Yesterday commemorated the 60th anniversary of the death of Gandhi, India’s “Father of the Nation.” His relatives spread some of his ashes in the bay of Mumbai / Bombay, in the same water I saw last month.
I mentioned that when I first arrived in India, I was staying in a town near Surat, Gujarat, and we were in a village just outside of Navsari. On the other side of Navsari, the coastal village of Dandi was the historical site of where the Salt Satyagraha started when Gandhi broke the Salt Tax Act and taught fellow Indians how to make “illegal” salt from the salty shores of Dandi beach. This act is considered by many to be the beginning of the fall of British rule.
This monument stood next to a larger-than-life statue of Gandhi bending down and picking up the salty mud that he would later boil and extract salt from.
The inscription reads:
“Here On April 6, 1930, Gandhiji Broke The Salt Law Picked Salt And Challenged The Rule Of The Mighty British Which Ultimately Won For Our Motherland Freedom on August 15, 1947.”
I admit I couldn’t imagine exactly what it must feel like to Indians to be in a place where such revolution took place, and their country was never the same from that day. My whole life I’ve lived in a safe and protected environment. I did appreciate the parallel between the Salt Tax revolution in India and America’s revolt against the (British) Tea Tax in the form of the Boston Tea Party. Both acts sparked a longer-term revolution for both countries.
I apologize – I took quite a few pictures of the monuments and places that Gandhi spoke, but as you will see from the pictures below, we were there as the sun disappeared into the horizon, taking most of the natural light with it. The pictures are good enough for me and for my memories, but not for you, my readers!
On Dandi Beach, we were treated to a beautiful sunset and directly behind us a bright moon was already starting to reflect brightly. Families that had spent the day on the beach were readying to go home, and the random camel was still taking children around for trips on the beach.
The sun in India doesn’t disappear into the horizon cleanly like it does in San Diego, for example. It disappears in what it seems to be a few feet above the water line.
Wherever there are people in India, there are bound to be refreshments. On the waterfronts and beaches, this was especially true. One of the more popular refreshments that I saw in India is crushing whole sugar cane to make sugar cane juice. Sometimes they would add syrups, lime juice or ice but most of the time I saw it in its pure form, squeezed straight from the cane to glass.
You would see machines to squeeze out the sugar cane, with a glass or bucket on the other side of the machine to catch the liquid. Here he’s feeding the pieces of cane into the machine.
Sometimes the best way to enjoy sugar cane was to start eating it directly. Chopped into big chunks, you just stuck a piece in your mouth and started sucking and chewing the juice directly from the fibers, leaving you with a small pile of what you saw next to the machine. When they were very cold, they were a refreshing snack.
Have you ever tasted real sugar cane or sugar cane juice?