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As the nation observes 77th Anniversary, let us remember the heroes of Quit India Movement

–Written By Katyayani Narayan Singh

On August 8th 2019, we observed the 77th anniversary of the Quit India Movement which is also called as ‘August Kranti’.

It is deemed as one of the most important freedom struggles as masses themselves participated with the legendary leaders in this movement for freedom of our countryIt all started with the failure of cripps mission in 1942. On August 8th 1942, the resolution for the Quit India movement was passed on the (Gowali tank maidan) by the committee headed by Mahatma Gandhi at theBombay session of all India National Congress.

Just after the resolution on 9th August, almost all the prominent leaders like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Chakravarti Rajgopalachari etc. were arrested, after the speech of Gandhi Ji without any trial. However, even these arrests could not control the intensity of this movement.For the better understanding of this movement we sholud first know what were the main factors which led to the start of Quit India Movement.

  • The failure of Cripps mission reduced any chance of constructive engagement of the Indian National Congress with the British government.
  • The Japanese were wondering in the Eastern corridor and Indian leader hold the view thatJapanese army may attack due to the presence of British government in India.
  • Slowly the colonies in south-east Asia were plunging to invading Japanese forces and Britishers did nothing to protect masses over there.
  • During the 2nd world war the news of Britain suffering reverses in many parts of the world stimulating people to fight against the British rule as now they were convinced that Britishers are not invincible.
  • Also due to world war II people were suffering from high prices of commodities of daily use, on the same Indian products were exported to Britain and Indians were left to suffer for their needs and requirements. 

Gandhi ji was confiscated following the failure of the Cripps Mission, the advances of the Japanese in South-East Asia and the general frustration with the British in India. He called for voluntary British withdrawal from India. From 29 April to 1 May 1942, All India Congress Committee assembled in Allahabad to discuss the resolution of the Working Committee. Although Gandhi was absent from the meeting, many of his points were acknowledged into the resolution: the most significant of them being the commitment to non-violence. On 14 July 1942, the Congress Working Committee met again at Wardha and resolved that it would authorise Gandhi to take charge of the non-violent mass movement. The Resolution generally referred to as the ‘Quit India’ resolution, approved by the All India Congress Committee meeting in Bombay in August.

So this is how it all began and gained momentum from the very first moment of news of the arrest of all the prominent leaders of Indian national congressAll these factors were enough to generate fire within the common man of India and after the boost given by the leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, they were more determined to end this British era. Even the epitome of non-violence Mahatma Gandhi went against the British Empire to the extent that he gave the slogan of “Do or Die”.

In the words of Gandhi Ji”Every one of you from this very moment onwards considers yourself free man or women and act as you were free I am not going to satisfy with anything short of freedom”, “you should Do or Die, we shall either free India or die in the attempt”

It was also said, “Every Indian who wants freedom and strives for it must be his own guide urging him or her on the long hard road where there is no resting place, and then there is no resting place and which leads ultimately to the independence of India”This word had a strong inspiring effect on the common people of Indian every one even the women and children participated in Quit India moment

The instructions issued by Indian national congress were :-
– The government servants were asked to pledge their loyalty to Indian National Congress and not to the British government.This time they were not asked to quit their jobs as before because it was considerd that they are the real citizen of this country why should they quit their jobs?
– Revenue to be paid to only those zamindars and landlords who were anti-British, and none to the loyalist of the Britishers.
– Soldiers were asked to not fire on their colleagues and people.
– Princely states were asked to accept the authority of people.Despite the leadership of Indian national congress being in jail, there was widespread protest and revolt in Bombay, Ahmadabad Pune and Delhi. Other leaders like Jaiprakash Narayan, Rammanohar, Aruna Asif Ali took the charge of the movement.

Numerous incidents of violence and damage to government property were noticed, many buildings were set on fire electricity line were cut off, communication and transport lines were broken and attacked, 550 post offices, 250 railway stations, many rail lines, 70 police stations and 85 other government buildings were damaged. There were about 2,500 instances of telegraph wires being cut. The greatest degree of violence occurred in Bihar. The Government of India deployed 57 battalions of British troops to restore the situation. 

Usha Mehta also known as Usha Ben ran a secret underground radio station of the congress with her associates Vithalbhai Jhaveri, Chandrakant Jhaveri, Babu bhai Thakkar and Nanka Motwani(the owner of the Chicago radio and the person who supplied equipment and provided technicians).
They telecasted the messages of Gandhi and other Indian National Congress leaders, also the nationalist speeches of Dr Ram Manohar, Achutrao Patwardhan, Purushottam Das along with the national songs. But unfortunately, there were also few organisations like Muslim league and Communist party of India which were not supporting this movement.
CPI was not supporting the quit India movement due to their ideological similarity with USSR. As USSR was supporting Britain in world war two against Germany so they were also supporting Britishers, one can notice that how an ideology surpassed national interest. Despite CPI Opposition during Quit India movement many labourers all over the country boycotted working in the factories on the call of Gandhi ji. 

Along with, Muslim League advocated that Britishers should not leave India without giving them separate nation.

More then 1 lakh people were put behind the bars for participating in Quit India movement.

The government took the cruellest form to crush the movement and there were mass flogging and Lathi charge even the women and children were not spared. About 10,000 people died in police firing.
British declared Indian National Congress as an illegal organization and it’s important leaders were put in jail though Gandhiji was released on health issues in 1942 because Britishers knew it very well that if any mishap happens with Gandhiji then there will be massive outrage among the public which would go out of their control. 

The ‘Quit India’ movement, more than anything else, united the Indian people against British rule. Now it was clear to Britishers that independence of India is just a matter of time. 

Although most demonstrations were suppressed by 1944, Gandhiji upon his release in 1944 continued his resistance and went on a 21-day fast. By the end of the Second World War, Britain’s place in the world had changed dramatically and the demand for independence could no longer be overlooked.

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