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What is the Civil Disobedience Movement?

Formed under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the Civil Disobedience Movement set a
milestone in the history of India's freedom struggle. The Civil Disobedience Movement was
formed in the year 1930 and is one of the most important phases in the Indian National
Movement. The main ideology behind the Civil Disobedience Movement was to defy the laws
made by the British.

Factors Leading to Civil Disobedience Movement

* The social and political circumstances contributed to the launch of the Civil Disobedience
Movement.
* One of the main factors was the Simon Commission. This commission was formed by the
British Government. It included only the British Parliament members and came into effect in
November 1927 to chalk out a constitution for the country. Sir John Simon was the chairman.
* However, political parties and social organizations nationwide accused the commission as an
'All-White Commission', and was rejected by them. This was followed by a strike in Bengal on
February 3rd, 1928. Simon's arrival in the Calcutta was meted with demonstrations.
* All-Party Conference was formed in May 1928 in Bombay for further boycotts. The president
of the conference was Dr MA Ansari and Motilal Nehru was shouldered the responsibility of the
drafting committee and prepare the constitution for India.
* The British government was pressurized by the Indian National Congress to accept the Nehru
Report as it is. The Calcutta Session of the INC held in 1928 warned the British government that
it would start a Civil Disobedience Movement of India was not granted the dominion status.
* Governor General Lord Irwin declared that the whole purpose of the constitutional reforms
was to grant dominion status to India. To this, Gandhi and other national leaders requested for a
more liberal attitude in the solving of the crisis prevailing in the constitution as well as release the
political prisoners. They also suggested a Round Table Conference.
* When all their efforts went futile, the Congress launched the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Civil Disobedience Movement Facts

12th March 1930 is remembered as one of the important days in Indian history as the Civil
Disobedience Movement was launched on that day. The launch triggered off with a Dandi Salt
March where the British Salt were broken. The march started from Sabarmati Ashram and ended
at Dandi. This was followed by a lot of agitation all over the country. This angered the British
government which resulted in the imprisonment of Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi.

On March 1930, Gandhi signed the Gandhi-Irwin Pact with the then Viceroy Lord Irwin. The 2
important clauses of the pact were:

* Participation of Congress in the Round Table Conference


* Calling off the Civil Disobedience Movement

Civil Disobedience Movement - Renewal

* The Second Round Table Conference held in London was attended by Gandhi and Smt.
Sarojini Naidu. Here Gandhi's claim that 85% of the Indian population was Congress supporting
was not endorsed.
* Viceroy Lord Willingdon in Gandhi's absence adopted the repression policy violating . the
Gandhi-Irwin Pact. With this serious economic crisis took over the country. This sowed the seeds
of the Civil Disobedience Movement again.
* The decision to restart the Civil Disobedience Movement in Indian came from the Congress
Working Committee and it was launched on January 1932. The British Government promulgated
4 ordinances to deal with the prevailing situation.
* Police could arrest any one based on mere suspicion. Sardar Patel and Gandhi were arrested
along with the supporters of Congress. The movement went on for six months.
* Gandhi went on for a 21 days fast on 8th May 1933 in order to make amends for behavior
meted out by the caste Hindus to the untouchables. After a period of suspension, the Civil
Disobedience Movement finally came to an end on 7th April 1934.

The Civil Disobedience Movement led by M K Gandhi, in the year 1930 was an important
milestone in the history of Indian Nationalism. There are three distinct phases that mark the
development of Indian Nationalism. In the first phase, the ideology of the moderates dominated
the political scenario. This was followed by the prominence of the extremist ideologies. In the third
phase of Indian Nationalism the most significant incident was the rise of MK Gandhi, popularly
known as Mahatma Gandhi, to power as the leader of Indian National Movements. Under his
spirited guidance, the National Movements of the country took shape.

The Indians learnt how apparently philosophical tenets like non violence and passive resistance,
could be used to wage political battles. The programs and policies adopted in the movements
spearheaded by Gandhi reflected his political ideologies of ahimsa and satyagraha. While the
Non-Co-Operation Movement was built on the lines of non violent non co operation, the essence
of The Civil Disobedience Movement was defying of the British laws. Through his leadership to
the National Movements, he not only buttressed his political stance but also played a crucial role
in unification of the country, awakening of the masses, and bringing politics within the arena of
the common man.

