Quit India Movement

After the failure of the Cripps mission, a resolution was framed under Mahatma Gandhi for the withdrawal of British rule through a non–violent non-cooperation movement.

  • On 14 July 1942, the Congress Working Committee met at Wardha and resolved the idea of struggle.
  • On August 8, 1942, the Quit India Resolution was ratified at the Congress meeting at Gowalia Tank, Bombay.

Gandhi Jee was authorized as the leader of the non–violent mass movement. This resolution is referred to as the ‘Quit India’ movement also known as August Kranti.

(reference: knowindia.gov.in)

Reasons for struggle:

The Cripps mission failed, and after the failure of Cripps’s mission, it was clear that any more silence would be the same as accepting the British right to decide the fate of Indians without their consult.

British rule announced the involvement of India in World War II without prior consultation of Indian leaders. The British assumption of support for Indians in the war was not accepted by Indian National Congress.

  • The fear of Britain following a scorched earth policy in Assam, Bengal, and Orissa against the possibility of Japan’s invasion.
  • In Southeast Asia, the news of the reverse suffered by the British and the immense British collapse enhanced the willingness of people to give expression to discontent.
  • The anti – British sentiments in Indians and the demand for full Independence went popular among the Indian masses.
  • Shortage of essential commodities – Due to war and the export of rice and other grains, salt, there was a shortage of rice, salt, etc. and because of this shortage, there was discontent.
  • The troops of Japan were approaching the borders of India.
  • The people were withdrawing deposits from banks and post offices.
  • The way which British moved out from South–East Asia leaving the subjects to their fate, as there were two roots provided – Black Road for Indian refugees and the white road exclusively for European refugees. This behavior of the British exposed the racist attitude of the British.
  • The leadership wanted to condition the masses for a possible Japanese invasion.

The “Quit India” Resolution:

The Quit India resolution was taken in July 1942, in the Congress Working Committee at Wardha, generally, it was called the “Quit India Movement”. Gandhi was named the leader of the struggle.

The idea was proposed by Jawaharlal Nehru and seconded by Sardar Patel. The resolution was to be proposed by the All India Congress Committee meeting in Bombay in August.

  • On August 8, 1942, the Quit India Resolution was ratified at the Congress meeting at Gowalia Tank, Bombay.
  • The slogans “Quit India” or “Bharat Chhodo” gained popularity. Gandhi gave the slogan “ Do or Die” to the people.

The demands for Quit India Resolution:

The demands for the Quit India resolution were:

  • They demanded an immediate end to British rule in India
  • The commitment of free India to defend itself against all types of Fascism and imperialism.
  • To form a provisional Government of India after British withdrawal.
  • To sanction a civil disobedience movement against British rule

Phases of Quit India

The movement had the following phases:

  1. Gandhiji was imprisoned in Aga Khan Palace and all leaders of the All India National Congress and CWC were arrested. The removal of established leaders left younger and more militant in their own initiative. Aruna Asaf Ali presided over the congress committee session on 9 August and hoisted the flag.
  2. Public violent riots: The general public gets violent and uncontrolled.
    • The general public attacked symbols of authority.
    • They hoisted national flags forcibly on public buildings
    • Satyagrahis offered themselves up to arrest, bridges were blown up, railway tracks were removed and telegraph lines were disconnected. These activities were most intense in Bihar and the eastern United Provinces.
    • Students went on strike, workers were denied to work in factories.
  3. Underground Activities: In underground activities, the participants were socialists, forward block members, People living in Gandhi ashram, revolutionary nationalists, and local organizations in Bombay, Poona, Satara, United Provinces, Bihar, and Delhi.
    • The main personalities of underground activities were including Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narayan, Aruna Asaf Ali, Usha Mehta, Chhotubhai Puranik, Sucheta Kripalani, R P Goenka, etc.
    • an underground radio in Bombay was started by Usha Mehta.
  4. Parallel Government: In many places, parallel governments were established:
    • Ballia: The parallel government was established at Ballia under Chittu Pandey in August 1942 for a week.
    • Tamulk: (Midnapore) the parallel government from December 1942 to September 1944 under Jatiya Sarkar.
    • Satara: The organization “Prati Sarkar” was organized by leaders Y. B Chavan, Nana Patil, etc.

Participation of People in the Quit India Movement

The participation of people was on many levels:

  • Youth: Mainly the students of schools and colleges
  • Women: women actively supported this movement. Mainly school and college girls participated actively including Aruna Asaf Ali, Sucheta Kripalani, and Usha Mehta.
  • Workers: supported on a mass level, they went on strike and faced violent repression of the government.
  • Government officials: The officials belonging to police and administration mainly on the lower level, participated.
  • Muslims: There were no communal clashes during the movement, they helped in providing shelter to underground activists.
The organizations that did not support the Quit India movement:

The Muslim League, The Communist Party of India, and Hindu Mahasabha did not support the Movement.

  • The communists did not join the movement; in the wake of Russia being attacked by Nazi Germany.
    • The communists started to support the British against Germany.
  • Muslim League: The league opposed the movement, as they had feared “if the British left India at that time, the minorities would be opposed by the Hindus”.
    • The Muslim league was not in favor of the British leaving India without Partitioning India, as they wanted a separate country for Muslims.
  • The Hindu Mahasabha: The Hindu Mahasabha openly boycotted the movement.
  • Princely states showed very low responses to the movement.
  • C Rajagopalachari resigned from INC as he was not in favor of complete independence.

Government Repression of the Movement:

It was brutal repression by the government in response to the movement. The government was on a violent way to crush the agitation of crowed:

  • Top leaders of Congress were arrested on the morning of 9 August 1942.
  • The Congress committee and Provincial Congress committee declared unlawful association under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908.
  • The crowd was lathi – Charged. Tear gasses and fire were the way to stop the agitated crowd.
  • Many people were shot during the movement.
  • People around 10,000 were killed in this repression.
  • Over 1,00, 000 people were arrested
  • The rebellious villages were fined heavily in many villages.
  • Mass flogging was done on the villagers.

The Significances of the Quit India Movement

The significances of the Quit India Movement are as follows:

  • Main storm centers: The centers of the movement were the eastern United Provinces, Bihar, Midnapore, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.
  • Role of workers, peasants, and students: this movement was massively supported by these classes.
  • The participation of women: In the movement, the active participation of women was noticed. Many female leaders emerged due to this movement. The women included Aruna Asaf Ali, Sucheta Kripalani, and Usha Mehta. Usha Mehta started an underground radio station for the activities of the movement.
  • The emergence of future leaders: Through this movement the emergence of prominent leaders like Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayprakash Narayan, Aruna Asaf Ali, Biju Patnayak, Sucheta Kriplani, etc.
  • Rise of Nationalism: Due to this movement a sense of unity and brotherhood emerged. The heroism and militancy of common people are shown. People quit their jobs and withdraw money from banks.
  • No longer possible to British rule: By this movement, it was clear to British Rule that India was ungovernable without the wishes of Indians.
  • The demand for Complete Independence: The great significance of the Quit India Movement was that the movement placed the demand for complete independence.
  • The way of Independence: The campaign was crushed in 1944, the British rule refused to grant immediate independence. It was only possible after the war, but it showed the deep nationalism of the people. Finally, the movement paved the way for independence.


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