August Kranti Diwas: The day Mahatma Gandhi said ‘Do or Die’

New Delhi: Today is the 76th anniversary of Quit India movement. On this day in 1942, father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi gave the clarion call of ‘Do or Die’ to all Indians to drive away Britishers from the country.

The Quit India Movement, also known as ‘August Kranti Diwas’ or ‘Bharat Chodo Andolan’, was launched at the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) by Mahatma Gandhi on August 8, 1948. The movement demanded an end to the British rule in India. After the failure of Cripps Mission, Gandhi made a call to ‘Do or Die’ in his Quit India Speech, which he delivered in Bombay at Gowalia Tank Maidan.

August kranti Diwas
August Kranti Diwas

Since the movement was held in August, it is also known as August Kranti or August Movement. The movement was started on August 9, 1942, and since then the day is celebrated as August Kranti Day/Diwas. The day is celebrated by paying tribute to freedom fighters with national integration speeches and other events.

Here’s all you need to about Quit India Movement:

  • It was a civil disobedience movement which was launched in response to MK Gandhi’s call for Satyagraha. The All-India Committee announced a mass protest to demand an orderly withdrawal of British forces from India.
  • Mumbai’s Gowalia Tank Maidan also known as August Kranti Maidan is the place where Mahatma Gandhi delivered his speech marking the beginning of the Quit India Movement. Mahatma along with other leaders gathered here on August 8 and 9, 1942. The maidan also houses a monument as a tribute to the historical event.
  • The government quickly responded to the movement. Almost entire INC were imprisoned without trial. Many of the imprisoned spent the rest of the war in prison with no contacts from outside world. 
  • Several national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Abdul Kalam Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were arrested.
  • The first half of the movement was peaceful with demonstrations and processions but the second half of the movement was violent with raids and setting fire to post offices, government buildings and railway stations. Lord Linlithgow adopted the policy of violence.
  • The British had the support of Viceroy’s Council, constituted majorly by Indians. Apart from it, Indian Muslim League, princely states, the Indian Imperial Police, the British Indian Army and the Indian Civil Service backed the British forces.
  • Students who were supporting Subhas Chandra Bose, who was in exile, were supporting the Axis Powers.
  • The outside support came from the Americans, as President Frankln D. Roosevelt pressurised Prime Minister Winston Churchill to agree to some of the Indian demands. But British denied independence, not until the war had ended. 
  • The denial led to sporadic violence around the country, where several thousands of leaders were imprisoned until 1945. The Quit India Movement failed due to heavy suppression, lack of coordination and clear-cut programme. 
  • However, the British Government realised it was impossible to keep India under reins in the long run due to the cost of World War 2. Finally, after conclusion of World War 2, India gained freedom on August 15, 1947.

How free India paid tribute to the freedom fighters?

August Kranti Rajdhani Express

August Kranti Rajdhani Express
August Kranti Rajdhani Express

In honor of the significant and historic day and place, a Rajdhani train between Mumbai and Delhi has been named after it – August Kranti Rajdhani Express. The August Kranti Maidan is located in Mumbai near the Grant Road Railway Station. Now a popular playground, August Kranti Maidan was once used as a bathing ground for cattles. The maidan or ground was then built over it. The train started in 1992 and connects Mumbai’s Mumbai Central railway station to Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin station. August Kranti Rajdhani Express is a daily service and is known for its efficiency, good quality service and fast pace.

August kranti maidan

August kranti maidan 
August kranti maidan

The Gowalia Tank Maidan, which is also known as the August Kranti Maidan, is a historically significant park as this is the place where Mahatma Gandhi delivered his speech that marked the beginning of the Quit India Movement. There is a monument inside the maidan commemorating this historical event during the Indian Independence struggle.

Located in central Mumbai, the park is known as Gowalia Tank Maidan as there was a water tank which was used for bathing cow and other livestock. The tank was filled in and presently, the park exists over there. Today, the maidan is a popular playground, which has been divided into five sections. The biggest part is an open playground and there is a garden for senior citizens along with a smaller playground for children. One of the sections houses the martyr monument. The park is located close to Mani Bhavan, which served as headquarters for Gandhi for many years.