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The day Rajaji broke the Salt Law

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BRAVE: Sardar A. Vedaratnam
BRAVE: Sardar A. Vedaratnam

Syed Muthahar Saqaf

Grand celebrations on in Vedaranyam for its 79th anniversary

TIRUCHI: April 30, 1930 was a landmark day in the country’s freedom movement.

It was on this day that the late Rajaji and a group of 100 Congress cadres reached the coastal town of Vedaranyam to defy the Salt Law.

The Salt Satyagraha movement was such a protest against the then British Raj that it attracted the world’s attention to the freedom movement.

A salt bag of two mounds was sold at three rupees and four annas during the British regime.

The price included a tax of three rupees two annas and two paisa.

Domestic salt producers got a paltry amount of less than two annas for a bag of salt. This tax was levied to compensate for the price of salt brought by the British rulers from their country.

Protesting against the “draconian” law, Mahatma Gandhi decided to protest in a non-violent fashion which ultimately culminated in the Salt Satyagraha Movement.

Rajaji and the Congress workers who left Tiruchi on April 13, 1930 arrived at Vedaranyam on April 28.

The huge response from the people en route kindled the national spirit all over the then Madras Province.

Sardar Vedaratnam, the moving force behind the success of this March, had made elaborate arrangements in the coastal town.

The participants were accommodated in a camp on the West Car Street, which is now known as the Rajaji Park, where a day long fast was observed on April 29.

Before daybreak on April 30, Rajaji and his supporters reached the seashore and picked a handful of salt, defying the British.

Great moment

It was a great moment in the annals of the freedom struggle for which Rajaji was punished.

The British were equally harsh on Sardar Vedaratnam, imprisoning him and confiscating his properties.

The 79th anniversary of the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha Movement, which falls on Wednesday, will be celebrated in a grand manner at Vedaranyam.

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