Quit India Movement: Importance, Causes, Quit India Movement 1942 UPSC Notes

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The Quit India Movement, also known as the August Movement or Bharat Chhodo Andolan, was a significant civil disobedience movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi on August 8, 1942, during India’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule. It was a major turning point in India’s freedom struggle and marked a shift from the earlier demand for gradual autonomy to a more aggressive call for complete independence. The Quit India Movement aimed to bring an end to British rule in India and establish an independent nation. It demanded an immediate withdrawal of British forces from India. The movement called for non-violent resistance and mass civil disobedience against British authorities.

The immediate cause of the launching of the Quit India Movement was the failure of the Cripps Mission. Through the article, we have covered all major aspects of the Quit India Movement that are relevant for the preparation of various competitive exams including UPSC.

What is the Quit India Movement?

The Quit India Movement was a political movement launched in India in 1942, calling for an end to British rule. It was led by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress and demanded immediate independence for India. The movement resulted in widespread civil disobedience movements and protests, which were met with harsh repression by the British authorities. Despite this, the Quit India Movement was a significant event in India’s struggle for independence.

The Prima facie reason for the movement’s launch was the failure of the Cripps Mission. Another reason that supported this was that Japan was at the doors of raging a war against India during the Second World War. Without prior consultation with the Indian leaders, the British officials involved India in the war. Gandhi believed that Japan would not have enough reason to invade India if the British left India. The Quit India Movement is considered a part of Mahatma Gandhi’s Civil Disobedience Movement.

Quit India Movement Important Points

  • The Quit India Movement was launched on August 8, 1942, by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress.
  • The movement was driven by the demand for immediate independence for India after supporting the British during World War II.
  • The British government responded harshly to the Quit India movement, arresting prominent leaders and suppressing the protests through force.
  • Despite this, there was increased international support for India’s cause and the Quit India Movement, laying the foundation for India’s eventual independence from British rule.

About Quit India Movement

The Quit India Movement was a watershed moment in the history of India that established the stage for future Indian politics. A few highlights are mentioned below.

Important Points Details
Quit India Movement Day 08 August is celebrated as Quit India Day.
End Date 1944
Quit India Movement Causes Cripps Mission Failure, WW 2, Anti-British Sentiment
Started in Which Place Mumbai’s Gowalia Tank Maidan, also called the August Kranti Maidan

When was Quit India Movement started?

The Quit India Movement was a non-violent political protest launched by the Indian National Congress and its leader Mahatma Gandhi. The movement was in response to the British government’s failure to grant India independence, even after World War II. The Quit India Movement date was August 8, 1942. Gandhi called for a mass civil disobedience campaign, including strikes, boycotts, and demonstrations, to pressure the British to leave India.

The British government responded to the Quit India Movement by arresting prominent political leaders and suppressing the protests. Despite this, the movement is considered a pivotal moment in India’s struggle for independence, as it demonstrated the strength of the Indian independence movement and even showcased the cause on a global stage.

Causes of Quit India Movement

The causes of the Quit India Movement were multifaceted and stemmed from a culmination of factors. The failure of the Cripps Mission, wartime grievances, repressive British policies, the influence of nationalist leaders, and deep-seated frustration with the British Raj all played crucial roles in galvanizing the Indian populace to demand immediate independence. These causes ignited a fire of discontent, leading to one of the most powerful mass movements in India’s history.

  • Failure of the Cripps Mission: The Cripps Mission, sent by the British government in 1942, proposed limited dominion status for India after the war, but it fell short of the Indian nationalists’ expectations for complete independence. This failure deepened the discontent and frustration among Indian leaders and the general population.
  • Wartime grievances: India’s participation in World War II led to economic hardships, food shortages, and inflation. The British government’s policies during the war exacerbated these issues, causing widespread resentment and anger among the Indian people.
  • Repressive British policies: The British colonial administration in India implemented repressive measures, such as the Defense of India Act and the Public Safety Act, which curtailed civil liberties and gave extensive powers to the government to suppress dissent. These policies fueled resentment and a desire for freedom among the Indian populace.
  • Influence of nationalist leaders: The nationalist leaders, particularly Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and other members of the Indian National Congress, had been advocating for independence and had built a strong nationalist movement in India. Their leadership and calls for freedom inspired and mobilized the masses to demand immediate independence.
  • Frustration with the British Raj: The Indian population had endured decades of British colonial rule, which was marked by economic exploitation, cultural suppression, and racial discrimination. The accumulation of grievances and a desire for self-rule fueled the demand for complete independence.

These factors, among others, converged to create a volatile situation in India, leading to the launching of the Quit India Movement in 1942.