Factors Leading to the Civil Disobedience Movement


The prevalent political and social circumstances played a vital role in the launching of the Civil
Disobedience Movement. The Simon Commission was formed by the British Government that
included solely the members of the British Parliament, in November 1927, to draft and formalize a
constitution for India. The chairmanship of the commission rested with Sir John Simon, who was
a well known lawyer and an English statesman. Accused of being an 'All-White Commission', the
Simon Commission was rejected by all political and social segments of the country. In Bengal, the
opposition to the Simon Commission assumed a massive scale, with a hartal being observed in
all corners of the province on February 3rd, 1928. On the occasion of Simon's arrival in the city,
demonstrations were conducted in Calcutta. In the wake of the boycott of the recommendations
proposed by Simon Commission, an All-Party Conference was organized in Bombay in May of
1928. Dr MA Ansari was the president of the conference. Motilal Nehru was given the
responsibility to preside over the drafting committee, appointed at the conference to prepare a
constitution for India.

Barring the Indian Muslims, The Nehru Report was endorsed by all segments of the Indian
society. The Indian National Congress pressurized the British government to accept all the parts
the Nehru Report, in December 1928. At the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress
held in December, 1928, the British government was warned that if India was not granted the
status of a dominion, a Civil Disobedience Movement would be initiated in the entire country. Lord
Irwin, the Governor General, after a few months, declared that the final objective of the
constitutional reforms was to grant the status of a dominion to India. Following this declaration,
Gandhi along with other national leaders requested the Governor General to adopt a more liberal
attitude in solving the constitutional crisis. A demand was made for the release of the political
prisoners and for holding the suggested Round Table Conference for reflecting on the problems
regarding the constitution of the country.

None of the efforts made by the Congress received any favorable response from the British
government. The patience of the Indian masses were wearing out. The political intelligentsia of
the country was sure that the technique of persuasion would not be effective with the British
government. The Congress had no other recourse but to launch the Civil Disobedience
Movement. In Bardoli, the peasants had already taken to satyagraha under the guidance of
Sardar Patel in the year 1928. Their non tax agitations were partially successful. The Congress
took the decision to use the non violent weapon of satyagraha on a nation wide scale against the
government.

The Launch of the Civil Disobedience Movement


MK Gandhi was urged by the Congress to render his much needed leadership to the Civil
Disobedience Movement. On the historic day of 12th March 1930, Gandhi inaugurated The Civil
Disobedience Movement by conducting the historic Dandi Salt March, where he broke the Salt
Laws imposed by the British Government. Followed by an entourage of seventy nine ashramites,
Gandhi embarked on his march from his Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi that is located on the shores
of the Arabian Sea. On 6th April 1930, Gandhi with the accompaniment of seventy nine
satyagrahis, violated the Salt Law by picking up a fistful of salt lying on the sea shore. They
manually made salt on the shores of Dandi.

Dandi Salt March had an immense impact on the entire nation. Each and every corner of the
country was gripped in a unique fervor of nationalism. Soon this act of violation of the Salt Laws
assumed an all India character. The entire nation amalgamated under the call of a single man,
Mahatma Gandhi. There were reports of satyagrahas and instances of law violation from
Bombay, Central and United Provinces, Bengal and Gujarat. The program of the Civil
Disobedience Movement incorporated besides the breaking of the Salt Laws, picketing of shops
selling foreign goods and liquor, bonfire of cloth, refusal to pay taxes and avoidance of offices by
the public officers and schools by the students. Even the women joined forces against the British.
Those from orthodox families did not hesitate to respond to the call of the Mahatma. They took
active part in the picketing exercises. Perturbed by the growing popularity of the movement, the
British government imprisoned Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, in a bid to thwart it. Thus,
the second struggle for attaining Swaraj launched by the Congress, under the able guidance of
Mahatma, served the critical function of mobilizing the masses on a large scale against the
British.

Garndhi-Irwin Pact
In the March of 1930, Gandhi met with the Viceroy, Lord Irwin and signed an agreement known
as the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. The two main clauses of the pact entailed; Congress participation in the
Round Table Conference and cessation of The Civil Disobedience Movement. The Government
of India released all satyagrahis from prison.

