The 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi would be celebrated next year in Gujarat with the “Dandi Salt Challenge” which includes holding of endurance events like cycling and a marathon run on the famous 400-km Dandi March route. March 2019 also marks the 89th anniversary of the Dandi Satyagraha, an act of non-violent civil disobedience in colonial India led by Gandhi.
Gandhi had undertaken a 26-day march from March 12, 1930 to April 6, 1930 as a direct action campaign of tax resistance and non-violent protest against the British salt monopoly. The “Dandi Salt Challenge” is the brainchild of Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi who wants to popularise the Dandi march route and promote fitness.
Over 25,000 runners and cyclists are expected to take part in various endurance events covering the 400-km long Dandi March route, said Tushar Gandhi Wednesday. The ‘Dandi Salt Challenge 2019’ would consist of three events – marathon, cycling and a foot march. A marathon run and cycling would commence from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad in the second week of March next year and culminate at Dandi in Navsari district.
Separately, a 70-km ‘march’ is also being organised between Bhimrad village in Surat district and Dandi, Tushar Gandhi told a press conference. “The 400-km long Dandi March route used by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930 has been declared as the heritage route and named as NH64. To pay our tributes to Gandhiji on his 150th birth anniversary, we have organised a marathon, cycling and a march,” Tushar told a press conference.
Participants of all these three events would reach Dandi in south Gujarat on March 23. The ‘Dandi Salt Challenge 2019’ is the brainchild of Tushar Gandhi and some professionals from different fields. Apart from paying tributes to the Father of Nation through these events, Tushar Gandhi said that another key aim is to raise awareness about fitness among masses.
“We want to put this Dandi March route on the world map through this event. We also want to promote fitness among the masses. During our halts, we will organise talks and other cultural events,” he said, adding that around 25,000 participants are expected to take part in these events. The marathon run would start from Sabarmati Ashram on March 12 and cycling on March 20. The 70-km foot march would start from Bhimrad on March 19.
“Bhimrad is not on Dandi route. But, Gandhiji went to the village after finishing the Dandi March. The famous photo of Gandhiji lifting salt was clicked in Bhimrad, not Dandi. Thus, we have also organised a 70-km march between both these villages,” said Tushar Gandhi. When asked about the status of ‘National Salt Satyagraha Memorial’ coming up at Dandi, Tushar Gandhi said the structure may be inaugurated next January.
“The project got delayed because it threw many technical challenges. However, all the ground work has been completed and work on the main memorial is going on. I am confident that it will be inaugurated in January-end,” said Gandhi, who is one of the members of a high-power committee for the memorial.