Salt has an important place while discussing the modern Indian History and freedom struggle. Consider the following statements in this context:
1. Exercise of British monopoly on salt began from Bengal in the 18th century
2. Government monopoly in salt ended immediately after the Salta Satyagraha
Which among the above statements is/ are correct?
The exercise of monopoly of salt started from Bengal from 1765, but it was 1780 when the strict monopoly in salt commenced in India.The stringent salt taxes imposed by the British were vehemently condemned by the Indian public. In 1885, at the first session of the Indian National Congress in Bombay, a prominent Congress Leader S.A.Swaminatha Iyer raised the issue of the salt tax.
There were further protests throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries culminating in Mahatma Gandhi’s Salt Satyagraha in 1930. This sathyagraha was followed by other sathyagrahas in other parts of the country.
After the arrest of Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu lead the sathyagrahis to Dharasana Salt works in Gujarat and was arrested by the police. C. Rajagopalachari broke the Salt Laws at Vedaranyam, in Madras Province in the same year. Thousands courted arrest and were imprisoned in large numbers. The administration eventually relented and invited Mahatma Gandhi to England to attend the Second Round Table Conference. Gandhi’s Dandi March got wide news coverage and proved to be a turning point in the history of India’s independence movement. The salt tax, however, continued to remain in effect and was repealed only when Jawaharlal Nehru became the President of the Interim Government in 1946. There were taxes on salt in the other British India territories but the tax in Bengal was the highest, with the other taxes at less than a third of the Bengal tax rate.
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