When Bhabani Mahato fed the revolution

“It must have been very hard for you when your husband Baidyanath was jailed for 13 months in the Quit India movement?” I ask Bhabani Mahato in Puruliya. “Running such a large joint family and…”

“We had a large joint family,” she says. “All responsibilities were mine. I did all the chores. I took care of everything. Everything. I ran the family. I looked after everybody in 1942-43 when all those incidents happened.” Bhabani does not name the ‘incidents’. But they included, among others, the Quit India stir. And the famous September 30, 1942 attempt by freedom fighters to hoist the tricolour at 12 police stations in what was even then one of the most deprived regions of Bengal.

And so the action planned in response happened on September 30, 1942. Fully 53 days after Mahatma Gandhi’s call for the British to ‘Quit India’ at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai on August 8, 1942. Baidyanath was arrested in the crackdown and suffered in the repression that followed. He was to become a schoolteacher after Independence. Teachers back then played a key role in political mobilisation. A role that would be carried over into Independent India for some decades.

— source ruralindiaonline.org | P. Sainath | Apr 18, 2022

Nullius in verba


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