Ep 10: It’s time: Quit India

1947: Road to Indian Independence

Aug 12 2022 • 40 mins

In 1939, the Second World War broke out in Europe. And India suddenly found itself as a participant in the war, on behalf of the allied powers. There was one problem — no Indian had been consulted. Indian nationalists were clear. They were opposed to Fascism in Europe, but wanted independence at home first. But, by this time, there were a range of other actors on the Indian political stage, from the Muslim League to Babasaheb Amedkar to VD Savarkar, who had their own approach to India and the war. In 1942, the Mahatma issued what was to become one of the most powerful and evocative slogans of the freedom struggle. He declared that it was time for the British to Quit India. The Quit India movement commenced, and saw a fierce British crackdown, in what was to become one of the final chapters of India’s freedom struggle. In this episode, the eminent historian Srinath Raghavan reconstructs India’s tremendous contribution to the war, the nationalist dilemma, the roots and impact of the movement, and how the war years Quit India hastened independence but also deepened India’s internal divisions.