Renewal of the Civil Disobedience Movement


Gandhi attended The Second Round Table Conference in London accompanied by Smt. Sarojini
Naidu. At this Conference, it was claimed by Mahatma Gandhi that the Congress represented
more than eighty five percent of the Indian population. Gandhi's claim was not endorsed by the
British and also the Muslim representative. The Second Round Table Conference proved to be
futile for the Indians and Gandhi returned to the country without any positive result. The political
scene in India thereafter assumed an acute dimension. The Viceroy, Lord Willingdon, in the
absence of Gandhi, adopted the policy of repression. The Gandhi-Irwin Pact was violated and the
Viceroy took to the suppression of the Congress. The Conservative party, which was in power in
England, complied with the decision to assume a repressive stance against the Congress and the
Indians. The Congress was held responsible by the government to have instigated the 'Red
Shirts' to participate in The Civil Disobedience Movement, led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar and
provoking the cultivators of U.P to refuse to pay land revenue. Adding to this was the serious
economic crisis that took hold of the country. Under such circumstances, the resumption of The
Civil Disobedience Movement was inevitable.

The Congress Working Committee took the decision to restart The Civil Disobedience Movement,
as the British government was not prepared to relent. Gandhi resumed the movement in January
1932 and appealed to the entire nation to join in. The Viceroy was also informed of the stance
assumed by the Congress. Four ordinances were promulgated by the government to deal with
the situation. The police was given the power to arrest any person, even on the basis of mere
suspicion. Sardar Patel, the President of Congress and Gandhi were arrested, along with other
Congressmen. The second phase of The Civil Disobedience Movement lacked the organization
that marked its first phase. Nonetheless the entire nation put up a tough fight and the movement
continued for six months. Gandhi commenced his twenty one days of fast on May 8th, 1933, to
make amends for the sins committed against the untouchables by the caste Hindus. The Civil
Disobedience Movement was suspended, when Mahatma Gandi withdrew mass satyagraha on
July 14th 1933. The movement ceased completely on April 7th 1934.

Although The Civil Disobedience Movement failed to achieve any positive outcome, it was an
important juncture in the history of Indian independence. The leadership of Mahatma Gandhi had
a beneficial impact. The warring factions within the Congress united under the aegis of The Civil
Disobedience Movement, led by Mahatma Gandhi. Satyagraha was put on a firm footing through
its large scale usage in the movement. Last but not the least India rediscovered its inherent
strength and confidence to crusade against the British for its freedom.

Gandhi's Contribution to India


The person who will head the list of people for their contribution to India it will be none other than
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Not just because he is the Father of the Nation but his immense
contribution to the country not just in terms of struggle for freedom but his ideologies and
thoughts which changed the map of our country. When he took the charge of Indian National
Congress it was a turning point in its history due to his enormous following, his spiritual powers
and his non-violent means of fighting. Gandhi introduced the concept of Satyagraha. Which
appealed to the common masses who were largely pious and religious. Gandhi adhered to a
strictly non-violent protest. No matter what happened he never diverted from his ideologies and
every time he was successful. Gandhiji always followed the path of non-violence or Ahimsa. His
tactic of passive resistance or Satyagraha was his weapon to fight against the British rule. Swaraj
for Gandhi meant self-rule, as much a moral and personal ethic, the self-rule of an individual over
his own impulses and weaknesses, as the political objective of a people struggling rightfully to be
free - an ambiguity which Gandhi was repeatedly to exploit during his Non-cooperation and Civil
Disobedience Movements.

