Quit India Movement Day: History, Significance, Quotes

08 August marks the anniversary of the launch of the Quit India Movement. This day is also known as August Kranti Diwas. This day is observed as an occasion for paying our tributes to all the freedom fighters and leaders of our nation who were a part of the historical movement. “Quit India” was a call to the British to leave India. In Hindi, the famous slogan “Angrezon Bharat Chhodo” was shouted by millions of India.

Quit India Movement is one of the most significant movements launched by the Indians against the British Rule with an objective to attain India’s freedom. It was launched on 08 August 1942 at the Bombay Session of All India Congress Committee. It was the last movement of the Indian freedom struggle which was led by Mahatma Gandhi. At the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay, Gandhi made the “Quit India” speech and gave his famous slogans- “do or die”. Subsequently, a mass protest was launched demanding the orderly withdrawal of the British from India.

Background: Failure of Cripps Mission

While there was a series of historical events that eventually resulted in the launch of Quit India Movement, the failure of the Cripps Mission was the last major such event. The British government sought India’s full co-operation in the Second World War. In order to secure the cooperation, a mission headed by Sir Standford Cripps was sent to India in March 1942.  The main objective of this mission was to negotiate an agreement with the leaders of Congress and the Muslim League. During those times, Congress was representing the majority of the Indian population, while the Muslim League was representing the Muslim community.

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The draft prepared by Cripps proposed to set up an Indian dominion. By this time, the Indian leaders were expecting greater self-governmence and that too within short span of time. The proposal was accordingly rejected by all the parties and the entire Cripps mission failed.

quit india movement or august kranti banner

The British Government remained largely unresponsive to Indian claims for independence following the failure of Cripps Mission. This instigated Mahatma Gandhi and other Congress leaders to plan a mass movement demanding immediate withdrawal of the British from India. As a result, the idea of Quit India Movement was launched in August 1942.

Quit India Movement Quotes

Following are some quotes from the speeches delivered by Mahatma Gandhi on Quit India Movement:

“Here is a mantra, a short one that I give you. You may imprint it on your hearts and let every breath of yours give expression to it. The mantra is: ‘Do or Die’. We shall either free India or die in the attempt; we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery.”

“Forsake friends, wife and all; but testify to that for which you have lived and for which you have to die. I want to live my full span of life. And for me, I put my span of life at 120 years. By that time India will be free, the world will be free.”

“Ours is not a drive for power, but purely a non-violent fight for India’s independence.”

“A non-violent soldier of freedom will covet nothing for himself, he fights only for the freedom of his country.”

“In Satyagraha, there is no place for fraud or falsehood or any kind of untruth. Fraud and untruth today are stalking the world. I cannot be a helpless witness to such a situation.”

“Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such a democracy that I invite you today. Once you realize this you will forget the differences between the Hindus and Muslims, and think of yourselves as Indians only, engaged in the common struggle for independence

“Let every Indian consider himself to be a free man.”

“You have to stand against the whole world although you may have to stand alone. You have to stare in the face the whole world although the world may look at you with bloodshot eyes. Do not fear. Trust the little voice residing within your heart.”

“I am not going to be satisfied with anything short of complete freedom. May be, he (the Viceroy) will propose the abolition of salt tax, the drink evil. But I will say nothing less than freedom”.

“Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be swept always in the tide of Time.”