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Quit India Movement – Date, History, Causes, and Significance

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Quit India Movement popularly known as August Kranti, was launched by Indian National Congress( INC) on 8th August 1942. The place where Gandhiji delivered his speech was referred to as  Kranti Medan in Bombay. Gandhi was made the Leader of the movement who gave the War cry ” Do or die” [ Karo ya Maro].

The major consequences of the movement were that Congress came to be declared unlawful association; Congress offices across the country came to be raided leaders were arrested and chaotic situations emerged with the movement. Some of the provisions of the movement were:

  • Non-violence
  • Civil disobedience
  • Complete end of the British Empire
  • Sovereign country after the withdrawal of Britishers


What is Quit India Movement?

Quit India Movement was also known as the India August Movement or August Kranti and was launched officially by Mahatma Gandhi on 8th August 1942. The main slogan of the movement was “Quit India” or “Bharat Chodo” and Gandhiji gave the slogan “Do or Die”. In the lines of the Congress ideology, it was supposed to be a peaceful non-violent movement which aimed at asking British government to grant India independence.

Quit India Movement Day

August 8 is observed as Quit India Movement Day in remembrance of the historic Quit India Movement event. The Quit India Movement, also known as the August Movement, was a significant civil disobedience movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi on August 8, 1942, during World War II. The movement aimed at demanding an end to British colonial rule in India. Gandhi’s call for “Do or Die” urged Indians to nonviolently resist British oppression. The movement faced harsh repression, with many leaders arrested, but it played a pivotal role in India’s struggle for independence.

Quit India Movement Started Date

Quit India Resolution was passed by the Congress Working Committee on 8th August 1942 in Bombay and Gandhi came to be named as the leader of the movement. The resolution stated the following provisions:

  1. Immediate end for British rule in India.
  2. Declaration for the commitment of free India for defending itself against ideas of imperialism and fascism.
  3. Formation of provisional government in India after the withdrawal of British.
  4. Sanctioning a civil disobedience movement against British rule.

Gandhi’s urge to common mass were as follows:

  • Boycott all the foreign goods, salt and foreign clothes that are imported from England
  • Be loyal to Indian National Congress
  • Government servants do not resign from the job but continue to do their duty supporting Congress
  • Students to leave the government schools if it is run by Britishers
  • Peasants should not pay the tax/rent to zamindars if they are pro- government

Causes of Quit India Movement

The Quit India Movement was launched mainly for following reasons:

  1. Failure of Cripps Mission: It guaranteed to resolve the problems of India and establish self governing nation. But it failed to give the desired objective and rather offered dominion status along with partition
  2. India being a part of Second World War without prior approval of leaders.
  3. Resentment against British by Indian masses: Due to inflation and expected price soaring of essential commodities, there was discontent among the nation against the British rule and it aggravated for every single policy
  4. Effects of other small movements: Kisan Sabha, Provincial government, Forward Bloc all contributed to a powerful discontent and led the agitation.

Responses to Quit India Movement

The main responses to the Quit India Movement were as follows:

  1. British government had responded to the call of Gandhi by arresting of major Congress leaders the very next day and this left the movement in the hands of younger leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia and also new leaders like Aruna Asaf Ali emerged.
  2. Over 1 lakh people were arrested in connection of the movement and government resorted to violence in order to quell the agitation and there were mass floggings.
  3. There were no communal violence.
  4. INC came to be banned and leaders were put to jail. Mahatma Gandhi was released on health grounds.
  5. Some parties did not support the movement and there was opposition from Muslim League, Communist Party of India and Hindu Mahasabha.
  6. Communist Party supported the war waged as they were allied to Soviet Union.
  7. Subhas Chandra Bose was organising India National Army and Azad Hind government from outside the country.
  8. In general, Indian Bureaucracy did not support the Quit India Movement. There were strikes and demonstrations all over the country and in some places parallel governments were set up as well.
  9. The main areas of movement were UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, Midnapore and Karnataka and movement lasted till 1944.

