Gandhiji was in the prison at Poona (Aga Khan Palace). He suffered endless agony for the activities that the British did to crush the Quit India Movement.
The British Government charged Gandhi that he and his congress party were responsible for all violence and disorder in the Country.
Beside Gandhi twelve top Congress leaders Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Vallabvai Patel, Govinda Ballabh Pant, Syed Mahmud, Acharya J.B. Kripalini, Sankar Rao Deo, Hare Krushna Mahatab, Prafulla Chandra Ghose, Pattabhi Sitaramaya, Asaf Ali and Acharya Narendra Dev continued to suffer in the Ahmadnagar Fort. The whole of the Congress remained inside the prison. Jinnah found it a golden opportunity to win over the Muslim masses to the cause of his Pakistan.
The Government stood firm behind Jinnah. Gandhiji being vexed with the treatment of the British Government decided to start another fast beginning from 10th February 1943 for three weeks. His condition became so grave that he was “very near death” Millions prayed for his life. Leading persons of the country sent appeals to Churchill to release him. But Churchill who was terribly afraid of Gandhi remained unmoved. Gandhi survived the entire fast.
The Government also refused for any negotiation unless the “Quit India Policy” was disavowed. This attitude forced three members of the Viceroy’s Executive Council, Homy Modi, N.R. Sarkar and M.S. Aney to resign. Jinnah declared the fast of Gandhi as a purely Hindu affair.
The country in the meanwhile passed through worst economic conditions because of the war and the manmade Famine in some parts of the country. Hundreds of thousands of people died during this period. Government remained callous even during this period of endless miseries. The sufferings of the people had crossed all limits. Lord Wavell the new Viceroy began his rule under depressing conditions from 20th October, 1943.
At that time Gandhi was in the Aga Khan Palace. In February 1944 Kasturba Gandhi, the wife of Mahatma fell seriously ill. The Government was so heartless that they showed no human feelings towards her needs and desires while she was on death bed. Gandhi had to see her death on 22nd February in a helpless way that shocked him. Very soon he fell seriously ill. By early May the doctors expressed grave fear that he might die at any moment. The Government considered it a serious risk if Gandhi would die as a prisoner in British hands.
The Viceroy therefore ordered for the release of Gandhi on 6th May 1944 unconditionally. Gandhi recovered very quickly. His presence outside the jail generated a new hope in the minds of the people. He declared “The August resolution is still there, I cannot alter nor do I wish to alter a single comma in that resolution.” Common people as well as revolutionaries looked at him with high hope for a fresh directive. From outside India even Subhash Chandra Bose, who on a point differed from Gandhiji’s principle appealed him over the radio in July 1944 with the words “Mahatmaji, For Indians outside India you are the creator of the present awakening in our country.
India’s last war of independence has begun. Troops of Azad Hind Fauj are now fighting bravely on the soil of India and in spite of all difficulty and hardship they are pushing forward slowly but steadily—Father of our nation. In this wholly war of India’s liberation we ask for your blessing and good wishes.”
India was wasting time while the Japanese were knocking at her doors. Communal tension was rising. The political deadlock continued and India’s destiny seemed drifting to the land of the unknown. Prices were mounting up causing misery and wretchedness. Black marketers and profiteers operated in the open market and carried on their nefarious activities of money collection-in-spite of Government ordinances. Such was the picture of India in 1944.