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77th anniversary of Quit India Movement Day 8th August 2019: History and Significance

Quit India Movement Day is observed on 8 August which is also known as August Kranti. It is considered as an important movement in the freedom struggle where masses also participate and took charge itself. Let us read more about Quit India Movement.

Quit India Movement

In April 1942, the Cripps mission failed. Within less than four months, the third great mass struggle of the Indian people for freedom started. This struggle is known as the Quit India movement. On 8 August, 1942 at the Bombay session of All India Congress Committee by Mahatma Gandhi during World War II passed a resolution of Quit India Movement.
This resolution declared that the immediate ending of the British rule in India was an urgent necessity for the sake of India and for the success of the cause of freedom and democracy, for which the countries of the United Nations were fighting against fascist Germany, Italy and Japan. The resolution called for the withdrawal of the British power from India. Once free, it said, India with all her resources would join the war on the side of those countries who were struggling against fascist and imperialist aggression.

Journey of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to India

Quit India Movement resolution
The resolution approved the starting of mass struggle on non-violent lines on the widest possible scale for the independence of the country. After the resolution was passed, Gandhi, in his speech said: “There is a mantra, a short one that I give you. You imprint it in your heart and let every breath of yours give an expression to it. The mantra is do or die. We shall either be free or die in the attempt”. “Quit India” and “Do or Die” became the battle cries of the Indian people during the Quit India movement.

In the early hours of the morning of 9 August 1942, most of the leaders of the congress were arrested. They were lodged in prisons in different parts of the country. The congress was banned. There were hartals and processions in every part of the country. The government let loose a reign of terror and there were firings, lathi charges and arrests throughout the country. People in their anger also took to violent activities. The people attacked government property, damaged railway lines and disrupted posts and telegraphs. There were clashes with the police at many places. The government imposed restrictions on the publication of news about the movement. Many newspapers decided to close down rather than submit to the restrictions.

By the end of 1942, about 60,000 people had been jailed and hundreds were killed. Among the killed were many young children and old women. In Tamluk, in Bengal, 73-year old Matangini Hazra, in Gohpur, in Assam, 13-year old Kanaklata Barua, in Patna, in Bihar, seven young students and hundreds of others were shot dead while taking part in processions. Some parts of the country such as Balia in U.P., Tamluk in Bengal, Satara in Maharashtra, Dharwar in Karnataka and Balasore and Talcher in Orissa, were free from the British rule and the people there formed their own governments. Revolutionary activities organized by Jai Prakash Narayan, Aruna Asaf Ali, S.M. Joshi, Ram Manohar Lohia and others continued almost throughout the period of the war.

The war years were a period of terrible suffering for the people of India. Besides the misery caused by the repression by British army and police, there was a terrible famine in Bengal in which about 30 lakh people died. The government showed little interest in providing relief to the starving people.
There is no doubt that “Quit India Movement”, united the Indian people against British rule. Although most of the demonstrations were suppressed by 1944. But after Gandhiji’s release in 1944 from the prison, he continued his protest and went on a 21-day fast. By the end of World War II, Britain’s position in the world had changed dramatically and the demand for independence could no longer be ignored.

Summary of Indian National Movement

Summary of Indian National Movement

The Indian National Movement was an organised mass movement concerned with the interests of the people of India and affected by both internal and external factors. It led to the formation of Indian National Congress in 1885 and several revolts broke out across the country. Formation of Muslim League in 1906, Swadeshi Movement 1905 etc. which spearheaded the freedom struggle in India from 1885 to 1947.

Summary of Indian National Movement

It has been observed that the struggles for Freedom in India had been a merger of a series of Political, Socio-Cultural and Economic factors that led to the rise of Nationalism.

