BJP and Quit India – Part II: Strong Opposition to Quit India from Congress Leaders

I repeat below the footnote to these pages (202 – 204) without comment. Except the line underlined for emphasis. The writer to repeat is Acharya Kripalani. Read the first part here.

Though the resolution was unanimously passed, I have an idea that some of the dissenting members had mental reservations, At least in one instance this was made abundantly clear. Dr. Mahmud from Ahmednagar Fort, after some time, wrote a letter to the Viceroy stating, among other things, that he had been against the resolution and had resigned from the Working Committee. On this he was released. I, as General Secretary, knew nothing about his resignation. Maulana Azad in his book, India Wins Freedom (p 96), says about this incident: “I later came to know the real reason, but after the lapse of so many years I do not think it necessary to go into the details of this unhappy incident’ From the perusal of this book it seems the Maulana himself had not wholeheartedly accepted the ‘Quit India’ resolution. This was also clear from the discussions we had at the Ahmednagar Fort, of which I shall have occasion to talk later.

The Maulana in his book (p. 75) also says that his opposition to the ‘Quit India’ resolution was only partially understood by Jawaharlal. He continues: ‘ the other members were generally content to follow Gandhi’s lead. Sardar Patel, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Acharya Kripalani had no clear idea about the war. They rarely tried to judge things on their own, and in any case they were accustomed to subordinate their judgment to Gandhi As such, discussion with them was almost useless  ” The Maulana’s opinion about Rajendra Babu and me may be correct, but to think that the Sardar uncritically followed Gandhiji is something that few who knew him would believe. My experience during those years was that we followed Gandhiji after understanding him, maybe through faith in his superior judgment. This is also a recognised way of learning and understanding. Some others had to follow Gandhiji without faith in his superior judgment and even intellectual understanding. I wish that we, the blind followers, had followed Gandhiji’s lead upto the last. If only we had done that, our country would not have been ‘vivisected’.

I do not want to enter into the controversy, about which Pyarelalji has already written, that Gandhiji wrote a letter to the Maulana asking him and Jawaharlal to resign. I have only to say that opposition to the *Quit India” resolution was not confined to Maulana Azad and Jawaharlal. Govind Ballabh Pant, Syed Mahmud and Asaf Ali held the same views and they expressed them. The controversy was not about violence and non-violence as the Maulana would have us believe. It was understood that the movement started by Gandhiji would be on the basis of non-violence. This was stated in the resolution itself. The controversy was about how our movement would be understood by America, Chma and Russia which had impressed on Britain the need to grant India sufficient freedom to be able to mobilise Indian help for the Allied cause. (emphasis mine) In his book (p. 73) the Maulana says : “In the first week of July, there was a meeting of the Working Committee at Wardha. I reached Wardha on July 5 and Gandhiji spoke to me for the first time about the ‘Quit India’ Movement.” It is sad that the Maulana should have forgotten the draft resolution m Hindi suggested by Gandhiji and brought by Mirabehn to the Working Committee meeting held in Allahabad from April 21 to May 1, 1942 and the part played by him, described by us earlier. Apart from the draft resolution Gandhiji had been educating the public about the ‘Quit India’ idea through the columns of Hanjan between the two Working Committee meetings, the one held at Allahabad and the other at Wardha.

 Other parts of this series:

1. BJP and Quit India – Part I: Congress’s Spokes in Gandhiji’s Wheels  – Click here to read.

2. BJP and Quit India – Part III: How Quit India panned out  – Click here to read.

3. BJP and Quit India – Part IV: Gandhiji’s stand on Violence during Quit India (To be Published Shortly)

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