Salt Satyagraha was one of the major non-violent protests in the history of India’s freedom struggle. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, the protest started around March-April 1930 with around 80 people. The purpose of this protest was to protest the salt tax imposed by the British government in India. Soon, the protest gained momentum and the 390 km long journey drew about 50,000 protestors, thereby becoming a watershed event in Indian History. Read this blog to know all about the Salt Satyagraha or the Civil Disobedience Movement.
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About Salt Satyagraha Movement
Salt Satyagraha was declared by the congress party around 1950 that Poorna Swaraj or complete Independence was the sole aim of the freedom struggle. Therefore, 26th January was to be held as the Poorna Swaraj Day and the only means to achieve this would be the Civil Disobedience Movement.
- Under the tutelage of Mahatma Gandhi, the first such event was planned and organised. In defiance of the British government, Gandhiji broke the Salt Tax.
- There was a divided public opinion with regard to choosing salt as their medium of protest.
- However, most Indians regarded Gandhiji’s choice of salt as brilliant as it struck a chord with the common people of this country.
- Salt was a commodity required by all Indians. The imposition of salt tax was especially burdensome to the poor in the country.
- Until the Salt Act of 1882, Indians had been making salt from seawater free of cost. The act gave the British the monopoly over the salt and the power to impose the tax. Violation of the Salt Act was considered a criminal offence.
- As the salt tax constituted about 8.2% of the British revenue, Gandhiji realised that it would have been impossible for the government to ignore it.
Read about various satyagraha acts linked here below.
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Salient Features of Salt Satyagraha
Here is all you need to know about the key features of Salt Satyagraha, how it started and the key events in the history of this movement.
- The viceroy of India, Lord Irwin was informed of Gandhi’s plan on 2nd March 1930.
- On 12th March 1930, a group of people led by Gandhi from Sabarmati Ashram through the villages of Gujrat.
- The march began with 80 of his followers who were instructed to not indulge in any form, of violent activities. After reaching the coast of Dandi, Gandhi broke the Salt Satyagraha by making salt from seawater.
- This historical event was witnessed by a throng of thousands of people.
- Attacking the British government in his speeches and addresses, talked to foreign journalists and wrote articles for newspapers. Gandhi’s desire to push the independence movement into the forefront of world media made him a household name in the West.
- The mass movement was joined by Sarojini Naidu and other illustrious leaders, who along with thousands broke the Salt Act on 6th April 1930.
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Timeline of Salt Satyagraha
Take a look at the highlights of the impact of the Salt March or the Salt Satyagraha.
- The protests led to the mass arrests of 60,000 people including Gandhi.
- The civil disobedience movement spread like wildfire across the nation and very soon the people started protesting other taxes like forest laws, chowkidar tax, land tax, etc. This led to the creation of more laws and censorship to suppress the movement.
- Subsequently, the congress party was declared illegal, however, this did not deter the civil disobedience movement.
- Following Gandhi’s feet, S Rajagopalachari led a similar march from Trichy to Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu and K Kelappan led a march in the Malabar region from Calicut to Payyanur. Similar protests were held in Assam and Andhra Pradesh. Satyagraha was organised in Peshawar and led by Gandhi’s disciple Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan.
- On 21st May 1930, Sarojini Naidu organized and led a massive peaceful non-violent protest against the Dharasana Salt Works. The police lathi-charged and this resulted in the deaths of 2 people with several others being injured. This incident garnered attention from the international media and led to condemnation of British policies in India.
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Impact of Salt Satyagraha
Mentioned below points highlight the impact of Salt Satyagraha:
- The British government was shaken by the international media’s condemnation received for its cruelty in India, which made it hard for them to suppress the movement owing to its non-violent nature.
- The main effects of the movements included:
- It brought women and depressed classes to the fore.
- Satyagraha emerged as a potential tool to fight imperialism.
- The movement gained the attention of people in regions like Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Andhra Pradesh.
- In Maharashtra, forest rules were violated on a massive scale.
- The rejection of foreign goods was done on a massive scale.
- In Eastern India, the Chowkidar Tax was not paid.
- In Bengal, J.N Sengupta defied government rules by studying publications which were prohibited by the government.
Result of the Movement
This movement led to the formation of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact wherein it was decided that
- The civil disobedience would be ended by the Indians.
- In return, salt would be allowed for domestic use.
- The arrested Indians would be released.
- Gandhi was allowed to attend the second round table conference as an equal.
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Quit India Movement
On 8th August 1942, It was launched by Mahatma Gandhi at the session of the All-India Congress Committee in Mumbai to end British rule. Gandhiji gave the call “Do or Die” in his speech delivered at the Gowalia Tank Maidan, now popularly known as August Kranti Maidan. Aruna Asaf Ali, a leader that emerged from the movement was popularly known as the ‘Grand Old Lady’ of the Independence Movement. Yusuf Meherally, a socialist and trade unionist who also served as Mayor of Mumbai coined the slogan Quit India’ To know more, check out our blog on Quit India Movement.
Know All About the Formation of the Indian National Congress (1885)
Non- Cooperation Movement
The non-cooperation movement was launched in 1920 on 5th September. It was led by Mahatma Gandhi & focused on abolishing the use of British products, declining or resigning from British posts, and educational institutions, and prohibiting government regulations, courts, etc. The movement was non-violent & launched to withdraw the nation’s cooperation after the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre & Rowlatt Act. Mahatma Gandhi stated India could achieve independence within a year if this movement succeeded. It was the transition of individuals to a mass movement. Non-cooperation was focused on getting full independence also known as Purna Swaraj.
Essay on Dandi March
One of the greatest protests for India’s freedom struggle was Dandi March also known as Salt Satyagraha. It was led by Mahatma Gandhi with his followers. The march started from the Sabarmati Ashram to the Dandi coast. The protest was against the salt tax imposed by the colonial government. Dandi march also played a significant role in the Civil Disobedience Movement. The Dandi march is observed on the 12th March of every year. It distance of the march was about 384 KM March.
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Yes, it was successful as India was able to break salt law.
Mahatma Gandhi was arrested and taken to Yerawada Central Jail.
It started from Sabarmati Ashram.
The salt satyagraha started in March–April 1930.
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