Under the leadership of Gandhiji, the Civil Disobedience Movement was launched in AD 1930. It began with the Dandi March. On 12 March 1930, Gandiji with some of his followers left the Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad and made their way towards Dandi, a village on the west coast of India. After travelling for twenty-five days and covering a distance of three hundred and eighty-five kms, the group reached Dandi on 6 April 1930. Here, Gandhiji protested against the Salt Law (salt was a monopoly of the government and no one was allowed to make salt) by making slat himself and throwing up a challenge to the British government. The Dandi March signified the start of the Civil Disobedience Movement.
The movement spread and salt laws were challenged in other parts of the country. Salt became the symbol of people’s defiance of the government. In Tamil Nadu, C Rajagopalchari led a similar march from Trichinopoly to Vedaranyam. In Gujarat, Sarojini Naidu pretested in front of the slat depots. Lakhs of people including a large number of women participated actively in these protests.
The Civil Disobedience Movement carried forward the unfinished work of the Non-Cooperation Movement. Practically the whole country became involved in it. Hartals put life at a standstill. There were large-scale boycotts of schools, colleges and offices. Foreign goods were burnt in bonfires. People stopped paying taxes. In the North-West Frontier Province, the movement was led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly known as ‘Frontier Gandhi’. For a few days, British control over Peshawar and Sholapur ended. People faced the batons and bullets of the police with supreme courage. No one retaliated or said anything to the police. As reports and photographs of this extraordinary protest began to appear in newspapers across the world, there was a growing tide of support for India’s freedom struggle.