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Shaking
The Foundations
Of An Empire
The Dandi Salt March

In an act of civil disobedience against the British rule of India and their misappropriation of power, Mahatma Gandhi along with 80 satyagrahis marched from Sabarmati to Dandi in Gujarat, breaking the salt law that penalised domestic manufacturing of salt.
The Salt Tax was introduced as an easy way for the British investors in the East India Company to make money. To the British, the tax was a legitimate way of making a profit, while the Indian people saw it as an unjust burden on an already resource-starved population.


Portion of wages a labourer spent on salt (per year).
* Today's value is going by the NREGA minimum wages.






Revenue from salt taxes collected in India



A Brief History


Events leading to the March




25 Days In Numbers

We dig into the contents of speeches made, sizes and composition of crowds that it attracted, and the richness and diversity of the voices that were raised quietly.


The Salt March route, from Sabarmati to Dandi.


Touching Lives: A Movement Grows

Gandhi himself wasn't sure of how the march would be received by the public and the authorities. In his initial letters to Pandit Nehru and fellow freedom-fighters, he expresses this concern while remaining determined not to return without reaching his goal.



Crowd Sizes

Crowd Size
Women
(Only where data is available)
Population of the Place
Muslim Audience*
(Only where data is available)

Note
*Before the Dandi March, the nationalist movement was talked about mostly in Hindu terms. The March helped change this perception.


Size of the crowds that attended meetings during the march

Communities Come Together

The ground swell of support came from all corners of the country, as seen in the variety of donors across borders who pooled together money.


Donations from different individuals and groups along the way


A Vehicle for Transformation: The Mahatma Speaks

The Mahatma used the March as a platform to talk about things close to his heart; from civil disobedience, to the injustice of foreign rule, to simple living, to communal harmony and personal discipline.

Content Analysis of Gandhi's Speeches


Content analysis of Gandhi’s speeches

After Dandi: Action at Dharasana Salt Works

The walk up to Dandi is considered a prelude to the action (raid) at Dharasana Salt works, south of Dandi.


Time-line of events leading to the conclusion of the Salt Satyagraha

"With this salt, I am shaking the foundations of the British empire."

On 5th May, 1930, at Dandi, Gandhi, after an immersion in the Arabian Sea, bends down to pick up a lump of salt-rich mud. With the mud in hand, he announces to the world what would later become the death knell of the Raj in India.

While the March per-se wasn’t a success since it failed to realise a lot of the goals it set out with, it is significant in having risen the political consciousness of the nation. Khadi sales went up, foreign imports went down, and women came to take part the nationalist struggle.
The British failed to foresee how much populist traction an issue like salt tax could generate and ended up with voices and actions against their malpractices that could no longer be brushed aside. While the success can’t be measured by exacting criteria, it paved the way for similar actions all over the country, and worked as a test-bed for similar campaigns. Gandhi remarked that the March was “not designed to establish independence, but to arm the people with the power to do so.”