Dandi March was held in 1930. Now, work is on to erect a memorial dedicated to that historic event that gave a whole new meaning to the freedom movement altogether.
This union government-promoted project of building a memorial at Dandi to mark the principle of self-sufficiency preached by the father of the nation is being done by a team of Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (IIT) engineers.
The aim is to inaugurate the Rs66-crore National Salt Satyagraha Memorial on April 5, 2015, exactly 85 years to the day Mahatma Gandhi broke the salt laws in 1930.
Gandhi led the Dandi March from Sabarmati Ashram to the coastal village of Dandi, located in a small town called Navsari. As he continued on his 24-day, 241-mile march to produce salt without paying tax, growing number of Indians joined him along the way.
When he broke the salt laws around 6:30 am on 5 April, 1930, it sparked large-scale acts of civil disobedience against the British Raj. The campaign had a significant impact on the world and even changed the British thought process towards India’s Independence and inspired Indians to join the freedom struggle for the first time in thousands.
“The idea and the theme of the monument proposed at Dandi salutes the idea of civil disobedience. How common people can take on the mighty for their rights. It also displays the principles of self-sufficiency on Gandhiji’s ideologies in our design. The monument is not going to be for Indians only, but for the entire world,” said professor KK Trivedi of IIT Mumbai who is heading the project team.
“Following deliberations of various ideas on the building of the subject, we have tried to recreate the history behind the Satyagraha that inspired Martin Luther King Jr to Nelson Mandela at the global level,” he pointed out.
Full-size sculptures of the 80 marchers, who took part in the movement with Gandhiji from Sabarmati, would follow the Mahatma’s statue. “Marchers’ sculptors are created by organising international camps of well-known artists. Fibre-glass models are ready. We are nine months away from finalising it,” said Trivedi. Artists from Gujarat and countries like USA, UK, Austria, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Tibet and will provide expertise.
On the 15-acre plot at Dandi, a statue of Gandhiji inside a pyramid of light, followed by a cluster of life-size stoneware sculptures of the group of the 80 fellow marchers would form the main memorial. Also, a pathway towards the main memorial, replicating the Dandi March route, through 24 spaces representing the 24 halts, has been proposed.
The proposed design for the memorial was formulated by a national design team, comprising artists and professionals from leading design schools of the country, under the aegis of a high-level Dandi Memorial Committee constituted by the ministry of culture.
Statue of Gandhiji
Standing tall at 15 feet and made of bronze, Gandhiji’s sculpture is almost ready. Artist Sadashiv Sathe and resource persons are giving it final touches.
“The statue will sit inside a pyramid of light that is going to be solar charged. The energy requirement of the entire monument complex will be met by solar energy with solar panels integrated in the design of two vertical columns of the memorial complex,” said Trivedi.
The statue would be placed inside a pyramid of light followed by life-size sculptures of the 80 fellow marchers. Two stylised hands raised in the sky holding the top would be stimulated salt crystals.
Solar Salt Maker
A solar power-based salt-making set-up will also be installed to help visitors to the monument manufacture salt personally. It would be part of an attempt to understand the clarion call given by Gandhi those days to everyone to make their own salt.