Discuss the Salt March to make clear why it was an effective symbol of resistance against colonialism.
Gandhi saw in salt a powerful symbol that might bring the country together. He made eleven demands in a letter to Viceroy Irwin dated January 31, 1930. Some of these were of general interest, while others were specialised demands of various social classes, from businessmen to peasants. It was intended to make the demands broad so that all social groups in Indian society could relate to them and be unified in a common cause. The demand to eliminate the salt tax was the one that stirred people the most. One of the most important ingredients in food, salt was consumed by both the wealthy and the poor. The tax on salt and the government monopoly over its production, Mahatma Gandhi declared, revealed the most oppressive face of British rule. In a sense, Mahatma Gandhi's letter served as an ultimatum. The letter warned that if the requests were not met by March 11th, the Congress will begin a campaign of civil disobedience. Irwin refused to compromise. Thus, Mahatma Gandhi and 78 of his trustworthy volunteers began their well-known salt march. From Gandhiji's ashram at Sabarmati to the Gujarati coastal town of Dandi, the march covered a distance of more than 240 kilometers. The volunteers walked for 24 days, about 10 miles a day. Wherever Mahatma Gandhi went, crowds of people flocked to hear him speak. He explained what swaraj meant and exhorted them to resist the British in a nonviolent manner. He arrived in Dandi on April 6 and ceremonially broke the law by boiling sea water to make salt.