The Quit India Movement or the August Movement (August Kranti) was a civil disobedience movement launched in India on 9th August 1942 in response to Mohandas Gandhi's call for 'Satyagraha' (independence). The All-India Congress Committee proclaimed a mass protest demanding what Gandhi called "an orderly British withdrawal" from India. The call for determined, but passive resistance appears in his call to Do or Die, issued on 8 August at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai on year 1942.
The British were prepared to act. Almost the entire INC leadership, and not just at the national level, was imprisoned without trial within hours after Gandhi's speech—at least 60,000 people. Most spent the rest of the war in prison and out of contact with the masses. The British had the support of the Viceroy's Council (which had a majority of Indians), of the Muslims, the Communist Party, the princely states, the Imperial and state police, the Indian Army, and the Indian Civil Service. Many Indian businessmen were profiting from heavy wartime spending and did not support Quit India. Many students paid more attention to Subhas Chandra Bose, who was in exile and supporting the Axis. The only outside support came from the Americans, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressured Prime Minister Winston Churchill to give in to Indian demands. The Quit India campaign was effectively crushed.
The British refused to grant immediate independence, saying it could happen only after the war ended.
Procession view at Bangalore
Sporadic small-scale violence took place around the country but the British arrested tens of thousands of leaders, keeping them imprisoned until 1945, and suppressed civil rights, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. In terms of immediate objectives Quit India failed because of heavy-handed suppression, weak coordination and the lack of a clear-cut programme of action. However, the British government realized that India was ungovernable in the long run, and the question for postwar became how to exit gracefully and peacefully.
भारत छोड़ो आन्दोलन विश्वविख्यात काकोरी काण्ड के ठीक सत्रह साल बाद भारतीय स्वतंत्रता संग्राम के दौरान ९ अगस्त सन १९४२ को गांधीजी के आह्वान पर समूचे देश में एक साथ आरम्भ हुआ। यह भारत को तुरन्त आजाद करने के लिये अंग्रेजी शासन के विरुद्ध एक सविनय अवज्ञा आन्दोलन था। क्रिप्स मिशन की विफ़लता के बाद महात्मा गाँधी ने ब्रिटिश शासन के खिलाफ़ अपना तीसरा बड़ा आंदोलन छेड़ने का फ़ैसला लिया। अगस्त 1942 में शुरू हुए इस आंदोलन को 'अंग्रेजों भारत छोड़ो' का नाम दिया गया था। हालांकि गाँधी जी को फ़ौरन गिरफ़्तार कर लिया गया था लेकिन देश भर के युवा कार्यकर्ता हड़तालों और तोड़फ़ोड़ की कार्रवाइयों के जरिए आंदोलन चलाते रहे। कांग्रेस में जयप्रकाश नारायण जैसे समाजवादी सदस्य भूमिगत प्रतिरोधि गतिविधियों में सबसे ज्यादा सक्रिय थे। पश्चिम में सतारा और पूर्व में मेदिनीपुर जैसे कई जिलों में स्वतंत्र सरकार, प्रतिसरकार की स्थापना कर दी गई थी। अंग्रेजों ने आंदोलन के प्रति काफ़ी सख्त रवैया अपनाया फ़िर भी इस विद्रोह को दबाने में सरकार को साल भर से ज्यादा समय लग गया।
On July 14th 1942, the Congress Working Committee approved the resolution which declared "the immediate ending of the British rule in India is an urgent necessity both for the sake of India and for the success of the cause of United Nations." And it declared that free India "will assure the success by throwing his great resources in the struggle for freedom and against the aggression of Nazism, Facism and imperialism".
In March 1942, British Government sent Sir Stafford Cripps to India with proposal for a new constitution. This proposal were found unsatisfactory and were rejected both by the Congress & Muslim league.
In May 1942, Gandhi called on Britain to "leave India to God. If this is too much then leave her to anarchy."
The historic session of the All India Congress Committee began on the 7th August 1942 and was concluded after midnight of 8th/9th August 1942 at Gowalia Tank Maidan, Mumbai.
The resolution was passed unanimously. The resolution which came to be known as 'Quit India Resolution' created on 'electrifying atmosphere' in the country.
Gandhi conferred with his colleagues for the appropriate slogan for the movement against British to leave India. One of them suggested 'Get Out'. Gandhi rejected it as being impolite. Rajagopalachari suggested 'Retreat' or 'Withdraw'. That too was not acceptable. Yusuf Meheraly presented Gandhi a bow with a inscription bearing 'Quit India'. Gandhi said in approval, 'Amen'. That is how the historic slogan was selected.
Gandhi in his stirring speech told the people "There is a mantra, short one, that I give you. You imprint it on your heart and let every breath of yours give an expression to it. The mantra is "do or die".
In early hours of 9th August, all the top leaders - Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Azad were arrested and Congress was declared an unlawful organization.
With the arrest of all the national leaders, there was nobody to guide the popular agitation. There were hartals and riots by the crowd. Even the private cars were not allowed to proceed unless there was a Gandhi cap on the head of at least one of the passengers.
The Government issued an order banning public processions, meetings & assemblies. Despite the police warning large crowd had gathered at Gowalia Tank Maidan. Aruna Asaf Ali hoisted the Indian flag.
Lathi charge and tear gas was used by the police to disperse the crowd which had gathered at Gowalia Tank Maidan. The national flag was pulled down and volunteers who went to its rescued were beaten off.
The Congress Radio, as it termed itself, calling on 42.34 metres was perhaps the only one and first of its kind in India. It broadcasted the news of underground activity and directed the freedom fighters in their struggle. It was located 'somewhere in Bombay' and was frequently moved from place to place. The brain behind this brilliant activity was Dr. Usha Mehta, she was then a girl student in Bombay, who later rose to be a distinguished professor of Politics in University of Bombay. She was also Chairman of Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya and Gandhi Smarak Nidhi.