Remembering "Vedaranyam Salt March" April 1930 led by Rajaji - an important historical event in Tamil nadu

The Salt March to Dandi in Gujarat in  March, 1930 and later  to Vedaranyam, TN  by Rajaji (later Gov. General and CM of Madras) and other leaders  in April, 1930  are important events in the history of freedom struggle in India against the corrupt and oppressive British rule. This year it is 93 rd salt march anniversary.

Two years ago in order to remember the historical salt march from Trichy to the coastal town of Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam  district, Tamil Nadu, members  of Salt Satyagraha Awareness Movement held a remembrance meeting.  It was to recall the 1930 historic salt  march to register the mass protest against the Salt tax imposed by the  British Crown administration.

Salt march 1930

The British during their long stay in India, taking advantage of the disunity among the Indian rulers and other shortcomings, exploited the natives and the land every possible way to make their motherland prosper. The imposition of  tax on the salt used in the preparation of food and  diet was the most obnoxious and preposterous one by the Raj.

The India Salt Act of 1882 envisaged regulations enforcing a government monopoly on the collection and manufacture of salt. It meant Salt could be manufactured and handled only at official government salt depots, with a tax of Rs 1-4-0 on each maund (82 pounds). Selling salt, a staple item in Indian diet  by natives would invite trouble. So, Indians had to depend on  salt produced and sold only  by the British companies.  This way the British were keen to establish their monopoly over the sale and production of an item being daily used by millions of people across the land. Besides, natives had to bear heavy tax on salt. This way the selfish and greedy British government wanted to keep their coffers ever full up to the brim. The unsavory tax act would squeeze the Indians on both sides, particularly, in the lower income group,

memorial Plaque  in Trichy vedaranyam salt march wikipedia

Vedaranyam salt march 30 April 1930

The Salt Satyagraha was initiated by Gandhiji  and it was a mass civil disobedience movement undertaken with vigor against the salt tax imposed by the British government in India. He led a large group of patriots from Sabarmati Ashram near Ahmedabad  on 12th March 1930 till Dandi, a coastal village in Gujarat, to break the salt law by producing salt from seawater.

In the south the salt march was on 13 April 1930 reenacted by C. Rajagopala Chari (Rajaji) to build further momentum to the freedom struggle.  The April 1930 historic march from Trichy (T.S.S. Rajan's House) to Vedaranyam was led by Rajai and on 30th April Rajaji and others broke the Salt law and collected salt on the coast. It was a non-violent protest in spite of impediments and road blocks set by the then Thanjavur district Collector J. K. Thorn ICS  who banned the salt march.  The protest was a successful one owing to full support given by  Sardar Vedaranyam Vedaratnam Pillai, Thanjavur District Congress President and a freedom fighter. The prominent marchers included  Kamaraj Nadar (later CM of Madras), Bakthavchalam (later CM of Madras), Kakkan (a minister in the Congress ministry, Madras), Madurai Vaidhyanatha Iyer (who led the Dalits into Meenakshi temple for the first time), Rukmani Lakshmipathy (first woman to be sent to jail) and others.

The salt march took place at a time Indians  were free to free india from the British yoke. As India happened to be a milch cow for the british, conservative politicians like Winston Churchill. a racist and a baiter of India and Gandhiji were against letting India off the control of the British administration. 

It is a great thing to remember those freedom fighters and patriots whose persistent headwork, personal sacrifices got us freedom. We owe a debt of gratitude to the salt marchers to Vedaranyam and Dandi.