HOT TOPIC: Mohandas Gandhi
Volume 3, Issue 25 - March 11, 2007

"From March 12 to April 6, 1930, Mohandas Gandhi and his followers walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi, Gujarat to make salt, and large numbers of Indians followed him. This was a statement of independence; an act of protest against the British salt tax in Colonial India. It is remembered as the Salt March to Dandi or the Great Salt March, and Monday March 12th marks the 77th anniversary of this historic event.

Following Gandhi and Nehru’s Declaration of Independence in January of that year, the Salt March was an act of non-violent civil disobedience that would communicate the cause peacefully. Gandhi and some eighty followers set out walking for the coastal village of Dandi, 240 miles away. The twenty-three day march passed through forty-eight villages and received much popular support along the way. Thousands of Indians joined Gandhi in his walk to the sea

The morning after arriving in Dandi, Gandhi raised a lump of mud and salt and announced, "With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire." By 1947 India’s independence from British colonial rule had been won.

A British-educated lawyer, Gandhi first used the idea of civil disobedience in the Indian struggle for civil rights in South Africa. Returning to India, he assumed the leadership of the Indian National Congress and led nationwide campaigns for the freedom of India from foreign rule. In 1942 he called for the British to “Quit India.” He was imprisoned on numerous occasions for practicing civil disobedience. Like Thoreau before him and King thereafter, Gandhi lived and died loyal to his principles.

At a time when cultures and belief systems are clashing in a quickly-shrinking world, it is important to remember and impart the example of Mohandas Gandhi to our students. The resources I have gathered this week will help you to celebrate the life of the slight-looking figure who quietly brought down the last large holding of the greatest empire the world has ever known. His story is simply remarkable."

©2005 Walter McKenzie

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