Quit India Movement – Causes, Importance, Outcomes

Quit India Movement upsc

The Quit India Movement, or the August Movement, was a civil disobedience movement launched in India in August 1942 during World War II in response to Mohandas Gandhi’s call for immediate independence. The All-India Congress Committee proclaimed a mass protest demanding what Gandhi called An Orderly British Withdrawal from India. The main aim of the movement was to compel the British government to grant India independence. The movement was one of the most definitive events of the Indian independence struggle, and millions of Indians participated in it.

This topic of “Quit India Movement – Causes, Importance, Outcomes” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

Causes of Quit India Movement

  1. Growing Disillusionment with British Rule: The Indian National Congress was increasingly disillusioned with British rule in India and wanted independence. This was evident in the Quit India Resolution that was passed at the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee in August 1942.
  2. Unfulfilled Promises of Autonomy: The Congress had been hoping that British would grant India more autonomy and self-rule but their efforts had not been successful. This led to the decision to launch a mass movement to demand freedom.
  3. Rejection of the Cripps Mission: The Cripps Mission was sent by the British government in March 1942 to negotiate with the Indian National Congress and Muslim League. The Indian National Congress rejected the proposals as they felt that the proposals did not go far enough in granting autonomy.
  4. Impact of World War II: The outbreak of World War II had a significant impact on India as well. Resources were diverted to the war effort and the Indian economy was adversely affected. This led to greater dissatisfaction with British rule and a desire for independence.
  5. Rise of Indian Nationalism: There had been a gradual rise of Indian nationalism and this culminated in the Quit India Movement. This was led by Mahatma Gandhi who urged Indians to stand up and fight for their rights.

Phases of Quit India Movement

  1. Planning Phase: The Quit India Movement was planned and strategized by Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress Working Committee in 1942. The demand was made for immediate independence of India from British rule.
  2. Launch Phase: On August 8, 1942, Mahatma Gandhi made the famous Quit India Speech at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay. He called for a mass struggle to free India from the clutches of the British Empire.
  3. Civil Disobedience Phase: The call of the Quit India Movement was followed by a nation-wide civil disobedience movement. The people of India took part in mass protests, strikes and boycotts of British goods and services.
  4. Repression Phase: The British responded to the Quit India Movement with a policy of repression. They arrested thousands of freedom fighters and imposed a rigid censorship on Indian media.
  5. Withdrawal Phase: By 1944, the British had become aware of the futility of their efforts to crush the Quit India Movement. They released the political prisoners and allowed the censored media to return to normal functioning.

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Timeline of Quit India Movement

  • 8 August 1942 – All India Congress Committee (AICC) presided over by Mahatma Gandhi passes the “Quit India” resolution.
  • 9 August 1942 – Mahatma Gandhi launches the Quit India Movement with his famous ‘Do or Die’ call.
  • 10 August 1942 – British authorities arrest Mahatma Gandhi and other leaders of the Indian National Congress.
  • 11 August 1942 – Mass protests and strikes break out throughout India.
  • 14 August 1942 – British authorities declare the Quit India Movement as illegal.
  • August 1942 – All-India strike continues despite the arrests of many leaders.
  • October 1942 – British authorities start using brutal force to quell the movement.
  • August 1943 – Some of the leaders are released from prison.
  • 1945 – The British Government announces that it will grant Indian independence.

Importance/Outcome of Quit India Movement

  1. The movement was a major success in terms of the large-scale participation and mobilization of people from all over the country.
  2. It was successful in raising public awareness and creating a feeling of patriotism and national unity among the Indian people.
  3. It brought a great deal of attention to the Indian struggle for independence and helped to galvanize public opinion in favor of independence.
  4. This movement was successful in forcing the British to promise India her independence in the form of the Cripps mission in 1942.
  5. The movement also demonstrated the unity of Indians from all religions and castes in the struggle for independence and freedom.
  6. The movement also resulted in the release of several political prisoners, including Mahatma Gandhi and his close associates.
  7. The movement was successful in inspiring other independence movements in other countries, most notably in Africa and the Caribbean.
  8. It was a major factor in hastening the process of India’s independence.
  9. The Quit India Movement also helped to bring together different strands of political thought in India and was a major factor in the formation of the modern Indian state.

Failures of Quit India Movement

  1. Low Nationalistic Enthusiasm: One of the main reasons for the failure of the Quit India Movement was the low enthusiasm and involvement of the common public. This was mainly because of the fact that the people were not much aware of the movement and did not have much knowledge about its objectives.
  2. Lack of unified leadership: The Quit India Movement lacked a unified leadership. Though the movement was led by Mahatma Gandhi, he was arrested soon after the launch of the movement and there was no one to take his place.
  3. Lack of Central Planning: The Quit India Movement lacked a central plan of action. There were no clear directions as to what to do and how to proceed.
  4. Lack of Financial Support: The movement lacked financial support and there was no way to fund the activities of the movement.
  5. Repressive Measures: The British Government resorted to oppressive measures to suppress the movement. They imprisoned several leaders and resorted to violence to crush the movement.
  6. Political Divisions: The political divisions among the Indian leaders also played a role in the failure of the movement. The Congress was divided into two groups, the right and the left, which further weakened the movement.


The Quit India Movement was a watershed moment in India’s struggle for independence and a major milestone in the development of Indian nationalism. It galvanised the nation, united its people and brought the freedom struggle to its climax. The movement was a remarkable success in terms of its impact and its legacy of inspiring generations to come. The success of the movement serves as a reminder of the power of peaceful and non-violent protest, and the importance of a unified, strong national will in achieving the goal of independence.

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