Quiet lessons from Quit India Movement!
End British rule was the sole aim of our nation 75 years ago. In the month of August, 1942 a movement was launched at the Bombay Session of the All India Committee by Mahatma Gandhi demanding freedom from Britishers.The movement was “Quit India Movement” also known as “India August Movement”.
When it comes to the art of influencing people, commanding the desired response, making each one the master of one’s life, creative thinking, effective communication and getting things done, a lot of reference can be drawn from Mahatma Gandhi’s speech on the eve of launch of Quit India Movement. Here is an attempt (purely based on my understanding) to draw some analogies from the excerpts of his speech which according to me are relevant even today.
The father of our Nation very subtly but with assertion empowered the attendees of the speech by placing them in the authoritative position of approving his view point. This is an exceptional quality of a leader wherein he was treating the people the way they wanted to be treated.
Let us have a look at the statement which he expressed…
“I want you to understand things very clearly and to consider them from the same point of view from which I am placing them before you. I ask you to consider it from my point of view, because if you approve of it, you will be enjoined to carry out all I say”.
A supreme level Emotional Intelligence was experienced by the crowd when he shared his idea to stop hating Britishers. He manifested the larger picture of this struggle for freedom. He brought everyone’s focus back to the real issue of imperialism and not the Britishers per se. Moreover, he even shared the futuristic consequences of this hatred for Britishers. A true leader has the capability to bring the team back on the right track and reiterate the vision.
Let us revisit his words…
“Then, there is the question of your attitude towards the British. I have noticed that there is hatred towards the British among the people. The people say, they are disgusted with their behavior. The people make no distinction between British imperialism and the British people. To them, the two are one. This hatred would even make them welcome the Japanese. It is most dangerous. It means that they will exchange one slavery for another. We must get rid of this feeling. Our quarrel is not with the British people, we fight their imperialism. The proposal for the withdrawal of British power did not come out of anger. It came to enable India to play its due part at the present critical juncture”
His passionate voice and illuminating words moved people when he catered to the big “What is in it for me?” question lingering in everybody’s mind. He made everyone an active participant and the torch bearer. He reinstated the faith in the quote “A Leader creates more leaders”.
The words that empowered every individual were…
“In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by non-violence, there will be equal freedom for all. Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such democracy that I invite you today. Every Indian who desires freedom and strives for it must be his own guide. Let every Indian consider himself to be a free man.”
In spite of getting people on the same platform with a common objective the “Quit India Movement” was easily crushed by the Britishers. The single most reason was weak coordination and no clear-cut plan of action. This brings us to a very important lesson to be learnt.
Collaboration and a well-defined execution strategy are of paramount importance to successfully achieve an objective.
However, despite of its flaws, the Quit India Movement is of utmost significance in the struggle to achieve freedom. It was this movement which made Britishers realize that they would not be able to govern India successfully in the long run. Post this movement Britishers began to think of ways to exit India in a peaceful and dignified manner.