Gandhiji and his ideologies were quite successful among the common masses. He planned to win
leadership of those organizations, which fitted his grand purpose, the achievement of Swaraj.
Gandhiji made very valuable contribution, firstly, to frame the secular agenda within the
parameters of the Indian cultural tradition, and subscribed to the dictum of Sarva dharma
sambhava i.e. equal respect for all religions. Secondly, he gave an indigenous content to the
concept of nationhood, arguing that it was the common heritage of a highly pluralistic,
multicultural civilisation, which provided the necessary clue to hold the Indian people together, as
against the Western concept of 'nations' being one race, one religion and one language. He
always believed in the idea of 'unity' in diversity. All his life he battled against the cult of violence
and war; against cruelty of man to man; against industrialism and domination of man by machine;
inequality and discrimination. His fight to give equal rights to each and every person of the society
irrespective of which strata they belong made him immortal among us. He tried to attained
moksha by service to mankind. Gandhiji portrays a multi-faceted moral and spiritual messiah. His
tireless endeavor to make people understand the basic happiness of life is to be happy with
whatever you have, thus showing the only way to save the world.
Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle
One of the greatest men in the history of India is unarguably Mahatma Gandhi. The way he gave
shape and character to India's freedom struggle is worthy of a standing ovation. He sacrificed his
own life for the sake of his country. The respect that he earned for himself despite leading a
simple lifestyle is much appreciable. Mahatma Gandhi played a pivotal role in the freedom
struggle of India. His non violent ways and peaceful methods were the foundation for gaining
independence from the British. Read about Mahatma Gandhi's role in freedom struggle of India.

Mahatma Gandhi was born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 2nd October at Porbandar located
in Gujarat. He went off to South Africa after marriage and worked as barrister there for twenty
years. In South Africa, he had his first brush with apartheid. Once while he was traveling in a
train, he was thrown out of the first class compartment despite having a ticket. This made him
swear that he would do his best to erase apartheid from the face of his world. He went back to
India only to find that his own country was being ruled by the British and his fellow citizens were
being treated harshly by the British.

Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle Like other great men in history, Gandhi took his
time to grow and develop his techniques to ensure that his actions made an impact. His faith in
different religions was commendable. His listened to the teachings of Christianity with the same
belief and faith he read the Hindu scriptures with. He was brutally honest and truthful and this
helped him throughout his life. Some of the major movements and freedom struggles led by him
are discussed below.

Non Co-operation Movement


One of the first series of non violent protests nationwide was the non cooperation movement
started by Mahatma Gandhi. This movement officially started the Gandhian era in India. In this
freedom struggle, the non cooperation movement was basically aimed at making the Indians
aware of the fact that the British government can be opposed and if done actively, it will keep a
check on them. Thus, educational institutions were boycotted, foreign goods were boycotted, and
people let go off their nominated seats in government institutions. Though the movement failed,
Indians awakened to the concept of going against the British.

Civil Disobedience Movement


Gandhi again took off with another non violent movement known as the civil disobedience
movement. This movement was more active than the non cooperation movement and brought
about a revolution of sorts. This movement aimed at bringing the British administration to a stop
by withdrawing support from everything. There was agitation against land revenue, abolition of
salt tax, cutting down military expenditure, levying duty on foreign cloth, etc. A very important
movement was that of Salt Satyagraha where Gandhi undertook the Dandi march as a protest
against the Salt tax.

Quit India Movement


The Quit India Movement was launched under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi in August
1942. The main aim for launching this movement was to bring the British to negotiate with the
Indian leaders. It was a call for immediate independence of India and the slogan of "Do or Die"
was adopted for the same. However the leaders were arrested soon after Gandhi's speech and
were put in jail by British officials. Gandhi went on a fast for 21 days demanding the release of the
leaders despite his failing health. The British had to secure the release of the leaders.

India Independence
After the Quit India Movement the freedom struggle got even more intense and passionate. Entire
India was united together in the movement for freedom. Everyone contributed what they could in
the freedom struggle. The cry of Purna Swaraj or complete independence was raised. After much
sacrifices and efforts, India gained its independence on the 15th August, 1947.

Factors Contributing to the Launch of Quit India Movement


In 1939, with the outbreak of war between Germany and Britain, India was announced to be a
party to the war for being a constituent component of the British Empire. Following this
declaration, the Congress Working Committee at its meeting on 10th October, 1939, passed a
resolution condemning the aggressive activities of the Germans. At the same time the resolution
also stated that India could not associate herself with war as it was against Fascism. There was
hardly any difference between British colonialism and Nazi totalitarianism. Responding to this
declaration, the Viceroy issued a statement on October 17th wherein he claimed that Britain is
waging a war driven by the motif to strengthen peace in the world. He also stated that after the
war, the government would initiate modifications in the Act of 1935, in accordance to the desires
of the Indians.

