On Friday, close to 800 people assembled in Ahmedabad, Gujarat to begin a 350km-long march till Una to protest against atrocities that Dalits are subjected to. The march, which is being called "Azaadi Koon" (march for freedom), is set to reach Una on August 15, where the protestors will unfurl the tricolour. Gatherings in villages and towns along the way have been arranged to discuss Dalit issues and to send out the call that Dalits will no longer pick up the carcasses of dead animals.

To raise awareness and spread the word, participants have been sharing information, photographs and videos with the hashtag #ChaloUna.

In the video above, a large and passionate group of mostly women can be seen taking a pledge at the Siddharth Education Trust in Sonar Kui never to dispose of dead cattle again.

Below is the route that the march will take.

Other videos of the march show how the movement has cut across age groups. Men, women, and even young girls and boys are seen passionately shouting slogans for freedom. Such has been the power of this movement that it is believed not only to have ensured the departure of former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel, but also to have forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to issue a statement condemning cow vigilantes.

The sights of groups of people taking pledges and the meetings in every village along the way – not to mention the very idea of a long march – makes it difficult not to draw a comparison with Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi march. On entry into every new village and town, marchers are being greeted enthusiastically by the locals with music, slogans and cheers. Sometimes the slogans even take on the two leading political parties: "Modi Hai Hai, Bhajap-Congress Hai Hai."

In one of the videos, Jignesh Melvani, who is being called the man behind the march and the movement, can be heard addressing the rally as a number of people record his speech on their mobile phones.


And here's a sample of tweets.