Attachment = No, here I’m not gonna write about personal attachment. But I’m gonna pen about the attachment one has towards our country, towards our “India”
So here it goes, each day is dedicated to each activist with that starting letter. To begin with, Aruna Asaf Ali. Its a tremendous change that women have surged ahead in Indian Politics. Not only in politics but also in every possible field. Women have held all high positions in this country.
But we have forgotten how women of India sacrificed their own life to get us freedom from the tyrannical dominance years back. They fought shoulder to shoulder with men with every drop of blood to make our future better. And this A-Z challenge is a tribute to them from my side.
Born Aruna Gangulee in an orthodox Hindu Bengali family, Aruna Asaf Ali broke many boundaries to go to college, work, marry outside her community, and become the ‘Grand Old Lady of the Independence Movement’.
Her quest to work for the Independence of the country began when she first met her husband Asaf Ali, who was at that time an active member of Congress Party. Following her husband’s footsteps, she enthusiastically took part in the Congress programmes and soon became an important member of the party. Apart from contributing to the freedom struggle, she is also a social activist who has worked towards the empowerment of poor. She has emphasized more on women empowerment and education.
Her first major political action was during the Salt Satyagraha in 1930 when she addressed public meetings and led processions. British Government charged her for being a “vagrant” and sentenced her to one year’s imprisonment. . Following this she was imprisoned twice – 1932 and 1941.
In 1942 she attended the Bombay Congress Session with her husband, where the historic Quit India resolution was passed on 8th August. When the Congress leaders were arrested on the day after this resolution was passed, Aruna presided over the flag-hoisting ceremony at Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay. She is still known for this bravery act. She lead this movement when none of the leaders are available to lead.
She provided the spark that ignited the movement. She became a full-time activist in the Quit India movement and went underground to evade arrest.
Her underground escape ignited the fire in the Government and made them to seize her property. The Government also announced Rs. 5000 reward for her capture. Meanwhile, she fell ill and on hearing this Gandhiji advised her to surrender (wonder what that man had in his mind asking her to surrender herself)
However, Aruna Asaf Ali surrendered herself only when the warrants against her were cancelled on 26th January 1946.
Her health began to deteriorate and as a result she could not actively take up her pet causes – action for women’s advancement, planning for economic justice, role of media, etc. She passed away in July 1996.
Awards, Achievements & Honors
- Vice President of the All India Trade Union Congress
- Lenin Prize for peace in 1975
- Jawahar Lal Nehru award for International understanding in 1991
- Bharat Ratna (posthumous)
- Honorable Stamp by Indian Postal Service in 1998
- Road named in Delhi as “Aruna Asaf Ali Marg”
She was a living example for all posterity to follow. She would ever live in the heart of all Indians.