Quit India Movement is the last major movement associated with the Indian freedom struggle. It began on 08 August 1942 due to which it is also referred to as August Resolution or August Kranti. Failure of the Cripps mission in March 1942 followed by a lack of response from the British government over Indian independence were the reasons which encouraged the Indian Congress leaders to plan a mass movement.
Key Facts related to Quit India Movement
The starting point of the movement was Gawalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai where All Indian Congress Committee meeting was held under the leadership of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. The meeting started on 07th August 1942 and went continued until the next day. A resolution was passed on 08 August 1942 and Mahatma Gandhi was chosen as the leader of the movement. A call for ” do or die” was given by Gandhi. It was the last movement ever led by him.
One of the most famous quotes from the speeches of Mahatma Gandhi:
“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.”
Quit India Resolution
The Quit India Resolution was passed at the Congress Working Committee on 08 August 1942. The main demand of the movement was the end of British rule with immediate effect. It was decided that a provisional and organized government will be formed after the withdrawal of the British from India.
Arrest of Prominent Leaders & Freedom Fighters
Within hours of Gandhi’s “Quit India” speech, all prominent leaders of the movement including Nehru, Patel, and Gandhi himself, were arrested by the British government. Most leaders were in jail until the end of the Second World War. Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned in the Aga Khan Palace in Pune. He was released from jail in 1944 on health grounds.
Gandhi’s call of “Quit India” received a massive response from common people. The British government aggressively responded to it. Over 1 lakh people were arrested and 10,000 people died from police firing.
To fill the leadership vacuum created by these arrests, a younger batch of leaders like Ram Manohar Lohiya and Jaiprakash Narayan and Aruna Asaf Ali came forward.
Main Targets: Symbols of Colonial Rule
Emblems, Institutions, and places symbolizing British colonial rule were mainly targeted for the protest like government buildings, railway stations, telegraph offices, etc.
Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha did not join the movement.
Some princely states and parties did not support the movement. This included the Muslim league, Communist Party of India, and Hindu Sabha.
Banning of Indian National Congress
With the intent to suppress the mass movement across the country, British declared Indian National Congress as an unlawful association.
Nature of the Movement
The Movement was planned to be non-violent and peaceful in nature. It was sanctioned and signed as a civil disobedience movement against British rule. The first half of the movement remained peaceful.
The second half of the Quit India Movement witnessed sporadic violence as most leaders of the movement were arrested. In the absence of leadership, many instances were reported wherein police stations were set in fire, raids were conducted, etc.
Outcome of the Movement
The Quit India Movement officially ended in 1944. While the Movement itself wasn’t successful due to British suppression and lack of strong planning, it still played a significant role in leading India towards Independence. It gave a clear message to the British that they could not rule India for much longer. The graceful and peaceful exit of the British from India became the most critical discussion agenda following the Second World War.
Quit India Day
Every year, Quit India Day or August Kranti Diwas is celebrated on 08 August to mark the anniversary of the movement. On this day, Indians pay their tributes to the exceptional sacrifice, dedication, and determination of all the leaders and freedom fighters who were part of this movement. the year 1992, the Reserve Bank of India issued a 1 rupee commemorative coin to mark the golden jubilee of the Quit India Movement.