Jharkhand Congress commemorates 80 years of 53rd AICC session held at Ramgarh

In her message sent to party’s state unit, Congress president Sonia Gandhi says India faces similar challenges as it did in 1940, urges workers to promote Congress values

Jharkhand Congress commemorates 80 years of 53rd AICC session held at Ramgarh

VP Sharan

The Jharkhand Congress on Saturday commemorated 80 years of the important 53rd session of AICC that was held at Ramgarh near Ranchi from March 18-20 in 1940. This session laid the foundation for the Quit India Movement of 1942 and the Congress leaders resolved to oust the British from India.

In her message sent to the party’s state unit on this occasion, Congress president Sonia Gandhi urged the party workers and leaders to “safeguard the idea of India envisaged by our founders”.

Jharkhand Congress commemorates 80 years of 53rd AICC session held at Ramgarh
Jharkhand Congress leaders at the commemoration event on Saturday, March 20, at Ramgarh

In her message, read out by PCC working president Keshav Mahto Kamlesh, Sonia Gandhi recalled the days when Congress party was fighting against the imperialist forces which were bent upon throttling democracy, civil liberties and pluralism. She added that while the Congress was busy uniting our people for a sovereign and democratic India, regressive forces were colluding with imperialists and were simultaneously fomenting divisive ideologies.

She said that today India faces a similar challenge at the hands of these forces both to its “constitutional framework and the gains made since Independence”.

“An unprecedented attack has been mounted by these regressive forces on the foundational values of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Justice,” she said in her message and lamented that the freedoms of citizens were being curtailed.

She hoped that Congressmen would take inspiration from that 53rd session of the Congress and redouble their efforts to “further our values and forge a better Jharkhand for all”.

Jharkhand Congress commemorates 80 years of 53rd AICC session held at Ramgarh
The 53rd session at progress, 1940

Hundreds of Tana Bhagats too participated in the event, rekindling the memories of 1940 when members of this tribal clan had walked miles on foot to take part in the 53rd session that was held under the presidentship of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

Mahatma Gandhi himself attended the session along with other Congress stalwarts including Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Rajendra Prasad among others. Hundreds of pandals were erected on the banks of river Damodar for the participants. Gandhi ji had travelled to Ramgarh from Ranchi, a distance of some 60 kilometres, in a Fitton.

On Saturday, a number of Tana Bhagats were present on the dais with their traditional musical instruments. Tana Bhagats had extended unconditional support to the freedom struggle and they worship Gandhiji as a god. They blew their conch in a chorus whenever Mahatma Gandhi’s name was mentioned by a speaker.

Recounting their contributions, PCC chief and Jharkhand state Finance Minister Dr Rameshwar Oraon said that the Tana Bhagats had not only attended the 53rd Congress session at Ramgarh but they also collected Rs 400 and donated it to the Congress party fund at the session.

Jharkhand Congress commemorates 80 years of 53rd AICC session held at Ramgarh
Tana Bhagats with their traditional instruments at the event on Saturday

The place where the 1940 session was held is now under the Punjab Regimental Centre of the Indian Army. Oraon said that Mahatma Gandhi had expressed his desire that after his death his ashes be immersed in Damodar on the bank of which the AICC session was held. The Gandhi Ghat in Ramgarh bear the testimony to Mahatma’s desire.

Former Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay in his speech said what Maulana Azad had stressed in his presidential address in 1940 -- unity, discipline and full confidence in Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership. This is what is required in the party today, Sahay said.

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