Dandi Salt MarchThe British monopoly on the salt tax in India dictated that the sale or production of salt by anyone but the British government was a criminal offense punishable by law.  Salt was invaluable to the people of India, many of whom were agricultural laborers and required the mineral for metabolism in an environment of immense heat and humidity.  Occurring   throughout low-lying coastal zones of India, salt was readily accessible to laborers who were instead forced to pay money for a mineral which they could easily collect themselves for free.  Moreover, Gandhi’s choice met the important criterion of appealing across regional, class, and ethnic boundaries. Everyone needed salt, and the British taxes on it had an impact on all of India.

Gandhiji looking for a subject which could unite the independence movement, launched a civil disobedience against these taxes.

On March 2, 1930, he wrote to Lord Irwin: “Dear Friend, Before embarking on civil disobedience and taking the risk that I have dreaded to take all these years, I would fain approach you and find a way out. --- If India is to live as a nation, if the slow death by starvation of her people is to stop, some remedy must be found for immediate relief.--- I respectfully invite you to pave the way for immediate removal of those evils, and thus open a way for a real conference between equals. --- But if you cannot see your way to deal with these evils and my letter makes no appeal to your heart, on the 12th day of this month I shall proceed with such co-workers of the Ashram as I can take, to disregard the provisions of the salt laws.

The Salt March began on March 12, 1930 with 78 departing from the Sabarmati Ashram for their 200 mile long march.  On April 6, Gandhiji, 61 years old, reached Dandi after walking for 24 days.  He then defied the law by making salt on the beach at Dandi. It was a brilliant, non-violent strategy by Gandhi. To enforce the law of the land, the British government incarcerated over sixty thousand people by the end of the month, and on the night of May, 4 Gandhiji himself was arrested.

Led by an "inner voice" during this period of strategical uncertainty, Gandhi used the British Government's monopoly of the salt tax as a catalyst for a major "Satyagraha" campaign. One of Gandhi's principal concepts, "satyagraha" goes beyond mere "passive resistance"; by adding the Sanskrit word "Agraha" (resolution) to "Satya" (Truth). For him, it was crucial that Satyagrahis found strength in their non-violent methods.