14 July 1942
Resolution for immediate independence
The Indian National Congress passed a resolution at Wardha, Maharashtra on 14th July 1942 demanding immediate independence. This resolution led to the Quit India Movement.
- The resolution was passed by the Congress Working Committee demanding complete independence from British rule. It also suggested civil disobedience on a huge scale if the British did not accept the demands.
- The resolution stated, “…the starting of a mass struggle on non-violent lines on the widest possible scale… they [the people] must remember that non-violence is the basis of the movement.”
- The resolution met with opposition even within the party itself. Senior leader C Rajagopalachari quit the INC due to disapproval of this resolution.
- Even Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad had some reservations but backed the resolution because of Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership.
- Others enthusiastically supported it like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Jayaprakash Narayan and Rajendra Prasad.
- The Quit India movement was decided to be launched on August 9th. It was also called the August Movement or August Kranti. For this, the quit India resolution was passed on 8th August at Bombay.
- The slogans ‘Quit India’, ‘Bharat Chodo’ and ‘Do or Die’ were used by the people.
- The government reacted by arresting all major INC leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, etc.
- This meant that the movement was led by younger leaders like JP and Ram Manohar Lohia.
- Over one lakh people were arrested owing to their participation in the civil disobedience.
- The government used violent methods like lathi charge, floggings and firing to supress the movement. About 10000 people were killed in police firing.
- The Congress was banned and most of its leaders were jailed for a year. Gandhi was released from prison in 1944 on health grounds.
- Even though the people responded to Gandhi’s call enthusiastically, the lack of leadership meant that there were violent incidents in certain parts. Government property was destroyed and electricity, transport and communication lines were severed.
- Many did not support the movement such as the Indian bureaucracy, the Muslim League, the Hindu Mahasabha, the Communist Party of India, etc.
- There were demonstrations and workers’ strike all over the country. The movement lasted till 1944 and the main regions involved were Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar and Midnapore.
- There was also an underground movement over radio stations and publishing anti-government pamphlets.
- The movement, though unsuccessful in getting India liberated from colonial rule, placed the demand for complete independence as the top agenda of the national freedom movement.
- The people faced heavy-handed oppression by the government bravely and continued the movement for about two years.
- The Quit India Movement, even though a failure, was successful in motivating the people.
Also on this day
1789: The storming of the Bastille in Paris took place, an important event in the French Revolution.
See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.