Modern History Simplified: Turns and twists in the politics of Partition in 1940s – Quit India Movement “Spontaneous Movement”(1942)

Quit India Movement “Spontaneous Movement”(1942)

Reasons for the Quit India Movement
  1. The failure of the Cripps Mission to solve the constitutional deadlock.
  2. Food Shortages and Rising prices on basic commodities such as Salt, Rice etc.
  3. News of reverses suffered by the British in South- East Asia and the Japanese troops were approaching the borders of India. So, the leadership wanted to condition the masses for a possible Japanese invasion.
The Quit India Resolution was ratified at the Congress meeting at Gowalia Tank, Bombay, on August 8, 1942.
  1. Sanction a civil disobedience movement against British rule.
  2. Demand an immediate end to British rule in India.
  3. Form a provisional Government of India after British withdrawal.
  4. Declare commitment of free India to defend itself against all types of Fascism and imperialism.
Government’s Response
  1. In the early hours of August 9, 1942, in a single sweep, all the top leaders of the Congress were arrested and taken to unknown destinations.
  2. The Congress Working Committee, the All India Congress Committee and the Provincial Congress Committees were declared unlawful associations under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908.
  3. The assembly of public meetings was prohibited under rule 56 of the Defence of India Rules.
Quit India Movement becoming a Spontaneous Movement
  1. With the removal of established leaders left the younger and militant leaders to take up the initiative.
  2. With the major leaders out of the picture, young Aruna Asaf Ali, till then relatively unknown, presided over the Congress committee session on August 9, and hoisted the flag.
  3. Public on Rampage: public attacked symbols of authority, hoisted national flags forcibly on public buildings, bridges were blown up, railway tracks were removed and telegraph lines were cut.
  4. Underground Movement:
    1. The participants in these activities were the Socialists, Forward Bloc members, Gandhi ashramites, revolutionary nationalists and local organisations
    2. The main personalities taking up underground activity were Rammanohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narayan, Aruna Asaf Ali, Usha Mehta, Biju Patnaik, Chhotubhai Puranik, Achyut Patwardhan, Sucheta Kripalani and R.P. Goenka.
    3. Usha Mehta started an underground radio in Bombay.
    4. The underground activity provided  a line of command and guidance to distribute arms and ammunition.
    5. Parallel Governments: Established at several places such as Ballia, Tamluk and Satara. 
    6. Active help from all Indians including Businessmen and Government Officials. 
    7. There were no communal clashes during the movement.
    8. The peasants concentrated their offensive on symbols of authority and there was complete absence of anti-zamindar violence.
Left without leaders, there was no restraint and violence became common. In this struggle, the common people displayed unparalleled heroism and militancy. Hence The element of spontaneity was higher than ever before. 
The great significance was that the movement placed the demand for independence on the immediate agenda of the national movement. After Quit India, there could be no retreat.

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