77th Anniversary of Quit India movement | 10 Aug 2019

The 77th anniversary of the August Kranti Din, which is considered as one of the important milestones in the history of freedom struggle of our country, was observed on August 8, 2019.

  • On 8th August 1942, Mahatma Gandhi gave a clarion call to end the British rule and launched the Quit India Movement at the session of the All-India Congress Committee in Mumbai.
  • The movement had begun from Gawalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai and the day is observed as August Kranti Day every year.
    • After the failure of the Cripps Mission, Gandhiji gave the call “Do or Die”’ in his speech delivered at the Gowalia Tank Maidan, now popularly known as August Kranti Maidan.
  • Gandhiji was soon imprisoned at Aga Khan Palace in Pune and almost all leaders were arrested.
  • New leaders like Aruna Asaf Ali emerged out of the vacuum of leadership.
  • The Britishers declared the INC to be an unlawful association.
  • Over 100000 people were arrested and the government resorted to violence in order to crush the agitation.
  • Gandhiji was released in 1944 on health grounds. However, in the absence of any central leadership, there were some incidences of violence.
  • Muslim League, the Communist Party of India and the Hindu Mahasabha did not support the movement. The Indian bureaucracy also did not support the movement.
    • The League was not in favour of the British leaving India without partitioning the country first.
    • The Communist party supported the British since they were allied with the Soviet Union.
  • Meanwhile, Subhas Chandra Bose, organised the Indian National Army and the Azad Hind government from outside the country.
  • As, C Rajagopalachari was not in favour of complete independence he resigned from the INC.
  • There were strikes and demonstrations all over the country and workers provided the support by not working in the factories.
  • At some places (Ballia, Tamluk, Satara etc.) parallel governments were also set up.
  • Women took active participation in the movement. Female leaders like Usha Mehta has helped set up an underground radio station which led to the awakening about the movement.
  • Aruna Asaf Ali popularly known as the 'Grand Old Lady' of the Independence Movement is known for hoisting the Indian flag at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai during the Quit India Movement.
  • While the Quit India campaign was crushed in 1944, with the British refusing to grant immediate independence, saying it could happen only after the war had ended, they came to the important realization that India was ungovernable in the long run due to the cost of World War II.

Cripps Mission

  • Japanese aggression in South-East Asia, keenness of British Government to secure the full participation of India in the war, mounting pressure from China and the United States, as well as from the Labour Party in Britain, led Britsh Prime Minister Winston Churchill to send Cripps Mission to India in March 1942.
  • Under Stafford Cripps, the mission was sent to resolve the Indian question of a new constitution and self-government.
  • Main proposals of the mission were:
    • An Indian Union with a dominion status would be set up; it would be free to decide its relations with the Commonwealth and free to participate in the United Nations and other international bodies.
    • A constituent assembly would be convened after the war to frame a new constitution.
    • Members of the assembly partly elected by the provincial assemblies and partly nominated by the princes.
    • Any province not willing to accept the constitution would be given ‘the same full status as the Indian Union’, - designed to appease the Muslim League’s call for Pakistan.
    • The constitution making body and the British Government would negotiate a treaty to effect the transfer of power and to safeguard racial and religious minorities.
  • The Indian National Congress, however, was not satisfied as its demand for immediate complete independence had been rejected.
  • Mahatma Gandhi said that Cripps offer of Dominion Status after the war was a "post-dated cheque drawn on a failing bank’’.

Source: PIB