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Copy of Quit India: Mahatma Gandhi Speech

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Hasso Maehling

on 13 February 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Quit India: Mahatma Gandhi Speech

Quit India: Mahatma Gandhi About Gandhi: In 1914, Gandhi returned to India where he supported the Home Rule movement, and became leader of the Indian National Congress, advocating a policy of non-violent non-co-operation to achieve independence. His goal was to help poor farmers and laborers protest oppressive taxation and discrimination. He struggled to alleviate poverty, liberate women and put an end to caste discrimination with the ultimate objective being self-rule for India. In 1946, he negotiated with the Cabinet Mission which recommended the new constitutional structure. After independence he tried to stop the Hindu-Muslim conflict in Bengal, a policy which led to his assassination in Delhi by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu fanatic. On January 30, 1948, the 78-year-old Gandhi began the walk to Birla House for a prayer meeting. A crowd had surrounded him as he walked, being supported by two of his grandnieces. In front of him, a young Hindu named, Nathuram Godse, stopped before him and bowed. Gandhi bowed back. Godse then rushed forward and shot Gandhi three times with a black, semi-automatic pistol. Although Gandhi had survived five other assassination attempts, this time, Gandhi fell to the ground, dead. Occasions like the present do not occur in everybody's and but rarely in anybody's life. I want you to know and feel that there is nothing but purest Ahimsa1 in all that I am saying and doing today. The draft resolution of the Working Committee is based on Ahimsa, the contemplated struggle similarly has its roots in Ahimsa. If, therefore, there is any among you who has lost faith in Ahimsa or is wearied of it, let him not vote for this resolution.

Let me explain my position clearly. God has vouchsafed to me a priceless gift in the weapon of Ahimsa. I and my Ahimsa are on our trail today. If in the present crisis, when the earth is being scorched by the flames of Himsa2 and crying for deliverance, I failed to make use of the God given talent, God will not forgive me and I shall be judged un-wrongly of the great gift. I must act now. I may not hesitate and merely look on, when Russia and China are threatened.

Ours is not a drive for power, but purely a non-violent fight for India's independence. In a violent struggle, a successful general has been often known to effect a military coup and to set up a dictatorship. But under the Congress scheme of things, essentially non-violent as it is, there can be no room for dictatorship. A non-violent soldier of freedom will covet nothing for himself, he fights only for the freedom of his country. The Congress is unconcerned as to who will rule, when freedom is attained. The power, when it comes, will belong to the people of India, and it will be for them to decide to whom it placed in the entrusted. May be that the reins will be placed in the hands of the Parsis, for instance-as I would love to see happen-or they may be handed to some others whose names are not heard in the Congress today. It will not be for you then to object saying, 'This community is microscopic. That party did not play its due part in the freedom's struggle; why should it have all the power?' Ever since its inception the Congress has kept itself meticulously free of the communal taint. It has thought always in terms of the whole nation and has acted accordingly ...

I know how imperfect our Ahimsa is and how far away we are still from the ideal, but in Ahimsa there is no final failure or defeat. I have faith, therefore, that if, in spite of our shortcomings, the big thing does happen, it will be because God wanted to help us by crowning with success our silent, unremitting Sadhana1 for the last twenty-two years.

I believe that in the history of the world, there has not been a more genuinely democratic struggle for freedom than ours. I read Carlyle's French Resolution while I was in prison, and Pandit Jawaharlal has told me something about the Russian revolution. But it is my conviction that inasmuch as these struggles were fought with the weapon of violence they failed to realize the democratic ideal. In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by non-violence, there will be equal freedom for all. Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such democracy that I invite you today. Once you realize this you will forget the differences between the Hindus and Muslims, and think of yourselves as Indians only, engaged in the common struggle for independence. "Quit India" Excerpt At the outbreak of war in 1939 between Britain and Germany, India was also declared to be at war with Germany as it constituted part of the British empire. The Congress took the view that while it opposed fascism, it could render no support to the British either. It was not with the consent of the Indian people that India was dragged into the war, nor was this India's war; moreover, the Congress expected, but could not secure, an unconditional offer of British withdrawal from India as a condition of its support. Consequently, neutrality was the official policy of the Congress. How the Movement Came About In an effort to bring the British to the negotiating table, Gandhi launched his 'Quit India' movement in August 1942, and issued from a large meeting ground in Bombay the famous call to 'do or die': Indians were to wage one last struggle to achieve independence, or die in that attempt. Elaborate plans were made to offer non-violent resistance; however, almost the entire Congress leadership, and not merely at the national level, was put into confinement less than twenty-four hours after Gandhi's speech, and the greater number of the Congress leaders were to spend the rest of the war in jail. During the evening of August 8th, 1942 Mohandas Gandhi delivered the famous “Quit India” speech to the All India Congress Committee. The speech consisted of an appeal for a mass civil-disobedience movement to take place by the people. A movement to disengage the country from grasp of British Imperialism. He addresses the Indian people to direct the hatred and anger to the British Imperialists towards carrying out non violent acts of disobedience as non-violence was the key to the freedom of the country. Summary The 'Quit India' movement was followed, nonetheless, by large-scale violence directed at railway stations, telegraph offices, government buildings, and other emblems and institutions of colonial rule. There were widespread acts of sabotage, and the government held Gandhi responsible for these acts of violence, suggesting that they were a deliberate act of Congress policy. Gandhi had arrived at the point in his life where he was determined to see India attain independence during his lifetime. Others have suggested that the 'Quit India' movement was a failure in that it invited the government to unleash repression, and therefore led to the incarceration of the Congress leadership. The 'Quit India' movement remains, in any event, among the most controversial episodes in Gandhi's life and modern Indian history. Gandhi used specific language cues when he addressed the Indian people, like directing the hatred and anger to the British Imperialists towards carrying out non violent acts of disobedience, non-violence was the key to the freedom of the country, and how Muslims and Hindus have to disregard their differences with each other to band together against the British. He made inferences that the people could relate to and used real situations when addressing the speech. This had a large impact on the people to fight the British Imperialists in non-violent ways. Language? "Quit India Movement". http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/History/Gandhi/Quit.html. 9 October, 2012.
"Mahatma Gandhi". http://www.biography.com/people/mahatma-gandhi-9305898. October 2012.
"The Quit India Speech – 1942". http://www.wordpower.ws/speeches/gandhi-quit-india.html. 2002. Works Cited
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