The outbreak of WW-II in 1939 raised different nationalistic movements in colonies across the world. In this light, discuss how nationalists were divided in India after WW-II. Also examine how this nationalistic movements led to launch of Quit India movement by INC.
After the beginning of WWII, The Government of India declared India to be at war with Germany without the consent of its people.
Indian leaders could not reconcile with this decision, however different point of view emerged among leaders. For example, the nationalists were then divided over the following course of action:
- On the question whether to support the British in their war effort or not:
- Gandhiji was sympathetic towards the allies.
- Subhas Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru and the socialists were against supporting the allies. Netaji Shubhash Chandra Bose considered it as an opportunity to defeat the imperial British government.
The Congress leadership decided that India would not join the war till the two conditions of a responsible interim government with immediate effect and promise of a constituent assembly immediately after war to decide upon the constitution of free India are met. This was rejected by the British. Then differences on the question of starting a Mass Satyagraha immediately arose among leaders:
- Gandhiji and other leaders were against this as they felt:
- The cause of the allies to be just and did not want to trouble them in the time of war.
- There was a lack of Hindu-Muslim unity because of which the civil disobedience movement could degenerate into civil war or communal riots.
- The right atmosphere did not exist as masses and the Congress organisation was not ready.
- The left wing groups felt that this was an opportunity to achieve freedom with an all out struggle, and hence were in favour.
- Jawaharlal Nehru was undecided about this till the last minute.
Though the Quit India Movement started in 1942, the events starting from 1939 played a role in its launch:
- The government had taken draconian measures and suppressed all civil liberties. All political activities, even peaceful, were declared illegal.
- Failure of Cripps Mission in 1942, which was unable to make any constitutional advance in favour of the Indian people. Its empty gesture convinced even leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, who were unwilling to hamper Britain’s war effort, not to continue their silence.
- Increased popular discontent made the situation ripe for a mass movement.
- News of imminent British collapse due to the war
- Revamped Congress, consistent propaganda campaign, individual satyagraha.
Thus the context of events beginning with the WWII played a role in the INC launching the Quit India Movement.