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