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Quit India movement

Topics Covered: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

Quit India movement:


Context:

78th anniversary of Quit India movement was observed on August 8th, 2020.

  • Every year 8 August is celebrated in India as August Kranti Din.

What is Quit India Movement? Why was it launched?

  • The Second World War had started in 1939 and Japan, which was part of the Axis Powers that were opposed to the British in the war were gaining onto the north-eastern frontiers of India.
  • The British had abandoned their territories in South-East Asia and had left their population in the lurch. This act did not garner much faith among the Indian population who had doubts about the British ability to defend India against Axis aggression.
  • Gandhi also believed that if the British left India, Japan would not have enough reason to invade India.
  • Apart from hearing news about British setbacks in the war, the war-time difficulties such as high prices of essential commodities fostered resentment against the British government.
  • The failure of the Cripps Mission to guarantee any kind of a constitutional remedy to India’s problems also led to the INC calling for a mass civil disobedience movement.

After the failure of the Cripps Mission, Gandhiji gave the call “Do or Die”’ in his speech delivered at the Gowalia Tank Maidan.

The quit India resolution stated the provisions of the movement as:

  1. An immediate end to British rule over India.
  2. Declaration of the commitment of free India to defend itself against all kinds of imperialism and fascism.
  3. Formation of a provisional government of India after British withdrawal.
  4. Sanctioning a civil disobedience movement against British rule.

Gandhi’s instructions to various sections of the public:

  1. Government servants: do not resign your job but proclaim loyalty to the INC.
  2. Soldiers: be with the army but refrain from firing on compatriots.
  3. Peasants: pay the agreed-upon rent if the landlords/Zamindars are anti-government; if they are pro-government, do not pay the rent.
  4. Students: can leave studies if they are confident enough.
  5. Princes: support the people and accept the sovereignty of them.
  6. People of the princely states:support the ruler only if he is anti-government; declare themselves as part of the Indian nation.

Impact of the movement:

  • Several national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Abdul Kalam Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were arrested.
  • The Congress was declared an unlawful association, leaders were arrested and its offices all over the country were raided and their funds were frozen.
  • The first half of the movement was peaceful with demonstrations and processions. The peaceful protest was carried till Mahatma Gandhi’s release.
  • The second half of the movement was violent with raids and setting fire at post offices, government buildings and railway stations. Lord Linlithgow adopted the policy of violence.
  • The Viceroy’s Council of Muslims, Communist Party and Americans supported Britishers.

Some of the drawbacks were:

  • Use of violent methods by the volunteers and participants.
    The movement was crushed in a relatively short period of time by the British.
    Lack of leadership did not lead to well-coordinated guidance and progress of the movement, with the intensity restricted to a few pockets.
  • Some parties did not support the movement. There was opposition from the Muslim League, the Communist Party of India (the government revoked the ban on the party then) and the Hindu Mahasabha.
  • Meanwhile, Subhas Chandra Bose, organised the Indian National Army and the Azad Hind government from outside the country.
  • As, C Rajagopalachari was not in favour of complete independence he resigned from the INC.

Conclusion:

Quit India Movement was a watershed movement in the sense, that it prepared the ground for future politics in India. It is in the Quit India Movement that freedom struggle was owned by ’We the People’ who fought for India’s freedom.

quit_india_moment

Insta Facts:

  • Aruna Asaf Alipopularly known as the ‘Grand Old Lady’ of the Independence Movement is known for hoisting the Indian flag at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai during the Quit India Movement.
  • Female leaders like Usha Mehta has helped set up an underground radio station which led to the awakening about the movement.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Main proposals of the Cripps Mission.
  2. INC’s response to Cripps Mission proposals.
  3. Aruna Asaf Ali and Usha Mehta are popularly remembered for?
  4. C Rajagopalachari’s response to Quit India Movement.
  5. Who formed Azad Hind Government? When and where was it formed?
  6. Parties which did not support Quit India Movement.
  7. Causes and outcomes of Quit India Movement.

Mains Link:

‘August Kranti’ was an important milestone in the Indian freedom struggle for it was more of a spontaneous revolt than a planned movement of Congress.

Sources: pib.