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Quit India

This study guide will help you analyse the speech “Quit India” by Mahatma Gandhi. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the main topics, speaker, audience, language, and circumstances. We will also give you an idea of Gandhi’s intention with the speech.

Presentation of the speech

Title: Quit India
Speaker: Mahatma Gandhi
Context: This speech was held in front of the All India Congress Committee at Bombay (now Mumbai)
When: 8th of August, 1942

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was an Indian activist and the leader of the Indian independence movement against the rule of the British Empire. He lived for some time in South Africa where he used civil disobedience to fight for the Indian community’s rights in the country.

The first two parts of the “Quit India” speech were originally delivered in Hindustani and later translated into English. Only the third part was originally delivered in English. Next, you can find the summary of all three parts of “Quit India” and an analysis of the first and third parts of the speech.

Excerpt

Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

Non-violent movement

In “Quit India”, Mahatma Gandhi advocates for a non-violent movement for India’s independence from the British Empire. He invokes one of the cardinal virtues in Indian religions, Ahimsa, as a motivation for all his actions and words. Ahimsa represents non-violence and an intention to avoid causing injury through thoughts, words, or actions. He claims that the entire independence movement is based on the principle of Ahimsa, and, therefore, people who do not follow this principle should not engage in the movement: “If, therefore, there is any among you who has lost faith in Ahimsa or is wearied of it, let him not vote for this resolution”.

Furthermore, invoking the principle of Himsa, or harm (the opposite of Ahimsa), Gandhi states that God will punish him if he perpetuates the spread of violence in the world: “If in the present crisis, when the earth is being scorched by the flames of Himsa and crying for deliverance, I failed to make use of the God given talent, God will not forgive me”.

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Quit India

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