Mahatma Gandhi - Dandi March
March 11, 1930; Gandhi's speech on the day before the historic Dandi March to protest against the
British salt tax
"In all probability this will be my last
speech to you.
Even if the Government allow me to march
tomorrow morning, this will be my last speech on the sacred banks of the Sabarmati. Possibly these may be the
last words of my life here.
I have already told you yesterday what I had to say. Today I shall confine myself to what you
should do after my companions and I are arrested. The programme of the march to Jalalpur must be fulfilled as
originally settled. The enlistment of the volunteers for this purpose should be confined to Gujarat only.
From what I have been and heard during the last fortnight, I am inclined to believe that the stream of civil
resisters will flow unbroken.
But let there be not a semblance of breach of peace even after all of us have been arrested.
We have resolved to utilize all our resources in the pursuit of an exclusively non-violent struggle. Let no
one commit a wrong in anger. This is my hope and prayer. I wish these words of mine reached every nook and
corner of the land. My task shall be done if I perish and so do my comrades. It will then be for the Working
Committee of the Congress to show you the way and it will be up to you to follow its lead. So long as I have
reached Jalalpur, let nothing be done in contravention to the authority vested in me by the
But once I am arrested, the whole responsibility shifts to the Congress. No one who believes
in non-violence, as a creed, need, therefore, sit still. My compact with the Congress ends as soon as I am
arrested. In that case volunteers. Wherever possible, civil disobedience of salt as should be started. These
laws can be violated in three ways. It is an offence to manufacture salt wherever there are facilities for
doing so. The possession and sale of contraband salt, which includes natural salt or salt earth, is also an
offence. The purchasers of such salt will be equally guilty. To carry away the natural salt deposits on the
seashore is likewise violation of law. So is the hawking of such salt. In short, you may choose any one or
all of these devices to break the salt monopoly.
We are, however, not to be content with this alone. There is no ban by the Congress and
wherever the local workers have self-confidence other suitable measures may be adopted. I stress only one
condition, namely, let our pledge of truth and non-violence as the only means for the attainment of Swaraj be
faithfully kept. For the rest, every one has a free hand. But, than does not give a license to all and sundry
to carry on their own responsibility. Wherever there are local leaders, their orders should be obeyed by the
people. Where there are no leaders and only a handful of men have faith in the programme, they may do what
they can, if they have enough self-confidence. They have a right, nay, it is their duty, to do so. The
history of the is full of instances of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery
and tenacity. We too, if we sincerely aspire to Swaraj and are impatient to attain it, should have similar
self-confidence. Our ranks will swell and our hearts strengthen, as the number of our arrests by the
Much can be done in many other ways besides these. The Liquor and foreign cloth shops can be
picketed. We can refuse to pay taxes if we have the requisite strength. The lawyers can give up practice. The
public can boycott the law courts by refraining from litigation. Government servants can resign their posts.
In the midst of the despair reigning all round people quake with fear of losing employment. Such men are
unfit for Swaraj. But why this despair?
The number of Government servants in the country does not exceed a few hundred thousands. What
about the rest? Where are they to go? Even free India will not be able to accommodate a greater number of
public servants. A Collector then will not need the number of servants, he has got today. He will be his own
servant. Our starving millions can by no means afford this enormous expenditure. If, therefore, we are
sensible enough, let us bid good-bye to Government employment, no matter if it is the post of a judge or a
peon. Let all who are cooperating with the Government in one way or another, be it by paying taxes, keeping
titles, or sending children to official schools, etc. withdraw their cooperation in all or as many watts as
possible. Then there are women who can stand shoulder to shoulder with men in this
You may take it as my will. It was the message that I desired to impart to you before starting
on the march or for the jail. I wish that there should be no suspension or abandonment of the war that
commences tomorrow morning or earlier, if I am arrested before that time. I shall eagerly await the news that
ten batches are ready as soon as my batch is arrested. I believe there are men in India to complete the work
our begun by me.
I have faith in the righteousness of our cause and the purity of our weapons. And where the
means are clean, there God is undoubtedly present with His blessings. And where these three combine, there
defeat is an impossibility. A Satyagrahi, whether free or incarcerated, is ever victorious. He is vanquished
only, when he forsakes truth and non-violence and turns a deaf ear to the inner voice. If, therefore, there
is such a thing as defeat for even a Satyagrahi, he alone is the cause of it. God bless you all and keep off
all obstacles from the path in the struggle that begins tomorrow."