Importance of Quit India Movement

The Quit India Movement holds immense historical significance as it marked a shift towards complete independence in India’s struggle against British colonial rule. It showcased mass mobilization and participation, highlighting the unity and resolve of the Indian people. The movement demonstrated the power of nonviolent resistance, weakened the legitimacy of British rule, and inspired future struggles for freedom. It garnered international attention and put pressure on the British government to address the demands of the Indian people.

Although it did not immediately lead to independence, the Quit India Movement played a pivotal role in creating an atmosphere of dissent, paving the way for India’s eventual freedom in 1947.

Quit India Movement 1942 Timeline

The Quit India Movement had three phases. These were:

  • First phase: Revolts in metropolitan, strikes, boycotts, and picketing (poles stuck in the ground to mark a line) were quickly silenced. Workers did not work in factories. Gandhiji got jailed at Aga Khan Palace along with all the leaders in Pune.
  • Second phase: The focus was more on the countryside, noticing a significant landowner revolt, destruction of railway stations, tracks, electrical poles, and wires, and attack on the building of the Government or any colonial authority.
  • Third phase: Formation of parallel and national governments in sheltered areas (Tamluk, Satara, Ballia, etc.)

Features of Quit India Movement

The Quit India Movement had had its own share of successes. There was a sense of unity among all the age groups of Indians. After World War II, it became more accessible for the country to get Independence from the British Government. Several famous leaders participated in the movement.

  • Rise of New Leaders: Some leaders, including J.P. Narayan, Sucheta Kriplani, Aruna Asaf Ali, Biju Patnaik, Ram Manohar Lohia, etc., initiated covert actions during the Quit India Movement. All these leaders, along with some more, appeared as renowned leaders of the Quit India Movement.
  • Women’s Participation: The Quit India Movement was highly dynamic as it also involved women’s participation. Usha Mehta, one of the recognized female leaders, launched a new set up of a radio station (underground) that helped spread the latest news about the movement.
  • Rise of Nationalism: The movement benefited from uniting the Indians and developing brotherhood among them. People stood together and fought their wars against the British Government. As a result, students didn’t attend schools and colleges, and employers abandoned their jobs.
  • Paved the way for Independence: The British refused to grant Independence to India, communicating that it could occur after World War II gets completed. British realized that India was impossible to govern for a longer duration because of the lack of funds after the war. Finally, the political interactions with the British became friendly and paved the path for the Independence of India.

Failure of the Quit India Movement

Though the Quit India Movement was successful in many aspects, failure was also seen. Many people lost their lives, areas were set on fire, and penalties got forced on those who tried to oppose the British.

  • The Quit India Movement observed violence at locations not planned. The British took violent actions against the people trying to stop the trend. Many people were lathi-charged and shot dead, villages were set on fire, and huge fines were charged to those who were against the Government.
  • The Quit India Movement could not get full support from Hindu Mahasabha, India’s Communist Party, the Indian bureaucracy, and the Muslim League.

Following were the reasons for each of the communities to go against the movement:

  • Hindu Mahasabha was against the Quit India Movement and officially boycotted it because they feared the movement would develop internal disputes and compromise on security amidst war.
  • The Communist Party always supported the British associated with the Soviet Union.
  • Muslim League were waiting for the country to get partitioned, which is why they did not want the British to leave India.

Being outside India, Subhas Chandra Bose led the Indian National Army. C Rajagopalachari and many other Congress chiefs stepped down from the regional legislature as they did not like the idea of Mahatma Gandhi.

Quit India Movement UPSC

The Quit India Movement is a frequently asked topic in the Civil Services Exam. Since it is a critical part of the Indian independence movement, candidates must prepare it well for both the UPSC Prelims and Mains exams. Here are a few important points about the Quit India Movement.

Quit India Movement UPSC Questions

Q1: The Quit India Movement was launched by Mahatma Gandhi in response to: (a) The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, (b) The failure of the Round Table Conferences, (c) The failure of the Cripps Mission, (d) The passing of the Rowlatt Act

Answer: c) The failure of the Cripps Mission

Q2: The Quit India Movement was launched in which year? – (a) 1930, (b) 1942, (c) 1947, (d) 1950

Answer: b) 1942

Q3: Which of the following statements about the Quit India Movement is true?

a) It advocated violent resistance against the British authorities.

b) It demanded limited autonomy for India.

c) It led to immediate independence for India.

d) It witnessed mass participation and civil disobedience.

Answer: d) It witnessed mass participation and civil disobedience.

Q4: The slogan “Do or Die” was associated with which movement? – (a) Non-Cooperation Movement, (b) Civil Disobedience Movement, (c) Quit India Movement, (d) Swadeshi Movement

Answer: c) Quit India Movement

Q5: Who among the following leaders played a crucial role in the Quit India Movement? – (a) Jawaharlal Nehru, (b) Subhas Chandra Bose, (c) Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, (d) All of the above

Answer: d) All of the above

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