The Quit India Movement was launched on August 8, 1942 by Mahatma Gandhi. However, it fizzled out as there was no unity among Indians and the British were extremely capable in handling the issue in a systematic way. Having said that, historians say it acted as a catalyst in winning us our freedom from the British
Bengaluru: This day (August 8), way back in 1942, the Quit India Movement was launched.
It was based on the exhortation of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi that the Quit India Movement was launched at the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee. The movement sought the freeing of India from the clutches of the Britishers, on an immediate basis while the World War II was going on.
Gandhi’s clarion call to “do or die” in his speech was what set the ball in motion. Such was the impact of his call that all members of the committee launched a mass protest and the entire leadership was jailed.
Dr. Mohammed Safiullah, a historian says, “The Quit India Movement was called ‘Bharat Chodo’. Apart from Jallianwala Bagh incident in 1919 and Salt Satyagraha movement in 1930, this movement also acted as a catalyst to attain freedom.”
However, on the other side, the British had the support of the All Indian Muslim League, the then princely states, the British Indian Army and even the Indian Civil Service. Even Indian businessmen who made a lot of profits during the wartime, did not extend their support.
The historian adds, “The then dispensation did not support the movement as they had vested interest. A mention has to be made of the saffron brigade too as it did not participate. We have archival evidence to show that the saffron brigade sought an apology from the British. Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee didn’t participate in it.”
Many students too, who were supporters of Subhash Chandra Bose, did not extend support to the movement.
“The personality of Subhash also played a major role in convincing the people of the generation to support him. People thought his method was more robust and more effective as the appeal of Gandhiji’s moves were fading.”
Though the movement was a failure due to disunity, suppression and even clarity, it sent out strong signals to the British that India would no longer accept their tyranny. Thoughts of quitting India ripened through this movement, leading them to relinquish their hold on India in 1947.
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Last Updated Aug 8, 2019, 12:59 PM IST