Let us learn about our freedom struggle through a short note on the quit India movement.
Who started the Quit India Movement?
Mahatma Gandhi decided to initiate a new phase of the movement against the British in the middle of the Second World War. The British must quit India immediately, he told them.
To the people, he said, “do or die” in your effort to fight the British – but you must fight non-violently. Gandhiji and other leaders were jailed at once but the movement spread. It especially attracted peasants and the youth who gave up their studies to join it.
Communications and symbols of state authority were attacked all over the country. In many areas, the people set up their own governments.
Short Note On Quit India Movement
August Kranti, or August Movement, is another name for the Quit India Movement. Mahatma Gandhi launched the Bharat Chhodo Andolan, or Quit India movement, on August 8, 1942, with the rallying cry “do or die.”
The Cripps mission failed in April 1942. In less than four months, the Indian people’s third great mass struggle for independence began. The Quit India movement is the name given to this struggle. During World War II, Mahatma Gandhi’s All India Congress Committee in Bombay passed a resolution supporting the Quit India Movement on August 8, 1942.
This resolution stated that the immediate end of British rule in India was necessary for the sake of India and the success of the cause of freedom and democracy, which the UN countries were fighting against fascist Germany, Italy, and Japan for.
What was the response of Britishers against the Quit India Movement?
The first response of the British against the Quit India Movement was severe repression. By the end of 1943 over 90,000 people were arrested, and around 1,000 were killed in police firing. In many areas orders were given to machine-gun crowds from airplanes.
Towards Independence and Partition Meanwhile, in 1940 the Muslim League had moved a resolution demanding “Independent States” for Muslims in the north-western and eastern areas of the country. The resolution did not mention partition or Pakistan. From the late 1930s, the League began viewing the Muslims as a separate “nation” from the Hindus.
In developing this notion it may have been influenced by the history of tension between some Hindu and Muslim groups in the 1920s and 1930s. More importantly, the provincial elections of 1937 seemed to have convinced the League that Muslims were a minority, and they would always have to play second fiddle in any democratic structure.
It feared that Muslims may even go unrepresented. The Congress’s rejection of the League’s desire to form a joint Congress- League government in the United Provinces in 1937 also annoyed the League. The Congress’s failure to mobilize the Muslim masses in the 1930s allowed the League to widen its social support. It sought to enlarge its support in the early 1940s when most Congress leaders were in jail.
At the end of the war in 1945, the British opened negotiations between the Congress, the League, and themselves for the independence of India. The talks failed because the League saw itself as the sole spokesperson of India’s Muslims.
Congress could not accept this claim since a large number of Muslims still supported it. Elections to the provinces were again held in 1946. The Congress did well in the “General” constituencies but the League’s success in the seats reserved for Muslims was spectacular. It persisted with its demand for “Pakistan”. In March 1946 the British cabinet sent a three-member mission to Delhi to examine this demand and to suggest a suitable political framework for a free India.
This mission suggested that India should remain united and constitute itself as a loose confederation with some autonomy for Muslim-majority areas. But it could not get Congress and the Muslim League to agree to specific details of the proposal. Partition now became more or less inevitable
After the failure of the Cabinet Mission, the Muslim League decided on mass agitation for winning its Pakistan demand. It was announced on 16 August 1946 as “Direct Action Day”.
On this day riots broke out in Calcutta, lasting several days and resulting in the death of thousands of people. By March 1947 violence spread to different parts of northern India. Many hundred thousand people were killed and numerous women had to face untold brutalities during the Partition.
Millions of people were forced to flee their homes. Torn asunder from their homelands, they were reduced to being refugees in alien lands. Partition also meant that India changed, many of its cities changed, and a new country – Pakistan – was born. So, the joy of our country’s independence from British rule came mixed with the pain and violence of Partition.