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Usha Mehta and Her Secret Radio in 1942



  Mar 27, 2024

Usha Mehta and Her Secret Radio in 1942



Usha Mehta (1920-2000) was a prominent Indian freedom fighter who played a significant role during the Indian independence movement, notably for her involvement in setting up an underground radio station in 1942. This initiative was a part of the Quit India Movement, a mass protest demanding an end to British rule in India.

Background of the Quit India Movement:

The Quit India Movement was launched in August 1942 by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. It was a civil disobedience movement that aimed to force the British government to leave India. The movement called for immediate independence and demonstrated the Indian populace’s resolve for freedom.

The Secret Radio:

In the wake of the British government’s crackdown on Indian leaders and the press following the launch of the Quit India Movement, Usha Mehta and her colleagues established the Secret Congress Radio. The radio became operational on August 27, 1942, and was India’s voice of rebellion, broadcasting news and messages related to the freedom struggle directly to the Indian people, bypassing British censorship.

Significance of the Secret Radio:

• Spreading the Message: The radio played a crucial role in spreading Gandhi’s message and the principles of the Quit India Movement across different parts of the country, especially at a time when most national leaders were arrested, and the press was censored.
• Boosting Morale: The broadcasts helped boost the morale of the Indian populace and freedom fighters by informing them about the movement’s progress and encouraging continued resistance against British rule.
• Technical Achievement: Operating an underground radio station during such a tumultuous period was a significant technical and logistical achievement. The station moved locations several times to avoid detection by the British authorities.

Demise of the Secret Radio:

The British authorities eventually traced the radio broadcasts, leading to the arrest of Usha Mehta and her team in November 1942. Despite the radio’s short lifespan, it left a lasting impact on the Indian independence movement by demonstrating the resilience and ingenuity of the Indian people.

Legacy of Usha Mehta:

Usha Mehta’s contribution to India’s freedom struggle, especially her role in establishing the secret radio, is remembered as a symbol of resistance and patriotism. After India gained independence, she continued to serve the nation through education and social work. Her legacy is celebrated for embodying the spirit of independence and the power of communication in mobilizing a nation.

Usha Mehta’s secret radio remains a poignant reminder of the struggle for Indian independence, highlighting the innovative methods adopted by freedom fighters to challenge colonial rule and inspire their fellow countrymen.


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