Unique in nature, this book is all about the behind-the-
scenes developments during the Quit India movement. It was
one of those periods of the freedom movement, when the
‘common man’ rendered leaderless by widespread arrests of the
front ranking Congress leaders, took upon himself to carry
forward the chase for independence to the finish. In this he was
aided, inspired and motivated by the Secret Broadcasts from the
make-shift radio. These broadcasts were done under the
stewardship of Ram Manohar Lohiya from underground.
Ensconced in the shelves of National Archives of India
the ‘Police Monitory Report’ of the Congress Radio were studied
and researched and brought out into a book by the Indira Gandhi
Centre for the Arts (IGNCA). This is being brought out under an
arrangement with IGNCA.
India is celebrating 75th years of Quit India Movement that marked the
beginning of the end of the 150 years British Rule in India. When we refer to
Quit India movement we ponder over few pointers -arrest of all National leaders
including Mahatma Gandhi, emergence of young leaders for the movement to
lead the society,severe censorship that underlined frustration of the British Raj
and finally a mass movement transforming into the highest aggression movement.
But we need to go beyond thisas facts unearthed by scholarsextracted from the
hidden pages of history mostly kept in National Archives of India.
Scholars at IGNCA have done landmark research on Quit India Movement and
brought out some very important information related to this movement. We are
publishing this in collaboration with Publications Division of the Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting.
IGNCA with its new vision of looking at India, its tradition, its history, its
heritage from within and collating new facts has initiated many programmes
that highlight and uncover lesser known issues, and create an effective dialogue
linking masses with intellectual deliberations. Coming to the era of freedom
movement, a fresh look need to be given to bring forth the laudableefforts of
many unknown or lesser known Indians who opted to work silently.
Through this book we are taking up the context of re-understanding Indian
History and re-enumerate the role of unknown Freedom Fighters who chose to
lead the masses through unique Radio Journalism when censorship was clamped
and information flow was cut off. Clandestine Radio covered balanced news
from NWFP to Baluchistan; from Karachi to Brindaban; from Allahabad to
Bengal; from Bihar to Madras; from Coimbatore to Trivandrum; from Gujarat
to Maharashtra. The news items broadcast were recorded by the British
Intelligence Officers. Every line of transcript from Radio Broadcast is a vivid
commentary of British atrocities.
The book is based on archival documents from National Archives of India
which reveals that India was not 'leaderless' and was not responsible for anarchy
and mob violence that prevailed. It was the wrath of the ordinary people, which
found expression in Quit India Movement. It was mostly peaceful demonstration
in answer to British atrocities. Repressions followed by atrocities, post offices
were burnt, telegraph lines cut, railway stations and tracks destroyed. It was an
organized effort to paralyze the Raj. It was protest against brutalization of masses
mostly by military and police. At some places local police refused to fire on
their own people and were arrested.
The Quit India Movement saw emergence of new dimension of
nationalism. Radio Journalism that aired this new wave showed how to keep
people informed in those dark hours and also enthusethem to assert against
brutality. It taught the then leadership how to react in different situations.
Clandestine Radio, which is documented in this book will enable historians to
re-write the history of Quit India Movement with new light and recognize the
strength of mass participation to oust the Raj. Their efforts were equally
important and powerful, and were parallel to the strategy of negotiations and
resolutions adopted by the British Raj in consultation with a few national leaders.
The dual game of the British Raj was exposed and their atrocities got a befitting
"Untold Story of Radio Broadcast During Quit India Movement" edited by
Dr. Gautam Chatterjee highlights a unique document that narrates all about
what happened during the Quit India Movement and analyze how nationalism
was practiced and celebrated by common masses.The book tells us how they
braved bullets, batons and even arrests. Dr. Gautam Chatterjee, is a scholar in
his own right. He has written articles on Indian history, heritage and culture. He
has authored 25 books andscripted around 200 documentaries/programmes for
television. Two of his scripts got UNESCO recognition. He is presently heading
the Media Center at IGNCA.
