In 1936, Lohia was elected a
member of the All India Congress Committee. He traveled all over the country and drew
young men into the freedom movement. The British imprisoned him in 1938 in Calcutta on
charges of sedition.
The Second World War broke out in 1939. The British Government forcibly involved India
in the war. Lohia was against the war. For his antiwar speeches, the British again put him
behind the bars in 1940.
It was 1942. Gandhi gave a call to the nation and threw a challenge to the British.
"Quit India" said he. On the seventh and the eighth of August that year, the All
India Congress Committee met in Bombay. The Quit India Movement was launched. On the 9th
of August early in the morning the British Government imprisoned all national leaders
headed by Gandhi, who coined a magic slogan, "Do or die". Spellbound by this
slogan, the entire nation stood up against the British. Many of the national leaders
evaded the police and organized the movement. Lohia was among the foremost.
He started a secret
Broadcasting station and, with Jayaprakash Narayan, he organised an underground
The government imprisoned Lohia again in 1944. In the prison he was tortured in several
ways. Each day he would be put in handcuffs of different sizes and weights; he would be
made to listen to a single word, repeated for hours on end in the officer's chambers; he
would be forbidden to close his eyes all night; the moment he closed his eyes his head
would be twisted or the handcuffs pulled; for several nights the police would keep
knocking a table by his bed with a piece of iron; they would call the national leaders
names in his presence. Once an officer was calling Gandhi names. Weary and exasperated by
the torture Lohia roared at him to shut up. The officer made a fuss but thereafter he
never opened his mouth again.
Lohia was at last released from the prison in 1946.
At that time India's freedom was in sight. But freedom from the clutches of the British
did not mean freedom from the Portugese. These Portugese imperialists had been ruling
three small pockets of territory, Goa, Diu and Daman, for four hundred and fifty years.
Their rule was more frightful than that of the British. Lohia turned his attention to Goa
as soon as he was released from prison. He went to Belgaum in Karnataka. When he entered
Goa, the Portugese Government arrested and deported him. Thus Lohia laid the foundation
for the liberation of Goa from foreign domination.
In the north at the foot of the Himalayas was the Kingdom of Nepal ruled by the Rana
Dynasty. The youth of Nepal were educated at Benares. Lohia became their Political 'guru'
or mentor. The revolt against the Rana Dynasty in Nepal was inspired by none other than