Gandhi's reaction to this statement was; "the old policy of divide and rule is to continue. The
Congress has asked for bread and it has got stone." According to the instructions issued by High
Command, the Congress ministers were directed to resign immediately. Congress ministers from
eight provinces resigned following the instructions. The resignation of the ministers was an
occasion of great joy and rejoicing for leader of the Muslim League, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He
called the day of 22nd December, 1939 'The Day of Deliverance'. Gandhi urged Jinnah against
the celebration of this day, however, it was futile. At the Muslim League Lahore Session held in
March 1940, Jinnah declared in his presidential address that the Muslims of the country wanted a
separate homeland, Pakistan.

In the meanwhile, crucial political events took place in England. Chamberlain was succeeded by
Churchill as the Prime Minister and the Conservatives, who assumed power in England, did not
have a sympathetic stance towards the claims made by the Indians. In order to pacify the Indians
in the circumstance of worsening war situation, the Conservatives were forced to concede some
of the demands made by the Indians. On August 8th, the Viceroy issued a statement that has
come to be referred as the "August Offer". However, the Congress rejected the offer followed by
the Muslim League.

In the context of widespread dissatisfaction that prevailed over the rejection of the demands
made by the Congress, Gandhi at the meeting of the Congress Working Committee in Wardha
revealed his plan to launch Individual Civil Disobedience. Once again, the weapon of satyagraha
found popular acceptance as the best means to wage a crusade against the British. It was widely
used as a mark of protest against the unwavering stance assumed by the British. Vinoba Bhave,
a follower of Gandhi, was selected by him to initiate the movement. Anti war speeches ricocheted
in all corners of the country, with the satyagrahis earnestly appealing to the people of the nation
not to support the Government in its war endeavors. The consequence of this satyagrahi
campaign was the arrest of almost fourteen thousand satyagrahis. On 3rd December, 1941, the
Viceroy ordered the acquittal of all the satyagrahis. In Europe the war situation became more
critical with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the Congress realized the necessity for
appraising their program. Subsequently, the movement was withdrawn.

The Cripps' Mission and its failure also played an important role in Gandhi's call for The Quit India
Movement. In order to end the deadlock, the British government on 22nd March, 1942, sent Sir
Stafford Cripps to talk terms with the Indian political parties and secure their support in Britain's
war efforts. A Draft Declaration of the British Government was presented, which included terms
like establishment of Dominion, establishment of a Constituent Assembly and right of the
Provinces to make separate constitutions. These would be, however, granted after the cessation
of the Second World War. According to the Congress this Declaration only offered India a
promise that was to be fulfilled in the future. Commenting on this Gandhi said; "It is a post dated
cheque on a crashing bank." Other factors that contributed were the threat of Japanese invasion
of India, rule of terror in East Bengal and realization of the national leaders of the incapacity of the
British to defend their India.

Quit India Movement


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The Quit India Movement (Bharat Chhodo Andolan or the August Movement (August Kranti)) was
a civil disobedience movement launched in India in August 1942 in response to Mohandas
Gandhi's call for immediate independence. Gandhi hoped to bring the British government to the
negotiating table.[1] Almost the entire Indian National Congress leadership, and not just at the
national level, was put into confinement less than twenty-four hours after Gandhi's speech, and
the greater number of the Congress leaders were to spend the rest of World War II in jail.

World War II and Indian involvement

By 1942, Indians were divided over World War II, as the British Governor-General of India, Lord
Linlithgow, had unilaterally and without consultation brought India into the war. Some wanted to
support the British during the Battle of Britain, hoping for eventual independence through this
support. Others were enraged by the British disregard for Indian intelligence and civil rights, and
were unsympathetic to the travails of Britons in the United Kingdom.
[edit] Opinions on the War
Public lecture at Basavanagudi, Bangalore with Late C.F.Andrews*

At the outbreak of war, the Congress Party had during the Wardha meeting of the working-
committee in September 1939, passed a resolution conditionally supporting the fight against
fascism[2], but were rebuffed when they asked for independence in return. Gandhi had not
supported this initiative, as he could not reconcile an endorsement for war (he was a committed
believer in non-violent resistance to tyranny, used in the Indian Independence Movement and
proposed even against Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Hideki Tojo). However, at the height of
the Battle of Britain, Gandhi had stated his support for the fight against fascism and of the British
War effort, stating he did not seek to raise a free India from the ashes of Britain. However,
opinions remained divided.

