On 12th march 1930, after prayers, seventy- eight `satysgrahis’ left Sabaramati Ashram in Gujarat led Mahatma Gandhi. Their destination was the sea shore Dandi- 350 kilometers away. Gandhi was then sixty- one years old. Leaning on in iron- topped bamboo stick he began the long walk. He would walk about 20 kilometers a day. A horse was available throughout the long march, in case he needed it, but never did.

All along the route, people sprinkled water and leaves to spread a carpet of green for the marchers. Gandhi stopped at each village to preach his message of non-violence. He told people to give up alcohol, stop child marriage and that unsociability was a sin. He urged them to wear khadi.

He himself spun khadi every day for an hour. He advised the people to live in peace and harmony.

From every village, where Gandhi stopped to speak, many young men and women of all religions joined the satysgrahis. Very soon the small group of the ashramites had grown into a non- violent army several thousand strong. Finally, Mahatma Gandhi and his peaceful followers reached the sea shore at Dandi on 5th April. Gandhi took a dip in the sea, turned to the beach and picked up lamp of salt left by the waves thus breaking the law. His followers did the same and people along the coast of India collected sea water and boiled it to make salt. The breaking of the salt law was an important step towards independence.

The police were ordered to arrest all those who disobeyed the salt law. They began to rain blows on the heads of the satysgrahis with their steel- shod Lathis They fell with injured heads and shoulders but never raised their arm to defend themselves. More than sixty thousand people were arrested and imprisoned. .

Such was the man whom all Indians call `Mahatma Gandhi’. A simple, determined and peace-loving leader- dedicated to his country- a man with a great- soul!





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