Digital Dimdima
Under One Flag
The Light Has Gone Out
India Wins Freedom
Apostle of Peace
The Last War of Independence
Quit India
Leave India to God… or to Anarchy
Gandhi and Ambedkar
A Pinch of Salt!
Saga of Indian Revolutionaries
Bardoli
Gandhiji Withdraws from Political Activities
The Himalayan Blunder
A People Reject Their Rulers
Jallianwala — The Aftermath
Massacre at Jallianwala Bagh
The Gentle Satyagrahi
Gandhi in Champaran
Carrot and Stick
Revolutionaries Outside India
Heroes and Martyrs
Gandhi in South Africa
From Swadeshi to Swaraj
Swadeshi Enterprise
The New Spirit of India
The Great Divide
Partition of Bengal
The Battle is Taken to the Legislature!
The Monk Who Shook The Nation
Father of Indian Unrest
An Old Man's Dream
Women : Crossing the Threshold
The Battle Lines are Drawn
The Battle For A Free Press
Pressing On !
Europeans Take To The Street!
The British Raj in Black and White
Mamool Raj
The One-Man Army
Hunger Deaths
The Delhi Durbar
Return to Swadeshi
Barbarous Britannia
‘Rani Ka Hookum’
Perishing in Peace
The Blue Mutiny
English Education
The Trial of the Last Emperor
Roll of Honour
The Empire Strikes Back
British Authority Collapses
Sepoys on the Move
Tribal Uprisings
The Empire Builders
For God and Country

As the satyagrahis approached the barbed wire stockade, Webb Miller, the correspondent of United Press who was covering the event reported, "Suddenly at a word of command, scores of native policemen rushed upon the advancing marchers and rained blows on their heads with their steel-shod lathis. Not one of the marchers even raised an arm to fend off the blows. They went down like ten-pins. From where I stood I heard the sickening whack of clubs on unprotected skulls.... Those struck down fell sprawling, unconscious or writhing with fractured skulls or broken shoulders.... The survivors, without breaking rank, silently and doggedly marched on until struck down."
Satyagrahis came in wave after wave only to be struck down. Webb Miller was amazed. "Although every one knew that within a few minutes he would be beaten down, perhaps killed, I could detect no signs of wavering or fear."
They marched steadily, with heads up, without encouragement of music or cheering... The police rushed out and methodically and mechanically beat down the second column. There was no fight, no struggle; the marchers simply walked forward till struck down."
Reacting to Web Miller's eye- witness account, Louis Fisher wrote: "The British beat the Indians with batons and rifle butts. The Indians neither cringed nor complained nor retreated. That made England powerless and India invincible."
In the North West Frontier Province, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan led his band of non-violent Khudai Khidmatgars, popularly known as Red Shirts in the Civil Disobedience movement. For nearly one week Peshawar was virtually in the hands of the Red Shirts. The army was called in. To the shock and dismay of the army top brass, the soldiers of the Garhwali regiment refused to fire
on the unarmed crowd!
On May 4, Gandhiji was taken into custody underRegulation XXXV of 1827 which provided for detention without trial for an indefinite period. He was taken to Yeravada Central Jail in Poona where the jailer noted Gandhi's height as 5'5" and personal identification marks : a scar on the right thigh, a small mole on the right eyelid, and a pea-size scar below the left elbow. These identification marks would help the authorities find the prisoner should he ever escape from prison.
Of course, the prisoner had no intention of escaping. In a letter to the little children of his ashram, the prisoner wrote: "Little birds, ordinary birds cannot fly without wings. With wings, ofcourse, all can fly. But if you, without wings, will learn how to fly, then all your troubles will indeed be at an end. And I will teach you.
See, I have no wings, yet I come flying to you everyday in thought. You can also come flying to me in thought..."
Children in different parts of India both in towns and villages took out Prabhat Pheris or processions carrying the national flag and singing patriotic songs. To the police the tricolour was what a red rag is to a bull. Youngsters would run carrying the flag aloft. Their beloved Jawaharlal Nehru had declared in Lahore: "Remember once again, now that this flag is unfurled, it must not be lowered as long as a single Indian, man, woman, or child lives in India." At Bundur in Andhra Pradesh, Tota Narasaiah Naidu would not let go the flag until he fell unconscious, beaten by policemen. In Surat a group of children dressed in the national colours ran through the streets daring the police to catch them!
Ultimately the viceroy had Gandhiji released and signed a pact with him. The salient features of the pact : salt manufacture would be permitted on the coast and all prisoners would be released. Civil Disobedience would be called off and Congress would attend the next Round Table Conference in London to discuss the future of the country.
The significance of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was not lost on the arch imperialist Winston Churchil. He felt revolted by "the nauseating and humiliating spectacle of this one-time Inner Temple lawyer, now seditious fakir, striding half-naked up the steps of the Viceroy's palace, there to negotiate and to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor."
The days of submitting petitions were over. Now when an Indian leader called on the viceroy, it was to negotiate on equal terms!
After signing the pact, the Viceroy offered a cup of tea to the Mahatma, 'Thank you' said Gandhiji, taking out a little packet of salt he had brought. "I will put some of this salt into my tea to remind us of the famous Boston Tea Party."
What the Boston Tea Party was to the American War of Independence, the Dandi March was to India's struggle for independence.

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