After the onset of the war, only a group led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose took any decisive
action. Bose organized the Indian National Army with the help of the Japanese, and, soliciting
help from the Axis Powers.

[edit] Cripps' Mission

In March 1942, faced with an increasingly dissatisfied sub-continent only reluctantly participating
in the war, and deterioration in the war situation in Europe and South East Asia, and with growing
dissatisfaction among Indian troops- especially in Europe- and among the civilian population in
the sub-continent, the British government sent a delegation to India under Stafford Cripps, in what
came to be known as the Cripps' Mission. The purpose of the mission was to negotiate with the
Indian National Congress a deal to obtain total co-operation during the war, in return of
progressive devolution and distribution of power from the crown and the Viceroy to elected Indian
legislature. However, the talks failed, having failed to address the key demand of a timeframe
towards self-government, and of definition of the powers to be relinquished, essentially portraying
an offer of limited dominion-status that was wholly unacceptable to the Indian movement.[3]
[edit] Resolution for immediate independence

On July 14, 1942, the Indian National Congress passed a resolution demanding complete
independence from the British government. The draft proposed that if the British did not accede to
the demands, massive civil disobedience would be launched.

However, it proved to be controversial within the party. A prominent Congress national leader
Chakravarti Rajgopalachari quit the Congress over this decision, and so did some local and
regional level organizers. Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Azad were apprehensive and critical of
the call, but backed it and stuck with Gandhi's leadership till the end. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
and Dr. Rajendra Prasad were openly and enthusiastically in favor of such a disobedience
movement, as were many veteran Gandhians and socialists like Asoka Mehta and Jaya Prakash
Narayan.

The Congress had lesser success in rallying other political forces under a single flag and mast.
Smaller parties like the Communist Party of India and the Hindu Mahasabha opposed the call.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah's opposition to the call led to large numbers of Muslims cooperating with
the British, and the Muslim League obtaining power in the Imperial provincial governments.

Allama Mashriqi (head of the Khaksar Tehrik) was called to join the Quit India Movement.
Mashriqi was apprehensive of its outcome and did not agree with the Congress Working
Committee’s resolution and on July 28, 1942, Allama Mashriqi sent the following telegram to
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Mahatma Gandhi, Rajagopalachariar,
Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad and Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramiyya. He also sent a copy to
Sambamurty (former Speaker of the Madras Assembly). The telegram was published in the
press, and it stated:

“I am in receipt of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s letter of July 8th. My honest opinion is that Civil
Disobedience Movement is a little pre-mature. The Congress should first concede openheartedly
and with handshake to Muslim League the theoretical Pakistan, and thereafter all parties unitedly
make demand of Quit India. If the British refuse, start total disobedience...”[4]

On August 8, 1942 the Quit India Resolution was passed at the Bombay session of the All India
Congress Committee (AICC). At Gowalia Tank, Bombay, Gandhi told Indians to follow non-violent
civil disobedience. He told the masses to act as an independent nation. His call found support
among a large number of Indians.
[edit] Suppression of the movement
Picketing in front of Medical School at Bangalore

The British, already alarmed by the advance of the Japanese army to the India/Burma border,
responded the next day by imprisoning Gandhi at the Aga Khan Palace in Pune. All the members
of the Party's Working Committee (national leadership) were arrested and imprisoned at the
Ahmednagar Fort. Due to the arrest of major leaders, a young and till then relatively unknown
Aruna Asaf Ali presided over the AICC session on August 9 and hoisted the flag. Later, the
Congress party was banned. These actions only created sympathy for the cause among the
population. Despite lack of direct leadership, large scale protests and demonstrations were held
all over the country. Workers remained absent en masse and strikes were called. However, not
all demonstrations were peaceful. At some places bombs exploded, government buildings were
set on fire, electricity was cut, and transport and communication lines were severed.
A minor uprising took place in Ballia Ballia, now the easternmost district of Uttar Pradesh. People
overthrew the district administration, broke open the jail, released the arrested Congress leaders,
and established their own independent rule. It took weeks before the British could reestablish
their writ in the district.

