Quit India (1942) to Quit Sonia (2007!!) - V SUNDARAM
Today is 9 August, 2007. 65 years ago, on the same day, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting in Bombay passed the 'Quit India Resolution' in 1942. The slogan 'Quit India; Bharat Chodo� reverberated throughout the length and breadth of India. This simple and powerful slogan launched the legendary struggle which also became famous by the name of the 'August Revolution'. It sanctioned the starting of a mass struggle on non-violent lines on the widest possible scale to declare India's inalienable right to freedom and independence. Gandhiji was requested to take the lead and to guide the nation.
Gandhiji told the people, 'there is a mantra, a short one, that I give you. You imprint it on your heart and let every breath of yours give an expression to it. The mantra is 'DO OR DIE'. We shall either be free or die in the attempt........ Every one of you from this moment consider himself a free man or woman and even act as if you are free and no longer under the heel of this imperialism'. In this struggle, the common people of the country demonstrated an unparalleled heroism and mood of militancy. Moreover, the repression that they faced was the most 'brutal'.
The speech which Mahatma Gandhi delivered at the commencement of the 'Quit India Movement' was one of the most important ones, which he made in his long political career. Tragically, the 'Movement' which Gandhi planned, taking full responsibility on his shoulders, failed miserably and gave unintentional boost and strength to the Muslim League. Some historians are of the view that the failure of the 'Quit India Movement' ended the Gandhian era in Indian politics which had its beginning in 1920. It is an accepted fact that after 1942, Gandhiji's iron grip on the Congress Party loosened and in subsequent years his role became peripheral. Perhaps Gandhiji was sure that after the AICC Quit India Resolution, the Viceroy would call him and negotiate with him. Gandhiji was so sure of meeting the Viceroy that he had not chalked out any organized programme or line of action for the participants in the Movement. In his Discovery of India (1946), Jawaharlal Nehru lamented �Gandhiji had kept everyone in the dark�. His exhortation 'DO OR DIE' further confused the masses. No one knew what to do and how to die.
Nevertheless the sudden and unexpected attack by the government produced an instantaneous reaction among the people. In Bombay, as soon as the news of arrests spread, lakhs of people flocked to Gowalia Tank where a mass meeting had been scheduled and there were clashes with the authorities. There were similar disturbances on 9 August in Ahmedabad and Poona. On the 10 August, Delhi and many towns in UP. and Bihar, including Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Patna, followed suit with hartals, public demonstrations and processions in defiance of the law. The government responded by gagging the press. The National Herald and Harijan ceased publication for the entire duration of the struggle and others for shorter periods.
Crowds of villagers, often numbering a few hundred or even a couple of thousands, physically removed the railway tracks in several parts of India. Elsewhere, small groups of individuals blew up bridges and removed tracks, and cut telephone and telegraph wires. Industrial workers too struck work throughout the country. Students went on strike in schools and colleges all over the country and busied themselves taking out processions, writing and distributing anti-British news-sheets. Hundreds of these 'Patrikas' in all the regional languages came out all over the country. They also became couriers for the emerging underground networks created by leaders like Jaya Prakash Narain, Smt Aruna Asaf Ali, Smt Sucheta Kriplani and others.
The reaction to the arrests was most intense in Bihar and Eastern UP., where the Movement attained the proportions of a rebellion. From about the middle of August, 1942 the news reached the rural areas through the students and other political activists who fanned out from the towns. Students of the Banaras Hindu University decided to go to the villages to spread the message of Quit India. They hijacked trains and draped them in national flags. In rural areas, the pattern was of large crowds of peasants descending on the nearest Taluk or District town and attacking all symbols of government authority. There was government firing and repression, but the rebellion only gathered in momentum. For two weeks, TIRHUT Division in Bihar was totally cut off from the rest of the country and no government authority existed. Control was lost over Patna for two days after firing at the Provincial Secretariat. Eighty per cent of the police stations were captured or temporarily evacuated in ten Districts of north and central Bihar. There were also physical attacks on Europeans.
