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Some of the highlights of
1942 - 'QUIT INDIA MOVEMENT', Gowalia Tank Maidan, Bombay

 

Quit India Resolution

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.

 

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Copyright 2004 Mani Bhavan