August Kranti: The 80th Quit India Movement Commemorating Day


This year on 8 August it is the 80th anniversary of the Quit India Movement. The Quit India Movement was started on 8 August 1942 under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi during World War II demanding an end to the British rule in India. Quit India Movement is also known as August Movement or August Kranti or Bharat Chodo Andolan. This movement was an important moment in the freedom struggle. It showed the British that India could not be ruled for long any more.

Why did the Quit Movement start?

The ‘Quit India Movement was started on 8 August 1942 during the Second World War, with the aim of freedom from the slavery of the British rule. During the Second World War, British forces were beginning to lose in South-East Asia. Japan was constantly attacking Allied countries. During this time, the Allied countries started pressurizing Britain to take some initiative to get the support of Indians. Because the cooperation of Indians in the war was very important to Britain. This movement was started by the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi (known as Bapu). Bapu started this movement at the Mumbai session of the All India Congress Committee.

Who gave the Do or Die call to send the British back?

In 1942, Mahatma Gandhi gave a ‘do or die’ call to the people of India in a final push to make the British quit. Gandhi and his supporters made it clear that they would not support the war effort until India was given independence. He made it clear that this time the movement will not stop. He asked all Congressmen and Indians to maintain discipline for the ultimate freedom through ‘do or die’ with non-violence.

Who gave the slogan ‘Quit India’?  

According to historians and experts, this slogan was given – by Congress leader Yusuf Meher Ali. It was the same Meher Ali who was the then Mayor of Bombay in the year 1942.

Meher Ali got the pamphlets printed even before Gandhi ji said yes. Yusuf, who was jailed 8 times in the freedom movement, was one of Gandhi’s close friends. Shortly before the Quit India Movement, he had discussed this slogan with Bapu. Such was his belief in this slogan that he had even printed pamphlets before Mahatma Gandhi agreed to announce it.

What were the reasons for starting the Quit India Movement?

Gandhi ji started the Quit India Movement for the following reasons-

 (1) Failure of Cripps Mission

The failure of the Cripps Mission gave rise to a sense of despair throughout the country.  The Indians felt that the Cripps was sent only because of pressure from the US and China and that all the activities related to the Cripps mission were a ‘political sly’.  Apart from this, Churchill had no desire to give independence to India. Maulana Azad writes, “The long talks that went on in many political parties and Cripps were to prove to the world that Congress is not the true representative body of India and it was because of lack of unity among Indians that Britain can’t transfer power to India. .”  In such a situation, the effect of the failure of the Cripps Mission was on the relations between India and Britain.

(2) Inhuman treatment of Indians in Burma

Indian refugees who were coming from Burma after Japan’s conquest of Burma told their sad stories.  Separate routes were given to the British and the Indians to come to India from Burma. Viceroy’s executive member M.S. Ane, who was in charge of the department looking after the Indians living outside, Pt. Hridaynath Kunzru with Mr Dam Went to see the condition of Indians in Burma. He later said in a statement that Indian refugees were being treated with disrespect as if they belonged to a lower caste.  Gandhi ji was deeply pained by this and wrote, “The distinction being made in the treatment of Indian and European refugees and the poor treatment of the armies is increasing the distrust of the intentions and declarations of the British.”

(3) The atmosphere of fear and terror in East Bengal

There was a reign of fear and terror in East Bengal at this time. The government had taken over the land of many farmers there for military purposes. Similarly, thousands of country boats were destroyed, from which hundreds of families earned their livelihood. These actions of the government greatly increased the miseries of the people.

(4) The deplorable economic condition and distrust of the government –

 At this time, due to the increase in the prices of goods, the problems of the people increased even more. In such a situation, people were losing faith in paper notes. The distrust of the government in the middle class was increasing day by day.

(5) Fear of Japanese invasion-

Japan was advancing rapidly and had defeated the British in Singapore, Malaya and Burma, which solidified Mahatma Gandhi’s belief that the British were incapable of defending India. Along with this, he was of the view that if the British left India, then there might not be an invasion of Japan.  He wrote in the ‘Harijan’ letter dated July 5, 1942, “British, do not leave India for Japan, but leave India systematically for the Indians.”

Background of the Quit India movement

On July 14, 1942, the All India Congress Committee passed the following resolutions regarding the policies of the British government intending to provide future direction to the movement-

  • The end of British rule from India should be very soon.
  • India’s freedom is necessary not only in the interest of India but also for the security of the world.
  • The Congress desires that if the British Government wants, it can keep its army in India for some time to counter the army of its enemies.
  • If the government did not accept the above proposals, Congress would be reluctantly forced to launch a nationwide non-violent movement, which would be led by Gandhi ji.
  • Based on these above proposals, preparations for the movement were made with full enthusiasm all over the country.  
Credit: PIB India

Speech given by Pt. Nehru on August 1, 1942

 “We are going to play with fire. We have a double-edged sword in our hands, which can inflict the opposite blow on us, but we are constrained on what to do.”~ pandit jawaharlal nehru 

Starting of Quit India Movement (August 8,1942) 

When the government did not pay any heed to the above proposals, the Congress Working Committee session was convened in Bombay, in which the ‘Quit India Resolution was passed in support of all the above resolutions. In this resolution, it was decided that there should be an immediate end to British rule in India.

