Quit India Movement had been started on 8th August, 1942 during the IInd World war. This movement was activated against the British government with a main objective to remove the British rule from India. This movement was announced in the Mumbai session of All India Congress Committee, by Mahatma Gandhi. The movement was started in the whole part of the country on the call of Gandhi.
History of the Quit India Movement
The slogan “Quit India” was given by Yusuf Meher Ali who was one of the front leaders of Indian Freedom Struggle. At that time Britain was entangled in the 2nd world war and as Netaji Subhash Bose raised the slogan to move towards Delhi (Delli Chalo), Gandhi instantly sensed the opportunity and called upon the Indians to start the Quit India Movement and ordered them to “Do or Die”. He was arrested by the British and Kept in the Aga Khan Palace, in Yarvada in a tight security.
Lal Bahadur Shashtri made the movement more intense and he was also put into prison on 19th August, 1942. Kakori incident was operated in the leadership of Ram Prasad Bismil with the help of ten aggressive freedom fighters to overturn the British rule on 9th August, 1942. Bhagat Singh had started a tradition to celebrate the day on 9th August every year in which the gathering of the youth was incredible.
British had arrested all the members of Congress working committee and declared Congress an illegal institution. Sarojani Naidu was kept into Aga Khan Palace with Gandhiji, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was put into Bankipur prison, Patna, and other members of Congress were kept in house arrest into the fort of Ahmednagar. According to the British Government 940 people lost their lives, 1630 were injured, 18,000 were house arrested, and 60,229 were officially arrested.
Reason/Cause of the Quit India Movement
In 1939, Indian nationalists were annoyed that British Governor-General of India, Lord Linlithgow, had brought India into the war without their approval. The Muslim League supported the war, but Congress was divided. In the meeting of the Congress working committee it was resoluted that India will continue to support the fight against Fascism but India needed freedom. Gandhiji wasn’t in the favour of war due his non-violence policy and didn’t want to involve India In this matter. Hence there was a conflict among the top leaders of Congress.
Role of Cripps’ Mission
In March 1942 Stafford Cripps; the leader of the House of Commons had led a special plan for India that is given below:
- According to Cripps’ Mission India had got the status of a dominion by the British Government.
- Indians got the chance to form their own.
- Cripps’ Mission was denied by the Congress and the Muslim League both.
- Mahatma Gandhi was in favour of integrated India but some people in Muslim League wanted a new nation by the name Pakistan.
- According to Muslim League this mission had provided the minimum rights for muslims thus they were not satisfied.
- Due to arousal of the voices for new nation Pakistan the Hindu Mahasabha refused to follow it.
- The main reason behind the failure of the Cripps’ Mission was the lack of the transfer of power thus rejected by all political institutions of India that time.
Effects/Impacts of the Quit India Movement
In 1939, when British government wanted the support of Indian soldiers in the war against Germany the leaders of the Indian National congress bring up a proposal that at any cost India will not involve in the war. Mahatma Gandhi whole-heartedly supported the congress’ opinion. He told that Indians had demanded food but British Government was offering stones. The major effect of this movement is the following:
- The Quit India Movement was a part of the Civil Disobedience movement that was named ‘satyagraha’ by Gandhiji.
- Almost all the top leaders of the Indian National Congress were put into prisons.
- The Indian National Congress was
- After the ban and captivity of top leaders the aggressive freedom fighters started a violent movement damaging the government establishments especially the police stations, courts, and railways.
- Muslims and communists also supported the movement.
Opposition of the Quit India Movement
The Quit India Movement was opposed by many political parties such as Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha, Rastriya Sayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Communist party, and the rulers of Princely states etc. We will discuss below their reasons one by one:
i) Muslim League: The leaders of the Muslim League were bewildered that after getting independence Muslims were suppressed and they would treated as slaves. Muhammad Ali Jinnah discarded all the theories of Gandhi and supported the British Government along with his supporters. From here the foundation of Pakistan was established.
ii) Hindu Mahasabha: This movement was also opposed by the Hindu nationalist leaders as they were not in favour of partition and wanted united and integrated India. The president of the Hindu Mahasabha, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee with others denied the Gandhi’s proposal and Hindu Mahasabha had taken the reverse step to help Gandhi.
iii) The Communist Party: The Communists had also withdrawn themselves from the movement as at that time there was a ban declared on the Communists by the British government. They supported the British govt. to fight with the Soviet Union in the war against Germany. British govt. was pleased with them and removed the ban on the communists.
iv) Rastriya Sayamsevak Sangh: The leaders of the RSS didn’t give their support and didn’t participate in the Quit India movement as they were also annoyed with the proposal of partition. This inculcated rage for the RSS among many Indians.
v) The Princely States: The rulers of Princely states were dependent on British and they were frightened too thus the movement didn’t get their whole-hearted support.
Revolt of Locals
The British government was facing problems on Indo-Burman border by Japanese forces. Not a single top order Congress leader was left free as the British had put all the top leaders in prison. Then the youth congress leader Aruna Asaf Ali had taken the charge and hoisted the Indian National flag on 9th August 1942. After this event the Congress was banned by the British. A feeling of sympathy was grown among the people and instead of the leadership they registered their refusal by their own bake of a call on the ban and came to the streets. Without leadership the movement became violent. That was not liked by Gandhi.
Significance of the Quit India Movement
After the failure of Cripps Mission, Gandhi had decided to pace up the freedom struggle and raised the slogan "Quit India" in the Mumbai session of congress. He was arrested immediately. People like Jai Prakash Narayan had seriously played their role in resistance activities remaining underground. He inspired the youth for the movement.
This movement brought an opportunity to Indians to establish independent government in Satara in the west and a counter government in Medanipur in the east. British Government had suppressed the movement by introducing new laws. This movement had shaken the roots of the British Empire from India and at last they had to surrender the independence to the Indian people. And on 15th August they left India and went back.
End of the Quit India Movement
Mahatma Gandhi wanted that the movement to become powerful and widely spread in the all parts of the nation so that it will shake the foundation of the British Government and they grant the total independence. But the violence disappointed him and he appealed to the people to stop the movement.
In 1944, the power of the Indian National congress was seized and the impact of leadership was decreased. Almost all the political institutions had opposed less or more based on their own issues. This selfishness was the main reason for the failure of the Movement. Even Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress were criticized.
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