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Focus: GS-I History

Why in news?

On the occasion of the 78th anniversary today of the launch of Quit India movement, Vice President of India has called for an intensified campaign of ‘Knit India’ to enable a strong and fully emotionally integrated nation that would offer the best defence against the evil designs of forces inimical to the country.

Highlights of the Vice-President’s call for a new “Knit India Movement”

  • The series of foreign invasions and the colonial exploitation during the long period of 1000-1947 was marked by lack of unity in the country.
  • During this long period of second millennium, the country paid a very heavy price in the form of cultural subjugation and economic exploitation that enfeebled the once rich India.
  • The hard-fought independence in 1947 was not just about ending the colonial rule of the preceding 200 years but also bringing down curtains on the 1000 year long dark age during when the country was plundered at will by the invaders, traders and the colonialists taking advantage of the lack of unity among the Indians.
  • The Vice-President referred to the destruction of Somnath temple and the long period of 925 taken to rebuilt the same after independence.
  • The British drained US $ 45 Trillion of India’s wealth during 1765-1938 in various forms that amounted to 17 times the GDP of the UK in 2018.

Way forward

  • Learning from history, all Indians need to be bound by the shared sense of ‘Indianness’ while pursuing their respective cultural values and ethos.
  • The Vice-President stressed on the need to Knit India into one single fabric by ensuring equality of all and equal opportunities for all and noted that a divided and iniquitous society does not enable the fullest development of all Indians to their capacity.
  • Referring to the celebration of 75 years of independence in 2022, he urged the people of the country to take a pledge to drive poverty, illiteracy, inequality, gender discrimination, corruption and all kinds of social evils that are in the way of realizing a new India of the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and every aspiring Indian.

Quit India Movement

  • The Quit India Movement also known as the August Movement, was a movement launched at the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee by Mahatma Gandhi on 8 August 1942, during World War II, demanding an end to British Rule of India.
  • The Cripps Mission had failed, and Gandhi made a call to Do or Die in his Quit India speech, followed by the launch of a mass protest demanding what Gandhi called “An Orderly British Withdrawal” from India.
  • Almost the entire leadership of the Indian National Congress was imprisoned without trial within hours of Gandhi’s speech.

Lack of Unity

  • The British had the support of the Viceroy’s Council (which had a majority of Indians), of the All India Muslim League, the princely states, the Indian Imperial Police, the British Indian Army, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Indian Civil Service.
  • Many Indian businessmen profiting from heavy wartime spending did NOT support the Quit India Movement.


  • Due to various reasons including effective arrests (over 100,000 arrests were made) by the British and lack of unity, the Quit India campaign was effectively crushed.
  • Many students paid more attention to Subhas Chandra Bose, who was in exile and supporting the Axis Powers.
  • The only outside support came from the Americans, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressured Prime Minister Winston Churchill to give in to some of the Indian demands.
  • The British refused to grant immediate independence, saying it could happen only after the war had ended.
March 2024