The British swiftly responded with mass detentions. Over 100,000 arrests were made nationwide,
mass fines were levied, and demonstrators were subjected to public flogging.[5] Hundreds of
resisters and innocent people were killed in police and army shootings. Nevertheless, many
national leaders went underground and continued their struggle by broadcasting messages over
clandestine radio stations, distributing pamphlets, and establishing parallel governments. The
British sense of crisis was strong enough that a battleship was specifically set aside to take
Gandhi and the Congress leaders out of India, possibly to South Africa or Yemen, but ultimately
did not take that step out of fear of intensifying the revolt.[6]

The entire Congress leadership was cut off from the rest of the world for over three years.
Gandhi's wife Kasturbai Gandhi and his personal secretary Mahadev Desai died in months, and
Gandhi's own health was failing. Despite this, Gandhi went on a 21-day fast and maintained a
superhuman resolve to continuous resistance. Although the British released Gandhi on account
of his failing health in 1944, Gandhi kept up the resistance, demanding the complete release of
the Congress leadership.

By early 1944, India was mostly peaceful again, while the entire Congress leadership was
incarcerated. A sense that the movement had failed depressed many nationalists, while Jinnah
and the Muslim League, as well as Congress opponents like the Communists sought to gain
political mileage, criticizing Gandhi and the Congress Party.
[edit] Contributions towards Indian independence

The successes and failures of the Movement are debated. Some historians claim it failed.[7] By
March 1943, the movement had petered out.[8] Even the Congress, at the time saw it as failure.
[9] Analysis of the campaign obtained by Military Intelligence in 1943 came to the conclusion that
it had failed in the aim of paralysing the government. It did however cause enough trouble and
panic among the War administration for General Lockhart to describe India as an "Occupied and
hostile country."[10] However, much as it might have disconcerted the Raj, the movement may be
deemed to have ultimately failed to bring the Raj to its knees and the negotiating table for
immediate transfer of power, as it aimed to. It came to all but a close within five months of its
inception, and was nowhere near its grandiose aim of toppling the Raj. The primary underlying
reason, it seems, was the loyalty of the army, even where the local and native police came out in
sympathy.[11] This certainly, was also the view of the British Prime Minister at the time of transfer
of power, Clement Attlee. Attlee deemed the contribution of Quit India as minimal, ascribing
stupendous importance to the revolts and growing dissatisfaction among Royal Indian Armed
Forces during and after the war as the driving force behind Britain's decision to leave India.[12]
[13]

Some Indian historians, however, argue that, in fact, the movement had succeeded [citation
needed]. In support of the latter view, without doubt, the war had sapped a lot of the economic,
political and military life-blood of the Empire. Also, although at the national level the ability to
galvanize rebellion was limited, the movement is notable for regional success especially at
Satara, Talcher, and Midnapore.[14] In Tamluk and Contai subdivisions of Midnapore, the local
populace were successful in establishing parallel governments, which continued to function, until
Gandhi personally requested the leaders to disband in 1944.[14] At the time, from intelligence
reports, the Azad Hind Government under Netaji Subhash Bose in Berlin deemed these an early
indication of success of their strategy of fomenting public rebellion.[15]

It is certain is that a population of millions had been motivated as it never had before to claim
independence as a non-negotiable goal, and every act of defiance and rebellion only reinforced
the nationalist sentiment. In addition, the British people and the British Army seemed unwilling to
back a policy of repression in India and other parts of the Empire even as their own country lay
shattered by the war's ravages.[citation needed] The INA trials in 1945, the resulting militant
movements, and the Bombay mutiny had already shaken the confidence of British rule in India.
[16] By early 1946, all political prisoners had been released and Britain adopted a political
dialogue with the Indian National Congress for the eventual transfer of power. On August 15,
1947, this transfer was complete, and the states of India and Pakistan came into being.

A young, new generation responded to Gandhi's call. Indians who lived through Quit India came
to form the first generation of independent Indians-whose trials and tribulations may be accepted
to have sown the seeds of establishment of the strongest enduring tradition of democracy and
freedom in post-colonial Africa and Asia- which, when seen in the light of the torrid times of
Partition of India, can be termed one of the greatest examples of prudence of humanity.