The Saga of Usha Mehta and Congress Radio: A Chronicle of India’s Freedom Struggle          

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March 23, 2024

The Saga of Usha Mehta and Congress Radio: A Chronicle of India’s Freedom Struggle          


  • In 1942, amidst the fervor of the Quit India Movement, when senior Congress leaders were imprisoned, a clandestine beacon of freedom emerged – Congress Radio. The recently released biographical film “Ae Watan Mere Watan” on Amazon Prime delves into this historical saga, focusing on the remarkable journey of Usha Mehta, portrayed by Sara Ali Khan, and the pivotal role played by Congress Radio during this tumultuous period.

The Spark of the Quit India Movement:

  • August 8, 1942, marked the onset of the Quit India Movement, epitomized by Mahatma Gandhi’s clarion call of “Do or Die.” With mass civil disobedience and widespread public demonstrations demanding an end to British rule, the movement posed a formidable challenge to colonial authority. Despite the subsequent arrest of key Congress leaders and the banning of the party, the spirit of resistance persevered.

Usha Mehta: The Visionary Behind Congress Radio:

  • At 22, Usha Mehta, a law student in Bombay, was captivated by Gandhi’s ideals and immersed herself in the Quit India Movement. Recognizing the power of communication in fostering dissent, Mehta proposed the establishment of an underground radio station. Amidst the suppression of press and censorship, radio emerged as a potent medium to disseminate information and galvanize the masses.

The Perils of Underground Broadcasting:

  • Setting up Congress Radio posed formidable challenges, from procuring funds and technical expertise to evading detection by colonial authorities. Despite the risks, Mehta, along with Babubhai Khakar and others, embarked on this audacious endeavor, driven by their unwavering commitment to India’s freedom struggle.

The Resonance of Congress Radio:

  • From its clandestine beginnings to its eventual discovery, Congress Radio emerged as a beacon of hope, defying colonial censorship to broadcast news, political speeches, and directives to the Indian populace. Its transmissions, capturing the essence of the Quit India Movement, fueled the spirit of independence among the masses.

The Fall and Legacy:

  • Despite meticulous efforts to evade detection, Congress Radio met its demise with the capture of its operators. Usha Mehta’s defiant stance during the station’s final moments epitomized the indomitable spirit of the freedom fighters. Though she faced imprisonment, Mehta’s legacy endured, earning her the title of “Radio-ben” and posthumously receiving the Padma Vibhushan for her unwavering dedication to the nation’s cause.


  • The tale of Usha Mehta and Congress Radio stands as a testament to the resilience and determination of India’s freedom fighters during one of the most tumultuous chapters in its history. Their unwavering commitment to liberty, embodied in the clandestine broadcasts of Congress Radio, continues to inspire generations in the pursuit of justice and freedom.

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The Saga of Usha Mehta and Congress Radio: A Chronicle of India’s Freedom Struggle | Vaid ICS Institute