AIOU Course 538-2: Genesis of Pakistan Movement (538) Semester: Autumn, 2022

AIOU Course 538-2: Genesis of Pakistan Movement (538) Semester: Autumn, 2022

Course: Genesis of Pakistan Movement (538)              Semester: Autumn, 2022

Level: M.Sc













The 1947 partition of South Asia has had lasting repercussions not only for the region, but also for the larger international community. Border tensions between India and Pakistan have taken on a new magnitude since both countries carried out nuclear tests in May 1998. Surprisingly, historians have paid little attention to the creation of the Indo-Pakistani boundary, a key element of the 1947 division.1 This article analyzes the problematic procedure and format of the body responsible for delineating that boundary through the province of Punjab, the Radcliffe Boundary Commission.2 It is part of a larger project that will examine links between the boundary-making process and the repercussions of partition, particularly mass violence. The commission takes its name from its chairman, Sir Cyril Radcliffe. In the end, his boundary-making effort was a failure in terms of boundary-making, but a striking success in terms of providing political cover to all sides. The British seized the opportunity to withdraw from their onerous Indian responsibilities as quickly as possible; the Indian National Congress, the avowedly secular but primarily Hindu party headed by Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, took control of India, as it had desired for so long. The Muslim League, which claimed to represent South Asia’s Muslims and was led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, won Pakistan, the sovereign Muslim state for which it had campaigned.

Although the British had, in 1946, considered leaving India piecemeal, transferring power to individual provences as they withdrew, they concluded that such an approach was impractical. without defining the entity or entities that would come into power, they concluded that such an approach was impractical. It would not be possible to hand over power without making it clear what international entity would take on that power; in order to define a new international entity, a new boundary was necessary. From a certain perspective, however, a rigorously and properly delineated boundary was not necessary to accomplish these political ends—any boundary line would do. Due to this fact and to a myriad of political pressures, the Radcliffe Commission failed to draw a geopolitically sound line delineated and demarcated in accordance with accepted international procedure. The Punjab’s population distribution was such that there was no line that could neatly divide Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. Radcliffe’s line was far from perfect, but it is important to note that alternative borders would not necessarily have provided a significant improvement. There is, in contrast, a great deal to be said about flaws in the boundary-making procedure—and why those flaws existed.Significance
This territorial division is significant on multiple levels. As an episode in imperial history, it marked the beginning of a global trend towards decolonization. For South Asian history, it meant independence for India and Pakistan. Unfortunately, it also inaugurated Indo-Pakistani tension. Conflict between Hindus and Muslims had existed on the subcontinent, to a greater or lesser degree, for many centuries, but the partition brought that conflict to the international level—and exacerbated it. The results include three wars, in 1948, 1965, and 1971, as well as the Kargil conflict of 1999. The problem of Indo-Pakistani tension took on greater urgency when both India and Pakistan tested their nuclear weapons in May 1998, and current events in South Asia demonstrate the need for continued attention to and greater understanding of this vital region.

How did this division intensify the very conflict it was intended to resolve? Part of the answer lies in the drawing of the boundary. My primary goal is to clarify and analyze the boundary-making process, but having identified specific flaws in this division, I hope to lay them out in terms that might be useful for decision-makers considering partition as a tool to resolve conflict in other regions of the world.

Because this project focuses on a controversial episode, which reasonable historians describe differently according to their own national or political biases, my first research priority was balancing these varied perspectives. Accordingly, I gathered archival material and conducted interviews in England, Pakistan, and India. In all three countries, I focused on government documents, examining material relating to the work of the Radcliffe Commission and to the repercussions of the Radcliffe Line. I also examined private papers, mostly of British officials serving the raj, but also, where accessible, the papers of Indian and Pakistani leaders. Regrettably, Radcliffe destroyed all his papers before he left India—in keeping, his biographer claims, with a lifelong habit of discarding material he no longer needed.3 As a result, it may be impossible ever to clarify Radcliffe’s thinking completely. I have attempted to compensate through archival research and through interviews with Radcliffe’s stepson and executor, with his private secretary on the Boundary Commission, and with the last surviving Pakistani official associated with the Punjab Boundary Commission.

This research explores the balance between structural influences and the role of individuals. My story centers on a small number of individuals: Radcliffe, the man who had responsibility for the boundary line; Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India; Nehru and Patel, leaders of the Indian National Congress; and Jinnah, head of the Muslim League. But my argument also has a great deal to do with the sweeping drives of British imperialism, Indian and Pakistani nationalism, and decolonization. My conclusions about the forces that shaped the Indo-Pakistani boundary would seem to support a structural approach, but the lessons of this particular division could be read another way. If at any point enough individuals had decided to take another path—for example, if Radcliffe had withdrawn his services once he reached India and was informed of the August 15 deadline—the outcome could have been dramatically different. Alternatively, if the key individuals had had different backgrounds—for example, if all the Indian leaders had not been lawyers, but rather businessmen or engineers—the outcome could again have been very different. The story of the Radcliffe Commission concerns individuals attempting to do what they saw as best, and as a result both bowing to and struggling against the pressures of larger structural forces.

