The failure of the Cripps Mission and the fear of an impending Japanese invasion of India led Mahatma Gandhi to begin his campaign for the British to quit India. Mahatma Gandhi believed that an interim government could be formed only after the British left India and the Hindu-Muslim problem sorted out.
The All India Congress Committee met at Bombay on 8 August 1942 and passed the famous Quit India Resolution. On the same day, Gandhi gave his call of ‘do or die’. On 8th and 9th August 1942, the government arrested all the prominent leaders of the Congress.
For once, this pre-planned action of the government left the Indian people without leadership. Mahatma Gandhi was kept in prison at Poona. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Abul Kalam Azad, and other leaders were imprisoned in the Ahmednagar Fort.
At this time, leadership was provided by Ram Manohar Lohia, Achyuta and S.M. Joshi. The role of Jayaprakash Narain in this movement was important. Large number of students also left their schools and colleges to join the movement. The youth of the nation also participated in this movement with patriotism.
Strikes, demonstrations and public meetings were organised in various towns and cities. Slowly the movement reached the rural areas. In 1943, as the movement gained further momentum, there were armed attacks on government buildings in Madras and Bengal.
In 1944 Mahatma Gandhi was released from jail. Quit India Movement was the final attempt for country’s freedom. The British Government ordered for 538 rounds of firing. Nearly 60,229 persons were jailed. At least 7,000 people were killed. This movement paved the way for India’s freedom.
It aroused among Indians the feelings of bravery, enthusiasm and total sacrifice.
The Indian National Army
On 2 July 1943, Subhas Chandra Bose reached Singapore and gave the rousing war cry of ‘Dilli Chalo’. He was made the President of Indian Independence League and soon became the supreme commander of the Indian National Army. He gave the country the slogan of Jai Hind.
The names of the INA’s three Brigades were the Subhas Brigade, Gandhi Brigade and Nehru Brigade. The women’s wing of the army was named after Rani Laxmibai. The Indian National Army marched towards Imphal after registering its victory over Kohima. After Japan’s surrender in 1945, the INA failed in its efforts. Under such circumstances, Subhas went to Taiwan.
Then on his way to Tokyo he died on 18 August 1945 in a plane crash. The trial of the soldiers of INA was held at Red Fort in Delhi. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Bhulabhai Desai and Tej Bahadur Sapru fought the case on behalf of the soldiers.