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Spread of the Quit India Movement

Spread of the Quit India Movement


These were spelt out at the Gowalia Tank meeting but not actually issued. They were directed at various sections of society:

  1. Government servants: Do not resign but declare your allegiance to the Congress.
  2. Soldiers: Do not leave the Army but do not fire on compatriots.
  3. Students: If confident, leave studies.
  4. Peasants: If Zamindars are anti-government, pay mutually agreed rent, and if Zamindars are pro-government, do not pay rent.
  5. Princes: Support the masses and accept sovereignty of your people.
  6. Princely states’ people: Support the ruler only if he is anti-government and declare yourselves to be a part of the Indian nation.

Gandhi followed up with the now-famous exhortation: “Here is a mantra, a short one that I give you. You may imprint it on your hearts and let every breath of yours give expression to it. The mantra is:- “Do or Die”. We shall either free India or die in the attempt; we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery.”


  • Gandhi had carefully built the tempo through individual civil disobedience movements, organisational revamping and a consistent propaganda campaign.
  • The Government, however, was in no mood to either negotiate with the Congress or wait for the movement to be formally launched.
  • In the early hours of August 9, in a single sweep, all the top leaders of the Congress were arrested and taken to unknown destinations.
  • Removal of established leaders left the younger and militant elements at their own initiative.


  • The general public attacked symbols of authority, hoisting national flags forcibly on public buildings.
  • Satyagrahis offered themselves up to arrest, bridges were blown up, railway tracks were removed and telegraph lines were cut. This kind of activity was most intense in eastern UP and Bihar.
  • Students responded by going on strikes in schools and colleges, participating in processions, writing and distributing illegal news sheets (patrikas) and acting as couriers for underground networks.                                        Spread of the Quit India Movement
  • Workers went on strike in Ahmedabad, Bombay, Jamshedpur, Ahmednagar and Pune.


  • This was undertaken by the Socialists, Forward Bloc members, Gandhi ashramites, revolutionary terrorists and local organisations in Bombay, Poona, Satara, Baroda and other parts of Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra, UP, Bihar and Delhi.                                    Spread of the Quit India Movement
  • Underground activity was carried out by Rammanohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narayan, Aruna Asaf Ali, Usha Sharma, Biju Patnaik, Chhotubhai Puranik, Achyut Patwardhan, Sucheta Kripalani and R.P.Goenka. Usha Sharma started an underground radio in Bombay.
  • This phase of underground activity was meant to keep up popular morale by continuing to provide a line of command and guidance to distribute arms and ammunition.


Modern History

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