Historical Context
The 1947 partition was shaped not only by decades of Indian nationalist pressure on the British Government and by the rise of civil unrest in the subcontinent after World War Two, but also by Britain’s precarious economic position in the aftermath of the war. After nearly two centuries as an economic asset, British India had become a liability at a time when Britain could least afford it. In addition, American pressure to decolonize the subcontinent influenced both international and British domestic opinion against the raj. British India became a political and symbolic liability as well as an economic problem. These factors, combined with domestic political considerations for the newly elected Labour Party, meant that ridding itself of its responsibilities in India suddenly became a priority to His Majesty’s Government (HMG).

However, Indian independence had not always been such an urgent goal for the British Government. The first half of the twentieth century saw a series of small steps towards self-government in South Asia. Traditional imperialist historiography holds that these ventures marked carefully incremented progress, part of the process of training Indians to govern themselves. Other interpretations, including but not confined to South Asian nationalist schools, argue that these steps were actually sops intended to keep nationalists satisfied enough to prevent a more serious threat to British rule.5 This view holds that HMG had no intention of letting go its “jewel in the crown”—until it had no choice.

Many historians, imperialist and nationalist alike, trace the roots of partition to the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909. These changes increased Indian participation in their own governance, anticipating an eventual move to self-rule.6 By creating separate electorates for different religious groups, however, these reforms also “embed[ded] deeply in Indian life the idea that its society consisted of groups set apart from each other. . . . The result was the flowering of a new communal rhetoric, and ultimately, of the Pakistan movement.” Politicians found religious rhetoric useful for rallying support, with dangerous results. The elections of 1937 and 1945-46, in which both Congress and the Muslim League rhetoric played on communal themes, provided further evidence of a lack of political cooperation at the highest levels.

With the onset of the Second World War, the Government of India found itself in a difficult position. HMG declared war on India’s behalf, without even a pretense of consulting Indian leaders. Indian politicians and public opinion were outraged. The prospect of civil unrest loomed.8 In 1942, with the Allies in urgent need of a reliable Indian base, Churchill dispatched Sir Stafford Cripps to India at the head of a Cabinet delegation charged with exploring the possibility of self-government after the war. Cripps offered an implicit promise that if India fought in World War II it would be granted freedom; Congress rejected this offer with Gandhi’s memorable phrase that it was a “post-dated cheque on a bank that was failing.”9 In the aftermath of Cripps’s failed mission, Gandhi launched the “Quit India” movement, which the British repressed violently. Most Indians subsided into more or less supportive attitudes

With the end of the war, Indian leaders and people alike expected to be repaid, with independence, for their wartime backing. In Britain, the Conservatives were voted out and the Labour Party took power, under Clement Attlee. Meanwhile, the India Office was losing patience with its viceroy, Lord Wavell. Relations between the India Office and Wavell had been steadily worsening throughout 1946. Wavell, a career military man whose stolid exterior concealed a bent for writing poetry, had been viceroy of India since 1943. Left with the difficult job of guiding India through treacherous post-war waters, he sent increasingly blunt warnings to London that their Indian policies were misguided and inadequate to the challenges ahead. Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Britain’s Secretary of State for India, resented these warnings and paid less attention to them as time went on. In particular, Wavell’s outline of potential partition boundaries, the first serious discussion of the issue, received little attention. However, Wavell’s “Breakdown Plan,” calling for a withdrawal of all British presence in South Asia, alarmed HMG. Attlee sent another cabinet mission to India in hopes of negotiating a less drastic outcome.11 The resulting proposal, known as the “ABC Plan,” called for a loose federation to consist of three groups of provinces, each of which had the option to “opt out” of the federation. This proposal met a curious reception. It was first accepted, then rejected, by Congress; the Muslim League initially announced that it would cooperate, but in the aftermath of the Congress decision it renounced constitutional methods and declared “Direct Action” Day on August 16, 1946. “Direct Action Day” became the “Great Calcutta Killing,” and the next thirteen months saw rioting and violence across North India.



Q.2   Give detailed account of the cabinet mission proposals. How would you justify Muslim Leagues decision to accept those proposals?


Cabinet Mission came to India in 1946 in order to discuss the transfer of power from the British government to the Indian political leadership, with the aim of preserving India’s unity and granting its independence. Formed at the initiative of Clement Attlee (the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom), the mission contained as its members, Lord Pethick-Lawrence (Secretary of State for India), Sir Stafford Cripps (President of the Board of Trade), and A.V. Alexander (First Lord of the Admiralty). The Viceroy of India Lord Wavell participated in some of the discussions.

