Introduction

The lesson”Aruna Asaf Ali”is about as the ‘Grand Old Lady of the Independence Movement,who is one of those relatively-unknown independence activists and today, we celebrate her 23rd death anniversary. She is known for hoisting the Indian flag at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbal during the Quit India Movement.

Aruna Asaf Ali was the famous freedom fighter and the champion of the cause of women. She is called as the “Grand old lady of the independence movement”. When the freedom struggle was furiously increasing and the youth were laying down their lives, she jumped into the politics at the time.

She was born into an orthodox Hindu Bengali family in 1900 at Kalka in Haryana. She broke conventions at the age of 19 and married Asaf Ali, a prominent figure in the freedom struggle. He was twenty years senior to her. After her marriage, she took part in the freedom movement and then in social service throughout her life.

Political life

Aruna Asaf Ali’s first political involvement was during the Salt Satyagraha. Due to addressing the public meeting and leading procession, she was arrested by the police and was sent to jail for one year. She was released because public agitation was launched in her support. She was arrested again and put in jail. There she went on hunger strike to protest against the torcher given to the political prisoners. Her demands were conceded, but she was kept in another Jail for ten years. In 1942 the Bombay Congress Session held. In the Session, a resolution was passed. The committee had planned to hoist the tricolor at Gowalia Tank Maidan.

The British somehow came to know the plan and arrested prominent leaders including Gandhiji Moulana Azad, the Congress President was to flared tricolor at the public gathering at Gowalia Tank Maidan. Aruna Asaf Ali decided to go there.

There at the maidan. The British declared the meeting illegal under section 144. The British sergeant warned the public gather to disperse within two minutes. Aruna Scramble (scrawled) up to the do is and pulled the card to hoist the national flag. No sooner did she hoist the flag than, the police lobbed the tear gas shells into the crowd. She escaped from the place.

Courage and Bravery

Aruna’s act of defiance on 9th August virtually marked the start of the Quit India Movement. The Government announced a reward of Rs. 500 for her capture. Gandhiji advised her to come out of the underground, otherwise, she would reduce to a skeleton. Further, he advised her to surrender herself and take the price offered for her arrest so that the prize money could be reserved for the great Indian cause.

Aruna surrendered only when the warrants for her arrest were cancelled on 26 January 1946. After India attained independence, she turned to social

work. She helped to establish the National Federation of Indian Women in 1954.

In 1992 she was awarded the Nehru Award for International Understanding. She died in July 1996. The Indian Government honoured her with its highest civilian award Bharat Ratna posthumously.