  • On 28 December 1885 Indian National Congress (INC) was founded in the premises of Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit School at Bombay. It was presided over by W.C Banerjee and attended by 72 delegates. A.O Hume played an instrumental role in the foundation of INC with an aim to provide Safety Valve to the British Government.
  • A.O Hume served as a first General Secretary of INC.
  • Real Aim of Congress is to trained the Indian youth in political agitation and to organise or to create public opinion in the country. For this they use the method of annual session where they discuss the problem and passed the resolution.
  • The first or early phase of Indian Nationalism is also termed as Moderate Phase (1885-1905).Moderate leaders were W.C Banerjee, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, R.C Dutt, Ferozeshah Mehta, George Yule etc.
  • Moderates have full faith in British Government and adopted PPP path i.e. Protest, Prayer and Petition.
  • Due to disillusionment from Moderates methods of work, extremism began to develop within the congress after 1892. The Extremist leaders were Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipinchandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh. Instead of PPP path they emphasise on self-reliance, constructive work and swadeshi.
  • With the announcement of Partition of Bengal (1905) by Lord Curzon for administrative convenience, Swadeshi and Boycott resolution was passed in 1905.

Congress Sessions during Swadeshi Movement:

1. 1905 – Congress session in Banaras. Presided over by Gopal Krishan Gokhale.
2. 1906 – Congress Session in Calcutta. Presided over by Dadabhai Naroji.
3. 1907 – Congress Session in Surat on the bank of the river Tapti. Presided over by Pherozeshah Mehta where due to the differences between Moderates and Extremist first split in Congress occurred.

  • Muslim League was founded in 1906 by Agah Khan III and Moshin Mulk.
  • Separate electorate was introduced by the Act of 1909 Morley- Minto Reform Act.
  • Gadhar Movement was started by Lala Hardayal in 1913 and founded the Gadhar party on 1st November 1913 at Kotland. Its headquarter was set up in the form of Yugantar Ashram at San Francisco and started the publication of Gadhar Journal.
  • Komgata Maru incident took place on September 1914 and for this Indians set up a committee named as Shore Committee to fight the legal battle of the passengers.
  • In 1914 First World War broke out.
  • Tilak on April 1916 started Home Rule Movement and it’s headquarter was at Poona and demanded Swaraj.
  • Annie Besant on September 1916 started Home Rule movement and it’s headquarter was at Adiyar near Madras.
  • Lucknow Session of Congress 1916 presided over by Ambika Charan Majumdar (Moderate leader) where both Extremist and Moderate leaders were united.
  • Government of India Act 1919 or Montagu- Chelmsford Reform Act was passed to establish a responsible Government in India.
  • On 9th January 1915 Gandhi ji return to India from South Africa at the age of 46.
  • In 1916 Gandhi Ji founded Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmadabad (Gujarat) to preach the idea of truth and non-violence.
  • Champaran Satyagraha – 1917
  • Kheda Satyagraha – 1917
  • Ahmadabad Mill Strike – 1918
  • Rowlatt Act Satyagraha February,1919
  • Gandhi ji founded the Satyagraha Sabha in February, 1919. In this movement student, middle class, labour and capitalist participated and congress as an organisation was nowhere. This was the first mass movement of Gandhi ji.
  • Jallianwala Bagh Massacre – 13 April, 1919. People were gathered at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar to protest against arrest on Saifuddin Kitchlew and Satyapal on 13 April 1919.
  • On 1st August 1920 Khilafat Committee launched a Non-Cooperation movement on triple issues- Punjab wrongs, Khilafat issue and Demand for Swaraj.
  • ThereforeNon-Cooperation Movementwas started on 1920.
  • In October 1920 All India Trade Union Congress was founded in Bombay by N. M Joshi, Ray Chaudhary. Presided over by Lala Lajpat Ray
  • Akali Movement was started in 1920.
  • In 1925, SGPC (Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee) was founded.
  • Congress Khilafat Swaraj Party was formed by CR Das and Motilal Nehru. Also famous for the second split in the congress.
  • In 1927, Workers & Peasant Party (WPP) was formed at Bombay by S.S Mirajkar, K. N Juglekar and S.V Ghate.
  • In 1924, H.R.A (Hindustan Republican Association) was formed at Kanpur. Its members were CS Azad, Sachin Sanyal and Ramprasad Bismil.
  • In 1929, HSRA (Hindustan Socialist Republic Association) was formed at Firozeshah Kotla Delhi. Bhagat Singh joined HSRA.
  • On 9 Aug, 1925 Kakori Train Dacoit, in this conspiracy case Ram Prasad Bismil, Rajendra Lahiri, Roshan Lal and Asafaqullah khan were hanged to death. 
  • On 23rd March, 1931 Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged to death in Lahore Conspiracy Case.
  • On 8 November, 1927 Simon Commission was appointed by the British Conservative Government under Stanley Baldwin. To inquire in the working system of Government in the country after the reform act of 1919.
  • Nehru Report– 1928 for dominion status, universal adult franchise, etc.
  • Jinnah’s 14 point programme on 31st March, 1929.
  • 1929 Lahore Session of INC presided by Jawaharlal Nehru where the resolution of Purna Swaraj was passed by the congress and decided to launch a Civil Disobedience movement under the leadership of Gandhi ji.
  • On 26th January, 1930 Independence Day was celebrated for the 1st time.
  • Civil Disobedience Movement was started with the Dandi March. From 12 March to 6 April , 1930 Gandhi ji along with his 78 followers marched from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi and broke the salt law by making salt on 6th April 1930.
  • On 12 November, 1930 First Round Table Conference was held.
  • On 5th March, 1931 Gandhi Irwin Pact was signed.
  • On 23rd March, 1931 Trial of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.
  • On 29 March, 1931 Karachi Session of INC, presided over by Vallabh Bhai Patel. In this session first time a resolution of Fundamental Rights and Economic policy was passed.
  • On 7th September, 1931 Second Round Table Conference was held in which Gandhi ji participated on the behalf of congress.
  • On 16th August, 1932 Communal or Ramsay Macdonald Award was announced.
  • On 26th September, 1932 Poona pact was signed.
  • On November, 1932 Third Round Table Conference was held.
  • In 1935, Governmnet of India Act was passed to create All India Federation, Provincial Autonomy and Diarchy should be there in the centre.

