Quit India Movement 1942 – interesting historical facts
Today is 9th August 2015. The same day, 69 years back, i.e. 9th August 1942 is one of the important days in the history of Indian freedom movement.
I am sharing the following interesting information for the knowledge of our young and old generation. This will give some idea about the sacrifice made by our leaders during the freedom struggle.
World war II and Gripps Mission
The Second World War started in the year 1939 between Britain and Germany. In 1942, then British Governor involved India, without consulting Congress leaders. This angered the Congress leaders.
In March 1942, British Government sent a delegation under the leadership of Stafford Cripps, what is popularly known as Cripps Missin, to negotiate with Congress leaders and make them to agree to participate in the war on the Britain side, in turn for a promise of freedom. The leaders did not agree for the proposal, as they wanted to maintain neutrality in the war.
Preparation for civil disobedience
On July 14, 1942, Indian National Congress passed a resolution demanding complete freedom to India from British. The resolution also stated that if the British did not accept the demand, Congress would start a ‘mass civil disobedience’.
Since Britain was engaged in the peak of world war II, this resolution met with some controversy. Sri C Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) also opposed the resolution and he even quit the Congress. (Rajaji joined back Congress later) Rajaji was telling Congress that time was not a right time to go for civil disobedience, as the entire world was engaged in World War II. But all other Senior leaders accepted this resolution. Even other political parties like Communists, Hindu Maha Saha and Muslim League did not support the call.
“Do or die’ call in the historic session on 7th August 1942
The historic session of Indian National Congress was held from 7th August 1942 at Gowalia Tank Maidan, Mumbai (now known as August Kranti Maidan). In the midnight of 8th/9th August 1942, the Congress passed the famous ‘Quit India resolution’, which electrified the country. This has become the popular ‘Quit India Movement’ and mass civil disobedience movement was launched with Mahatma Gandhi’s “Do or die” call.
Quit India movement turning violent
Within few hours of the resolution and call, all the national leaders were arrested. Since there were no leaders outside, the movement became violent. The people burnt the Govt. offices and violence could not be controlled by the Congress. British Govt. moved the army and more than one lakh people were arrested. During this period, the contact of the leaders with the masses were cut off. During this period, Mahatma Gandhi lost his wife Kasturba Gandhi and his trusted secretary Mahadev Desai, who were also in the jail. Mahatma also was losing health.
Different reasons for ‘violence’ like absence of top leaders, mistaken impression of do or die call, inducement by British rulers indirectly are attributed .
Hoisting of Indian Tri-Colour
When the Quit India movement was started on 9th August 1942, British Police treated the masses brutally. At that time, Aruna Asaf Ali hoisted the Indian Tricolour in the Gowalia Tank Maidan proudly. This was the first time, when Indian Triclour was hoisted.
Underground radio station
During the movement time, Aruna Asaf Ali and Usha Mehta (a student) were broadcasting the underground news through an underground radio station (42.34 metres). They were shifting the broadcasting equipment frequently, to avoid being captured by British Police.
It may be noted that all the leaders and freedom fighters who participated in the movement were released only after three years, after the World War II ended.
Freedom to India
After the World War II, Labour Party won the elections and captured power in Britain. They took initiative to transfer power to the interim Government headed by Pandit Nehru. India got the full Independence on 15th August 1947.
Though Quit India movement has generated controversies at that time, definitely, this movement is being considered as one of the important milestones in Indian freedom movement, to force the Britain to handover the power to Indian leaders.
On this day, let us salute those brave freedom fighters for their great sacrifice.