The Cabinet Mission Plan, formulated by the group, proposed a three-tier administrative structure for British India, with the Federal Union at the top tier, individual provinces at the bottom tier, and Groups of provinces as a middle tier. Three Groups were proposed, called Groups A, B and C, respectively, for Northwest India, eastern India, and the remaining central portions of India.

The Plan lost steam due to the distrust between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League, and the British Government replaced Lord Wavell with a new viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, to find new solutions.

Towards the end of their rule, the British found that their temporary patronage of the Muslim League conflicted with their longstanding need for Indian unity. The desire for a united India was an outcome of both their pride in having politically unified the subcontinent and the doubts of most British authorities as to the feasibility of Pakistan. This desire for Indian unity was symbolized by the Cabinet Mission, which arrived in New Delhi on 24 March 1946, sent by the British government, in which the subject was the formation of a post-independent India. The three men who constituted the mission, A.V Alexander, Stafford Cripps, pethick Lawrence favoured India’s unity for strategic reasons.

Upon arriving in the subcontinent the mission found both parties, the Indian National Congress and Muslim League, more unwilling than ever to reach a settlement. The two parties had performed well in the elections, general and provincial, and emerged as the two main parties in the subcontinent, the provincial organisations having been defeated. This was because of the separate electorates system. The Muslim League had been victorious in approximately 90 percent of the seats for Muslims. After having achieved victory in the elections Jinnah gained a strong hand to bargain with the British and Congress.[3] Having established the system of separate electorates, the British could no longer reverse its consequences in spite of their genuine commitment to Indian unity.


The mission made its own proposals, after inconclusive dialogue with the Indian leadership, seeing that the Congress opposed Jinnah’s demand for a Pakistan comprising six full provinces. The mission proposed a complicated system for India with three tiers: the provinces, provincial groupings and the centre. The centre’s power was to be confined to foreign affairs, defence, currency and communications. The provinces would keep all the other powers and were allowed to establish three groups. The plan’s main characteristic was the grouping of provinces. Two groups would be constituted by the mainly-Muslim western and eastern provinces. The third group would comprise the mostly-Hindu areas in the south and the centre. Thus provinces such as UP, CP, Bombay, Bihar, Orissa and Madras would make Group A. Group B would comprise Sind, Punjab, Northwest Frontier and Baluchistan. Bengal and Assam would make a Group C. Princely States will retain all subjects and powers (non central government’s powers) other than those ceded to the Union.


Through the scheme, the British expected to maintain Indian unity, as both they and Congress wanted, while also providing Jinnah the substance of Pakistan. The proposals almost satisfied Jinnah’s insistence on a large Pakistan, which would avert the North-Eastern Pakistan without the mostly non-Muslim districts in Bengal and Punjab being partitioned away. By holding the full provinces of Punjab and Bengal, Jinnah could satisfy the provincial leaders who feared losing power if their provinces were divided. The presence of large Hindu minorities in Punjab and Bengal also provided a safeguard for the Muslim minorities remaining in the mostly-Hindu provinces.

Most of all, Jinnah wanted parity between Pakistan and India. He believed that provincial groupings could best secure this. He claimed that Muslim India was a ‘nation’ with entitlement to central representations equal to those of Hindu India. Despite his preference for only two groups, the Muslim League’s Council accepted the mission’s proposals on 6 June 1946, after securing a guarantee from Wavell that the League would be placed in the interim government if the Congress did not accept the proposal.

The onus was now on Congress. It accepted the proposals, understanding it to be a repudiation of the demand for Pakistan, and its position was that the provinces should be allowed to stay out of groups that they did not want to join, in light of both NWFP and Assam being ruled by Congress governments. However, Jinnah differed and saw the grouping plan as mandatory. Another point of difference concerned the Congress position that a sovereign constituent assembly would not be bound to the plan. Jinnah insisted it be binding once the plan was accepted. The groupings plan maintained India’s unity, but the organisation’s leadership and, most of all Nehru, increasingly believed that the scheme would leave the centre without the strength to achieve the party’s ambitions. Congress’s socialist section led by Nehru desired a government able to industrialize the country and to eliminate poverty.

Nehru’s speech on 10 July 1946 rejected the idea that the provinces would be obliged to join a group and stated that the Congress was neither bound nor committed to the plan. In effect, Nehru’s speech squashed the mission’s plan and the chance to keep India united. Jinnah interpreted the speech as another instance of treachery by the Congress. With Nehru’s speech on groupings, the Muslim League rescinded its previous approval of the plan on 29 July.

Interim government and breakdown

Concerned by the diminishing British power, Wavell was eager to inaugurate an interim government. Disregarding Jinnah’s vote, he authorised a cabinet in which Nehru was the interim prime minister. Sidelined and with his Pakistan of “groups” refused, Jinnah became distraught. To achieve Pakistan and impose on Congress that he could not be sidelined, he resorted to calling for his supporters to utilize “direct action” to demonstrate their support for Pakistan, in the same manner as Gandhi’s civil disobedience campaigns, though it led to rioting and massacres on religious grounds in some areas. Direct Action Day further increased Wavell’s resolve to establish the interim government. On 2 September 1946, Nehru’s cabinet was installed.

