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Words of Freedom Ideas of a Nation (Aruna Asaf Ali)

Words of Freedom Ideas of a Nation (Aruna Asaf Ali)
$8.80$11.00  [ 20% off ]
Item Code: IHL377
Author: Aruna Asaf Ali
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 9780143068983
Pages: 123
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 7.0 inch X 4.3 inch
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Protect the weak; organize for self-defence; mobilize against anti-social attacks on the defenceless; respect, irrespective of caste or creed, the sanctity of the non-aggressive individual

Aruna Asaf Ali came to prominence during the Quit India movement when she went underground to help build and guide the movement after prominent Congress leaders were arrested. In 1948, Aruna joined the Socialist Party because her radical views came into conflict with Congress politics in the post-Independence period. She then joined the Communist Party of India, with a seat on its central committee. She eventually quit CPI and ceased to play any active part in politics, but she remained a committed leftist and a respected figure in the Indian political firmament.

This selection—from Aruna Asaf Ali's contributions to the weekly Janata—attempts to represent her complex, always inspiring and sometimes surprising political positions. In these pieces, we find Aruna travelling across the length and breadth of the country, and recording and reflecting on India and Indians in the years that led to 1947 and the independence of India.

WORDS OF FREEDOM

IDEAS OF A NATION

WORDS OF FREEDOM

IDEAS OF A NATION

ARUNA ASAF ALl

PENGUIN BOOKS

Contents

Introduction

ix

1.

Seven Weeks Seven Cities

1

2.

Fraternities: Social Groupings

15

J.

Hundred Men Meet Furture Horizon

29

4.

The Casual Chain

41

5.

Delhi after Three Years

53

6.

Sermonizing and Soliloquizing

65

Then and Now

77

8.

Now and Then

89

9.

The Ganges in Mourning

99

10.

Death Festival

113

Introduction

Aruna Asaf Ali was born Aruna Ganguly in 1909 to a Bengali Brahmo family. She grew up in Nainital and when attending a Catholic school in Lahore, she expressed interest in becoming a nun. Her parents transferred her to a school in Nainital. Later, resisting parental attempts to get her married, she left home to make her living as a teacher at the Gokhale Memorial School for Girls, Calcutta. At the age of 18 she fell in love a Muslim barrister twenty years her senior, Asaf Ali. Despite vehement opposition from her family, the controversial marriage took place and the Asaf Alis moved to Delhi.

Asaf Ali was active in politics and Aruna began to participate in the national movement for independence. She met Congress leaders and attended political meetings. She also came in contact with the leaders of the Congress Socialist Party Jayaprakash Narayan, Achyut Patwardhan and Ram Manohar Lohia.

Aruna came into prominence during the Quit India Movement. Following the arrest of all Congress leaders in 1942, Aruna went underground along with her socialist friends and sought to build up an underground centre to guide the movement. She toured Calcutta, Bombay and Delhi evading police hunt and made heroic efforts to regroup the forces after the collapse of the movement in 1944. Emerging from underground in 1946, Aruna was elected president of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee in 1947.

However, Aruna joined the Socialist Party in 1948 because her radical views came into conflict with Congress politics in the post-Independence period. Two years later, she broke away from it and formed the Left Socialist Group, and took an active interest in the trade union movement. When the group merged with the Communist Party of India, Aruna became a member of the party's central committee. She left the CPI in 1958 and remained unattached to any political party. She came back to the Congress after Nehru's death in 1964, but ceased to play any active part in politics. She took interest in India's socialist movement, but she did remain in public life. She died in 1996.

This selection—from Aruna Asaf Ali's contributions to the weekly Janata—attempts to represent her complex, always inspiring and sometimes surprising political positions. In these pieces, we find Aruna travelling, recording and reflecting on India and Indians in the years that led to 1947 and the independence of India.

Arun Asaf Ali (16 july 1909-29 july 1996)

is a legendary heroine of India's freedom struggle. She came into prominence during the Quit India movement when she unfurled the flag in August 1942 at the meeting where Mahatma Gandhi asked the British to pack up and leave. In the 1930s and '40s, during the struggle for Indian independence, she was arrested a number of times. She became an ardent socialist post-1948 and took an active interest in the trade union movement. She was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1997.

To celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Indian Republic, the Words of Freedom series showcases the landmark speeches and writings of fourteen visionary leaders whose thought animated the Indian struggle for Independence and whose revolutionary ideas and actions forged the Republic of India as we know it today.

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