Some of the earliest evidence of salt processing dates to around 6,000 BC, when people living in the area of present-day Romania boiled spring water to extract salts; a salt-works in China dates to approximately the same period. Salt was also prized by the ancient Hebrews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Hittites, Egyptians, and the Indians. Salt became an important article of trade and was transported by boat across the Mediterranean Sea, along specially built salt roads, and across the Sahara on camel caravans. The scarcity and universal need for salt have led nations to go to war over it and use it to raise tax revenues. Salt is used in religious ceremonies and has other cultural and traditional significance. Historically, the Salt March also known as the Salt Satyagraha, Dandi March and the Dandi Satyagraha, was an act of nonviolent civil disobedience in colonial India led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The 24-day march lasted from 12 March 1930 to 6 April 1930 as a direct action campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly.

That's some history. This powerful portrait of a salt worker in a processing farm on the East Coast was shot by Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad in the year 2012.

Salt farmers of the east coast, 2012

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  • Abul Kalam Azad is an Indian visual artist and photographer based in Kerala. His works are largely personal explorations and documentation of experiences, and memories of his native land, people, and their culture. They deal with issues of identity, ethics, micro/macro history, and eroticism. His works have exhibited Nationally/Internationally in reputed museums and galleries. He has received Charles Wallace Award in the year 1996 and recognized by the French government through a scholarship grant. He is a recipient of grants from the Government of India and India Foundation for the Arts (IFA). He is the founder of Ekalokam Trust for Photography and Editor-in-chief of PhotoMail Online magazine.

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