In India, the phrase "put down one's papers" means to submit one's resignation at a workplace. Is this usage universal? I suspect this is Indian.
Is this usage universal?
I've not ever heard or seen it used in the UK. People in the UK would mostly say "he gave notice", "he quit", "he resigned" or "he handed in his resignation".
Yes, this is “Made in India”. In fact I know the Indian guy who actually wordsmith this phrase. His name is Deepak Garg and he wordsmith this phrase when he resigned from his job in Bangalore in 2008. That time only he admitted to making up that phrase on his own.
Soon after he used that phrase, it was commonly used all over his workplace and gradually spread to the entire city.
I have heard this phrase used in India way back in 2003, when I resigned - my boss had asked me," Why are you putting in your papers?". So the usage must have started in early part of last decade, perhaps even earlier than that.