       Towards Quit India Movement

       Important Congress Sessions:

            √ 1936 – Lucknow (UP) – Presided by J.L Nehru

           √ 1937 – Faizpur (Maharashtra) – Presided by J.L Nehru ( First session held in village)

           √ 1938 – Haripura (Gujarat) – Presided by S.C Bose

           √ 1939 – Tripuri (M.P) – Presided by S.C Bose

  • On September, 1939 IInd World War broke out and India was declared an ally without its consent.
  • In 1939 S.C Bose founded Forward Bloc. It was a left party.
  • On 10th August, 1940 – August Offer was announced by Lord Linlithgow viceroy to get the support of Indians in the Second World War.
  • On 11th March, 1942 Prime Minister Winstill Churchill announced for sending a mission under the chairmanship of Sir Stafford Cripps to find out the solution of constitutional deadlock and problems of Indians.
  • With the failure of Cripps Mission Quit India movement was started in 1942 by the Indian leaders and the resolution of Quit India was drafted by Gandhi Ji. Gandhi ji gave a call for Do or Die.
  • In 1942 – Indian National Army was founded by Captain Mohan Singh and Niranjan Gill at Singapore. S. C Bose took over its command of 2nd Headquarter at Singapore and Rangoon.
  • On 21st October, 1943 – Azad Hind Government was set up at Singapore under S.C Bose. There was a women regiment known as Rani Jhansi.
  • In 1945, Second World War was ended.
  • In 1945 – Shimla Conference or Wavell Plan was proposed by Lord Wavell to solve the political deadlock.
  • In 1946, Cabinet Mission Plan was announced by PM Clement Attlee.
  • On 2nd September, 1946 – Interim Government was set up under J.L Nehru.
  • On March, 1947 – Lord Mountbatten was send to India with an aim to find a way to transfer of power. Also known as Plan Balkan.
  • On 3rd June Independence of India Act 1947 was passed by which powers were transferred to two Dominion States India and Pakistan.

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