Usha Mehta

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Ae Watan Mere Watan movie was released recently which is based on the biography of Indian freedom fighter Usha Mehta.

About Usha Mehta

  • Usha Mehta was born in a village named Saras, near Surat in Gujarat in 1920.
  • She was a true Gandhian at heart and was popularly known as Ushaben.
  • At the age of eight in 1928, she participated in a protest march against the Simon Commission.
  • On 14 August 1942, she and her associates established the Secret Congress Radio during the Quit India Movement, a covert radio station that went on air on 27 August.
  • It played a crucial role in keeping the freedom movement leaders connected with the public.

Setting up an underground station

  • Background: At the advent of the War in 1939, the British had suspended all amateur radio licences across the Empire. Operators were supposed to turn in all equipment to the authorities, with severe punishment for those who failed to do so.
  • Alongside Mehta, Babubhai Khakar, Vithalbhai Jhaveri, and Chandrakant Jhaveri were key figures in organising Congress Radio.
  • Congress Radio case
    • The trial of the five accused in the— Mehta, Babubhai Khakar, Vithalbhai Jhaveri, Chandrakant Jhaveri, and Nanak Gainchand Motwane (who sold key pieces of equipment to the team) — generated a lot of excitement in Bombay.
    • Vithalbhai and Motwane were acquitted, Mehta, Babubhai, and Chandrakant received stern sentences.
    • Usha Mehta was released from Pune’s Yerawada Jail in March 1946, and hailed in the nationalist media as “Radio-ben”.

Q1) What is the Quit India Movement?

The Quit India Movement, also known as the August Movement or Bharat Chodo Andolan, was a significant civil disobedience movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress on August 8, 1942 at Gowalia Tank Maidan also known as August Kranti Maidan in Bombay.

Source: Ae Watan Mere Watan: The story of Usha Mehta and Congress Radio