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Dr. Usha Mehta: The freedom fighter who helped set up a secret radio station for the Indian National Congress

by R. Raghunandan

Usha Mehta (25 March 1920 – 11 August 2000) was a Gandhian and freedom fighter of India. She is also remembered for organising the Congress Radio, also called the Secret Congress Radio, an underground radio station, which functioned for a few months during the Quit India Movement of 1942. In 1998, the Government of India conferred on her Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of the Republic of India.

Early life

Usha was born in Saras village near Surat in Gujarat. When she was just five years old, Usha first saw Gandhi while on a visit to his ashram at Ahmedabad. Shortly afterwards, Gandhi arranged a camp near her village in which little Usha participated, attending sessions and doing a little spinning.

In 1928, eight-year-old Usha participated in a protest march against the Simon Commission and shouted her first words of protest against the British Raj: “Simon Go Back.” She and other children....

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