Civil Disobedience Movement-The Salt Satyagraha

Gandhi’s Eleven Demands- To continue the mission given by the Lahore Parliament, Gandhi presented the government with 11 requests and issued an ultimatum on January 31, 1930 to accept or reject these requests.

The request is as follows:

Issues of general concern 1. Reduce spending on military and public services by 50%.

2. Introduce a total ban 3. Implementation of reforms in the criminal investigation department4. Allows general control over amendments to the Firearms Act and issuance of firearms licenses.

5. Release of political prisoners.

6. Accept the invoice for the postal reservation. Specific bourgeois request

7. Reduce the Rupeesterling exchange ratio to 1s4d.

8. Introduce fiber protection

9. Book coastal transportation for Indians. Requests of specific farmers

10. Reduce land income by 50%.

11. Abolition of salt tax and state salt monopoly.

With no positive response forthcoming from the government on these demands,the Congress Working Committee invested Gandhi with full powers to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement at a time and place of his choice.By February end,Gandhi ji had decided to make salt the central formula for the movement.

Why Salt was Chosen as the Important Theme As Mahatma Gandhi said,”There is no other article like salt,outside water,by taxing which the government can reach the starving millions,the sick,the maimed and the utterly helpless.It is the most inhuman poll tax the ingenuity of man can devise”. Salt in a flash linked the ideal of swaraj with a most concrete and Universal grievance of the rural poor.Salt afforded a very small but psychologically important income,like khadi,for the poor through selfhelp.Like khadi,again,it offered to the urban populace the opportunity of a symbolic identification with mass suffering.

Dandi March(March 12April 6,1930)

On March 2,1930,Gandhi informed the viceroy of his plan of action.According to this plan,Gandhi along with a band of 78 members of Sabarmati Ashram,was to march from his headquarters in Ahmedabad through the villages of Gujarat for 240 miles.On reaching the coast at Dandi,the salt law was to be violated by collecting salt from the beach. Even before the proposed march began, thousands thronged to the ashram.Gandhi ji gave the following directions for future action. # Whenever possible, civil disobedience to the salt law should be initiated. # Foreign liquor stores and textile stores may be picked up. # If we have the power to do so, we can refuse taxes. # Lawyers can give up practicing. #public can boycott the court by abandoning the proceedings. # Government officials can resign from their post. # All of these must be subject to one condition. Truth and nonviolence as a means of achieving Swaraj must be faithfully preserved. # After Gandhi’s arrest, local leaders should obey.

The historic march, which marked the beginning of the civil disobedience movement, began on March 12, and Gandhi broke the salt law by picking up a lump of salt in Dandi on April 6. Violations of the law were seen as a symbol of the Native Americans’ determination not to live under English law and therefore under British rule. Gandhi made salt from the seawater of his house and openly urged people to break the salt law in newspapers. In Gujarat, 300 village officials have resigned in response to Gandhi’s complaint. Parliamentary staff engaged in grassroots organized tasks.