On August 9, 1942 — the people of India launched the decisive final phase of the struggle for independence. It was a mass upsurge against colonial rule on a scale not seen earlier, and it sent out the unmistakable message that the sun was about to set on the British Empire in India.
- Mahatma Gandhi, who had told the Raj to “Quit India” on the previous day (August 8) was already in jail along with the entire Congress leadership, so when August 9 dawned, the people were on their own — out on the street, driven by the Mahatma’s call of “Do or Die”.
- This truly people-led movement was eventually crushed violently by the British, but by then it was clear that nothing short of their final departure was acceptable to India’s masses.
- Reasons — While factors leading to such a movement had been building up, matters came to a head with the failure of the Cripps Mission. The failure of the Cripps Mission made Gandhi realise that freedom would come only if Indians fought tooth and nail for it.
Gandhi’s address: Do or Die –
- On August 8, 1942, Gandhi addressed the people in the Gowalia Tank maidan in Bombay (Mumbai).
- “The mantra is: ‘Do or Die’. We shall either free India or die trying; we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery,” Gandhi said.
- Aruna Asaf Ali hoisted the Tricolour on the ground.