Dawn of 23 March 2002
Professor Ziauddin Ahmad has also written a front page article in the Dawn supplement
dated 23 March 2002. He describes the events that led to the 1940 resolution where
the demand for Pakistan was made at the Muslim League session in Lahore. Excerpts from his
article are best reproduced so that the spirit and the flavour of what he has said are not
There is no denying the fact that the War of Independence of 1857, deprived the Muslims
of their position, honour and prestige, for the British considered them as the potential
danger to their rule. They were looked down upon with great suspicion and distrust and
were victimized and punished on baseless excuses. The doors of employment for them in
Government service were closed. Thus they were forced into humiliation and degradation.
The position of Muslims was in a melting pot when fortunately Syed Ahmad Khan diagnosed
it, felt the pulse of the nation and found a panacea for all their ills. With great
determination and self confidence he took the first step to bring a political rapprochment
between the ruler and the ruled. To revive knowledge and modern education Syed Ahmad Khan
founded a Scientific Society with the main purpose of disseminating modern knowledge and
scientific advancement. He also laid the foundation of Aligarh Muslim University in 1875,
which awakened the Muslims and brought self-consciousness in them. His Tahzibul Akhlaq
worked on the lines of the 18th century magazines 'The Spectator' and 'The Tatler,' to
enlighten the Muslims with a view to accepting what was sound and useful in modern
learning and science, and inculcate in them simplicity, honesty and virtues. He gathered a
band of writers and thinkers like Hall, Shibli, Nazir Ahmed, Mohsin-ul-Mulk and
Viqar-ul-Mulk who inspired the Muslims with an awakening to revive their lost glory and to
look to the future with renewed hope.
Hector Bolitho, the famous biographer of Jinnah, has rightly remarked:
The tragic circumstances of the Muslims at last bred the leader they needed. His name
was Syed Ahmed Khan, the first Muslim in India who dared to speak of
"Partition," the first to realise that. mutual adsorption being impossible, the
Hindus and the Muslims must part.
In 1867, when Hindus dominated Government of flees and law courts, Syed Ahmed Khan felt
convinced that it was now impossible for the Hindus and Muslims to progress as a single
nation and for anyone to work for both of them simultaneously. With the passage of time
the concept of independent destiny and separate political course which Syed Ahmed Khan had
envisaged for the Muslims gained momentum. It led to the demand for separate electorates
in the form of Simla Deputation (1906) to the Viceroy Lord Minto. Who accepted separate
electorates and laid the foundation of two nation theory and the historic Lahore
Resolution of March 23, 1940, was its logical conclusion.
After successful recognition of separate electorate by the Government, the Muslims felt
the necessity of founding All India Muslim league on December 30, 1906 for the
protection and advancement of their political rights, their culture and religion and
respectfully representing their needs and aspirations to the Government.
These ideas were expressed with clarity by Muhammad Ali the most outstanding leader of
the Khilafat Movement in his first issue of the "Comrade," of January 10,
1911. He Sald
We have no faith in the Clot that India is united. The problems of India are almost
international. We may not create today the patriotic fervour and the fine national frenzy
of Japan with its 40 million of homogeneous people.But a concordant like that of Canada is
not beyond the bounds of practicability. It may not be a love marriage born of romance and
poetry. but a marriage of convenience honourably contracted and honourably maintained is
not to be despised.
During his (Jinnah) participation in the Round Table Conference in London, he wrote a
letter to the British Prime Minister in January 1931 in which he laid down a
principle for the solution of the Hindu Muslim problem.
The real problem before us is to give full power to Muslims in such provinces as those
in which they are in a majority, whether large or small, and protection to them in such
provinces as those in which they are in minority and in order to be absolutely fair to the
Hindu community also precisely the same thing should be done with the Hindus.This
principle may be reckoned as the basis for the evolution of the idea of Pakistan.
The Qaid-e-Azam,during his speech to the All India Muslim League in 1913, identified
the causes which had created the fight between the Hindus and the Muslims. He said:
there is but one question besides the question of cow killing and street music which
had proved not only a thorny question but an obstacle which has kept the two communities
hitherto apart. But the solution is not difficult.. It required a true spirit of
conciliation and give and take. The Mussulmans want proper, adequate and effective
representation in the Council Chambers of the country and in district and municipal
boards, a claim which no right minded Hindu disputes for a moment. But the Mussulmans
further require that the representation in the various boards and Council Chambers should
be secured for them by means of separate electorates. This question of separate
electorates from top to bottom has been before the country ever since 1909 and rightly or
wrongly the Mussulman community is absolutely determined for the present to insist upon
separate electorates. To most of us, the question is no more open to further discussion or
argument, as it has become a mandate of the community.
The Simla Deputation of 1906 gave some ray of hope to the Muslims for separate
electorate but they received the greatest shock when King George V made an announcement on
December 12, 1911 for the annulment of the partition of Bengal. The announcement at the
Delhi Durbar led to a significant shift in Muslim thinking and policies. The confidence in
the British Government that Muslims would be protected from Hindu aggressiveness was
completely lost. The Muslim League objectives in favour of a form of government suitable
to India were changed.