Quit India Movement remains a turning point of Indian freedom struggle.
We have heard about it since our childhood. Our elders talked about it and
through educational process we were told the story of ‘Karengey ya Marengey
slogan. Personally I am indebted to all those who wrote about the great
movement. Though remained ‘leaderless’, common men led it from the front
and shook the Raj. The Congress of that time though synonymous with freedom
movement yet within it there was chasm. But that is not part of the discussion
of this book. However, socialist and many underground leaders of many factions
gave a decisive punch to the Raj by organizing nationwide protests during Quit
India Movement. Under the mentorship of Dr. S. Sengupta, a well known
historian, former OSD of NAI, I explored the pages of history at National
Archives of India since 1984. I came across many unknown aspects of social
and political scenario, trade and economics, reformation and jail etc., through
archival digging of records. In that process I also found an important file, never
referred to by any scholar then about ‘Police Monitory Report’ of Congress
Radio. Congress Socialist, Ram Manohar Lohia steered the movement from
underground. A young Gujarati boy of 22 years, Vithaldas alias Babhubhai
Madhavi Khakhar, headed the mission of clandestine Radio Broadcast. Usha
Mehta, another Gujarati girl of 22 years gave her voice with intellectual
deliverance for 71 days of broadcast hiding in various places in. Bombay. There
were many more unknown people who braved the police and made the Radio
Broadcast a success.
We also learn from Sadhna, a Marathi weekly (Year) 40 (No) 27) of 13
Feb 1988 wherein Madhu Limaye states that Vitthal Rao Patvardhan brought
broadcast equipment of Azad Radio to Nasik and it was kept at the Sankaracharya
Math from where the ‘Azad Radio’ went on air. But fearing, perhaps police
raid, the transmission equipment was immersed in the Godavari river.
We are also aware of Azad Hind Radio of INA. Through its broadcast
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose also gave a direction during the Quit India
movement and regular broadcast kept the people informed about what was
happening world over and in India. It made great impact on the ordinary people.
Basic purpose of this book is to throw light on who manned the Clandestine,
radio, how the transmitters were built stealthily and what was the content of
the broadcast recorded by the British Intelligence reporters/stenographers and
finally what was the opinion of police and final judgement thereof. Those
uncensored pages are the highlight of the book and it is hoped that in future
this startling material will be used in history books of schools and colleges. I
am immensely grateful tothe National Archives of India for giving me access
to such a document. For me National Archives of India is a temple of heritage
and history. No select bibliography is given in this volume as it is not possible
for me to mention the names of all whose writings. This book only highlights
an unknown or at least un-discussed part of history for the generation next. It
was radio journalism by freedom fighters whose names were never mentioned
in the pages of history till we brought out the Records first time in 1988 and
again it got buried and was lost. For future historians it is suggested they should
refer to NAI Record Home Political (internal) File No. 3/44/43 Poll(l)/1943.
Hence, this effort is just to highlight how people were kept informed about the
ongoing events around India during the Quit India Movement and also to enthuse
them to be part of the freedom struggle. It was not the leaders but the masses
from all over India who braved /athis, bullets and humiliation for the cause of
freedom struggle that finally became the epitaph for the Raj.
I am thankful to Ms. Vinita Shrivastava, Joint Secretary, IGNCA who
took up the project for joint publication under IGNCA and Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting. I am personally grateful to Dr. Sachidanand
Joshi, Member Secretary for writing the ‘Foreword’. Personally I may like to
place on record my thanks to Shri A.K. Sinha of IGNCA and Publications
Division of Ministry of I & B. My gratitude to Director General and Head of
DPD, Dr. Sadhana Rout, Shri Rakeshrenu, Deputy Director and many others
for their kind facilitation and help.
Access to National Archives of India and permision to print documents is
Finally I am indebted to my father Shri Jyotirmay Chatterjee, who initiated
me into writing four decades ago and has been editing my works till now. I
remain at his feet forever.
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