without the transfer of de facto power and responsibility the change
contemplated would not be of any significance. Therefore, it demanded
satisfactory assurances on the question of the proposed ‘National
government’. When none of the demands was met, Gandhi finally rejected it
by terming it as ‘a postdated cheque on a crashing bank’.
Ultimately, Cripps was repudiated by his own government both on the
question of a ‘National’ government and on Defence. It would, in fact, appear
that in sending him the principal objective had been to win over public
opinion. For it had no intention to transfer power to Indian hands, but felt
impelled to take the risks in response to heavy pressures from their wartime
It is not surprising that only the Muslim League welcomed the Cripps
scheme, while most of the other political parties—the Akalis, the Hindu
Mahasabha, the National Liberal Federation and the Indian Christians—were
opposed to it.
Quit India Movement or Revolt of 1942
• The new popular mood of August 1942 was caused by the rout of the
British by the Japanese in South East Asia. The people came to
believe firmly that the British rule was ending.
• The steeply rising inflation and the acute shortage of foodstuffs
caused by the war had a major role. The British, who were
successfully managing the war economy at home, did not make any
serious effort to do the same in India. The arrogant behavior of most
of the foreign soldiers (British, American and Australian) stationed in
India added fuel to the fire.
• Calculations by the Congress leaders, a majority of whom including
Gandhi, began to calculate India’s national interest in the event of an
Allied defeat, which was very much on the cards in the mid-1942.
• British provocation before the passage of the Quit India resolution
and their policy of wholesale repression after its passage by the
congress were equally responsible for the Revolt of 1942.