During my sophomore year in high school our class was sent to the auditorium to watch a movie, a movie that moved and inspired me to stand up for people and for yourself that movie was Gandhi, which then became my nickname for a some time. I never forgot what I learned that day and I find myself reciting lines from the movie to my children.
Inadvertently I was reminded this past month on how important it is to stand up each other and to be a good neighbor but I also learned the importance of salt. Through no fault but my own I decided to drink more water and limit my sodium intake to be “healthier” but in turn the lack of salt and excessive water made me very sick. I ended up with symptoms of Hyponatremia a metabolic condition in which there is not enough sodium (salt) in the body fluids outside the cells it occurs when sodium falls below 130 mM. Plasma sodium levels of 125 mM or less are dangerous and can result in seizures and coma. I basically did the opposite of what I was trying to do and after a box of saltines I’m feeling back to my ol’ self again. But let’s not forget the journey of those who simply can not do for themselves.
The Gandhi Salt March, 1930
In 1930 in order to help free India from British control, Mahatma Gandhi proposed a non-violent march protesting the British Salt Tax, continuing Gandhi’s pleas for civil disobedience. The Salt Tax essentially made it illegal to sell or produce salt, allowing a complete British monopoly. Since salt is necessary in everyone’s daily diet, everyone in India was affected. The Salt Tax made it illegal for workers to freely collect their own salt from the coasts of India, making them buy salt they couldn’t really afford.
On March 12, 1930, Gandhi and approximately 78 male satyagrahis set out, on foot, for the coastal village of Dandi some 240 miles from their starting point in Sabarmati, a journey which was to last 23 days. Virtually every resident of each city along this journey watched the great procession, which was at least two miles in length. On April 6th he picked up a lump of mud and salt (some say just a pinch, some say just a grain) and boiled it in seawater to make the commodity which no Indian could legally produce–salt.
For more on Gandhi and the Salt satyagraha go here.