Quit India Movement and Bihar

The Quit India movement of 1942 was one of the greatest upsurges of modern history. Bihar played a decisive role in the movement in the face of most ruthless repression. The Congress Working Committee passed a resolution on August 5, 1942 in Bombay, later called the Quit India Resolution, which demanded the withdrawal of the British power from India. This resolution was fully endorsed by the All-India Congress Committee held at Bombay on August 7 and 8, 1942. It was here that Mahatma Gandhi gave the famous slogan of “Do or Die”.

To prevent the outbreak of mass civil disobedience, the Government, in then early hours of August 9, arrested Mahatma Gandhi and all members of the CWC. In Bihar too, many nationalists were arrested. The District Magistrate of Patna W. G. Archer arrested Rajendra Prasad and he was sent to Bankipur jail. The advocate general Baldeva Sahay resigned from his office in protest to Govt. repression. Phulan Prasad Verma, Shrikrishna Sinha, Anugraha Narayan Sinha and some other leaders were also arrested.

The repression inflicted by the government failed to check mass upheaval. The students played a heroic role in this freedom movement. On August 11, a band of students marched in order to hoist the national flag on the building of the Patna secretariat. Under the orders of the District Magistrate W.G. Archer, the thirteen or fourteen rounds were fired in which seven students were killed and several were injured. The seven students martyrs were:

NameDistrict School/College
Umakant SinhaSaranRammohan Roy Seminary
Ramanand SinghPatnaRammohan Roy Seminary
Jagatpati KumarGayaBN College
Satish Prasad JhaBhagalpur Patna College Patna
Devipada ChoudharyBhagalpur Millar High School
Rajendra SinghSaranPatna High School
Ram Govind SinghPatnaPunpun High School

As a result of this incident, a widespread upheaval broke out spontaneously. There was a complete strike in Patna on August 12. The same evening a meeting was organised by Jagat Narayan Lal, in which it was decided to cripple the government machinery. To paralyse the administration, the agitators uprooted railways lines, damaged telegraphs wires and telephones, burnt police stations, seized post offices and other government buildings.

The government did not hesitate in using any method of repression to suppress the movement. There was a large scale arrests and imprisonments. Some areas were placed under the control of military.

By October-November, 1942, the movement lost its momentum, but was not yet completely over. The movement went underground and many patriots of Bihar went to Nepal Terai.

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