NEW DELHI: To commemorate the 75th year of India’s Independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off a ‘padyatra’ (foot march) similar to the ‘Dandi March’ or ‘Salt Satyagrah’ carried out by the ‘Father of the Nation’ Mahatama Gandhi in 1930 from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad.
PM Modi will inaugurate the curtain-raiser activities of ‘Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav’. This Mahotsav will comprise a series of cultural events organised by the Government of India.
The ‘padyatra’ to be flagged off by the PM, will be undertaken by 81 marchers from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to Dandi in Navsari, and this 241-mile- long journey will end on 5th April.
Back in 2005, the Congress-led UPA government had organised a similar march to mark 75 years of the ‘1930 Dandi March’.
A memorial called the ‘National Salt Satyagraha Memorial’ was inaugurated in 2019 in Dandi, Gujarat to honour the activists and participants of the Salt Satyagraha and their struggle for India’s independence.
The 1930 Dandi March was initiated by Mahatma Gandhi as a means of non-violent protest against the British Regime on salt production.
Mahatma Gandhi started the 24-day long march on 12 March 1930 and concluded it on April 5 in Dandi. By breaking the British salt laws, Mahatma Gandhi sparked-off a large-scale ‘Civil Disobedience Movement’ which helped India achieve independence.
It also gave impetus to the ‘Indian Independence Movement.
The Salt March was based on one of Gandhi’s most important principles of ‘satyagraha’. The Sanskrit origin word satyagraha comes from 2 words ‘satya’ meaning ‘truth’ and ‘agraha’ meaning ‘insistence’. Gandhi loosely translated the word into English as ‘truth-force’.
For the march, Gandhi wanted strict adherence to the principles of satyagraha and ahimsa. For this reason, he recruited the marchers, not from any political party, but from the residents of his own ashram, who were thoroughly trained in the principles of ‘satya’ and ‘ahimsa’.
The salt march became a globally talked about event as it demonstrated the effective use of non-violent means to fight social and political injustices. Gandhiji and the Dandi march had a deep impact on leaders and activists Martin Luther King Jr.
Gandhi’s decision to use salt or salt tax for organising this protest was a very unique one, as salt being a daily use item, resonated with more people irrespective of caste, gender, or religion.
A few days before beginning the march, Gandhi wrote to Lord Irwin, offering to stop the march if their demands like the abolition of salt tax among others were met.
But the British underestimated the impact of the salt march and only after the protest gathered steam did they realise the power of salt as a symbol.