Usha Mehta

Usha Mehta

Context: Recently a film “Ae Watan Mere Watan,” was released which centered on the life of Indian freedom fighter Usha Mehta.

 Usha Mehta (25 March 1920 – 11 August 2000) was a Gandhian and freedom fighter of India. Her remarkable contributions are etched in the annals of our nation’s history.
 Born in Saras, a village near Surat in modern-day Gujarat, Usha Mehta encountered Mahatma Gandhi at a young age during a visit to his ashram in Ahmedabad.
 Inspired by Gandhi’s principles, she actively participated in protests against the British Raj. At just eight years old, she joined a march against the Simon Commission, boldly shouting, “Simon Go Back.”
 Usha’s commitment deepened as she grew older. She distributed clandestine bulletins, visited imprisoned relatives, and carried messages to freedom fighters.
 Her lifestyle mirrored Gandhi’s simplicity: she wore only Khādī clothes and abstained from luxuries.

Her contributions
Congress Radio: During the Quit India Movement of 1942, Usha Mehta organized the Congress Radio, also known as the Secret Congress Radio. This clandestine underground radio station operated for a few months, disseminating information and inspiring patriotic fervor among the masses.
Padma Vibhushan: In recognition of her unwavering commitment to the cause of freedom, the Government of India honored her with the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of the Republic of India, in 1998

How did Congress Radio operate?
Broadcast Location: Usha Mehta and her team set up the radio station in a hidden location, away from the prying eyes of the British authorities. The exact location remains undisclosed to this day.
Equipment and Transmission: Despite limited resources, they managed to acquire basic radio equipment. The station transmitted messages, news, and patriotic songs using a low-power transmitter. 

The signal covered a limited radius to avoid detection.
Code Words and Encryption: To maintain secrecy, they used code words and encrypted messages. Ordinary phrases carried hidden meanings related to the freedom struggle. These cryptic messages were deciphered by those sympathetic to the cause.
Risk and Courage: Operating Congress Radio was perilous. Usha Mehta and her team risked arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. They worked tirelessly, knowing that their actions could inspire and mobilize the masses.
Inspiring the Nation: Despite its short existence, Congress Radio played a crucial role. It spread information about the movement, encouraged civil disobedience, and bolstered the spirit of independence. People huddled around their radios, listening intently to every broadcast.
Dismantling and Legacy: Eventually, the British authorities discovered the radio station. Usha Mehta was arrested and imprisoned. However, her legacy endures. Congress Radio symbolizes the resilience of ordinary citizens who fought for freedom, even through covert means.

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