Hon. Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan flagged off the “Salt March” Memorial Yatra at Kozhikkode on April 10, 2022. The ritual was witnessed by thousands of people in an atmosphere emotionally surcharged by the reminiscences of the historic freedom struggle, which shouted on top of the voice that the country would not surrender before the colonial forces. Dr Prabhakar Paleri, former Director of the Indian Coast Guard, received the national flag from the Governor. The Yatra commemorates the Salt March launched by “Kerala Gandhi” K. Kelappaji from Kozhikkode to Payyannur, Kannur district, which covered 142 km. in 1930.
The Yatra has been organised in connection with the celebrations of Azadi Ka Amrutholsav, the Diamond Jubilee of the country’s independence.
Speaking on occasion, the Governor stated that Arsha Samskruthi of Bharat was the source of inspiration for hundreds of thousands of freedom fighters who carried out the struggle for several decades together. They found pleasure in giving up their life, employment and academic career for the sake of the country’s freedom. They consisted of both known and unknown fighters. The concept of “Jananee Janmabhoomi cha Swargadapi Gareeyasi” is part and parcel of our culture. It inspired the freedom fighters. Bharath is not a mere land. It is a source of energy. Freedom is not a mere political concept. It also means rejuvenation of cultural values. That is why our freedom struggle was also based on spiritual values.
M. Radhakrishnan, Sah Kshetriya Karyavah of RSS and MD of Janmabhoomi Malayalam daily said that Kelappaji was ignored and neglected due to the demonisation the state of Kerala underwent in the recent past. It stemmed from the materialistic forces which came to power after the formation of Kerala as the state that we see now. Kelappaji stood for Truth, Boldness and Honesty. Those who have been ruling the state since its very inception were never fond of these qualities. But, now our society has slowly learned how to take strong stand. We witnessed it during the spread of Covid-19, the killer disease. Now, the whole world is all eyes and ears for Bharath. Freedom struggle was for self-respect and protection of the society’s identity. We have to revive the ideals of Kelappaji and similar leaders to achieve this noble goal.
Lt. General (Retd.) Sharath Chand, former Deputy Chief of Army Staff, delivered the felicitation speech. Governor felicitated Thayat Balan, Nadakumar Moodati and P. Sidhu, Kelappaji’s disciple grandson and granddaughter of K. Madhavan Nair, respectively. Nair was the Pradesh Congress President during the days of Salt March.
Yatra started from Thali Shiva Temple, Kozhikode, the same venue where Kelappaji started his Salt March on April 13, 1930. Thirty-two colleagues followed him. Now, the Yatra touches the ancestral houses of stalwarts of freedom struggles of those days. It covers 142 km. Patriotic welcomes will be accorded at 75 points. “Go back to Kelappaji for regaining Kerala” is the theme of the Yatra.