August Kranti Maidan in Mumbai holds a very important place in the history of Indian independence struggle as it was from the spot from where Mahatma Gandhi ordered the British to leave India. The Mahatma’s command to the British on August 8, 1942, marked the launch of the Quit India movement. Earlier, known as Gowalia Tank Maidan, the ground was re-christened as August Kranti Maidan to mark the historic event. The name, August Kranti Maidan loosely translated stands for August Revolution Ground.
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The maidan got its name from a tank which used to exist and was used for bathing cows. ‘Gou’ means cow and ‘wala’ refers to the owner of the cattle. The ground exists stands over the tank which was filled over. Unhappy with the Sir Stafford Cripps Mission sent by the British government, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) met on August 7, 1942 and decided to ask the British to leave India. Yusuf Meheraly, the then mayor of Bombay and prominent Congress leader, suggested the slogan ‘Quit India’, which was accepted by Mahatma Gandhi.
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Though prominent leaders were arrested, patriots led by Aruna Asaf Ali hoisted the Indian tri-colour. The government made attempts to suppress the resistance by using teargas canisters and resorting to lathi-charge. The August Kranti Maidan is near Mani Bhavan, another landmark associated with the Mahatma. Mahatma Gandhi used to stay at Mani Bhavan during his visits to Mumbai. The monument has been converted into a museum now.
Today, the Gowalia Tank Maidan is a popular playground. The ground has been split up in to five parts now. The largest part is an open playground for all, there is a smaller playground for small children, a garden for senior citizens. A memorial in the park stands testimony to the historic event during Indian independence struggle.
Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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