CHAPTER-23 (Revision Notes)

Quit India Movement, Demand for Pakistan, and the INA

  1. Quit India Movement
  • CWC meeting at Wardha (July 14, 1942) accepted the idea of a struggle.
  • Why Start a Struggle NowThe reasons were several—
  1. failure of the Cripps Mission to solve the constitutional deadlock
  2. There was popular discontent because of rising prices and shortage of rice, salt, etc., and because of factors such as commandeering of boats in Bengal and Orissa.
  3. There were fears of Britain following a scorched earth policy in Assam, Bengal and Orissa against possible Japanese advance.
  4. News of reverses suffered by the British in South- East Asia and an imminent British collapse enhanced popular willingness to give expression to discontent.
  5. The Japanese troops were approaching the borders of India. Popular faith in the stability of British rule was so low that people were withdrawing deposits from banks and post offices.
  6. British behaviour towards the Indian subjects in South-East Asia exposed the racist attitude of the rulers.
  7. leadership wanted to condition the masses for a possible Japanese invasion.
  • The ‘Quit India’ Resolution-Quit India Resolution was ratified at the Congress meeting at Gowalia Tank, Bombay, on August 8, 1942. The meeting also resolved to
  1. demand an immediate end to British rule in India.
  2. declare commitment of free India to defend itself against all types of Fascism and imperialism.
  3. form a provisional Government of India after British withdrawal.
  4. sanction a civil disobedience movement against British rule.
  • Gandhi’s General Instructions to Different Sections-
  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.
  • Spread of the Movement
  1. Congress Working Committee, the All India Congress Committee and the Provincial Congress Committees were declared unlawful associations under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908.
  2. Public on Rampage-The general public attacked symbols of authority, and hoisted national flags forcibly on public buildings.
  3. Underground Activity-Many nationalists went underground and took to subversive activities. The participants in these activities were the Socialists, Forward Bloc members, Gandhi ashramites, revolutionary nationalists and local organisations
  4. Parallel Governments-Parallel governments were established at many places:
  • Ballia (in August 1942 for a week)—under Chittu Pandey.
  • Tamluk (Midnapore, from December 1942 to September 1944)—Jatiya Sarkar
  • Satara (mid-1943 to 1945)—named “Prati Sarkar”, was organised
  • Extent of Mass Participation
  1. Youth, especially the students of schools and colleges, remained in the forefront.
  2. Women, especially school and college girls, actively participated, and included Aruna Asaf Ali, Sucheta Kripalani and Usha Mehta.
  3. Workers went on strikes and faced repression.
  4. Peasants of all strata were at the heart of the movement. Even some zamindars participated.
  5. Government officials, especially those belonging to lower levels in police and administration, participated resulting in erosion of government loyalty.
  6. Muslims helped by giving shelter to underground activists. There were no communal clashes during the movement.
  7. The Communists did not join the movement; in the wake of Russia (where the communists were in power) being attacked by Nazi Germany, the communists began to support the British war against Germany and the ‘Imperialist War’ became the ‘People’s War’.
  8. The Muslim League opposed the movement, fearing that if the British left India at that time, the minorities would be oppressed by the Hindus.
  9. The Hindu Mahasabha boycotted the movement.
  10. The Princely states showed a low-key response.
  • Government Repression-Although martial law was not applied, the repression was severe.
  • Estimate
  1. Left without leaders, there was no restraint and violence became common.
  2. Main storm centres of the movement were in eastern United Provinces, Bihar, Midnapore, Maharashtra, Karnataka.
  3. Students, workers and peasants were the backbone of the movement while the upper classes and the bureaucracy remained largely loyal.
  4. Loyalty to government suffered considerable erosion.
  5. movement established the truth that it was no longer possible to rule India without the wishes of Indians.
  6. element of spontaneity was higher than before, although a certain degree of popular initiative had been sanctioned by the leadership itself, subject to limitations of the instructions.
  7. great significance was that the movement placed the demand for independence on the immediate agenda of the national movement. After Quit India, there could be no retreat.
  8. In this struggle, the common people displayed unparalleled heroism and militancy. The repression they faced was the most brutal, and the circumstances under which resistance was offered were most adverse.
  • Gandhi FastsIn February 1943, Gandhi started a fast as an answer to an exhortation by the government to condemn violence; the fast was directed against the violence of the State. The fast achieved the following—
  1. public morale was raised.
  2. anti-British feeling was heightened.
  3. an opportunity was provided for political activity.
  4. Government’s high-handedness was exposed. Gandhi got the better of his opponents and refused to oblige by dying.

