Irwin, on March 2, 1930. He wrote:

I regard this tax to be the most iniquitous of all from the poor man’s standpoint. As the Independence movement is essentially for the poorest in the land, the beginning will be made with this evil.

He also warned that if the British did not repeal the salt tax, he would launch a campaign of civil disobedience that would involve breaking other laws as well.

On March 12, 1930, Gandhi set out on foot with 78 followers, mostly from his ashram. They covered a distance of about 390 kilometers (240 miles) in 24 days, stopping at various villages along the way. They were greeted by thousands of people who cheered them on, offered them food and water, and joined them in prayer and song. Gandhi also addressed several public meetings and urged people to join his cause.

On April 6, 1930, Gandhi reached Dandi and picked up a handful of salt from the seashore. He declared:

With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire.


Remembering Mahatma Gandhiji , the brave March


He then boiled some seawater in a pot and produced more salt. His followers and other supporters followed his example and began making their own salt. This simple act of defiance sparked a nationwide movement of civil disobedience. Millions of Indians began making, buying, and selling salt illegally. They also boycotted British goods, refused to pay taxes, resigned from government jobs, and staged peaceful demonstrations and marches. The British authorities responded with brutal force, arresting thousands of people, including Gandhi and many of his close associates. They also used violence to disperse crowds and beat protesters.

However, the repression only strengthened the resolve of the Indian people. They continued their nonviolent resistance despite the hardships and sacrifices. The Salt March attracted international attention and sympathy for the Indian cause. It also exposed the moral bankruptcy of the British rule and its unjust laws. The Salt March was a turning point in the history of India’s freedom struggle. It showed that ordinary people could challenge an oppressive regime with courage and dignity. It also demonstrated the power and effectiveness of nonviolence as a weapon of change.

The Salt March was one of the many examples of Gandhi’s genius and leadership. He used a simple and symbolic issue to mobilize millions of people across India. He also inspired generations of people around the world to follow his path of truth and nonviolence. As he said: Nonviolence is not a weapon of the weak. It is a weapon of the strongest and bravest.