Today begins the 90th year of the historic Dandi March when Mahatma Gandhi shook the British Raj by picking up a fistful of salt from the shore of the Arabian Sea on March 12, 1930 challenging the Raj’s monopoly over making of salt.
The 24-day 384-km march from 12 March to 6 April 1930 as a direct-action campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly was undertaken by Gandhiji along with 78 satyagrahis handpicked by him.
The march was the most significant organised challenge to British authority since the non-cooperation movement of 1920-22. This was followed by the Purna Swaraj declaration of sovereignty and self-rule by the Indian National Congress on 26 January 1930.
Gandhiji broke the salt laws at 6:30 am on 6 April 1930 triggering a country-wide mass satyagraha movement during which millions of men and women participated. subjected to police brutality causing severe injuries to those making and selling salt. Over 60,000 were jailed.
The Congress party planned to stage a satyagraha at the Dharasana Salt Works, 40 km south of Dandi. Gandhiji was arrested on the midnight of 4-5 May 1930.
The Dandi March and the Dharasana Satyagraha drew worldwide attention to the Indian independence movement through wide newspaper and newsreel coverage.
The satyagraha against the salt tax continued for almost a year, ending with Gandhi's release from jail and negotiations with Viceroy Lord Irwin and the Second Round Table Conference.