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Modi Flags Off March From Sabarmati To Commemorate Dandi March

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“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”– Mahatma Gandhi

Dandi March.

To celebrate the 75th year of Independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off a march from the Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi on March 12. The day also marks 75 weeks to the 75th Independence Day. The stretch of 241 miles from Sabarmati to Dandi would be promulgated by 81 marchers for 25 days and it would be further joined by different groups of people. Culture Minister, Prahlad Singh Patel would lead the march for initial 75 km.

Importance Of Dandi March

The Dandi March or the Salt Satyagrah played a crucial role in India’s independence as it was one of the most significant and stirring moments in the struggle for India’s independence. Gandhi Ji started the march as a non-violent protest against the monopoly of the British to produce salt. Gandhi Ji, with this march, extrapolated his ideology of truth and non-violence to the world and it created pressure on the hegemony of the British Raj. Therefore the ministry decided to mark the day to begin the celebrations for 75th India.

A Brief History

In 1882, the British government passed the India Salt Act, to create a government monopoly on the production and sale of salt. According to the act, the salt was only to be handled at official government salt depots, with a tax of one rupee four annas on each maund (82 pounds).

Salt is a staple in the Indian’s diet, therefore Gandhi Ji tried to unite the Hindus and Muslims for a common cause. Before the march, Gandhi Ji sent a letter to the then Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin, declaring that he along with fellow Indians would break the Salt Laws in 10 days.

“If my letter makes no appeal to your heart, on the eleventh day of his month, I shall proceed with such co-workers of the ashram as I can take, to disregard the provision of the salt law.” He also stated, “politically, our position is no better than that of slaves, the roots of our culture have been hollowed out… this letter is not intended as a threat. It is just a simple and sacred duty of a Satyagrahi.”

He started the historic march of ‘satyagraha’ from Sabarmati Ashram on March 12, 1930, with 78 people and when they reached Dandi on April 5, Gandhi Ji was at ‘the head of a crowd of tens of thousands. The next day he addressed the crowd and went to encrust the crystallized salt at the shore of the Arabian Sea. As soon as he crushed the natural salt from the mud, he was detained under British law.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the flag-off ceremony of the Dandi March or Salt Movement to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, in Ahmedabad, Friday, March 12, 2021. (PTI Photo: Kamal Kishore)

Way Forward

The Dandi march signified the non-cooperation movement as resistance to British rule and it also swept the feeling of nationalism across India. The Salt Tax was later abolished in October 1946 by the Interim Government of India.

“After about 91 years, I shall be treading on the same soil in a padayatra on the occasion of 75 years of independence. But there is a sea change in the situation of the country between then and now. The journey of India will now be defined by self-reliance and self-respect. We will no more be seekers and our image on the world canvas will be that of a contributor. In this hour of crisis across the globe, we have delivered medicines and vaccines to various countries. That shows that our age-old belief in “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” is still alive”, said our Culture Minister, Prahlad Singh Patel.

Therefore to strengthen the coming generations, India needs to speak the language of labour and toil, so that before celebrating the centenary of its Independence, its achievements should stand out in the world as a striking example of dignity and grandeur.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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