From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Quit India Movement
Mains level : Quit India Movement
The Prime Minister has greeted the nation on the eve of the anniversary of Quit India Movement Day.
Before proceeding, answer this PYQ:
Q. Quit India Movement was launched in response to:
(a) Cabinet Mission Plan
(b) Cripps Proposals
(c) Simon Commission Report
(d) Wavell PlanPost your answers here:
About the day
- The Quit India Movement is also known as the Bharat Chhodo Andolan was launched by Mahatma Gandhi on August 8, 1942, at the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC).
- The movement demanded an end to British rule in India.
- Since the protest was held in August, it also went on to be known as August Kranti or August Movement.
- The ‘Do or Die’ speech was etched in the hearts of Indians, and many faced the consequences of the movement.
- Every year, the day is celebrated by paying tribute to freedom fighters who laid their lives for the country.
Quit India Movement
- The movement began on August 8, 1942, with its foundations being laid back in 1939 when the Governor-general of India was Lord Lilingthow.
- In 1942, Staford Cripps was sent to India by the British Establishment to negotiate with the leaders of the All India Congress Committee for gaining their support in exchange for their freedom.
- July 1942- The Quit India Movement Resolution was passed at the Wardha Conference of All India Congress Committee.
Series of events
- Mahatma Gandhi delivered his speech at Mumbai’s Gowalia Tank Maidan, also called August Kranti Maidan, on 08th August 1942.
- Gandhi Ji was arrested and jailed at Pune’s Aga Khan Palace and his wife Kasturba Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu and secretary Mahadev Desai.
- Many other senior members of the Indian National Congress were also arrested, including Jawaharlal Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad, and were kept in the Yerwada Jail.
- The British Government banned the Congress Committee declaring it an unlawful association.
- Aruna Asaf Ali, popularly known as the ‘Grand Old Lady’ of the Independence Movement, hoisted the National Flag at Mumbai’s Gowalia Tank Maidan.
- This event was followed by an uproar among the people and the emergence of several young leaders such as Ram Manohar Lohia, JP Narayan, SM Joshi, and others who continued to fuel the fire of the movement throughout India during the period of World War II.
Causes of the Movement
- Involvement of India in World War II without prior consultation with the leaders: The Indian Nationalists were disgruntled with the Governor-General of India, Lord Linlithgow, as he brought India to the verge of World War II without consulting them.
- Failure of Cripps Mission: The British sent Stafford Cripps to India to gain the cooperation of India, which failed because the Cripps Mission offered India not complete freedom but the Dominion Status to India, along with the partition. After the failure of Cripps Mission, the Indian Nationalist Leaders knew that the Britishers were in no mood to amend the Constitution before the end of World War II.
- Shortage of essential commodities: There was widespread discontent due to the shortage of essential commodities and rising prices of salt, rice, etc., and commandeering of boats in Bengal and Orissa. There were fears that the Britishers would follow a scorched earth policy in Assam, Bengal, and Orissa in reaction to the advancement of the Japanese. The Economy also shattered as a result of World War II.
- Prevalence of anti-British sentiment: The sentiments were widely anti-British, and the masses were demanding complete independence from the British Government.
- Centralization of many small movements: The Ground for the movement was already prepared by various associated and affiliated bodies of the Congress, like Forward Bloc, All India Kisan Sabha, and others. They were leading the mass movements on a much more radical level for more than two decades. The also channelized many militant outbursts, which were happening at several places in the country.
Phases of Quit India Movement
The Quit India Movement can be viewed in three phases from its inception to end. The phases are as follows:
- First phase: The first phase or the inception of the movement had no violence. It began with civil disobedience, boycotts, strikes that the British Government quickly suppressed. Almost all members of the Congress Committee, including Gandhiji, were arrested and kept in Jail till 1945 without any trial.
- Second phase: In its second phase, the movement shifted to the countryside. The second phase of the movement took a violent and aggressive turn. Any building or offices which were the symbol of the colonial authority was attacked and distracted. Communication systems, railway stations & tracks, telegraph poles and wires were also targeted.
- Third and last phase: In the last phase of the movement, there was the formation of many independent national or parallel governments in the isolated pockets of the country, such as Ballia, Satara, Tamluk, etc.
- Women empowerment: Aruna Asif Ali hoisted the national flag on the Gowalia tank maidan; Usha Mehta, on the other hand, helped set up the underground radio station to spread awareness about the movement.
- Rise of future leaders : This movement also gave some future prominent leaders such as Biku Patnaik, Aruna Asif Ali, Ram Manohar Lohia, Sucheta Kriplani, J.P. Narayan, etc. These leaders were helping the movement through underground activities.
- Rise of nationalism: A greater sense of unity and brotherhood emerged due to the Quit India Movement. Many students dropped out of schools and colleges, people gave up their jobs and withdrew money from the banks.
Failure of the movement
The movement did not have the support of many organizations of the country itself.
- The Britishers were supported by the Princely States, British Indian Army, Indian Civil Services, Viceroy’s Council (which had Indians in the majority), All India Muslim League, Indian Imperial Police.
- The Hindu Mahasabha, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) & Muslim League also opposed the Quit India Movement.
- Many Congress members like C Rajagopalachari resigned from the provincial legislature as they did not favor Mahatma Gandhi’s idea.