In depth: What is the new Dandi March celebrating 75 years of Independence?
It’s been over 90 years since Mahatma Gandhi marched to Dandi and proclaimed a campaign which shook the British empire in India.
Now Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the “Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav” which commemorates the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence next year re-enacting the Dandi March from March 12 to April 5. The date is exactly 75 weeks from the 75th Independence Day on 15 August 2022. The 25-day mahotsav is associated with the beginning and end of the 1930 Dandi March, a civil disobedience campaign led by Mahatma Gandhi.
The historical Dandi March
Mahatma Gandhi led the Dandi March, or Salt March, in 1930 from the Sabarmati Ashram till Dandi in Navsari as a non-violent protest against the British salt monopoly. Led by Gandhi, 78 people started the 24-day march on March 12 and reached Dandi on April 5, 1930. After making salt at Dandi, Gandhi headed to Dharasana Salt Works, 40 km south, but was arrested on May 5. With this, he started the Civil Disobedience Movement in India. To commemorate this significant moment, a National Salt Satyagraha Memorial was constructed in Dandi, where life-size statues of the Mahatma and the other Satyagrahis are displayed. There are also 24-narrative murals depicting the various events that took place during the historic march.
The Prime Minister flagged off the 21-day long Dandi March from a ground beside the Abhay Ghat, the resting place of late Prime Minister Morarji Desai near the Sabarmati Ashram. Across the country, 75 places of historical significance, ideally connected to the independence movement, have been selected. Two to three sites will be chosen in every state or Union Territory by the respective governments.
While youth clubs, cycle rallies and essay competitions are being held, there would be exhibitions and cultural events too on the way. The subsequent journey will see “big events 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.
Did you know?
Though it started with only 78 people, more than 50,000 people joined in this 390-km long journey. The yatra was not supposed to end at Dandi but at Borsad, however, because of such a massive support, Gandhiji decided to end his yatra at the Dandi sea shore.