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Quit India Movement

Topic covered:

The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.


Quit India Movement


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Quit India Movement- reasons, key features and outcomes.


Context: 77th anniversary of Quit India movement was observed on August 8th, 2019. Every year 8 August is celebrated in India as August Kranti Din.


What is Quit India Movement?

It was in 1942 when the world was going through the havoc caused by World War II. India too was facing the heat and after the Cripps Mission had failed, and on 8 August 1942, Mahatma Gandhi made a Do or Die call through the Quit India movement. Large protests and demonstrations were held all over the country. However, as the movement didn’t get too much support from the outside, it was crushed and the British refused to grant immediate Independence, saying that it could happen only after the war had ended.


Who started Quit India Movement?

The Quit India movement was started by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 but drew protests from the All-India Congress Committee demanding what Gandhi called was “An Orderly British Withdrawal” from India. This forced the British to act immediately and soon all the senior INC leaders were imprisoned without trial within hours of Gandhi’s speech.


Other key facts:

  1. Several national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Abdul Kalam Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were arrested.
  2. The Congress was declared an unlawful association, leaders were arrested and its offices all over the country were raided and their funds were frozen.
  3. The first half of the movement was peaceful with demonstrations and processions. The peaceful protest was carried till Mahatma Gandhi’s release.
  4. The second half of the movement was violent with raids and setting fire at post offices, government buildings and railway stations. Lord Linlithgow adopted the policy of violence.
  5. The Viceroy’s Council of Muslims, Communist Party and Americans supported Britishers.


The significance of the movement can be highlighted as follows: 

  1. The movement was carried forward without the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, or any other leader, all of whom were jailed on its commencement.
    All sections of people participated in huge numbers.
    Decentralized command was the prime significance of this movement.
    The British began to seriously think about the issue of Indian independence after seeing the upsurge among the masses. It changed the nature of political negotiations with British empire in 1940s which ultimately paved the way of India’s independence.
    The slogan of ‘Do or Die’ remains the most Krantikari slogan to this day.
    It is also a symbol of political betrayal. Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha, Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) and even the undivided Communist party opposed Gandhi as well as his call for complete civil disobedience.


However, some of the drawbacks were:

  1. Use of violent methods by the volunteers and participants.
    The movement was crushed in a relatively short period of time by the British.
    Lack of leadership did not lead to well-coordinated guidance and progress of the movement, with the intensity restricted to a few pockets.


Sources: the hindu.