1. Question for UPSC Mains: Freedom Struggle
  2. Introduction: Origin of Quit India Movement (QIM)
  3. Alt. Introduction
    1. Body#1: Features of the planned movements of INC
    2. Body#2: However, QIM was different
    3. Body#3: Even Non-Congress leaders not coordinating
  4. Conclusion
  5. Self-Assessment Benchmarks & Common Mistakes

Question for UPSC Mains: Freedom Struggle

  • Q. “The Quit India Movement was more of a spontaneous revolt  than a planned movement  of Congress.” Discuss.  (250 words, 15m)
  • “हिंद छोड़ो आंदोलन कोंग्रेस की योजनाबद्ध मुहीम से ज्यादा एक  स्वयंस्फुरित विद्रोह था”. चर्चा कीजिए.

Approach to the Answer

  • First, Self Study the book Plassey to Partition Ch 8.1 or Bipan Chandra’s India’s struggle for Independence ch.35
  • Then write the answer on a blank page with 1” margins on each side.
  • Then, Watch my Youtube video to study the model Answer structure & list of common mistakes in this question, including benchmarks for self-assessment of your answer.

Introduction: Origin of Quit India Movement (QIM)

  • During freedom struggle, Gandhi & Indian National Congress (INC) launched 3 major mass movements against British:
  • (i) 1920-22: Non-cooperation Movement (NCM)
  • (ii) 1930-34: Civil Disobedience movement. (CDM)
  • (iii) 1942-44: Quit India movement (QIM)

Compared to the first two planned movements of the Congress, QIM was peculiar / different in following manner: <… body>

When mentioning the abbreviations for the first time, give their full forms NCM, CDM, QIM.

Alt. Introduction

  • After the failure of the Cripps Mission, Mahatma Gandhi had decided to launch his third major campaigns against the British rule.
  • This ‘Quit India Movement’ (QIM) began in August 1942.
  • Compared to his first two planned movements, the QIM was peculiar / different in following manner: <… body>

Body#1: Features of the planned movements of INC

  • Whenever INC launched a movement, it was first approved & announced at a session:
  • Such as NCM in Nagpur session (1920)
  • CDM in Lahore session (1929)
  • They’ll chalk out the strategy, distribute the tasks. When senior leaders are arrested, movement would continue by the younger generation leaders.
  • Example: CDM- Abbas Tyabji & Kasturba arrested before reaching Dharasana salt pan. But, march continued by Sarojini Naidu.
  • In the similar fashion, QIM was approved by Congress Committee at Bombay on 8th August 1942. On the same day, Gandhi gave his call of ‘do or die’.
  • However, Gandhi and all other important senior leaders of INC were arrested on 8th and 9th August.
  • Still, Jayaprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia, Biju Patnaik, Sucheta Kriplani, Aruna Asaf Ali, Usha Mehta (Congress radio) and other leaders of younger generation carried on the agitation.

To earn more marks, you’ve to sprinkle the factual masala. Leaders names are necessary.

Body#2: However, QIM was different

Quit India Movement and Congress

  • but QIM  movement was marked with unprecedented violence & underground activities. E.g. removing railway tracks, looting treasury, blowing up bridges, burning post-office & police stations, cutting telephone lines- which is not a characteristic of planned Gandhian movement.
  • Parallel governments were setup in many parts of countries. Bengal: Jatiya Sarkar; Maharashtra: Prati Sarkar.
  • It proves that while Congress and Gandhi enjoyed symbolic legitimacy over the movement, but they had little control over these activities done by local groups on their own volition & initiative.

Body#3: Even Non-Congress leaders were not coordinating it after launch

  • Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League supported British war efforts.
  • Since Soviet Russia joined the Allied forces, Communist Party of India did not join QIM because this ‘Imperial war’ had become a ‘People’s war’! Although mill-owners and workers joined in some parts.
  • Dr B.R. Ambedkar had recently joined Viceroy’s executive council as labour member & did not join QIM.

It shows that neither the jailed Congress leaders, nor the non-Congress leaders were coordinating the QIM once it was launched on the 8th August.


  • Thus, despite the lack of centralized planning and coordination, Indians actively participated in large numbers.
  • Lord Linlithgow had to use the help of army and arrest over 90,000 Indians to crush this movement.
  • Therefore, some of the historians argue that QIM more of a spontaneous revolt than a planned movement of Congress.

Self-Assessment Benchmarks & Common Mistakes

UPSC: Quit India Movement

15 Marks Question: Give yourself no less than 0 marks, and no more than 8 marks. Use the following benchmarks:
Parameter Marks Benchmarks
Introduction and conclusion 0-2
  • 0: if started with longwinded bowling from CDS, Dandi, Gandhi-Irwin, 2nd RTC or gave lengthy explanation of why Cripps Mission had failed.
Conclusion 0-2
  • 0: if finished the conclusion in a single simple line- “…thus QIM was very successful which ultimately led to freedom of India”.
  • You’ve to conclude the answer with keywords – “planned / spontaneous?”
Body 1 to 4 marks
  • Not more than 1 mark: If no leaders other than Gandhi mentioned.
Logical structure 0 to 1
  • 0 if simply narrated the events that “Gandhi gave do or die, he was arrested yet juntaa participated in large numbers, it was very successful.” This linear narration is not asked. You’ve to prove how planned / spontaneous this movement was?
Concise expression -1 to 1
  • (-1) if long explanation of why Cripps Mission failed.
Language -1 to 0
  • (-1) if appearing in vernacular medium, and yet used English terms such as “अंडरग्राउंड, मिलिट्री, अरेस्ट, लीडर”, instead of writing their proper translations.
Total Marks out of 15 0 to 8
  • Don’t give yourself more than 4 marks: if conclusion doesn’t contain keywords from the question. No factoids, No leaders, no comparison. Simple narration: people participated in large numbers.
  • Give yourself upto 8 marks: if proper introduction and conclusion, with logical structuring of how QIM was started- its elements of planning and elements of spontaneity, sprinkled with the factoids masala.

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