76th anniversary of Quit India Movement: An agitation that shook foundation of British Rule
Today is the 76th anniversary of the Quit India Movement which was an agitation launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 demanding an end to the British Rule. The Quit India movement is considered a watershed moment in the history of India's freedom struggle as it truly saw pan-India participation which shook the foundation of British Rule.
The movement was started on August 9, 1942, and since then the day is celebrated as August Kranti Day/Diwas. The day is celebrated by paying tribute to freedom fighters with national integration speeches and other events.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today took to Twitter and posted images of British administration log which confirms that the movement had indeed spread across the country.
Mahatma Gandhi’s clarion call galvanised the nation.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 9, 2018
Here is another official report indicating the spread of the Quit India movement and the wide-scale participation. pic.twitter.com/bmUOyaHhA4
“It does not read well.”— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 9, 2018
Pages from a report filed by the colonial administrators show how through the Quit India Movement, Bapu shook the foundations of colonial rule and accelerated our journey towards freedom. pic.twitter.com/mIfRqiElAb
The Prime Minister also posted image of a poem on Quit India by Atal Bihari Vajpayee which was published in a newspaper in 1946.
Thanks to the National Archives, I found some fascinating nuggets of history relating to the Quit India Movement.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 9, 2018
Here is a poem on Quit India by Atal Ji. This was published in 1946 in 'Abhyudaya' a newspaper associated with Shri Madan Mohan Malaviya Ji. pic.twitter.com/YXhOkWMiuT
Events that defined the Quit India Movement:
'Leave India to God'
In May 1942, Mahatma Gandhi called on Britain to "Leave India to God. If this is too much then leave her to anarchy". In July 1942, the Congress Working Committee met at Wardha and a resolution was passed which was termed The Wardha Resolution. It is also known as Quit India Resolution which demanded, "The British Rule in India must end immediately.
karo ya Maro(Do or die)
The resolution was ratified in the AICC with minor amendments and a non-violent mass struggle under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi was sanctioned. The session began on the August 7 and concluded post midnight of August 8, 1942 at Gowalia Tank Maidan, Bombay. In a speech entitled, "Do or Die (Karo ya Maro)," given on by Mahatma Gandhi, he urged the masses to act as an independent nation and not to follow the orders of the British.
During this politically charged time, it is important to remember Mahatma Gandhi's words on 8 August, 1942 in Bombay ahead of the Quit India Movement, in which he asked people to adopt ahimsa (non-violence) during the struggle for India's independence.
Here are the excerpts from Gandhi's speech:
"Let me, however, hasten to assure that I am the same Gandhi as I was in 1920. I have not changed in any fundamental respect. I attach the same importance to non-violence that I did then. If at all, my emphasis on it has grown stronger. There is no real contradiction between the present resolution and my previous writings and utterances. The proposal for the withdrawal of British power did not come out of anger. It came to enable India to play its due part at the present critical juncture. But it is my conviction that inasmuch as these struggles were fought with the weapon of violence they failed to realise the democratic ideal. In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by non-violence, there will be equal freedom for all. Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such democracy that I invite you today. Once you realize this you will forget the differences between the Hindus and Muslims, and think of yourselves as Indians only, engaged in the common struggle for independence."
Gandhi, Nehru and many other leaders arrested
Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru during the announcement rally of Quit India Resolution. In 1942, in a fiery speech, Mahatma Gandhi gave a 'do or die' call to the people of India in a final push to make the British quit. The next day, Gandhi, Nehru and many other leaders of the Indian National Congress were arrested by the British Government. Disorderly and non-violent demonstrations took place throughout the country in the following days. The 'Quit India' movement, more than anything, united the Indian people against British rule. In 1944, Gandhi 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 ignored.