Dandi Salt March: An eyewinteness account

Sumangal Prakash, a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, tells the true story of the epic Salt March

NRI Radio, NRIfm.com presents the only surviving eyewitness account of Mahatma Gandhi’s historic Salt March also known as Dandi March. When Mahatma Gandhi (a lot of people spell his name as Ghandi) called Indians to break the infamous Salt Law, many people thought it to be another eccentricity of the Mahatma. In fact, It was an ingenious idea that reminded every Indian that an exploiting British government had even taxed the cheapest food ingredients like salt.

dandimarchBy encouraging Indians to break this law  Mahatma Gandhi wanted to involve Indian masses, including the poorest of the poor, to defy the unjust law imposed by an oppressive foreign government.

The Salt March or Dandhi March  began on the morning of the 12th March 1930. A  25-year old disciple, Sumangal Prakash, was then living in Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad and he was one of those 78 Ashram residents whom Gandhi picked up as fellow marchers. Vijay Rana, the editor of NRIfm met Sumangal Prakash in 1985 at his residence in Pahar Ganj in Delhi. He had to search him for more than an hour and nobody in the neighbourhood knew him.

Listen to Sumangal Prakash

Dressed in hand washed Khadi Kurta, the frail old man was living in pretty austere conditions. His sitting room barely had any furniture except a clean white bed and a broken plastic cane chair, that he offered to his interviewer. His loving old wife poured tea from an aluminium kettle. It was an humbling experience to be with them.

While narrating the story of Dandi March, his voice was filled with such energy and enthusiasm that I could never imagine from such a old man. In this extraordinary interview at Radio NRI Sumangal Prakash gives the graphic account of the morning of 12th March 1930 and also when Mahatma Gandhi arrived in Dandi. (During this research I have found that a lot of people rather incorrectly spell his name as Mahatma Ghandi)