30 June 2015

India's Struggle for Freedom - Personalities Involved 9.8.1983

The stamp on 'Quit India Resolution' shows Gandhi and Nehru alongwith other leaders discussing the resolution at the AICC session held at Gowalia Tank Maidan, Bombay on 8 August, 1942. First Day Cover depicts the seen at Gowalia Tank Maidan, Bombay on 9 August, 1942 after the Police restored to firing of tear gas shells. The other two se-tennant stamps feature Madelline Slade (Meera Behn) and Mahadev Desai.

The "Quit India" - Resolution of the Indian National Congress (1942)
After the rejection of the Cripps Offer, the Congress leaders felt compelled to launch an agitational campaign. Mahatma Gandhi suggested that the British should "Quit India" as long as they had still time to do so before the Japanese entered India. His draft resolution was considered to be to pro-Japanese by other Congress leaders and Jawaharlal Nehru was asked to amend it. The amended resolution was passed in July 1942. The Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, then imprisoned all Congress leaders before they could take any action.
This set of three stamps, on the themes of 'Quit India Revolution', 'Mahadev Desai' and 'Meera Behn' is the first issue in the proposed series. This set, thus, marks the beginning of an ambitious project under which about 4-6 stamps will be will be issued, every year, till 1997- the 50th year of India's Independence, to complete the story of the struggle through stamps.
MEERA BEHN (1892-1982). Meera Behn was born as Madeleine Slade in 1892 in England. Her father, admiral Sir Edmond Slade, came of a traditional aristocratic family. She read Romain Rolland's Book 'Mahatma Gandhi' at one sitting and it changed her life- "Now I knew what that something was, the approach of which I had been feeling". Gandhiji gave her name of Meera in view of her devotion to him and her dedication to the service of India. Soon after she came to India, she was sent to the Kanya Gurukul, Dehra Dun, where she taught English, Spinning and Carding, and studied Hindi and the Scriptures. She accompanied Gandhiji to the Second Round Table Conference in 1932 and acted as his interpreter on the Continent on his way back home. She said that India was her home and she felt like a foreigner in England. She joined the Satyagraha movement later on and was in prison once with Kasturba, and twice by herself. She was arrested alongwith Bapu on the morning of 9 August, 1942 and was in the Aga Khan Palace Detention Camp from August, 1942 to May, 1944. It was on 18 January, 1959 that she left India for good and settled in a small village about 30 miles from Vienna. She was awarded Padma Vibhushan in January, 1982. She passed away on 29 July, 1982.
MAHADEV DESAI (1892-1942). Mahadev Desai was born on 1 January, 1892 at Saras in Surat district. He received primary and secondary education at different places in Gujarat, but graduated from the Elphinston College, Bombay in 1910. He joined the Law College thereafter and got his L.L.B. in 1913. Mahadev Desai met Gandhiji on 31 August, 1917 and found in him his Guru and moved like a shadow behind him till his death. After joining Gandhiji, Mahadev Desai actively participated and courted arrest in Champaran Satyagrah (1917), the Bardoli Satyagraha (1928), and the Salt Satyagraha (1930). In1921, Gandhiji sent him to edit Motilal Nehru's periodical, the Independent, at Allahabad and there too he was arrested and jailed. After his release in January, 1923, he returned to Ahmedabad and looked after the editorial work of the Navjivan. His sharp editorials on the hollowness of the constitutional reforms of 1919 and his tirade against the British Government kept up the tempo of the freedom struggle. Between 1924 and 1928 he toured the country with Gandhiji, explaining the salient features of the freedom struggle. He accompanied Gandhiji in 1931 to the Round Table Conference in London. In the Quit India Movement in 1942, he, alongwith Gandhiji, was arrested and sent to the Aga Khan Palace for imprisonment, where he died peacefully on 15 August, 1942, deeply mourned by the nation and by Gandhiji in particular who considered himself an orphan.

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