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After Congress, Gandhians to re-enact Dandi March

Friday 6 May 2005

By Our Special Correspondent

JAIPUR, APRIL 6. Even as the Congress leadership completed the much talked about trek of the Ahmedabad-Dandi route, commemorating the 75th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s historic Salt March, on Tuesday, another group of persons are getting ready to mark the event with a journey.

"Sampoorna kranti Sarvodaya yatra", as the name denotes, is going to be an 18-day march by Gandhians and Sarvodaya workers scheduled to start from Sabarmati ashram in Ahmedabad on April 9. It will be led by the 96-year-old veteran Gandhian based here in Jaipur, Siddhraj Dhadda.

"Originally the idea of re-enactment of the Dandi March was mine. It was discussed at the general meeting of the Sarva Sewa Sangh at Daspur in Murshidabad in West Bengal in January last. But when Thushar Gandhi and the AICC(I) went ahead with the commemoration on the exact date it took place 75 years back we thought we should avoid a parallel march ," Mr. Dhadda said talking to this Correspondent.

"The Congress did it in its own way. The event was not merely a matter of making salt alone. It was a step towards complete Independence — a total change," Mr. Dhadda, who is of the opinion that all the political parties have failed the country, said. "The march is to spread Gandhiji’s message of living up to the last man — antyodaya," he informed.

"As Mahatma Gandhi said in his famous `Last will and Testament’, India has still to attain social, moral and economic independence," Mr. Dhadda pointed out, giving the rationale behind the march. "Our theme is `Antyodaya se Sarvodaya’ (from the uplift of the lowest to the emancipation of all). `Sampoorna kranti’ (total revolution) is the method and Sarvodaya is the objective," he observed.

Mr. Dhadda said those like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who inherited political power from the Mahatma after the Independence believed in percolation theory which in fact never materialized. "I now strongly feel that we should reach out to the people. We should go to the villages and tell rural people to take power in their hands and become self reliant," he said.

Left to himself, the nonagenarian Dhadda would have tried to walk all the way. However pleas from his friends and followers not to exert himself too much, especially when he is recovering from a stroke, has made him agree to cover the area in a vehicle to reach Dandi on April 26. The march will have two major meetings — one each in the morning and evening — daily besides village contact programmes.

A galaxy of Sarvodaya and Gandhian leaders including Amar Nath Bhai, president of the Sarva Sewa Sangh and Thakur Das Bang, its former president will participate in the march being mobilised by the Sabarmati Ashram, the Gujarat Pradesh Sarvodaya Mandal and the Gujarat Lok Samiti, among others.

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