On March 23, 1943 Pakistan Day was observed

  1. Famine of 1943
  • horror and inconveniences of war were increased by the famine of 1943. The worst-affected areas were south-west Bengal.
  • The fundamental causes of the famine were as follows
  1. The need to feed a vast Army diverted foodstuffs.
  2. Rice imports from Burma and South-East Asia had been stopped.
  3. The famine got aggravated by gross mismanagement and deliberate profiteering; rationing methods were belated and were confined to big cities.
  • Rajagopalachari Formula
  • The Formula Rajagopalachari (CR), the veteran Congress leader, prepared a formula for Congress-League cooperation in 1944. The main points in the CR Plan were:
  1. Muslim League to endorse Congress demand for independence.
  2. League to cooperate with Congress in forming a provisional government at centre.
  3. After the end of the war, the entire population of Muslim majority areas in the North-West and North-East India to decide by a plebiscite, whether or not to form a separate sovereign state.
  4. In case of acceptance of partition, agreement to be made jointly for safeguarding defence, commerce, communications, etc.
  5. above terms to be operative only if England transferred full powers to India.
  • Objections- Jinnah wanted the Congress to accept the two-nation theory. Hindu leaders led by Vir Savarkar condemned the CR Plan.
  1. Desai-Liaqat Pact-
  • Bhulabhai Desai, met Liaqat Ali Khan and both of them came up with the draft proposal for the formation of an interim government at the centre, consisting of—
  1. an equal number of persons nominated by the Congress and the League in the central legislature.
  2. 20% reserved seats for minorities.
  3. Wavell Plan-
  • Why the Government was Keen on a Solution Now
  1. general election in England was scheduled for mid-1945. The Conservatives wanted to be seen as sincere on reaching a solution.
  2. There was pressure from the Allies to seek further Indian cooperation in the war.
  3. government wanted to divert Indian energies into channels more profitable for the British.
  • The Plan-A conference was convened by the viceroy, Lord Wavell, at Shimla in June 1945. The main proposals of the Wavell Plan were as follows.
  1. With the exception of the governor-general and the commander-in-chief, all members of the executive council were to be Indians.
  2. Caste Hindus and Muslims were to have equal representation.
  3. reconstructed council was to function as an interim government within the framework of the 1935 Act (i.e. not responsible to the Central Assembly).
  4. governor-general was to exercise his veto on the advice of ministers.
  5. Representatives of different parties were to submit a joint list to the viceroy for nominations to the executive council. If a joint list was not possible, then separate lists were to be submitted.
  6. Possibilities were to be kept open for negotiations on a new constitution once the war was finally won.
  • Muslim League’s Stand- The League claimed some kind of veto in the council with decisions opposed to Muslims needing a two-thirds majority for approval.
  • Congress StandThe Congress objected to the plan as “an attempt to reduce the Congress to the status of a purely caste Hindu party and insisted on its right to include members of all communities among its nominees”.
  • Wavell’s Mistake-Wavell announced a breakdown of talks thus giving the League a virtual veto.
  1. The Indian National Army and Subhash Bose-
  • Subhash Chandra Bose was an intrepid man. He passed the Indian Civil Services examination securing fourth position but resigned from the service in 1921 to join the struggle for freedom
  • His political guru was Chittaranjan Das. He became mayor of Calcutta in 1923.
  • In March 1940, Bose convened an Anti-Compromise Conference at Ramgarh; it was a joint effort of the Forward Bloc and the Kisan Sabha.
  • Bose came to be called ‘Netaji’ by the people of Germany. He gave the famous slogan, ‘Jai Hind’ from the Free India Centre, Germany. He began regular broadcasts from Berlin radio in January 1942, which enthused Indians.
  • Origin and First Phase of the Indian National Army-(INA)
  1. idea of creating an army out of the Indian prisoners of war (POWs) was originally that of Mohan Singh The Japanese handed over the Indian prisoners of war to Mohan Singh who tried to recruit them into an Indian National Army.
  2. INA got a boost with the outbreak of the Quit India Movement in India. In September 1942, the first division of the INA was formed with 16,300 men.
  3. The second phase began with the arrival of Subhash Bose in Singapore. But before that in June 1943, Subhash Chandra Bose (under pseudo name Abid Hussain) reached Tokyo; met the Japanese prime minister, Tojo.
  4. In Japan, Rashbehari Bose eventually became a naturalized citizen He founded the Indian Club of Tokyo, and gave lectures on the evils of Western imperialism.
  5. Subhash Bose became Supreme Commander of the INA on August 25. On October 21, 1943, Subhash Bose formed the Provisional Government for Free India at Singapore with H.C. Chatterjee (Finance portfolio), M.A. Aiyar (Broadcasting), Lakshmi Swaminathan (Women Department), etc. The famous slogan—“Give me blood, I will give you freedom” was given in Malaya The INA headquarters was shifted to Rangoon (in Burma) in January 1944, and the army recruits were to march from there with the war cry “Chalo Delhi!” on their lips.
  6. On November 6, 1943, Andaman and Nicobar islands was given by the Japanese army to the INA; the islands were renamed as Shahid Dweep and Swaraj Dweep respectively. On July 6, 1944, Subhas Bose addressed Mahatma Gandhi as ‘Father of Nation’—from the Azad Hind Radio (the first person to call Gandhi, ‘Father of Nation’).
  7. Azad Hind Fauz crossed the Burma border, and stood on Indian soil on March 18, 1944. The INA units subsequently advanced up to Kohima and Imphal. On April 14, Colonel Malik of the Bahadur Group hoisted the INA flag for the first time on the Indian mainland at Moirang, in Manipur (where the INA Memorial Complex stands today) to enthusiastic cries of “Jai Hind” and “Netaji Zindabad”. On August 15, 1945 the surrender of Japan in the Second World War took place and with this the INA also surrendered.
  8. On August 18, 1945, reportedly, Subhash Bose died mysteriously in an air-crash at Taipei (Taiwan).

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