Memories of Childhood ; Quit India Movement, August 9 th , 1942

The British ruled India for a long, long time and the effects of their rule, good and bad, were felt all over the country. We got our freedom in 1947 . My father writes about what happened in his hometown in 1942.

“This was the day which changed the face of
India.  The famous “Quit India” resolution
was passed by the Congress Party led by Mahatma
Gandhiji.  Within 5 years, the British  left India.

  But, to us, residents of Hospet, this day
was  a day of sorrow.  The Municipal High School,
of which my father was the Headmaster had a
wonderful library  It was at its South East corner.
Books of many languages were there.  I was too
young to have read any book from that library.

On a night of August, 1942, we woke up in
the middle of the night and saw a big light
to our west.  The sun had set a long time back.
My father too woke up.  He suddenly started
walking towards the High School. As he came near,
he saw that there some fire coming out of the
school building.  He called a few students and
men who were nearby.  They were amazed to find
that their library was burning.  Immediately,
police were informed.  And soon, they came to
the school with a large number of policemen and
some residents of the town.

They found that the school library was
burning and that there was no way of
stopping it.  Water was far away, as the school
well was on the other side of the school.  As
hundreds of students arrived along with other
men, they formed a line from the well and
brought water to the fire.  It took some time
to stop the fire.  By that time, the
library room, its roof supported by wooden
beams and almirahs carrying books were all burnt.

When we woke up in the morning, we walked
towards the school. We found that the large school-
ground with its hockey, football and cricket
fields was littered with papers from the burnt
books.  At many places, we could not see the ground.
I had never seen my father with such a face. He
was short of weeping.  The picture of my school
ground covered with half-burnt paper can never
leave my mind.

We do not know what the persons who burnt the
books to be read by their children, gained from
their action.  But, we students lost thousands of
books which were the main source of our knowledge.”

1942

     (photos from the internet)

 

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