1942 Quit India Movement

Date: 
08 Aug 1942
Event location: 

Gowalia Tank Maidan, Bombay, India

About: 

On 8 August 1942 at the All-India Congress Committee session in Bombay, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi launched the 'Quit India' movement. The next day, Gandhi, Nehru and many other leaders of the Indian National Congress were arrested by the British Government. Disorderly and non-violent demonstrations took place throughout the country in the following days.

By the middle of 1942, Japanese troops were approaching the borders of India. Pressure was mounting from China, the United States and  Britain to solve the issue of  the future status of India before the end of the war. In March 1942, the Prime Minister dispatched Sir Stafford Cripps, a member of the War Cabinet, to India to discuss the British Government's Draft Declaration. The draft granted India Dominion status after the war but otherwise conceded few changes to the British Government Act of 1935. The draft was unacceptable to the Congress Working Committee who rejected it. The failure of the Cripps Mission further estranged the Congress and the British Government.

Gandhi seized upon the failure of the Cripps Mission, the advances of the Japanese in South-East Asia and the general frustration with the British in India. He called for a voluntary British withdrawal from India. From 29 April to 1 May 1942, the All India Congress Committee assembled in Allahabad to discuss the resolution of the Working Committee. Although Gandhi was absent from the meeting, many of his points were admitted into the resolution: the most significant of them being the commitment to non-violence. On 14 July 1942, the Congress Working Committee met again at Wardha and resolved that it would authorise Gandhi to take charge of the non-violent mass movement. The Resolution, generally referred to as the 'Quit India' resolution, was to be approved by the All India Congress Committee meeting in Bombay in August.

On 7 to 8 August 1942, the All India Congress Committee met in Bombay and ratified the 'Quit India' resolution. Gandhi called for 'Do or Die'. The next day, on 9 August 1942, Gandhi, members of the Congress Working Committee and other Congress leaders were arrested by the British Government under the Defence of India Rules. The Working Committee, the All India Congress Committee and the four Provincial Congress Committees were declared unlawful associations under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908. The assembly of public meetings were prohibited under rule 56 of the Defence of India Rules. The arrest of Gandhi and the Congress leaders led to mass demonstrations  throughout India. Thousands were killed and injured in the wake of the 'Quit India' movement. Strikes were called in many places. The British swiftly suppressed many of these demonstrations by mass detentions; more than 100,000 people were imprisoned.

The 'Quit India' movement, more than anything, united the Indian people against British rule. Although most demonstrations had been suppressed by 1944, upon his release in 1944 Gandhi continued his resistance and went on a 21-day fast. By the end of the Second World War, Britain's place in the world had changed dramatically and the demand for independence could no longer be ignored.

Organizer: 

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

People involved: 

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Subhas Chandra Bose, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Asoka Mehta, Jaya Prakas Narayan,  Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Chakravarti Rajgopalachari.

Published works: 

Gandhi, Mahatma, Quit India, ed. by R. K. Prabhu and U. R. Rao (Bombay: Padma Publications, 1942)

Secondary works: 

Bakshi, Rakesh Ranjan, Quit India Movement in U. P.: Sabotage, Bomb, and Conspiracy Cases (Sitapur: NP Publishers, 1992) 

Bakshi, S. R., Congress and Quit India Movement (New Delhi: Criterion Publications, 1986)

Basavapunnaiah, M., Quit India Call and the Role of the Communists: A Reply to Arun Shourie (New Delhi: National Book Centre, 1984)

Bhaskaran, Krishna, Quit India Movement: A People's Revolt in Maharashtra (Mumbai: Himalaya Publishing House, 1999)

Bhuyan, Arun Chandra, The Quit India Movement: The Second World War and Indian Nationalism (New Delhi: Manas Publications, 1975)

Chakrabarty, Bidyut, Local Politics and Indian Nationalism: Midnapur, 1919-1944 (New Delhi: Manohar, 1997)

Chakravarty, Shachi, Quit India Movement: A Study (Delhi: New Century Publications, 2002)

Chaudhari, K. K., Quit India Revolution: The Ethos of Its Central Direction (Mumbai: Popular Prakashan, 1996)

Chopra, P. N., Historic Judgement On Quit India Movement: Justice Wickenden's Report (Delhi: Konark Publishers, 1989)

Chopra, P. N., Quit India Movement: British Secret Report (Faridabad: Thomson Press, 1976)

Congress Responisibility for the Disturbances, 1942-43 (Delhi: Manager of Publications, 1943)

Desai, Sanjiv P., Calendar of the 'Quit India' Movement in the Bombay Presidency (Bombay: Department of Archives, Government of Maharashtra, 1995)

Dwivedi, Surendranath, Untold Story of August Revolution (Delhi: Ajanta Publications, 1993)

