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Gowalia Tank Maidan, officially renamed August Kranti Maidan, is a park in Grant Road West, in South Mumbai, in which Mahatma Gandhi issued the Quit India speech on 8 August 1942. It decreed that unless the British left India immediately, mass agitations would take place.
On August 7, 1942, the All India Congress Committee organized its session under the Presidentship of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, which continued past-midnight into the next day. The venue was the Gowalia Tank Maidan, which was located 250 metres away from Goculdas Tejpal House, the place where the Indian National Congress was established in December 1885. The next day (August 8. 1942), the call for "Quit India Movement" was given, with the mantra of "do or die."
In the words of Gandhi "Here is a mantra, a short one, that I give you. You may imprint it on your hearts and let every breath of yours give expression to it. The mantra is: "Do or Die". We shall either free India or die in the attempt; we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery". The call mobilised the citizens to a huge Civil Disobedience movement as the British refused to grant independence till the World War II (1939 to 1945) was over.
Origin of the name
The Gowalia Tank was initially used to bathe cows. Go - Walia comes from the marathi/Gujarati word Gaie (cow) Wala (owner of the cattle). The cattle owners would bring the cows to be bathed in the waters of the tank. The Maidan that exists over there presently was built over the tank, which still exists underground. Gowalia Tank was also a very prominent tram terminus. Trams would start and finish there and one could travel to the Prince of Wales Museum in one anna (six paise).
The Maidan is now a popular playground. Cricket is the popular game although the monsoon season is primarily for football and volleyball. The ground has been split into 5 smaller grounds. The largest one is the playground, with one playground for children, one garden for promenades which is frequented by senior citizens and one ground is used by the Fellowship School. The last park area houses the Smarak or martyr monument which is a white marble tower that cradles a pink lotus atop it.
A central road cuts through the maidan grounds and connects the August Kranti Road with Hughes Road. The ground connects Tejpal Road and Laburnum Road, Alexandra Road and August Kranti Road.
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