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Durban re-enacts Dandi March

Over 500 people participated in a walk to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi's historic salt march.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2006 14:56 IST

Over 500 people participated in a walk from the Phoenix settlement to Battery Beach in Durban on Sunday to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi's historic salt march.

The marchers, including government officials, Mahatma Gandhi's granddaughter and a Gandhi look-alike, left Phoenix, the ashram Gandhi had set up in 1904, early in the morning and arrived at Battery Beach, where Gandhi's ashes were scattered after his death, just after noon, reports said.

The walk, stretching for 22 km, was in commemoration of the first salt march organised by Gandhi in 1930, known as the Dandi March.

Millions had joined Gandhi as he marched for 24 days from the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to the village of Dandi on the sea coast in Gujarat in India during the first march.

Gandhi's march was in symbolic defiance of the tax imposed by the British government on salt and it was as a result of this march that people from across India began producing their own salt. He was later arrested.

After completing the march in Durban, Gandhi's granddaughter Ela Gandhi was quoted by the Daily News newspaper as saying that the spirit among the marchers had been wonderful.

"Twenty-eight countries were represented here and people from different race groups, religions and backgrounds participated in the march. It was a success for the satyagraha (non-violence movement)," she told the newspaper.

She said that this year's march was much bigger than the inaugural event last year. A number of marchers had promised to return next year she said.

One person who drew a lot of attention was Thakor Ramjee, a 72-year-old from Durban, who walked the entire stretch in a dhoti with an Indian flag around his shoulders and a walking stick in hand.

"I wanted to make myself look like Gandhi to let the children know what he looked like," he said.

First Published: Apr 04, 2006 14:56 IST