Moving towards freedomAug 4th, 2009 | By editor | Category: Delhiwaalah, Young World
August 9 is celebrated as Quit India Day. It was on this day in 1942 that Gandhiji started the Quit India Movement in a bid to bring the British to the negotiating table.
What is it about August? In India, this is the month of Raksha Bandhan and other festivals. India became free of British rule on August 15. Interestingly, the Quit India Movement (QIM), a call by Mahatma Gandhi for India’s independence was made in August, 1942. In fact, August 8, 1942 was a historic day in our struggle for independence.
Rahul, Tejas, Namya, Sai, Vaikunth, Abhinav, Anuj, Aditya, Deepankshu, Sabir and Badri (11-12 years old) of Headstart School, Chennai, have been reading about Quit India Movement, also called August Movement or Bharat Chhodo Andolan. They say, “Gandhiji had started civil disobedience (not co-operating with the government). This was to end discrimination by the British rulers and get self rule. Gandhiji wanted our struggle for independence to be non-violent. After boycott of British goods and the Dandi March, he was ready to negotiate with the government. The British government sent Sir Stafford Cripps to India. This made Congress leaders very unhappy. Gandhiji made a speech in which he gave the mantra ‘Do or Die’ – ‘We shall either free India or die in the attempt’. This was the Quit India Movement.”
The students narrated the events. “The QIM took place in four steps. The British government declared QIM illegal. Viceroy Lord Linlithgow wanted to stop all attempts for self rule. He came down heavily on the protesters. On August 9, leaders like Abul Kalam Azad, Vallabhbhai Patel, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were arrested. In the first phase, there were processions, strikes and demonstrations. Unfortunately, the protesters turned violent. In the second phase they raided government buildings and municipal houses. Post offices, railway stations and police stations were set on fire. The third phase of QIM began in September 1942. Mobs bombed police stations in places like Bombay, and in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Gradually, the movement became peaceful and continued till Mahatma Gandhi was released in May 1944. This was the fourth phase of the movement.”
What do we learn from this? “QIM was only half successful,” said Deepankshu. “Gandhiji was very upset about the violence. We had to wait another five years for independence.” Rahul: “If we make an agreement we must honour it.” Tejas: We must revive the idea of ‘united we stand’ and be ready to do anything to protect our freedom.” Namya: There are many ways to fight non-violently.” Sai: It’s better to die than suffer in slavery.” Vaikunth and Abhinav: We must avoid all violence.” Anuj and Aditya: Negotiate rather than take up arms to solve problems.” Sabir: “Yes, do something to be friends.” Badri: Use your energy for good work, not to fight.”
They all agreed our enemy today is terrorism and we have to stand united to face it.
What is your take on this?