Millions of Indian Muslim households flew black flags to protest the installation of the Congress government. Jinnah did not himself join the interim government but sent Liaquat Ali Khan into it to play a secondary role. Congress did not want to give him the important position of home minister and instead allowed him the post of finance minister. Liaquat Ali Khan infuriated Congress by using his role to prevent the functioning of Congress ministries, demonstrating (under Jinnah’s instructions) the impossibility of a single government for India.

Britain tried to revive the Cabinet Mission’s scheme by sending Nehru, Jinnah and Wavell in December to meet Attlee, Cripps and Pethick-Lawrence. The inflexible arguments were enough to cause Nehru to return to India and announce that “we have now altogether stopped looking towards London.” Meanwhile, Wavell commenced the Constituent Assembly, which the League boycotted. He anticipated that the League would enter it as it had joined the interim government. Instead, the Congress became more forceful and asked him to drop ministers from the Muslim League. Wavell was also not able to obtain a declaration from the British government that would articulate their goals.

In the context of the worsening situation, Wavell drew up a breakdown plan that provided for a gradual British exit, but his plan was considered fatalistic by the Cabinet. When he insisted on his plan, he was replaced with Lord Mountbatten




Q.3   Critically analyze the impacts of Congress rule of 1937-39 on the politics of the Muslims generally and the Quaid-e-Azam particularly.


The Government of India Act of 1935 was practically implemented in 1937. The provincial elections were held in the winter of 1936-37. There were two major political parties in the Sub-continent at that time, the Congress and the Muslim League. Both parties did their best to persuade the masses before these elections and put before them their manifesto. The political manifestos of both parties were almost identical, although there were two major differences. Congress stood for joint electorate and the League for separate electorates; Congress wanted Hindi as official language with Deva Nagri script of writing while the League wanted Urdu with Persian script.


According to the results of the elections, Congress, as the oldest, richest and best-organized political party, emerged as the single largest representative in the Legislative Assembles. Yet it failed to secure even 40 percent of the total number of seats. Out of the 1,771 total seats in the 11 provinces, Congress was only able to win slightly more then 750. Thus the results clearly disapproved Gandhi’s claim that his party represented 95 percent of the population of India. Its success, moreover, was mainly confined to the Hindu constituencies. Out of the 491 Muslim seats, Congress could only capture 26. Muslim Leagues’ condition was also bad as it could only win 106 Muslim seats. The party only managed to win two seats from the Muslim majority province of Punjab.

The final results of the elections were declared in February 1937. The Indian National Congress had a clear majority in Madras, U. P., C. P., Bihar and Orrisa. It was also able to form a coalition government in Bombay and N. W. F. P. Congress was also able to secure political importance in Sindh and Assam, where they joined the ruling coalition. Thus directly or indirectly, Congress was in power in nine out of eleven provinces. The Unionist Party of Sir Fazl-i-Hussain and Praja Krishak Party of Maulvi Fazl-i-Haq were able to form governments in Punjab and Bengal respectively, without the interference of Congress. Muslim League failed to form government in any province. Quaid-i-Azam offered Congress to form a coalition government with the League but the Congress rejected his offer.

The Congress refused to set up its government until the British agreed to their demand that the Governor would not use his powers in legislative affairs. Many discussions took place between the Congress and the British Government and at last the British Government consented, although it was only a verbal commitment and no amendment was made in the Act of 1935. Eventually, after a four-month delay, Congress formed their ministries in July 1937.

The Congress proved to be a pure Hindu party and worked during its reign only for the betterment of the Hindus. Twenty-seven months of the Congress rule were like a nightmare for the Muslims of South Asia. Some of the Congress leaders even stated that they would take revenge from the Muslims for the last 700 years of their slavery. Even before the formation of government, the Congress started a Muslim Mass Contact Movement, with the aim to convince Muslims that there were only two political parties in India, i.e. the British and the Congress. The aim was to decrease the importance of the Muslim League for the Muslims. After taking charge in July 1937, Congress declared Hindi as the national language and Deva Nagri as the official script. The Congress flag was given the status of national flag, slaughtering of cows was prohibited and it was made compulsory for the children to worship the picture of Gandhi at school. Band-i-Mataram, an anti-Muslim song taken from Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s novel Ananda Math, was made the national anthem of the country. Religious intolerance was the order of the day. Muslims were not allowed to construct new mosques. Hindus would play drums in front of mosques when Muslims were praying.

The Congress government introduced a new educational policy in the provinces under their rule known as the Warda Taleemi Scheme. The main plan was to sway Muslim children against their ideology and to tell them that all the people living in India were Indian and thus belonged to one nation. In Bihar and C. P. the Vidya Mandar Scheme was introduced according to which Mandar education was made compulsory at elementary level. The purpose of the scheme was to obliterate the cultural traditions of the Muslims and to inculcate into the minds of Muslim children the superiority of the Hindu culture.

