India, April 6, 1930. Under a hot sun, a fatigued crowd arrives on a beach. An old man goes to the sea to get water.
The man is Mohandas Gandhi. He is at the head of a peaceful revolt against the occupation of the British. With his followers he traveled about 400 km on foot to get to the sea. Not for swimming, but for salt.
At the time, the British forbade Indians to collect salt. Only the colonial state had the right to collect and sell it. The Indians were therefore obliged to buy salt from the British at a price set by them.
The British actually organize what is called the “state monopoly”.
In fact, in the history of mankind, salt has always been an essential product because it was the only way to store food. In the economies of the time, salt occupied a particularly important place.
Exchange currency, a source of income for the state, under the Roman Empire, salt was used to remunerate labor (hence the word “salary”).
That’s why controlling salt has caused wars and popular uprisings. The unfair salt monopoly symbolizes colonialism and pushed the Indians to protest with this “salt march” led by Gandhi. However, this was not appreciated by the British who severely repressed the movement. Gandhi spent 9 months in prison, but in the end he won the battle: the Indians could finally collect their salt and begin the path to independence.