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Phrase. August 15, 2013, Word of the Day
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Definition

The Quit India Movement 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.

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 these leaders were to spend the rest of World War II in jail.

These and other punitive 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.

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. 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 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 his 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.

Usage

After passing the IIT exams many students join the new Quit India Movement and shift to Seattle or San Fransisco.
Added 2011-08-05 by porkipaya

Root

English

Region

All India

Related Terms

Lathi Charge
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