To mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, his great-grandson Tushar Gandhi on Thursday announced the launch of ‘Dandi Salt Challenge’ that will begin from March 12 next year.
A series of three challenges, the annual event will start on the same day when Mahatma Gandhi began the historic Dandi march from Sabarmati Ashram in 1930 against the imposition of salt tax by the British.
The challenges will include a half marathon, a marathon and a cycling event, covering a cumulative distance of 400 km from Sabarmati Ashram on the Dandi Path to conclude at Dandi on March 23. Dandi Path is a heritage route in Gujarat, now named the NH-64.
Tushar Gandhi also announced the tagline for the challenge — Kar Ke Dekhein.
“When Mahatma Gandhi decided to walk to start the ‘Salt March’ to Dandi, there was opposition from several Congress leaders including Motilal Nehru, who wrote to Gandhi expressing his resentment against it. In response, Gandhi wrote ‘apka patra mila, ye kar ke dekhein’. During the Salt Satyagrah, when Nehru was arrested, just before being detained, he wrote a telegram to Gandhi saying, ‘karne se pehle hi dekh liya’,” Tushar Gandhi said.
He also that the photo of Mahatma Gandhi picking up salt, which has been associated with Dandi, is actually from Bhimrad, a village near Surat, which is also a part of the challenge.
“Similar to the Dandi memorial, set to be completed in January next year, which was announced by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, we wish that one will be built at Bhimrad too,” he said.
The participants will be trained under running and endurance coach Daniel Vaz.
The event is being organised by Great Salt March Events (GSME), IT expert and organiser of a similar march in 2005 Kanakasabapathy Pandyan, marathoner Tilak Shetty and entertainment entrepreneur Manjul Shroff.
While the half marathon, covering a distance of 70 km from Bhimrad to Dandi, will be completed in four days, the marathon a ten-day event will cover 400 km from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi and three-day cycling event covering the same distance of 400 km, the entire stretch of NH-64.
“Around 25,000 participants are expected with around 1,00,000 spectators who will line the route to cheer the participants. The winners are expected to receive a trophy which will be similar to the Mahatma’s stick in gold, silver and bronze,” Shroff said.