Historical Figures

64. Sardar Patel was proud of the public reaction to the Quit India Movement

As Japan was gaining its upper hand in World War II, the British were repeating their assurances of independence to the Indians. The Ghori government sent the Cripps Commission to India in March 1942. If the proposal given by this commission was accepted, then the country would have been divided into many pieces, so the Congress refused to accept the proposals of the Cripps Mission.

On the one hand the British were not deterring their tricks and on the other hand the victory chariot of Japan was advancing rapidly. Saddened by the wavering and wrong policies of the Congress, Subhash Chandra Bose formed the Azad Hind Fauj and entered India on behalf of Burma. There came a time when it seemed that the bombers of the Azad Hind Fauj would reach Delhi.

Imagining that situation worsened the condition of Congress. That is why the Congress said that the British should leave India immediately so that Subhashbabu loses the moral right to attack India.

On the night of 8 August 1942, the Congress passed the Quit India resolution in Bombay. Gandhiji gave slogans like do or die (do or die), now or never (now or never) in this conference. The astonishment was that the Himalayas of non-violence seemed to have completely melted away in the minds of the non-violent leaders.

When the Congress used such violent language, before the sunrise of August 9, the government imprisoned almost all the big leaders including Gandhi, Nehru and Patel and again declared the Congress an unconstitutional institution. Gandhiji and Sarojini Naidu were placed under house arrest at the Aga Khan Palace in Poona. Leaders like Patel, Nehru and Maulana Azad were placed under house arrest in the fort of Ahmed Nagar.

Due to the arrest of the leaders, the public came down to revolt. No preparations were made by the Congress for the 1942 movement, nor was any plan prepared for the conduct of the movement. It was a movement whose proclaimers went to jail and the public was conducting it voluntarily. People uprooted railway tracks, ransacked railway stations, burnt post offices and government offices. Telephone and telegraph lines cut off.

The country seemed to have abandoned the path of non-violence and adopted the path of violence. When the police could not control these agitators, they were bombed by airplanes. Due to this a large number of agitators were killed. Sardar Patel was ill while going to jail. That's why Sucheta Kriplani started sending them medicines from outside. After coming out of jail in 1945 AD, three years later, Sardar Patel said in relation to the movement - 'There has never been such an upheaval in the history of British Raj in India, as it happened in the last three years. We are proud of the response people have given.'