The international situation of the Muslim world also looked bleak with the Italian
invasion of Tripolitania which was a Turkish province. The Anglo-Russian convention of
1906 reduced Iran to a mere dependency. Afghanistan lacked power to take advantage of the
rivalry between Great Britain and Russia. Muslim North Africa had succumbed to European
hegemony, the Turkish Empire, nicknamed the sick man of Europe came under western
aggression and ultimately was partitioned and dismembered into smaller units. All these
political events greatly stirred the minds of the Muslims of the subcontinent.
Britain's prime minister ( 1916- 1922) Lloyd George emerged as an arch enemy of the
In 1919, the Khilafat movement was started under the dynamic and inspiring
leadership of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar in order to awaken the Muslims and prepare the
masses to boldly fight against the British high handedness and injustice.
M.K. Gandhi, a most shrewd brain, taking advantage of this situation put himself heart
and soul in the movement.
This Hindu Muslim amity lasted for a very short period. The reason was that the Muslim
awakening tended to overshadow the Hindu urge for swaraj under the protection of
British bayonets, as Maulana Mohammad Ali once remarked. In order to rebuild their
community, the Hindus started the Shuddhi and Sanghatan movements which shattered
the artificial bonds of unity. The Muslims started counter movements of Tabligh and
Tanzim. The policy of Gandhiism betrayed the Muslims and exposed the hollowness of Ahimsa
Thereafter, prominent Muslim representatives of different opinions met in Delhi on
March 20, 1927 at Mr.M.A. Jinnah's invitation. After long deliberations they came to a
final conclusion, the Delhi Muslim Proposals. The Congress agreed to these
"proposals' but most of the Hindus did not agree and communal riots broke out all
The Congress took up the challenge and convened an All Parties Conference in December
1928 to draw up a constitution for India. It appointed a committee under the chairmanship
of Pandit Motilal Nehru. Hence, the committee's report is known as the Nehru Report. It
gave no special representation and safeguards to the Muslims. Therefore, it was totally
rejected by the Muslims.
In order to unite the Muslims of all groups an All India Muslim Conference was held in
Delhi in March 1929 to evolve a formula for Muslim rights and their safeguards. It came
out with fourteen points which remained a pivot round which the whole Muslim political
thought and activity revolved.
The idea of territorial consolidation is not new As early as 1915. Choudhry Rahmat Ali
addressing the Bazm-l-Shibli in the Islamia College said that the northern part of
Inflia consists of an overwhelming population of Muslims and it will be kept Muslim.
In 1917 the Kheiri brothers Dr. Abdul Jabbar Kheiri and Prof. Abdus Setter Kheiri,
suggested a plan for the partition of India at the Stockholm Conference of the Socialist
International. In April 1920. Muhammad Abdul Qadir Bilgrami published an open letter to
Gandhi in the Dhul-Qarnain of Badayun advocating partition of India in Hindu and
Muslim zones and even giving a list of districts. In 1923, Sardar Mohammad Gul Khan
advocated the division of India between the Hindus and the Muslims before the Frontier
In 1933, Choudhry Rahmat Ali, an erstwhile student at Cambridge issuer a pamphlet
entitled "Now or Never,' in which the idea of a separate Muslim state in India called
Pakistan was reiterated. In October 1938, at the Sind Muslim League Conference, Karachi,
presided over by Quad-I-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Haji Abdullah Haroon, a veteran Muslim
League leader, advocating the partition of India moved a resolution urging that India be
divided into two federations, one for Muslims and the other for non-Muslim groups.
The Government of India Act of 1919 which gave a very limited measure of reforms, did
not prove a success.There after in 1927 the Simon Commission was appointed to review the
working of the Act. The report of the Commission proved extremely disappointing to all
concerned. The Congress started a civil disobedience movement. Maulana Mohammad Ali
explained the Muslim attitude: We refuse to join Mr. Gandhi because his movement is
not a movement for the complete independence of India but for making the 70 million
Mussalmans dependents of the Hindu Mahasabha.
Then the British Government convened a Round Table Conferences in
1930-3, which failed, to solve the communal problem. After realising this, the British
Prime Minister announced the Communal Award in August 1932. This was followed by the
Government of India Act 1935 which established full provincial autonomy. The l935 Act did
not satisfy the Muslims. The Qaid-e-Azam therefore appointed a Special Committee in March
1939 to clarify the Muslim position in respect to the future constitution.
There seemed to be no other alternative left but to find a new and
separate homeland. Therefore, at the Lahore session of the Muslim League on March 23,
1940, the Qaid-e-Azam in his presidential address made an irrefutable case for a separate
Muslim nation and for dividing India into Muslim and Hindu states. More than one lakh
people attended this session and the resolution of 1940 became the Magna Carta of