The Quit India Movement, also called the India August Movement or the August Kranti (literally August Revolution), was a landmark event in India’s long journey towards independence. On this day, August 8, exactly 75 years ago, Mahatma Gandhi stood and delivered his speech and message of ‘Do or Die’ in Mumbai, then called Bombay. And while it failed in some ways, partly due to the opposition of the RSS and Muslim League, the movement was crucial in making the British realize that India would be ungovernable in the future. Here, then, are some places in India that are closely linked to the Quit India Movement. ALSO READ: August Kranti Day: The history of August Kranti Maidan in Mumbai
Aga Khan Palace, Pune
Aga Khan Palace in Pune
The grand palace was built by Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III, the reigning sultan, in 1892. And while it still holds the name of its original ruler, the palace today is more closely associated with the Indian independence movement. Hours after Gandhi declared the movement and called on Indians to protest against the British, he and other senior Congress leaders and freedom fighters were arrested. They would be cut off from the world for three years, leading to a power vacuum outside. Mahatma Gandhi’s wife Kasturba Gandhi and his personal secretary Mahadev Desai died within months, and you can find their memorials within the grounds, along with one dedicated to Gandhi himself. You can also find some personal items used by Gandhi during his time here.
Mani Bhavan, Mumbai
Mani Bhavan in Mumbai
While Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat remains the most important of Gandhi’s homes during his life in India, the Mani Bhavan in Mumbai also holds a special place. The place was his headquarters during the seven years he spent in the city, and it is here that he worked on the Satyagraha movement opposing the Rowlatt Act. He also initiated the Swadeshi, Khilafat and Khadi movements from here, where he resided until 1934. The house, which at the time was owned by his friend Revashankar Jagjeevan Jhaveri, is today a museum and public space dedicated to the leader. Here, you can visit the room where Gandhi stayed, see photographs from his time in the house, access the library hall and visit the terrace where he would be arrested on January 4, 1932.
Gandhi Memorial Pillar in Champaran, Patna
Gandhi Memorial, Champaran
Champaran in Bihar is a historic place; it is where Gandhi began his contributions towards the Indian freedom struggle. In 1916, decades before the August Revolution, Gandhi was urged by an indigo cultivator to visit the district and see the plight of the farmers who were being forced to grow indigo or opium in some parts of their land. Moved by what he saw, Gandhi would take up the cause of the farmers, beginning the Champaran Satyagraha. His opposition against the British would cause him to be summoned before the court in Patna. The place where he stood to defend the rights of Champaran’s farmers is now marked by the Gandhi Memorial Pillar, a 48-foot stone pillar by Nandilal Bose, the famed Shantiniketan artist. You can also visit the museum where there are relics and photos of the movement. CHECK OUT: Maratha Kranti Morcha in Mumbai: Here’s Why You Should Avoid Traveling to South Mumbai Today
Netaji Bhawan, Kolkata
While the August Kranti was taking place in India, there was another movement happening in the east with the same motive of freeing the country from the British. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who had escaped house arrest in 1941, was leading the Indian National Army with the support of the Japanese Empire and Nazi Germany. His ancestral home in Kolkata that he escaped from is now the Netaji Bhawan, a museum that houses important memorabilia of the valiant freedom fighter. Some of its rooms still look just as it did in the 1940s, including the getaway car that is in the driveway. You can see the staircase that was used for Netaji’s secret escape from his house as well. The home was built by his father, Janakinath Bose, in 1909.
Dandi, Photograph: Gujarat Tourism
The small village of Dandi, off the coast of the Khambhat gulf, is the site of one of the most important moments in Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement preceding the August Kranti revolution by 12 years. Gandhi led a march of his followers and freedom fighters from his home in Sabarmati Ashram on March 12, reaching Dandi on April 6 to protest against the British salt tax. The incident started off the civil disobedience movement that was the crux of the Quit India Movement, and it is considered one of the most influential protests in the world ever. Gandhi famously said that salt, next to air and water, is perhaps the greatest necessity in life. The 24-day journey saw him traverse 390 km by foot to produce salt without paying tax.
Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit Pathshala, Mumbai
‘Nations by themselves are made’, that was what Allan Hume laid the foundation for the Indian National Congress, the political party that would lead the Quit India Movement. The year 1885 marked the first session of the Congress in the Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit Pathshala in Mumbai. Located near the Gowalia tank that later became the August Kranti Maidan, the school is now a private hall managed by Sheth Gokuldas Tejpal Charities. There is no evidence of the place’s legacy as the starting point of the Congress, save for a small old plaque on the façade of what is now called the Mathuradas Vissanji Memorial Hall. ALSO READ: Five places associated with Indian freedom struggle
Gowalia Tank Maidan
August kranti maidan, Photograph Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
The Gowalia Tank garden, now called the August Kranti garden, was where it all began. This is where Gandhi stood with other Congress leaders to declare the Quit India movement, electrifying the nation. After decades of taking a moderate stance that supported coexistence of British and Indian leadership, the Congress demanded complete freedom from the British. The response from the British Raj was swift and brutal, but not before the tricolor was hoisted at the garden for the first time. In the end, more than one lakh people were arrested, and many of the leaders, including Gandhi, were not released until the end of the World War II, three years later.