Can Quit India movement be termed as spontaneous movement? Discuss.

Model Answer

Quit India movement launched in August, 1942 after the failure of Cripps mission was the most militant of all movements launched during the freedom struggle. It led to considerable mass upsurge and unparalleled militancy which was unprecedented.

Features of ‘planned movement’ visible in Quit India movement:-

  • Whenever, Congress launched a movement, it made detailed preparations regarding the same. It was approved in the preceding session. Example- Non Cooperation movement launched after the approval at Nagpur session in 1920.
  • The Congress leadership chalked out a blueprint of the movement at the meeting in Bombay on 8th August, 1942.
  • The Congress gradually built the tempo from 1940 itself, when it launched the Individual Satyagraha.

However, elements of spontaneity were also present in the movement:-

  • After the arrest of Gandhiji and other top leadership on 9th August, 1942 leadership passed in the hands of younger and radical leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia , Sucheta Kriplani etc.
  • There was unprecedented violence and underground activity in the Quit India movement. Example:- Blowing up of bridges, burning police stations etc.
  • Parallel governments were formed in many regions like Balia, Satara etc. These governments were initiatives of local leaders acting on their own.

Quit India movement saw widespread participation of masses and unprecedented militancy and heroism, despite lack of centralized planning and leadership. Therefore some historians argue that it was more of a spontaneous movement than planned.

Subjects : Modern History

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