India remembers 8th August for its nationalist stir ‘Quit India Movement’. It was the year 1942, World War II was going on. Fearing attacks from Japan, the British had proposed Indians to cooperate with them in the war. If Indians cooperate the British in the war, they will free India from their imperialism.
India had supported Britain during the First World War. This time whole nation declined from helping the British. Gandhi called the British a government of cheaters. Later, the British convinced Indians for the support. After the victory, they refused to free India anytime soon. It was then when Gandhi blew the trumpet with his influential words of wisdom that echoed in the whole country and in no time “Bharat Chhodo Andolan” became a slogan for all Indians.
On August 08, 1942, Gandhi addressed the masses from the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai and admonished Indians to take part in the Quit India Movement’. In his speech, he said, “Ocassions like the present do not occur in everybody’s life. I want you to feel and know that there is nothing but pure Ahimsa in all that I am saying and doing today.”
Despite the fact that Gandhi was the guide and captain of non-violence movement, he knew the weaknesses of that lied in this concept. Neither was he hesitant to address it. In his speech in Mumbai on August 08, 1942, he also mentioned about it.
“I know how imperfect our Ahimsa is and how far away we are still from the ideal, but in Ahimsa there is no final failure or defeat. I have faith, therefore, that if in spite of our shortcomings, the big thing does happen, it will be because God wanted to help us by crowning with success our silent, unremitting Sadhana1 for the last twenty-two year…” said Mahatma Gandhi.
Questioning the attitude of people including freedom fighters Gandhi explains that the hatred among people for the British was going to take them no here. In fact, it may draw them to land into bigger troubles. The annoyed Indians may resort to anything that can drive the British out of India. No matter if they have to trust Japanese for it. Trusting Japanese could have become another mistake similar to what India did by welcoming ‘East India Company’. The freedom from the British could have cost us yet another slavery.
“Then, there is the question of your attitude towards the British. I have noticed that there is hatred towards the British among the people. The people say they are disgusted with their behaviour. The people make no distinction between British imperialism and the British people. To them, the two are one. This hatred would even make them welcome the Japanese. It is most dangerous. It means that they will exchange one slavery for another. We must get rid of this feeling. Our quarrel is not with the British people; we fight their imperialism…” said Mahatma Gandhi.
Following this movement, all the major leaders including Gandhi were arrested just the next day of the Gandhi’s address to the masses from the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai on August 09. But the stir that Gandhi created among people had sparked revolution inside people. Later on 15 August 1947, the British left India for good making Indians free from their sovereignty.