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Untold Story of Broadcast During Quit India Movement

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Untold Story of Broadcast During Quit India Movement
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Item Code: NAV459
Author: Gautam Chatterjee
Language: English
Edition: 2018
ISBN: 9788123027951
Pages: 164
Other Details: 10.00 X 6.00 inch
weight of the book: 0.29 kg
About the Book

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 reply.

"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 gratefully acknowledged

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.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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