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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

A Pinch of Salt!

On the stroke of midnight on 31 December, 1929, in Lahore, on the banks of the River Ravi, Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the tricolour and the Congress officially declared Purna Swaraj or total independence as its goal. The Congress called upon the people to observe 26 January as Independence day.
In the first week of March that same year, Gandhiji, in a letter to Viceroy Irwin conveyed his intention of breaking the much-hated salt law.
"…the whole revenue system has to be revised to make the peasant's good its primary concern. But the British system seems to be designed to crush the very life out of him. Even the salt he must use to live is so taxed as to make the burden fall heaviest on him, if only because of the heartless impartiality of its incidence…"
On 12 March after morning prayers, 78 satyagrahis left Sabarmati Ashram with Gandhiji in the lead. Their destination was the seashore at Dandi 200 miles away. Leaning on a lacquered, iron-tipped bamboo staff, one inch thick and 54 inches long, Gandhiji, then 61, walked briskly 12 miles a day. A horse accompanied the marchers in case the Mahatma needed to use it.
All along the route, people sprinkled water and threw leaves on the road to spread a carpet of green for the marchers. The national colours of green white and saffron were displayed prominently in all the villages on the way and Gandhiji stopped at each and every one of them to preach his message of non-violence and to urge the people to wear khadi and to give up the practices of untouchability and child marriage. He himself spun khadi every day for an hour even during his long march.
Gandhiji had an electrifying effect on the people he encountered on his way to Dandi. No less than three hundred headmen gave up their government jobs to express solidarity with his movement. Young men and women joined the marchers and by the time the marchers reached their destination on 15 April, their number had swelled to several thousand.
The satyagrahis spent that entire night in prayers. Early the next morning, accompanied by Sarojini Naidu, Gandhiji walked down to the sea. He had a dip in the water and then coming ashore bent down and picked up some salt from the beach. Sarojini Naidu cried out "Hail Deliverer!" and thus the man who himself had not used salt for 6 years, symbolically broke the salt law which stipulated that no one but the government had the right to make salt or gather salt from the beach thereby giving the government a monopoly on the manufacture of salt.
Following Gandhiji's example people along the coast, all over India, waded into the sea to collect sea water in a pan. The water was boiled to make salt. Volunteers sold this salt in towns and cities. The grains of salt picked up by Gandhiji were sold to the highest bidder, Dr. Kanuga, for Rs.1,600.
The police raided the Congress party headquarters in Bombay which had turned into a salt godown and arrested the volunteers who were making salt in pans on the roof.
In Tamil Nadu, Rajaji broke the salt law at Vedaranniyam. In Kerala; K. Kelappan broke the law at Payannur. The satyagrahis in Andhra set up sibirams or camps all along the route to the coast.
Satyagrahis walked all the way from land-locked Sylhet in Assam to Noakhali on the Bengal coast to make salt.
The police swung into action. Leaders were taken into custody. Those arrested included Jamnalal Bajaj, Gandhiji's sons Ramdas and Devdas, C. Rajagopalachari, Kelappan, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, B.G. Kher and K.M. Munshi.
Salt works were picketed or raided in some parts of the country.
At Wadala in Bombay, a 1500-strong mob broke the police cordon and carried away salt from a government godown. The Sanikatta Salt works in Karnataka was similarly raided. Satyagrahis protested non-violently at the Dharasan Salt Works in Gujarat. Sarojini had warned the satyagrahis that they would be beaten and urged them not to resist. "You must not even raise your hand to ward off a blow," she said.

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