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India Nationalism: Gandhian Phase - Developments leading to Quit India Movement | 10th Social Science : History : Chapter 8 : Nationalism: Gandhian Phase

Chapter: 10th Social Science : History : Chapter 8 : Nationalism: Gandhian Phase

Developments leading to Quit India Movement

(a) Individual Satyagraha (b) Cripps Mission (c) "Do or Die" Call by Gandhi (d) Role of Socialists (e) People’s Response (f) Subhas Chandra Bose and INA

Developments leading to Quit India Movement


(a) Individual Satyagraha

In August 1940 Viceroy Linlithgow made an offer in return for Congress’ support for the war effort. Hence Gandhi declared limited satyagraha which would be offered by a few individuals. Vinobha Bhave was the first to offer satyagraha on 17 October 1940.

The satyagraha continued till the end of the year. During this period more than 25,000 people were arrested.


(b) Cripps Mission

On 22 March 1942, the British government sent a mission under Cabinet Minister Sir Strafford Cripps. The negotiations between the Cripps Mission and the Congress failed as Britain was not willing to transfer effective power immediately. The Cripps Mission offered:

1. Grant of Dominion Status after the War

2. Indian Princes could sign a separate agreement with the British implying the acceptance for the demand of Pakistan.

3. British control of defence during the War.

Both the Congress and the Muslim League rejected the proposal. Gandhi called the proposals as a post-dated cheque on a crashing bank.


(c) "Do or Die" Call by Gandhi

The outcome of the Cripps Mission caused considerable disappointment. Popular discontent was intensified by war time shortages and steep rise in prices. The All India Congress Committee that met at Bombay on 8 August 1942 passed the famous Quit India Resolution demanding an immediate end to British rule in India. Gandhi gave a call to do or die. Gandhi said, ‘We shall either free India or die in the attempt; we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery.” A non-violent mass struggle under Gandhi was to be launched. But early next morning on 9 August 1942 Gandhi and the entire Congress leadership was arrested.


(d) Role of Socialists

With Gandhi and other prominent leaders of the Congress in jail, the Socialists provided the leadership for the movement. Jayaprakash Narayan and Ramanand Misra escaped from prison and organised an underground movement. Women activists like Aruna Asaf Ali played a heroic role. Usha Mehta established Congress Radio underground which successfully functioned till November 1942.


(e) People’s Response

As news spread to different parts of India, a spontaneous protest broke out everywhere. The people protested in whatever form that they could, such as hartals, strikes, picketing. The government suppressed it with brute force. People attacked government buildings, railway stations, telephone and telegraph lines and all that stood as symbols of British authority. This was particularly widespread in Madras. Parallel governments were established in Satara, Orissa, Bihar, United Provinces and Bengal.


(f) Subhas Chandra Bose and INA

Subhas Chandra Bose who had left the Congress was now under house arrest. He wanted to strike British hard by joining its enemies. In March 1941, he made a dramatic escape from his house in disguise and reached Afghanistan. Initially he wanted to get the support of Soviet Union. After the Soviet Union joined the Allied Powers which included Great Britain, he went to Germany. In February 1943, he made his way to Japan on a submarine and took control of the Indian National Army. The Indian National Army Captain Lakshmi Sahgal headed it (Azad Hind Fauj) had earlier been organized by Gen. Mohan Singh with Indian prisoners of war with the support of Japanese in Malaya and Burma. Bose reorganised it into three brigades: Gandhi Brigade, Nehru Brigade and a women’s brigade named after Rani of Jhansi. Subhas Chandra Bose formed the Provisional Government of Free India in Singapore. He gave the slogan ‘Dilli Chalo’. INA was deployed as part of the Japanese forces. However, the defeat of Japan stopped the advance of INA. The airplane carrying Subhas Chandra Bose crashed bringing to an end his crusade for freedom.

The British government arrested the INA officers and put them on trial in the Red Fort. The trial became a platform for nationalist propaganda. The Congress set up a defence committee comprising Nehru, Tej Bahadur Sapru, Bhulabhai Desai and Asaf Ali. Though the INA officers were convicted they were released due to public pressure. The INA exploits and the subsequent trials inspired the Indians.

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