August Kranti Maidan, located in south Mumbai is the perfect example of a monument with great historical significance that has unfortunately been unable to make it to many tourist guide books. The park was the place where Mahatma Gandhi once stood and delivered the Quit India speech on August 8, 1942. Historically it is significant since the speech marked the beginning of the Civil Disobedience Movement. The place is popularly referred to as Gowalia Tank Maidan since it once housed a tank that was used to bathe cows and other livestock. Today, a monument stands as a testament to Gandhi’s speech.
It all began when the British Government sent Sir Stafford Cripps to India with proposals to instate a new constitution, but the proposals were rejected by the Congress and the Muslim League. The All India Congress Committee session began on August 7, 1942 and concluded on the following night. This was when the ‘Quit India’ movement was born. There were other suggestions regarding the name of the movement, including ‘Get Out’, but Gandhi’s call was for a peaceful, non-violent agitation. Yusuf Meheraly eventually suggested the slogan Quit India, to which Gandhi replied ‘Amen’. The following day saw imminent leaders including Gandhi being arrested and the government declared that all public meetings would be banned. However, irresolute supporters gathered at August Kranti Maidan and the national flag was hoisted by Aruna Asaf Ali. There were attempts made to quell the crowds including tear gas shells and the flag was torn down.
The events at August Kranti Maidan are significant from a historical and political point of view, yet it is quite disappointing that the venue is looked at like any other park. Moreover, its proximity to another establishment associated with Gandhi’s time spent in Mumbai, Mani Bhavan means that much more could have been done to popularise it. Mani Bhavan served as headquarters for Gandhi for 17 years. Today, the building has been converted into a museum. Many residents of Mumbai are themselves not aware of the park’s important association with India’s freedom struggle. A pillar was erected commemorating Gandhi’s speech. It stands on a plinth and is guarded by a small gate.
The nearby attractions include Mani Bhavan Museum, which houses Gandhi’s room has been preserved.
How to reach there
By Air: All major carriers connect to Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport and prepaid taxi services are available at the airport desk
By Rail: Mumbai is well connected by rail with the rest of the country.
Where to stay
Mumbai is home to many national and international hotel chains in various categories.