The Dandi March was a mass civil disobedience movement, which was started by Mahatma Gandhi, against the salt tax imposed by the British government in India. Dandi March is also referred to as Salt March or Salt Satyagraha. It was led by a large group of people from Sabarmati Ashram on 12th March 1930 to Dandi, a coastal town in Gujarat to break the salt law by the production of salt from seawater.
The Civil Disobedience Movement grew across the country as a result of the disobedience of the Salt Law. Salt production surged across the country during the initial phase of the civil disobedience campaign, and it became a symbol of the people’s rejection of the government. The development of Indian nationalism as a concept happened during the Indian independence movement which campaigned for independence from British rule. It is inclusive of all of the people of India, despite their diverse ethnic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds, which is an instance of territorial nationalism.
Background to Dandi March
Poorna Swarajya or complete independence was the sole motivation for the freedom struggle in 1930 by Congress Party. 26th January was observed as Poorna Swarajya Day and the means to achieve it was Poorna Swaraj, was civil disobedience was the means to employ it. Mahatma Gandhi was asked to plan and organize the first such act and he choose to break the salt tax in defiance of the government.
The then Viceroy, Lord Irwin was not scared by the threat of the salt protest, and the government didn’t come forward to prevent the salt march from taking place. The idea of choosing salt as a symbol of representation strokes a personal code with the Indian population. It was a commodity used by all and salt has been used from seawater free of cost until the 1882 Salt Act was enacted, which gave the British monopoly over production and authority of salt and its production. Hindus and Muslims coming together for the same was one of the important priorities of Gandhiji. The salt tax was 8.2 percent of the British Raj’s revenue from tax and it wasn’t easy for the government to ignore so.
Dandi March- Why did the Salt Law Become a Focus of Protest?
The Dandi March was a significant event in India’s struggle for independence, and it was triggered by several factors. One of the main causes was the British colonial rule and its oppressive policies, which denied basic rights to the Indian people and exploited the country’s resources for their benefit.
Another significant factor was the Salt Act, which gave the British government a monopoly on the production and sale of salt in India. Salt was a crucial commodity in India, and its high cost made it difficult for poor Indians to afford it. Mahatma Gandhi saw this as an unjust policy and called for a nonviolent protest to challenge it.
Furthermore, the failure of the Round Table Conferences, which were held to discuss India’s constitutional reforms, also contributed to the decision to launch the Dandi March. Gandhi and other leaders of the Indian National Congress felt that the British government was not serious about granting India full self-rule and that direct action was needed to push for independence.
Overall, the Dandi March was a culmination of years of resistance and protest against British colonial rule in India, and it symbolized the people’s determination to fight for their rights and freedom.
The March to Dandi
Mahatma Gandhi informed Lord Irwin about his plans on 2nd March 1930. The plan was to lead a group of people from his Ashram at Sabarmati on 12th March 1930 and walk through the villages of Gujarat. After reaching the coastal village of Dandi, he would break the salt law by making salt from seawater. Gandhiji started the march with 80 followers and gave strict instructions to not resort to any form of violence.
Journalists from around the world became interested in the movement and wrote articles on the same. He became a household name in the West and became famous worldwide. Sarojini Naidu joined him on the way and every day more and more people joined in, and on 5th April 1930, they reached Dandi. At that time, more than 50,000 people were participating in the march. On 6th April 1930, Gandhiji broke the salt law by making salt, which was followed by thousands of other people.
Impact of the Dandi March
Civil disobedience was widely carried out by the people. Along with the salt tax, other unpopular taxes were also being defied like the forest laws, land tax, and so on. Suppression was tried by the government by imposing more laws and censorship. The Congress was declared illegal but this did not stop the satyagrahis who continued the movement.
A similar movement was started by C. Rajagopalachari on the southeast coast from Trichy to Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu, who was also arrested for making salt. K Kelappan led a march in the Malabar region from Calicut to Payyanur. Similar marches were prevalent in other parts of the country, where salt was manufactured illegally, like Assam and Andhra Pradesh. In Peshawar, the satyagraha was organized by Gandhiji’s disciple Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. In April 1930, he was arrested, and his followers called Khudai Khidmatgars were fired at by British Army despite being unarmed. Many women also took part in the Satyagraha. Liquor shops were picketed and strikes took place all over.
A protest against the Dharasana Salt Works by peaceful non-violent protestors led by Sarojini Naidu on May 21, 1930. The police lathi-charged the protestors brutally and this resulted in the deaths of 2 people and several others severely injured. British were hence shaken by the movement; with non-violent nature made it difficult to suppress them.
Three vital impacts of the movement are: Firstly, it pushed the Indian struggle for independence into the limelight of Western media. Secondly, it brought women and depressed classes directly in touch with the freedom movement. Thirdly, it showed the power of non-violent protest as a tool for fighting.
The 1931 Gandhi- Irwin Pact, states the Civil Disobedience Movement would be ended and Indians as a reward would be allowed to make salt for domestic use. Irwin also promised to release the arrested Indians. Gandhiji attended the second roundtable conference as an “equal”.
- Dandi March – History and Significance
- Why did Gandhiji choose to break the salt law?
- Civil Disobedience Movement
FAQs on Dandi March
Q 1. What was the Dandi March?
In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi led a nonviolent protest called the Dandi March, which aimed to challenge the British colonial rule in India. He and his supporters walked 240 miles from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to Dandi, a coastal village where they made salt from seawater as a symbol of defiance against the British Salt Act. The march was an important moment in India’s fight for independence, and it demonstrated the power of peaceful resistance in the face of unjust laws.
Q 2. Why did Mahatma Gandhi organize the Dandi March?
The reason behind Gandhi’s organization of the Dandi March was to protest against the British government’s control over the production and sale of salt in India, a vital commodity for the Indian people. He viewed the Salt Act as unfair and believed that Indians should have the liberty to produce salt for themselves. The march was a way to challenge the British monopoly on salt and bring attention to the injustices faced by the Indian population under British colonial rule.
Q 3. What was the impact of the Dandi March?
The Dandi March and the civil disobedience movement that followed it had a significant impact on India’s fight for independence. The protest showcased the strength of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience in the face of British authority, inspiring millions of Indians to participate in the struggle for independence. The movement’s success demonstrated that peaceful protest could be a potent tool in effecting change, and it played a vital role in achieving India’s independence from British colonial rule.
Q 4. When was the Dandi march started?
The Dandi March, also known as the Salt March, began on March 12, 1930. Mahatma Gandhi and a group of 80 followers started the 240-mile march from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to the coastal village of Dandi in Gujarat, where they planned to make salt from seawater in defiance of the British Salt Act. The march continued for 24 days, and by the time it reached Dandi on April 5, thousands of people had joined the peaceful protest.
Q 5. What was the outcome of the Dandi March?
The Dandi March and the civil disobedience movement, which was spearheaded by Gandhi and other leaders of the Indian National Congress, played a crucial part in pressuring the British government to concede India’s independence in 1947. Through their peaceful protests and civil disobedience, they successfully demonstrated to the British administration the overwhelming desire of the Indian people for self-rule and independence. The efforts of the movement ultimately led to the realization of India’s independence from British colonial rule.
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