This talk shall look at the years 1940-42 in Bengal, with a view to analyse the social fuel that made the Quit India Movement possible in the province. Wartime colonial policies created multiple disruptions and intrusions in the lives of the people of Bengal, building up anxieties and mass discontent. Coupled with widespread rumours, this profoundly reconfigured the image of the colonial state. The paper attempts to tap into the psyche of colonised minds in the early stages of the war in Bengal, which began to question British invincibility in the face of serious reverses on the Eastern Front. When a potent mix of mass discontentment and rumour was combined with ‘revolutionary’ political activism in the countryside, it acted as an explosive catalyst, animating the Quit India movement.
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