Quit India Movement

Quit India Movement

Quit India Movement

The Quit India Movement, also known as the August Movement or Bharat ChodoAndolan, was a watershed event in India’s fight against British colonial rule.

  • Launched by the Indian National Congress on August 8, 1942, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the movement aimed to demand the immediate withdrawal of British forces from India.
  • This movement marked a pivotal phase in India’s struggle for independence and demonstrated the strength of nonviolent civil disobedience.


  • The Quit India Movement emerged against the backdrop of World War II.
  • The British decision to involve India in the war without consulting its people had already created discontent.
  • The failure of the Cripps Mission in 1942, which offered limited dominion status post-war, fell short of Indian aspirations for complete independence.
  • This led to widespread frustration and a surge in demands for an end to British colonial rule.

Key Events

  • Gandhi’s ‘Do or Die’ Call:
    • On August 8, 1942, Mahatma Gandhi delivered a stirring speech at the All-India Congress Committee session in Mumbai.
    • He called upon Indians to “do or die” in the fight for freedom, emphasizing the need for nonviolent resistance against the British.
  • Mass Civil Disobedience:
    • Following Gandhi’s call, Indians from all walks of life joined the movement.
    • Strikes, protests, and acts of civil disobedience spread across the country.
    • Government offices, railways, and communication systems were targeted, disrupting British administration.
  • Directions given by Gandhi during the Quit India Movement:
    • “Do or Die”: One of the most famous slogans associated with the Quit India Movement was “Do or Die.”
      • Gandhi called upon the Indian people to either achieve freedom or embrace death in their struggle against British oppression.
        • Nonviolent Resistance: Gandhi emphasized the importance of nonviolent resistance as the guiding principle of the movement.
        • Civil Disobedience: Gandhi advocated for civil disobedience as a means to disrupt British administration and challenge their authority.
          • He encouraged people to engage in acts of civil disobedience, including strikes, protests, and non-cooperation with the British authorities.
        • Boycott of Government Institutions: Gandhi called for the boycott of all government institutions, offices, and services as a way to undermine British control.
        • Mass Mobilization: Gandhi urged people to actively participate in mass protests, demonstrations, and other forms of nonviolent resistance.
  • Arrest of Leadership:
    • The British responded swiftly by arresting key Congress leaders, including Gandhiji, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, and Maulana Azad.
    • This led to a leadership vacuum, but the movement continued to gain momentum through the efforts of local leaders and ordinary citizens.
  • After all the major leaders were arrested, it was ArunaAsaf Ali who hoisted the national flag at Gowalia Tank Maidan (now known as August KrantiMaidan) in Mumbai on August 9, 1942 with the slogans of ‘Britishers, Quit India’.
    • She defied the British-imposed curfew and fearlessly hoisted the Indian National Congress flag, symbolizing the call for a united struggle against British rule.
  • Parallel Governments:
    • In several regions, local leaders established parallel governments to challenge British authority.
    • These “prajamandals” symbolized a commitment to self-governance and provided essential services to the people.
  • Repression and Violence:
    • The British administration responded with brutal force, employing lathi charges, tear gas, and even firing on crowds.
    • Many protestors were killed or injured, but the movement’s resilience remained unshaken.
  • Underground Activities:
    • Underground publications, leaflets, and posters were used to disseminate information and inspire further participation.
    • This clandestine communication network played a crucial role in sustaining the momentum of the movement.
  • Women’s Participation:
    • The Quit India Movement witnessed significant participation by women, who played active roles in protests, demonstrations, and nonviolent actions.
    • Their involvement challenged traditional gender roles and highlighted their crucial role in the struggle.

Key Leaders:

  • Mahatma Gandhi: The driving force behind the movement, Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent resistance provided the moral foundation for the struggle.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru: Despite being imprisoned, Nehru’s vision for a modern, independent India continued to inspire the movement.
  • Sardar Patel: Organized local networks and provided leadership during the absence of prominent figures.

Parallel Governments

  • During the Quit India Movement, several regions in India witnessed the establishment of parallel governments or local administrations that operated independently of British colonial authorities.
  • These parallel governments were a unique and daring feature of the movement, symbolizing the Indian people’s determination to assert their self-governance and challenge British authority.
  • While these parallel governments did not have full control over all aspects of governance, they represented a significant assertion of local autonomy and resistance against colonial rule.
  • Examples of Parallel Governments:
    • Satara:
      • In the Satara district of Maharashtra, a parallel government was established under the leadership of Congress leader ShripadAmritDange.
      • It managed various aspects of governance, including law and order and revenue collection.
    • Ballia Movement:
      • In Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, Chittu Pandey led a movement that established a parallel government.
      • This government carried out administrative functions and aimed to provide a functional alternative to British rule.
    • Tamluk Government:
      • In Tamluk, West Bengal, a parallel government was established by local leaders to demonstrate their ability to govern independently.

Sections who did not participate

  • Muslim League:
    • Did not support the Quit India Movement.
    • They were against British leaving India without partitioning the country first.
  • Communist Party of India:
    • Supported the British due to their alliance with the Soviet Union during World War II.
  • Hindu Mahasabha:
    • Opposed the Quit India Movement and boycotted it officially.
    • They feared the movement would disrupt internal order and endanger security during the war.
  • Indian Bureaucracy: Did not support the Quit India Movement.

Impact and Legacy:

  • Shift in British Policy:
    • The Quit India Movement forced the British to reconsider their stance on Indian independence. It demonstrated the strength of Indian unity and resolve.
  • Global Attention:
    • The movement garnered international sympathy and support, as the world watched India’s struggle against colonial oppression.
  • Paving the Way for Independence:
    • While the movement itself did not directly lead to immediate independence, it accelerated the momentum of the freedom struggle and played a role in eventual British withdrawal in 1947.
  • Inspiration for Future Movements:
    • The Quit India Movement served as a model for future nonviolent movements across the world, including the civil rights movement in the United States and anti-apartheid struggles in South Africa.

Quit India Movement fizzles out

In the end, the Quit India Movement began to lose its intensity due to British repression, leadership arrests, changing global dynamics, and the gradual shift towards negotiations and talks.

  • The end of World War II and the changing political climate were significant factors contributing to the end of the movement.