The Congress ministries did their best to weaken the economy of Muslims. They closed the doors of government offices for them, which was one of the main sources of income for the Muslims in the region. They also harmed Muslim trade and agriculture. When Hindu-Muslim riots broke out due to these biased policies of the Congress ministries, the government pressured the judges; decisions were made in favor of Hindus and Muslims were sent behind bars.

To investigate Muslim grievances, the Muslim League formulated the “Pirpur Report” under the chairmanship of Raja Syed Muhammad Mehdi of Pirpur. Other reports concerning Muslim grievances in Congress run provinces were A. K. Fazl-ul-Haq’s “Muslim Sufferings Under Congress Rule”, and “The Sharif Report”.

The allegation that Congress was representing Hindus only was voiced also by eminent British personalities. The Marquees of Lothian in April 1938 termed the Congress rule as a “rising tide of Hindu rule”. Sir William Barton writing in the “National Review” in June 1939 also termed the Congress rule as “the rising tide of political Hinduism”.

At the outbreak of the World War II, the Viceroy proclaimed India’s involvement without prior consultations with the main political parties. When Congress demanded an immediate transfer of power in return for cooperation of the war efforts, the British government refused. As a result Congress resigned from power. Quaid-i-Azam asked the Muslims to celebrate December 22, 1939 as a day of deliverance and thanksgiving in token of relief from the tyranny and oppression of the Congress rule


Q.4   Discuss and analyze the fundamental principles of Lahore Resolution.    

The Lahore Resolution also called Pakistan resolution, was written and prepared by Muhammad Zafarullah Khan and was presented by A. K. Fazlul Huq, the Prime Minister of Bengal, was a formal political statement adopted by the All-India Muslim League on the occasion of its three-day general session in Lahore on 22–24 March 1940. It was unanimously passed on 23rd March 1940. The resolution called for independent states as seen by the statement:

That geographically contiguous units are demarcated regions which should be constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North Western and Eastern Zones of (British) India should be grouped to constitute ‘independent states’ in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.

Although the name “Pakistan” had been proposed by Choudhary Rahmat Ali in his Pakistan Declaration, it was not until after the resolution that it began to be widely used.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s address to the Lahore conference was, according to Stanley Wolpert, the moment when Jinnah, a former proponent of Hindu-Muslim unity, irrevocably transformed himself into the leader of the fight for an independent Pakistan.


Until the mid-1930s the Muslim leaders were trying to ensure maximum political safeguards for Muslims within the framework of federation of India in terms of seeking maximum autonomy for Muslim majority provinces. They got some safeguards through a system of separate electorate on communal basis in the Government of India Act, 1935. As a result of elections held under this Act, Indian National Congress formed government in six out of eight provinces. During Congress rule from 1937 to 39, its “High Command whose iron control over its own provinces clearly hinted at what lay ahead for the Muslim majority provinces once it came to dominate the centre. The League criticised and directed against the Congress ministries and their alleged attacks on Muslim culture; the heightened activity of Hindu Mahasabha, the hoisting of Congress tricolor, the singing of Bande Mataram, the Vidya Mandir scheme in the Central Provinces and the Wardha scheme of education, all were interpreted as proof of ‘Congress atrocities’. So, the Congress was clearly incapable of representing Muslim interests, yet it was trying to annihilate every other party.”

Therefore, by 1938–39, the idea of separation was strongly gaining ground. The Sindh Provincial Muslim League Conference held its first session in Karachi in October 1938, adopted a resolution which recommended to the All India Muslim League to devise a scheme of constitution under which Muslims may attain full independence. The premier of the Bengal province, A. K. Fazal-ul-Haque, who was not in the All India Muslim League, was quite convinced in favour of separation. The idea was more vividly expressed by M. A. Jinnah in an article in the London weekly Time & Tide on 9 March 1940. Jinnah wrote:

Democratic systems based on the concept of homogeneous nations such as England are very definitely not applicable to heterogeneous countries such as India, and this simple fact is the root cause of all of India’s constitutional ills……If, therefore, it is accepted that there is in India a major and a minor nation, it follows that a parliamentary system based on the majority principle must inevitably mean the rule of major nation. Experience has proved that, whatever the economic and political programme of any political Party, the Hindu, as a general rule, will vote for his caste-fellow, the Muslim for his coreligionist.

About the Congress-led provincial governments, he wrote:

An India-wide attack on the Muslims was launched. In the five Muslim provinces every attempt was made to defeat the Muslim-led-coalition Ministries,…In the six Hindu provinces a “Kulturkampf” was inaugurated. Attempts were made to have Bande Mataram, the Congress Party song, recognized as the national anthem, the Party flag, and the real national language, Urdu, supplanted by Hindi. Everywhere oppression commenced and complaints poured in such force…that the Muslims, despairing of the Viceroy and Governors ever taking action to protect them, have already been forced to ask for a Royal Commission to investigate their grievances.

