Kamalnayan Bajaj - page 74

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KamalnayanBajaj –Architect of theBajajGroup
AmatterofHonour
–byRamkrishnaBajaj
ThoughBapuandBawere takenaway, the
meetingmust beheldasoriginallyplanned. There
washeavypolicebandobast atShivaji Park.
Thepolice, armedwithmachineguns, hadcordoned
off a largeareaof themaidan.Wavesof peoplewere
surging fromoneendpassingover to theother -
breaking thepolicecordons.When thepolice lost
patience, theybegan toburst tear gas shells. But the
peoplehadbecomeused to this sincemorning. The
Congress volunteershadmastered the techniqueof
nullifying the tear gasattack. Themoment thegas
shellswere fired, theywerepressedagainst thegrass.
Still, some fumeswould leakout. Residents from the
surroundinghousesbrought buckets full ofwater and
thepeopledipped theirhandkerchieves inwater and
pressed themagainst their eyes.
A largenumber of peoplehadgathered inonecorner
squattingon theground inadisciplinedmanner. They
didnot disperseevenwhen thegas shellswere fired.
Thereafter, theywerecane-charged. Still, not one
persongotup.Ultimately, thepolicegot tiredand
stopped thecane-charge.
Khurshidbenandoneother lady stoodup toaddress.
But, becauseof the tear gas, theycouldnot speak.
Still, themeetingmust goon. Butwhoelsewould
speak?Meanwhile, someone suggested thatBhai
Kamalnayan shouldaddress thegathering.Hehad
not comeprepared tomakea speech. Thepeople
gatheredaroundhimand therewascomplete silence.
He spoke for about 15minutes.Whathe saidwasnot
important, Themainpurposewas tohold themeeting
asoriginally scheduled.
Itwasheldclose to thepolicecordon. But,
surprisingly, thepolice remainedquiet. Even
otherwise, theywerehelpless in the faceof the
people’senthusiasmanddetermination. Themeeting
went offwithout interruption.
For the first time the slogan ‘KamalnayanBajaj Ki Jai’
washeard. I felt veryhappy.While returninghomeat
night,we saw the slogans ‘Quit India’, ‘BharatHamara
Hai’ scrawledon the streets. Theywerewritten
on thehousewalls, trams, at the railway stations
- everywherepossible. Toeverybody’s surprise
Kamalnayanwasnot arrested. Perhaps thepolicehad
no instructions todo so.Hedidnot rankhigh in the
Congresshierarchy.
CongresspassedTheQuit India resolutionatmidnight, 8August1942. Ahugemass rallywas
scheduled for thenextmorning inShivaji Park, inBombay'snorthern suburb.
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