It was the agitated mass particularly the young and more militant cadres with Socialist leanings devoid of leadership who launched the movement.
All over the country there were hartals, strikes in factories, schools and colleges and demonstrations. Angered by repeated firings and repression, people in many places resorted to violence and attacked the symbols of authority.
Public participation and overall response:
1. Parallel Governments were established in Satara (Pranti Sarkar under Nana Patil), Talcher (Orissa), parts of eastern U.P. and Bihar.
2. In Bengal, Tamluk Jatiya Sarkar functioned in Midnapore district. This national government had various departments like Law and Order, Health, Education, Agriculture, etc. along with a postal system of its own and arbitration courts.
3. In Bombay, the Socialist leaders continued their underground activities under leaders like Aruna Asaf Ali.
The most daring act of the underground movement was the establishment of Congress Radio with Usha Mehta as its announcer.
4. The Movement had initially been strong in the urban areas but soon it was the populace of rural areas, which kept the banner of revolt aloft for a longer time.
5. The trend of underground revolutionary activity also started during this phase. Jai Prakash Narayan escaped from Hazaribagh Jail and organized an underground movement.
6. The participation was on many levels, school and college students remained in the forefront, women actively participated and workers went on strikes.
Though, peasants concentrated their offence on symbols of authority, there was complete absence of anti-zamindar violence.
7. There were no communal clashes during the movement.
8. Repression was severe.
9. The Movement did not evoke much response from the merchant community.
10. The Muslim League kept aloof and the Hindu Mahasabha condemned the Movement.
11. The Communist Party of India did not support the movement.
12. The Indian Princes and the landlords were supporting the War effort and therefore did not sympathize with the movement.
13. Some Congress leaders like Rajagopalachari also did not participate.