Furthermore, he added:

Is it the desire (of British people) that India should become a totalitarian Hindu State….? ….. and I feel certain that Muslim India will never submit to such a position and will be forced to resist it with every means in their power.

In his concluding remarks he wrote:

While Muslim League irrevocably opposed to any Federal objective which must necessarily result in a majority community rule under the guise of Democracy and Parliamentary system of Government…To conclude, a constitution must be evolved that recognises that there are in India two nations who both must share the governance of their common motherland.

Lahore Conference

The session was held on 22–24 March 1940, at Iqbal Park, Lahore. The welcome address was made by Sir Shah Nawaz Khan of Mamdot, as the chairman of the local reception committee. The various draft texts for the final resolution/draft were deliberated over by the Special Working Committee of the All India Muslim League

The resolution text, unanimously approved by the Subject Committee, accepted the concept of a united homeland for Muslims and recommended the creation of an independent Muslim state.

The resolution was moved in the general session by A. K. Fazlul Huq, the chief minister of undivided Bengal, and was seconded by Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman from the United Provinces, Zafar Ali Khan from Punjab, Sardar Aurangzeb Khan from North-West Frontier Province, and Sir Abdullah Haroon from Sindh. Qazi Muhammad Essa from Baluchistan and other leaders announced their support.

The statement

The resolution for the establishment of a separate homeland for the Muslims of British India passed in the annual session of the All India Muslim League held in Lahore on 22–24 March 1940 is a landmark document of Pakistan’s history. In 1946, it formed the basis for the decision of Muslim League to struggle for one state [ later named Pakistan] for the Muslims. The statement declared:

No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary.

The Hindu press and leaders were quick to describe the resolution as the demand for the creation of Pakistan; some people began to call it the Pakistan Resolution soon after the Lahore session of the Muslim League. It is landmark document in history of Pakistan. Additionally, it stated:

That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in the units and in the regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights of the minorities.

Most importantly, to convince smaller provinces such as Sindh to join, it provided a guarantee:

That geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North Western and Eastern Zones of (British) India should be grouped to constitute ‘independent states’ in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.




Q.5   Critically analyse Allama Iqbal Allahabad address of 1930 in the light of the political demands of the Indian Muslims. 

The Allahabad Address (Urdu: خطبہ الہ آباد) was a speech by scholar, Sir Muhammad Iqbal, one of the best-known in Pakistani history. It was delivered by Iqbal during the 21st annual session of the All-India Muslim League, on the afternoon of Monday, 29 December 1930, at Allahabad, British India. In this address Iqbal outlined a vision of an independent state for Muslim-majority provinces in northwestern India, thus becoming the first politician to articulate what would become known as the Two-nation theory—that Muslims are a distinct nation and thus deserve political independence from other regions and communities of India.

Allama Iqbal defined the Muslims of India as a nation and suggested that there could be no possibility of peace in the country unless and until they were recognized as a nation and under a federal system, the Muslim majority units were given the same privileges which were to be given to the Hindu majority units. It was the only way in which both the Muslims and the Hindus could prosper in accordance with their respective cultural values. In his speech, he emphasized that unlike Christianity, Islam came with “legal concepts” with “civic significance,” with its “religious ideals” considered as inseparable from social order: “therefore, the construction of a policy on national lines, if it means a displacement of the Islamic principle of solidarity, is simply unthinkable to a Muslim.”

Iqbal thus stressed not only the need for the political unity of Muslim communities but the undesirability of blending the Muslim population into a wider society not based on Islamic principles. However, he would not elucidate or specify if his ideal Islamic state would construe a theocracy, even as he rejected secularism and nationalism. The latter part of Iqbal’s life was concentrated on political activity. He would travel across Europe and West Asia to garner political and financial support for the League, and he reiterated his ideas in his 1932 address, and during the Third Round-Table Conference, he opposed the Congress and proposals for transfer of power without considerable autonomy or independence for Muslim provinces

The Hindu-Muslim question had great importance and stood crucial to British Indian history after 1857, especially in the 20th century. But the key issue for Muslims remained “separate identity.” On several occasions and addresses, the issue gets highlighted that the Muslims are a separate nation with different culture and civilization, interests and rights. The Two-Nation Theory was not accepted by the Muslims, Hindus and the British peoples because they believed in “territorial nationalism”. The Congress’ perspective of Hindu Muslim relationship was that any perceived rift between the Hindus and Muslims was the product of the British divide and rule policy. According to the Congress, the British had consciously created splits and divisions, therefore it was an artificial issue which should not be emphasized. For Muslims it was the core issue, “I” was the central issue, it related to their culture, civilization, heritage and the type of arrangement that were to be done in the future political and constitutional arrangements of India.