Phases of Quit India Movement

Movement was divided into 3 phases as follows:

  • Phase 1: Revolt in the urban areas, boycott of the goods and shop picketing were seen in large number. Strikes, riots spread in the whole of the country and workers left the factory to  support opposition. Gandhiji was imprisoned at Aga Khan Palace and other leaders were arrested too.
  • Phase 2 : Witnessed rebellion against government buildings that were set on fire, means of communication was disrupted, telephone lines and electricity were cut. railway tracks and stations were destroyed creating huge damage to infrastructure. British too resented rigorously by imposing fine lathi charge and imprisonment.
  • Phase 3 : Parallel governments were set up at Tamluk, Satara, Ballia that marked the last phase of the movement.

Quit India Movement: A Success or a Failure?

Positive outcome of the movement

  • Emergence of national leaders: Quit India movement gave rise of prominent leaders like Biju Patnaik, Sucheta Kriplani, Ram Manohar Lohia. They undertook underground activities contributed significantly in the movement. Since all the national leaders were arrested on the second day itself, young leaders took the task in their hands
  • Rise of nationalism:  Students dropped out from college voluntarily, employees left government job and boycott of all foreign goods were made on large scale. Unity and sense of brotherhood emerged among the civilians due to the movement.
  • Women participation: Female Leaders like Usha Mehta carried out underground activity to awaken the movement to general citizens
  • Paved the wave of freedom: The negotiations with British led them believe that India cannot be governed in the long run after  the WW 2 post effects. The freedom wave became stronger even thought quit India campaign crushed

Failure of the movement

  • Spread of violence: Due to absence of leadership, people resorted to violence, electricity lines were cut, communication was disrupted and buildings were set on fire. Huge damage to government property was incurred and violence broke through
  • Brutal suppression: In response to the opposition, British tried to suppress the movement by lathi charge, imprisonment and imposing fines. Villages were burnt in order to crush the agitation.
  • Lack of support:  There was lack of support from parties like Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha and communist party of India. There was opposition from Indian Bureaucracy as well. Communist supported the war, League wanted the partition, Mahasabha felt that movement would create internal disturbances.
  • Leaders: Leaders like Rajagopalachari opposed Gandhiji’s idea. SC Bose was busy organizing  INA outside India. While some regions witnessed parallel government.

Significance of Quit India Movement

  • The significance the quit India Movement achieved was remarkable. Despite huge opposition and violence from the British, people were committed to be a part of freedom struggle and they stayed intact in their activities.
  • It created a mark in the British officials that India cannot be ruled without the support of Indians. Government convinced the people until the war ends, Independence or the freedom cannot be granted. But they accepted the fact that without the support of masses, they cannot move further.
  • At the topmost priority was placed the war cry of attaining complete Independence or Poorna Swaraj.
  • Anti British sentiment rose among the people and it was irrevocable.
  • Public morale was enhanced and it laid the feelings of brotherhood and unity among the masses.

Questions and Answers on Quit India Movement

1. What was the objective of Quit India Movement?

Quit India movement was a part of Gandhiji’s Civil Disobedience movement. The ultimate aim was to grant complete Independence to India and bring to an end the British Rule in India.

2. What was the rampage by general public?

General masses attacked government buildings, hoisted national flag over there. They attacked the telephone cables, cut the communication means including electricity, damaged railway tracks and stations. Bridges were blown up and agitated jail Bharo Andolan. 

Students started leaving government schools and colleges. Peasants didn’t pay the rent/ tax to the government. They distributed illegal news in form of ” Patrikas”, marching in processions. Underground radio broadcast was started that delivered wave of agitation among masses against British Empire and shook their feelings.

3. What was the impact of the Quit India Movement?

  • Gave the young leadership as all prominent leaders were arrested including Gandhiji.
  • Created violence and detention of nearly one lac people.
  • Not all the parties supported. Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha were against it.
  • Huge damage incurred to government property and authorities.
  • Indian bureaucracy was against the movement.
  • Strikes, picketing, demonstration, riots were seen throughout the country.
  • However it showed the heroism of the ordinary people.

Last Updated : 23 Nov, 2023
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