March 10, 2021 9:02:07 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off a commemorative ‘Dandi March’ on March 12 (Friday) to launch the celebrations of the 75th year of Independence. The Prime Minister is expected to flag off the 21-day long Dandi March from a ground beside the Abhay Ghat, the resting place of late Prime Minister Morarji Desai near the Sabarmati Ashram, thus launching the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.
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What was the original Dandi March?
The Dandi March or Salt March was part of Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent protest against the British monopoly on production of salt. Led by Gandhi, 78 people started the 24-day march on March 12 and reached Dandi on April 5, 1930. After making salt at Dandi, Gandhi headed to Dharasana Salt Works, 40 km south, but was arrested on May 5.
Who will participate in the 2021 Dandi March?
Gujarat Minister of State for Sports, Youth and Cultural Activities (Independent charge) Ishwarsinh Patel said “descendants of those who walked the Salt March (in 1930) will be honoured”, though they have not been invited to participate in the nearly 386-km walk “due to their age”. The march itself will see 81 walkers traverse the route in memory of the 78 who accompanied Mahatma Gandhi in 1930 from Ahmedabad to Dandi and two others who had joined mid-route.
The subsequent journey will see “big events at six places” associated with Gandhi. These include MK Gandhi’s birthplace Porbandar, along with Rajkot, Vadodara, Bardoli (Surat), Mandvi (Kutch) and Dandi (Navsari). Simultaneous programmes to “foster patriotism” will be held on March 12 at 75 places where the 1930 entourage had taken halted. Cultural programmes are planned at 21 spots on the route at the nightly stops for the walkers. As per Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, political leaders will join in on each day of the 21 days.
How did Congress commemorate the march?
In 2005, the then Congress-led UPA government at the Centre had initiated a similar yatra to commemorate the 75 years of the Dadni March with then Congress president Sonia Gandhi flagging off a march from Sabarmati Ashram on March 12. She also joined the last leg of the tour at Dandi with then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The march was jointly organised by the Congress party and the Mumbai-based Mahatma Gandhi Foundation run by Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi, who also walked the entire route. Congress chief ministers of the time, union ministers and other political leaders such as Ahmed Patel, Salman Khurshid and Rahul Gandhi, also walked the route on various stretches. The march participants had been selected from all over the country.
The then prime minister Manmohan Singh who presided over the conclusion of the march on April 6, 2005, had announced the designating of the 386 km route as a ‘heritage route’ which was planned to be a trekker-friendly route. Singh had also said that all sites where Gandhi stayed would be developed as heritage sites and announced an immediate corpus of Rs 10 crore for the Sabarmati Ashram. For Dandi, the then UPA government had planned a library dedicated to Gandhian studies and erecting statues of the 81 marchers. This project, called the National Salt Satyagraha Memorial, is almost complete.
What will the Prime Minister’s schedule look like on the day?
As per the tentative plan, the Prime Minister is expected to visit Hriday Kunj in the Sabarmati Ashram managed by the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust (SAPMT) for “two to three minutes” at around 10.30 am, as per an Ashram official.
Followed by Hriday Kunj visit, the Prime Minister is expected to proceed to a ground beside Abhay Ghat to address a gathering. This event could go on for an hour and will be streamed live at 75 locations in Gujarat.
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