Salt March Ends
The 6th of April 1930 AD
Mohandas K. Gandhi will be remembered as one of the truly great figures of the 20th century. His leadership of the non-violent campaign of the Indian National Congress gained enormous sympathy for the movement around the world; and showed that British rule in India could not stifle the independence movement.
Perhaps the single most significant tactic within the campaign of non-violence was his salt march: the British enjoyed a monopoly over sales of this necessity of life, which provided a major source of revenue to the imperial power; the perverse situation existed that along India’s lengthy coastline the mineral, naturally and freely available with a small amount of effort, was denied to those in need of it because of legislation. Gandhi had chosen salt as of great importance to the poor; and as something that both Hindu and Muslim required.
Gandhi let the authorities know what he was doing, hoping to extract concessions over the salt tax and other injustices; but no such concessions were forthcoming.
The march to the west coast, covered by crowds of journalists and even film crews, began on March 12 from a suburb of Ahmedabad, and finished on the symbolically important date of April 6 at the seaside village of Dandi in Gujarat. There Gandhi openly made salt in defiance of the law. His example was followed by millions of his fellow-countrymen; tens of thousands were arrested, but the action spread and gained in momentum, with boycotts of British goods, tax strikes, and other forms of civil disobedience.
Victory in the struggle for independence was still some years away; but the power of that movement had been clearly shown, and it may be that the salt march showed London how precarious its rule was; unjust too; and that independence was inevitable.
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