Public outrage erupted due to the massive arrests

In the Congress session, it was decided that before starting the movement, Gandhi ji would hold talks with the government, but before the talks, the government took Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders captive. The government alleged that the Congress workers were trying to engage in anarchy activities. Therefore, the government had no other option but to arrest them.

Public outrage erupted due to the massive arrests. People expressed their anger through processions, strikes and meetings, but the government used repressive means like sticks, bullets etc. Some workers were compelled to start violent work. Life came to a standstill in big cities like Bombay, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Madras, Bangalore, Amritsar etc. The burning of railway stations, police stations, looting of trains, the bombing of bridges, etc. continued to increase. It seemed that the British government would not be able to handle the Indian administration. Pro. Amba Prasad has written in ‘The Indian Revolt of 1942’ that in this movement the police fired 538 times and at least 7,000 persons were killed and 60,229 persons were arrested.

British used power to suppress the revolt 

According to non-government sources, the death toll was between 10,000 – 40,000.  The strength of the movement can be estimated from these figures. Michael Brecher has written about this movement, “The repression policy of the government towards the movement was very harsh. After the revolt of 1857, for the first time in India, the British government had to use its power to suppress the revolt of 1942.  Police rule seemed to have been established in the country.

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Due to the harsh repression policy of the government, the open revolt of the people was suppressed, but the movement did not end completely.  Under the leadership of socialist leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan, Dr Ram Manohar ‘Lohia’, and Aruna Asaf Ali, this movement went underground and it started operating secretly from the point of view of the governance.

What were the major reasons for the failure of the Quit India Movement?

Following were the main reasons for the failure of the Quit India Movement-

(1) Deficiencies in the organization of the movement

Quit India Movement was a mass movement.  Extensive preparations should have been made to make such a mass movement a success. The leaders of the movement should have fixed their strategy and should have gone to an unknown place before the government arrests them. No such preparation was made. In such a situation when the repression work was initiated by the government, the agitators were surprised and due to the arrest of the prominent leaders, the movement became leaderless.

(2) Loyalty of Government servants

This movement also failed because the leaders, police, native kings, upper class and government employees remained loyal to the government. Therefore, the work of the government went on smoothly.

(3) Governance to have manifold power

Another reason for the failure of the Quit India Movement was that the power of governance was manifold compared to that of the agitators. The agitators had no intelligence system. They did not have good means of sending messages to each other.  Their economic condition was also much weaker than that of the British government. Although this movement was an instant failure, only five years after this movement, India got independence.

Importance and Consequences of Quit India Movement

As a result of this movement, a sufficient political awakening was generated in the country and the Indians made it clear to the British that now India could not be kept under subjugation for a long time. Now the people of India started moving fast toward the goal of attaining independence. Now no power in the world could keep India as a slave for a long time.

The 1942 AD movement intensified the activities of the extremists and revolutionaries. Subhash Chandra Bose formed the Azad Hind Fauj, which took a strong iron hand against the British forces and defeated them in many places. Consciousness generated by the movement resulted in the revolt of the Navy in 1946, which shook the roots of the British Empire. The movement of 1942 exposed the Communist Party and the Muslim League. This movement generated sympathy for Indians in America and China. Chinese President Chiang Kai-shek and US President Roosevelt supported the grant of complete independence to India.

India has got its freedom from the British but when will souls get the freedom from Kaal?

This Earth is a big jail for all souls. We call it a home but according to Spiritual knowledge this is not less than a painful prison where all Living Beings falling under the life cycle of 84 lakh species, without knowing the importance of freedom of the soul.

Kaal is a dictator- fascist

This world has been divided into different regions, colour, caste and religions by Kaal Brahm (the master of 21 universes) and He is the Mastermind behind our slavery of him. He keeps us busy here by giving us false & perishable happiness, pain, fun , joys, money, luxury, fights, war and diseases etc.

He is the main reason for any war that has ever happened in world history because everyone wants supremacy and more power. India has got its freedom but now it’s time to do something for the freedom of our individual souls. It’s time to find true devotion to attain a world where there is no war, no dissimilarity, everyone is living with peace and happiness. 

Requesting you to Read the book Gyan Ganga written by Saint Rampal ji Maharaj to know everything about Kaal and his 21 universe’s jail. It is also requested that everyone please watch Sant Rampal Ji Maharaj’s discourses for complete salvation to be free from the Kaal’s prison and achieve ultimate freedom.

FAQ about Quit India Movement

When was the quit India movement launched and why?

The Quit India Movement was launched at the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee by Mahatma Gandhi on 8th August 1942, during World War II, demanding a cease to British rule in India.      

Who gave the ‘Quit India’ and Simon Go Back slogans?

The ‘Quit India’ was given by Yusuf Meherally, a socialist and trade unionist who served as Mayor of Mumbai and also gave the slogan “Simon Go Back.

What was the motive to start the Quit India movement?

The demand was to end the British rule in India to get the cooperation of Indians in World War-II against fascism.

Why Quit India failed?

Quit India failed because of failed leadership, heavy suppression, weak coordination and the lack of a clear mindset and programme of action.

How did the Quit India movement help in the course of Independence?

It changed the nature of political negotiations with the British and paved the way for India’s independence.

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