The Idea of separate Homeland based on many issues, the first was the decline and degeneration of the Muslims. Most of the Muslim states became the colonies of the European states. Then the industrial; revolution, development of science and technology became a preserve of the European nations. So, the question for Muslims was why the decline and degeneration have set in among the Muslims. The second issue was how to work for revival and regeneration of Muslims in general and how Muslims could overcome the decline and again assume their rightful place in the international system. The third issue was specific to the Muslims of South Asia who shared the problems of the Muslims as a whole, problem of decline and degeneration but in addition to this certain specific problems which pertain to British India and one important problem which Muslim faced was that that of minority, the majority were not Muslims and this makes the situation in British India different from the situation in the Middle Eastern Countries where Muslims were in majority. In British India the problem was that they could be overwhelmed by the other community, therefore they were emphasizing on their identity, value, culture and also heritage and civilization which they thought and emphasize time and again that it gave them a different, distinct and an exclusive identity. They were not simply a minority but a community and a nation. The reason was that they did not want to be absorbed into the majority community.

Phases of development

By 1930, this sentiment had developed very clearly which was very much demonstrated in the development of History of India or the question of the relationship between the Muslims and the other communities. It was in this context that Allama Iqbal delivered his presidential address. Iqbal, political thoughts developed in three phases.

1st Phase: Pre-1905

The first phase pertains to the pre-1905 period, before delivering the address Iqbal addresses the factors for the decline of the Muslims and he tries to focus on Indian nationality, nationhood or Indian unity. Iqbal explained about resolving differences in his book Bang-i-Dara and writes Tarānah-i-Hindī and Naya shawala to reunite Muslims with Hindus.

2nd Phase: The Stay in Europe 1905-08

The second phase pertains the period from 1905 to 1908, Iqbal spent these years in Europe, during his higher education and in Germany at Munich University for PhD. His stay in England helps to crystallize his ideas. Iqbal appreciated certain things in the West, for example, the quest for knowledge, their efforts for innovation and change. Iqbal was critical of materialism, capitalism and competition an unrestricted and unlimited competition that was undermining the society and it is during this period that he began to think philosophically and scientifically about the Muslims and he emphasized on the importance of spiritualism in one’s life.

3rd Phase: Return to India 1908 and onward

The third phase occurs when Iqbal comes back to India after his education. Here his exclusive attention and focus were on the Muslim. He talked about the centrality of Islam, the question of submission to God, Oneness of God, He emphasized in his writings pros as well as poetry and he talked about Muhammad (SA) as the ideal leader as the leader that the Muslims should try to follow. However, his focus was on primarily Muslims of this region when he dealt with the political or the constitutional issues of India. Iqbal got the title of SIR in 1922 in recognition of his intellectual work. In 1927 Iqbal was elected to the Punjab Legislative Council, so far next little over two years he served in the Punjab legislative council that is from 1927 to 1930, little over two years.

Revival of Islamic polity

Iqbal’s six English lectures were published first from Lahore in 1930 and then by Oxford University press in 1934 in a book titled The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Which were read at Madras, Hyderabad and Aligarh. These lectures dwell on the role of Islam as a religion as well as a political and legal philosophy in the modern age. In these lectures Iqbal firmly rejects the political attitudes and conduct of Muslim politicians, whom he saw as morally misguided, attached to power and without any standing with Muslim masses.

Iqbal expressed fears that not only would secularism weaken the spiritual foundations of Islam and Muslim society, but that India’s Hindu-majority population would crowd out Muslim heritage, culture and political influence. In his travels to Egypt, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey, he promoted ideas of greater Islamic political co-operation and unity, calling for the shedding of nationalist differences. He also speculated on different political arrangements to guarantee Muslim political power; in a dialogue with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Iqbal expressed his desire to see Indian provinces as autonomous units under the direct control of the British government and with no central Indian government. He envisaged autonomous Muslim provinces in India. Under one Indian union, he feared for Muslims, who would suffer in many respects especially with regard to their existentially separate entity as Muslims. The Muslims of subcontinent were degraded both by British people and Hindus. After the advent of 1857, British people turn against Muslims thinking that they are only culprits and similarly Hindus want complete control over Muslims and they want to change constitution where Muslims should be suppressed and by not giving Muslims any importance. It was the cause due to which Iqbal presents his idea of uniting Muslims and Muslim majority areas such as Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and NWFP.

Address 1930

Iqbal was elected president of the Muslim League in 1930 at its session in Allahabad, in the United Provinces as well as for the session in Lahore in 1932. In his presidential address on 30 December 1930, Iqbal outlined a vision of an independent state for Muslim-majority provinces in northwestern India.