Goyal, P. K., Battle of India's Freedom Movement (Delhi: Vista International Publishing House, 2005)

Hutchins, Francis G., India's Revolution: Gandhi and the Quit India Movement (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973)

Hutchins, Francis G., Spontaneous Revolution: The Quit India Movement (Delhi: Manohar Book Service, 1971)

Jana, Anil Kumar, Quit India Movement in Bengal: A Study of Contai Subdivision (Delhi: Indian Publishers' Distributors, 1996)

Kamath, Suryanath U., Quit India Movement in Karnataka (Bangalore: Lipi Prakashana, 1988)

Kamtekar, Indivar, What Caused the 'Quit India' Movement? (Calcutta: Indian Institute of Management, 1990)

Kumar, Ravindra, Champaran to Quit India Movement (New Delhi: Mittal, 2002)

Limaye, Madhu, The August Struggle: An Appraisal of Quit India Movement (Bombay: Sindhu Publications, 1993)

Limaye, Sirubhau, Nau Ogasta (Pune: Manasanmana Prakasana, 1996)

Maity, Pradyot Kumar, Quit India Movement in Bengal and the Tamralipta Jatiya Sarkar (Tumluk, Purba Medinipur: Purvadri Prakasani, 2002)

Malhotra, S. L., From Civil Disobedience to Quit India: Gandhi and the Freedom Movement in Punjab and Haryana, 1932-1942 (Chandigarh: Punjab University Publication Bureau, 1979)

Mathur, Y. B., Quit India Movement (Delhi: Pragati Publications, 1979)

Mehta, Chitra P., I Fought for My Country's Freedom: Being an Inspiring and Instructive Story of the Part Played by a Young Non-Violent Soldier in the Historic Indian Struggle for Freedom of 1942-44 (Bombay: Hamara Hindoostan Publications, 1946)

Naidu, C. M., Mahatma Gandhi's Leadership and Quit India Movement in Coastal India (Visakhapatnam: C. M. Naidu, 1996)

Nimbkar, Krishnabai, Pages from a Quit India Freedom Fighter's Diary (1944-45) (Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1996)

Pandey, Gyanendra, The Indian Nation in 1942 (Calcutta: Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta & K. P. Bagchi, 1988)

Panigrahi, D. N., Quit India and the Struggle for Freedom (New Delhi: Vikas, 1984)

Pati, Biswamoy, Turbulent Times, India, 1940-44 (Mumbai: Popular Prakashan, 1998)

Patil, V. T., Gandhi, Nehru and the Quit India Movement (Delhi: B. R. Pub. Corp., 1984)

Pattanayaka, Jagannatha, Landmarks of Quit India Movement in Orissa (Cuttack: Orissa State Freedom Fighters' Samity, 1992)

Ramu, P. S., Gandhi-Subhas and 'Quit India' (Delhi: S. S. Publishers, 1995)

Ramu, P. S., Prelude to 'Quit India': Home Rule to Satyagraha (Delhi: S. S. Publishers, 1996)

Rath, Bijay Chandra, Quit India Movement in Orissa (Cuttack: Arya Prakashan, 1994)

Roy, Pankaj Kumar, The Quit India Movement in Bihar: The Special Reference to the Old Division of Bhagalpur (Delhi: Capital Publishing House, 1991)

Sarkar, Kalyan Kumar, The 'Quit India' Movement in the District of Nadia (Calcutta: Barnali, 1988)

Sengupta, Syamalendu, and Gautam Chatterjee, Secret Congress Broadcasts and Storming Railway Tracks during Quit India Movement (New Delhi: Navrang, 1988) 

Sharma, Alka, History of Modern India: The Quit India Movement (Delhi: H. K. Publications, 1992)

Shourie, Arun, 'The Only Fatherland': Communists, 'Quit India', and the Sovjet Union (New Delhi: ASA Publications, 1991)

Shukla, Vivekananda, Rebellion of 1942: Quit India Movement (Delhi: H. K. Publishers and Dsitributors, 1989)

Thomas, Anthony, Mahatma Gandhi and the Communal Problem: From the Khalifat Movement to Quit India (New Delhi: Indian Social Institute, 1983)

The Transfer of Power, 1942-7 (London: H. M. S. O., 1971)

Venkataramani, M. S., Quit India: The American Reponse to the 1942 Struggle  (New Delhi: Vikas, 1979)

Wolpert, Stanley, Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India (New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Zaidi, A. M., Defying a Distant King: A Study of the Quit India Movement (New Delhi: Publications Department, Indian Institute of Applied Political Research, 1986)

Zaidi, A. M., The Way Out to Freedom: An Enquiry Into the Quit India Movement Conducted by Participants (New Delhi: Orientalia, 1973)