What role did Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel play in the Dandi march of 1930? 

Headline : What role did Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel play in the Dandi march of 1930? 

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Context of the topic:

  • On the occasion of the 89th anniversary of the Dandi March, tributes have also been paid to the contributions made by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to the movement.



About Dandi March

  • Dandi March or Salt Satyagraha was a non-violent means of protest led by Mahatma Gandhi, which began on 12th March 1930 and ended on April 6th, 1930.
  • Mahatma Gandhi along with his followers walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi near coastal Surat to protest against the repressive salt tax imposed by the colonial government.
  • The march covering the distance of 390 km worked as a catalyst for India’s struggle for Independence.
  • The Salt March began with around 80 people, but as more and more people joined in for the 390 km-long journey, it grew into a strong force of 50,000 people.
  • Upon reaching the seashore in Dandi, Mahatma Gandhi broke the law by producing salt (which was illegal under the colonial laws).

Circumstances leading to Dandi March

  • During that time, the British had prohibited Indians from collecting or selling salt.
  • Indians were also forced to buy the salt from the British, who not only exercised monopoly over its manufacture and sale but also levied a heavy salt tax.
  • The Salt March was a collective beginning of a mass resistance movement against the British tyranny.



Role of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in the Dandi march

  • Sardar Patel played a significant role in mobilising people for the Dandi march.
  • Initially, Sardar Patel was not sure about the impact of salt as a satyagrahic weapon. But once the decision was taken, he not only plunged into the preparations but, gave the campaign its first propulsion.
  • The Sardar toured the area to determine the best route to the salt-laden coast and planned the route for the Dandi March.
  • He also alerted the peasantry, already ‘trained’ by the Bardoli satyagraha, for the coming campaign.

Arrest of Patel before Satyagraha

  • As Patel went about mobilising people for the march, he was arrested at village Raas on March 7, five days before the march was scheduled.
  • He was sentenced to three months imprisonment and lodged at Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad.
  • The news of Patel’s arrest shook the entire population of Gujarat who rose up in protest against the government and in turn joined the Satyagraha.



Aftermath of Dandi March

  • The Salt March got national and international recognition and shook the British with its non-violent nature.
  • It got massive press coverage and drew the world’s attention towards the Indian Independence Movement.
  • This turned into a mass civil disobedience movement throughout India as millions broke salt laws by either making salt or buying ‘illegal’ salt.


Section : History & Culture