The Address basis

In 1930 Iqbal delivered the Presidential Address the Allahabad Address, before address Iqbal also delivered landmark lectures on Islam in 1928 and 1929 in Aligarh, Hyderabad and Madras. Because Iqbal’s address eye-plot was based on Islam. Iqbal’s views on Islam and introversion with the modern conditions and modern situation helps him to generate the Allahabad Address. In 1932, Iqbal also presided over All India Conference that was held at Lahore and during that conference, he repeated some of the ideas and some of the thoughts which he had presented in his Address at 1930.

The Address outline

In his address, Iqbal called for the creation of “a Muslim India within India”, especially in North-western India. Iqbal demanded the right of self-government for the Muslims. as he said:

India is a continent of human groups belonging to different races, speaking different languages, and professing different religions […] Personally, I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sindh and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single State. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim State appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North-West India.

Within his address, Iqbal also touched on his fear that Islam may have a similar fate as Christianity. “To Islam, matter is spirit realising itself in space and time” whereas Europe had “accepted the separation of Church and State and disliked the fact that their leaders were “indirectly forcing the world to accept it as unquestionable dogma […] I do not know what will be the final fate of the national idea in the world of Islam. Whether Islam will assimilate and transform it as it has before assimilated and transformed many ideas expressive of a different spirit, or allow a radical transformation of its own structure by the force of this idea, is hard to predict. Professor Wensinck of Leiden (Holland) wrote to me the other day: “It seems to me that Islam is entering upon a crisis through which Christianity has been passing for more than a century. The great difficulty is how to save the foundations of religion when many antiquated notions have to be given up.”

Iqbal spoke of:

The unity of an Indian nation, therefore, must be sought not in the negation, but in the mutual harmony and cooperation, of the many. True statesmanship cannot ignore facts, however unpleasant they may be […] And it is on the discovery of Indian unity in this direction that the fate of India as well as of Asia really depends […] If an effective principle of cooperation is discovered in India it will bring peace and mutual goodwill to this ancient land which has suffered so long […] And it will at the same time solve the entire political problem of Asia.


In regards to the army, Iqbal stated:

Punjab with 56 percent Muslim population supplies 54 percent of the total combatant troops to the Indian Army, and if the 19,000 Gurkhas recruited from the independent State of Nepal are excluded, the Punjab contingent amounts to 62 percent of the whole Indian Army. This percentage does not take into account nearly 6,000 combatants supplied to the Indian Army by the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan. From this, you can easily calculate the possibilities of North-West Indian Muslims in regards to the defence of India against foreign aggression. Thus processing full opportunity of development within the body politic of India, the North-West Indian Muslims will prove the best defenders of India against a foreign invasion.

Iqbal also addresses how it was “painful to observe” the failed attempts to “discover such a principle of internal harmony”. However, he still felt “hopeful”. He expressed great concerns that the British politicians were “cleverly exploiting Hindu-Muslim differences regarding the ultimate form of Central Government” through Princes of the Princely States. He was also critical of the Simon Report that it did great “injustice to Muslims” to not be given a statutory majority for Punjab and Bengal. Furthermore, he demanded Sindh to be united with Baluchistan and turned into a separate province as it did not have anything in common with Bombay Presidency.

Comparing the European democracy to Indian democracy, he justified the Muslim demand for a “Muslim India within India”, saying

The principle of European democracy cannot be applied to India without recognizing the fact of communal groups. The Muslim demand for the creation of a Muslim India within India is, therefore, perfectly justified. The resolution of the All-Parties Muslim Conference at Delhi is, to my mind, wholly inspired by this noble ideal of a harmonious whole which, instead of stifling the respective individualities of its component wholes, affords them chances of fully working out the possibilities that may be latent in them. And I have no doubt that this House will emphatically endorse the Muslim demands embodied in this resolution.

Commenting on the Hindu fears of religious rule in the Muslim autonomous states, Iqbal said:

Muslim demand is not actuated by the kind of motive he imputes to us; it is actuated by a genuine desire for free development which is practically impossible under the type of unitary government contemplated by the nationalist Hindu politicians with a view to secure permanent command dominance in the whole of India. Nor should the Hindus fear that the creation of autonomous Muslim states will mean the introduction of a kind of religious rule in such states. I have already indicated to you the meaning of the word religion, as applied to Islam. The truth is that Islam is not a Church I, therefore, demand the formation of a consolidated Muslim State in the best interests of India and Islam. For India, it means security and peace resulting from an internal balance of power; for Islam, an opportunity to rid itself of the stamp that Arabian Imperialism was forced to give it, to mobilize its law, its education, its culture, and to bring them into closer contact with its own original spirit and with the spirit of modern times.

In his concluding remarks, Iqbal said:

India demands complete organization and unity of will and purpose in the Muslim community, both in your own interest as a community and in the interest of India as a whole […] We have a duty toward India where we are destined to live and die. We have a duty towards Asia, especially Muslim Asia. And since 70 millions of Muslims in single country constitute a far more valuable asset to Islam than all the countries of Muslim Asia put together, we must look at the Indian problem not only from the Muslim point of view but also from the standpoint of the Indian Muslim as such.


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