Circa 1930, Mahatma Gandhi and his group of supporters walked 320 kilometres from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat.
Fast-forward to 2011 and a group of NRIs are attempting a similar feat with what they call the ‘Dandi March II’, walking 240 miles from San Diego to San Francisco covering thirty cities en route.
While Gandhi’s march was a protest against the salt tax levied by the British Raj, these NRIs prefer to call theirs a people’s movement against corruption in India, with simultaneous marches scheduled in various cities around the globe, including Mumbai on March 26.
Yes, we care
“There is an illusion that NRIs are not really bothered about India. We wanted to break that myth. We left the country for better careers but we are as concerned about problems like corruption as an average Indian”, says 30-year-old software professional Sasidhar Kalagar, one of the persons behind Dandi March II.
Ask him why they chose to march and he says, “In the US, though my friends and I discuss the problems that affect India, these concerns are mostly limited to conversation. This time, we decided to do something concrete and the march seemed like a traditional yet innovative way to make our voices heard. We have received tremendous support from NRIs across the US as well as people in India,” says Kalagar, who along with many other marchers, had to take leave from work to pursue the cause.
While Kalagar and his team end the final leg of their march in San Francisco on March 26, supporting marches are being held in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Sydney and London.
Addressing issues like lack of transparency and rampant scams, the Mumbai march on March 26 will begin at Café Coffee Day, Carter Road at 4.30 pm and will end at Bandra Bandstand. Joining local NGOs who will be participating in the march will be a few surviving citizens who took part in India’s freedom struggle.