Quit India Movement – UPSC GS1

Quit India Movement:
The Quit India Movement is also known as the August Movement was a movement launched at the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee by Mahatma Gandhi on 8 August 1942, demanding an end to British rule in India.
Causes of Quit India Movement:
  • Involvement of India in World War II without prior consultation with the leaders
  • Failure of Cripps Mission
  • Shortage of essential commodities
  • Prevalence of anti-British sentiment
  • Centralisation of many small movements
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: The second phase of the movement took a violent and aggressive turn. Any building or offices which were the symbol of colonial authority was attacked and distracted.
  • 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.
Successes of the Quit India Movement
  • Women empowerment: This movement had the active participation of women of the country. 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.
Failure of the Quit India Movement: The movement did not have the support of many organisations 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, Muslim League also opposed the Quit India
Critically examine why had it become necessary to launch Quit India movement in difficult conditions that prevailed at that time, when the possibility of brutal repression by the British was a certainty. (200 Words)
Quit India Movement was an evidence of change in perspective of Gandhi’s stance for struggle for independence. Reasons to start QIM:
  1. The Failure of Cripps mission and the high expectations it had aroused resulted in utter frustration and deep disgust at the perfidious behaviour of the British.
  2. Gandhi thought that if British left India, Japan may not be interested in invading India
  3. People were already restless because freedom was not yet in sight.
The call to tenants to not pay rent to pro-government landlords, and refusal to negotiate with the British for concessions were all evidence that Gandhi was in militant mood.
Gandhi understood that immediate complete independence should be the only solution to miseries of people due to war, and restrict Japanese aggression on India.
Gandhi repudiated the charges of violence and stated that the violence of the Government had forced people to resist violently.
Gandhi’s behaviour made people fearless to any sort of violent suppression. The slogan for “Do or Die” as an end game for independence added fire to aspirations of masses.
QIM justified that British could no longer count on the leaders looking for moderation and compromise and realized that only excessively brutal military strength could keep India in the empire.
Thus, though violent suppression was evident, Masses made British understand that their time in India was up
75 years of Quit India Movement
  • On the eve of 8th August, 1942 Gandhi ji gave a  call to the nation – ‘Do or Die.
  • That time world was in a flux:
    • ongoing war in the West and in the East,
    • movements against the Colonialism had intensified
  • With the failure of the Cripps Mission, Japan was advancing towards India and the fall of India to Japan was imminent.
  • Gandhi’s – the offer made by the Cripps Mission is “a post-dated cheque on a crashing bank”.
  • All big leaders were arrested within twenty four hours
  • There was no one to guide – absence of adult male leadership
  • People demonstrated against symbols of British government, they put up Congress flag on government buildings.
  • Quit India Movement spread to all the states and provinces across the country
  • The Quit India Movement was not supported by the Muslim League and the Communists
  • The people disrupted railway lines, burnt out police and railway stations, destroyed telephone and telegraph poles. – Element of Violence
  • The Quit India movement for the first time saw the active engagement of women and students.
  • Andhra the Provincial Congress Committee had issued a circular popularly known as the ‘Kurnool Circular’ – programme of defying prohibitory orders
  • Independent governments:
    • Chittu Pandey –  Balia
    • YB Chavan and Nana Patil – Satara
  • Women participation – not only they participated as equals but also led the movement
    • Matangini Hazra – led procession
    • Sashibala Devi & Nandini Devi – Orissa
    • Kanaklata Baruah & Kahuli Devi – Assam
    • Usha Mehta was unique as she started a Secret Congress Radio in Mumbai
  • Movement sparked off an aggressive national consciousness.