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Aruna Asaf Ali

(1909 – 1996) – (Haryana)

Aruna Asaf Ali (Aged 87) was born in 1909 and was an Indian educator, political activist, and publisher. She is widely remembered for hoisting the Indian National flag at the Gowalia Tank maidan, Bombay during the Quit India Movement in 1942. Post-independence, she remained active in politics and became Delhi’s first Mayor.

During the Salt Satyagraha, she participated in public processions and was arrested on the charge of being a vagrant, and hence not released in 1931 under the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. In 1932, she was held prisoner at Tihar Jail where she protested the indifferent treatment of political prisoners by launching a hunger strike.

She was later moved to Ambala and subjected to solitary confinement. By the end of 1942, she took part in the underground movement. In her lifetime, she was awarded India’s second-highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan in 1992, and posthumously awarded the highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, in 1997. She passed away in 1996.