A significant feature of the Quit India movement was the emergence of what came to be known as Parallel Governments in some parts of the country. The first one was proclaimed in Ballia, in east UP, in August 1942 under the leadership of Chittu Pande, who called himself a Gandhian. Though it succeeded in getting the Collector to hand over power and release all the arrested Congress leaders, it could not survive for long and when the soldiers marched in, a week after the parallel government was formed, they found that the leaders had fled. Yet, the Quit India Movement unnerved the British, though the gravity and extent of the challenge it posed were, as the Viceroy said in a telegram to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, �concealed from the world for reasons of military security�. Strict censorship was imposed on all news of the Movement.
After the Non-Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements, the Quit India Movement was the third great mass struggle of the Indian People. The distinctive feature of the Movement was the struggle carried on by the people who had been forced to go underground by the Government's ruthless repression. Jaya Prakash Narayan after his escape from the Hazaribagh Central Jail, tried 'to attune the mental attitude of the rebel youth to the spirit of the last fight for freedom', through a series of letters addressed �TO ALL FIGHTERS FOR FREEDOM�. Through the illegal Radio broadcasts and various other activities, Ram Manohar Lohia, Aruna Asaf Ali, Achyut Patwardhan and other leaders belonging to the Congress Socialist Party, helped sustain the 'Open Rebellion' and keep the morale of the people high despite Government repression.
65 years after the 'Quit India Movement' and 60 years after our independence, Mother India is under the stranglehold of an Italian dictator who has contempt for India and her culture and religion. We have a crumbling, weak and neutral Prime Minister, with no commitment to the nation or the Constitution but only to the political fortunes of Sonia Gandhi and her family. Alas! We now have a President, with questionable credentials, who has been unscrupulously planted in that position as a private agent of one 'woman'. We, as a nation, have lost our sensitivity to and sensibility towards the Quality of Life and become oblivious of the sense of values that should enrich and sustain it. All right thinking people in India are fully aware of the many things which are going wrong in India today. And yet there is a feeling of frustration, cynicism, helplessness, uncertainty and impotence everywhere at all levels of society.
Growing indiscipline everywhere and at all levels, complete erosion of all cultural, ethical, moral and religious values, the ever rising tide of communalism, regionalism, casteism and linguistic chauvinism, Himalayan corruption eating into the vitals of national life, total want of inspiring and enlightened leadership in all fields of national endeavour and finally a mounting wave of politically-sponsored violence in all parts of India�these and other destabilizing, disturbing and disintegrating factors have raised doubts in many responsible quarters in India and abroad about the very survival of India as a nation.
The crying national need of the hour is to substitute morality for egoism; honesty for dishonesty; principles for expedients and usages and precedents; duties for improprieties masquerading as proprieties; the empire of reason for the casual tyranny of caprice; dignity for insolence; nobleness for vanity; love of public glory for the love of filthy lucre; good people for 'high society'; merit for intrigue; creative genius for brilliant manipulation; the charm of ' high' contentment for the satiety of 'low' pleasure; the majesty of man for noble lineage; a vigorous and happy people for a wretched nation of servile people. We have to put an end to both 'Parliamentary Monarchy' and 'Parliamentary Anarchy'. By 'Parliamentary Monarchy' I mean a system of hereditary Government like Monarchy which survives by manipulating the apparatus of Parliament to serve and suit the private interests of one family or one small group as the case may be. By 'Parliamentary Anarchy' I have in my mind the conditions of anarchy and lawlessness created by elected members in the Legislative Assemblies in various States and the Lok Sabha in New Delhi. In short the nation as a whole should uphold in a virile manner the virtues of a strong Republic that will replace the soft vices and absurdities of a perverted parliamentary democracy. India is in desperate need of informed dictatorship of the people, by the people and for the people.
(The writer is a retired IAS officer)
( நன்றி: News Today )
பன்ச் வெச்சா இட்லி தாண்டா
Rated PG - for Pseudo-DK, DMK, Liberals, Marxists....
Friday, August 10, 2007
Quit India (1942) to Quit Sonia (2007!!) - V SUNDARAM