Re-enacting Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi Yatra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, March 12, flagged off the ‘Padyatra’ (Freedom March) from Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad, which turned a curtain raiser of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, a series of events organised to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence.
Launching the celebrations, Modi asserted that “Azadi Amrit Mahotsav” means elixir of energy of independence. “It means elixir of inspirations of the warriors of freedom struggle; elixir of new ideas and pledges and nectar of Aatmnirbharta,” he said.
The 75 weeks celebrations before 15 August 2022 will continue until 15 August 2023. In his speech, the Prime Minister reiterated five pillars — . Freedom Struggle, Ideas at 75, Achievements at 75, Actions at 75 and Resolves at 75 — as guiding force for moving forward keeping dreams and duties as inspiration.
The padyatra inaugurated by Modi is undertaken by 81 marchers from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to Dandi in Navsari, a journey of 386 km. The march will end after 25 days, on April 5. Mahatma Gandhi with 78 people started the Dandi Yatra on March 12, 1930 from Sabarmati Ashram by announcing the ‘Salt Satyagraha’. Talking about the symbol of salt, the Prime Minister said that salt was never valued on the basis of mere cost. For Indians, salt represents honesty, trust, loyalty, labour, equality and self-reliance. He said at that time, salt was a symbol of India’s self-reliance. Along with the values of India, the British also hurt this self-reliance. People of India had to depend on salt coming from England. He said Gandhiji understood this chronic pain of the country, understood the pulse of the people and turned that into a movement.
Noting that the country took conscious effort for the last six years to preserve history, in every state and every region, he said the revival of the site associated with the Dandi Yatra was completed two years ago. The government revived the site where Netaji Subhash hoisted the tricolour in Andaman after the formation of the country’s first independent government, he added. Modi said that the islands of Andaman and Nicobar are named after the freedom struggle. He said that the places associated with Baba Saheb were developed in the form of Panchtirtha, the memorial in Jallianwala Bagh and memorial of the Paika movement were developed.
Pointing out that everyone was proud of the Constitution and democratic traditions, Modi said India, the mother of democracy, is still moving ahead by strengthening democracy. He said that India’s achievements are giving hope to the entire humanity. The development journey of India is filled with AatmaNirbharta and is going to give momentum to the development journey of the whole world, he added.
All the states and various departments and institutions will be having various programmes in the next weeks, associating with Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.