October 5 to November 3, 1916
P. E. Percival, District and Sessions Judge at Poona, conducted an inquiry against Jinnah due to a complaint by Moulvi Rafiuddin to the Viceroy accusing Jinnah of corrupt election practices. It was alleged that Jinnah gave Rs. 500/- to Fakir Mahomed Pathan’s servant, Gulam Ahmed through Jaffer who acted as Jinnah’s agent to get Pathan’s vote in the election in which Jinnah was recently elected as a member of the Indian Legislative Assembly. Jinnah regularly appeared before the Court in Poona. By giving documentary evidences he proved this charge as false and the Court acquitted him of all the false charges of corruption.
November 9, 1916
Bombay High Court Bench hearing the Tilak Sedition Case accepted Tilak’s plea advocated by Jinnah, as the leader of a group of lawyers appearing in the High Court on behalf of Tilak, that Tilak’s criticism of the “sarkar” should not be taken as criticism of the British Crown but of the government or the bureaucracy. What Tilak’s criticism meant was for the betterment of the performance of the bureaucracy through act of parliament and not otherwise. This argument of Jinnah was accepted by Justice Bachelor, head of the High Court Bench, who pronounced the judgment and released Tilak from all bonds. Though this judgment was disliked by Lord Willingdon, Governor of Bombay, the Viceroy did not favor him. This was a great victory on the part of Jinnah who, for the first time in Indian history, got the right of official existence of the opposition in Indian legislature.
December 30-31, 1916
9th session of AIML was held in Lucknow which was presided over by Jinnah as per the decision of the AIML Council. It was at this session that a joint scheme of reforms, concurrently prepared by the Congress and Muslim League Committees, was approved which decided that a “complete self-government in India” should be established on the basis of Lucknow Pact which was adopted by the Muslim League and the Congress. This joint scheme known as the Lucknow Pact approved the scheme of democracy based on separate scheme of electorates for the Muslims and other minorities. The two parties had already approved this scheme some days before their sessions at Lucknow. This was not only the first pact which the two greatest political parties agreed on but was also a pact between two nations – Hindus and Muslims. This was the realization of Jinnah’s long-held view that unless the two nations were united, the British Government will not hand over power to Indians. But this Pact proved a short-lived affair because of dominance of M. K. Gandhi in the Congress’ politics in 1920. However, Jinnah’s ideals remained to be realized until later when in the 1940s Congress and the AIML had to agree again, though not as part of the same nation but as two separate nations representing the two countries – Hindustan and Pakistan.
Jinnah had already contacted the British Government that a Joint Scheme of Reforms was being settled between AIML and the Congress – the two largest political organizations of the country – and the Government should be ready to negotiate with the political leaders for the grant of self-government suitable to India. For this purpose the British Government formed a Round Table group headed by Lionel Curtis, a member of Bombay Governor’s Executive Council. Curtis attended these Lucknow Sessions. Sir James Meston, the Lieutenant Governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh and some other officials were also in attendance in these sessions.
January 26, 1917
Jinnah arranged a meeting of 70 politicians with the Round Table official group headed by Lionel Curtis in Bombay which lasted for about two hours for the purpose of evolution of new reforms for the grant of self-government suitable to India. The matter could not be settled. When the British Government had introduced the idea of self-government on the colonial model in 1905, it was given that when a sizeable educated class – no less than 10% – in India would come into being, the British Government would grant self-government to the Indians.
In a number of public addresses and at the Imperial Legislative Assembly speeches Jinnah demanded that because the educated Indians had grown at 12% of its population, therefore, they deserved to be granted self-government as already promised by the British Government.
August 20, 1917
British Government made a policy announcement that it is not responsible for the educated class of Indians, but for the people of India. It also clearly announced that until the people were not capable enough to attain independence, the British would continue to rule the country. In this way the entire politics of India changed and new developments took place which led to the rise of Mahatma Gandhi in the Congress’ politics. Jinnah termed this announcement of the British Government in line with the British “imperial” policy.
April 19, 1918
Jinnah’s marriage with Ruttie took place in Bombay. Before being married to Jinnah, she embraced Islam and her marriage rites were performed according to the Islamic rites.
December 10, 1918
Lord Willingdon, the retiring Governor of Bombay, was to be given a farewell address and a proposal was presented for a memorial to Lord Willingdon for successfully working as the Governor. This effort of the Government and their supporters was foiled by a demonstration in which more than three thousand people participated under Jinnah’s leadership. As a result of this public demonstration headed by Jinnah this memorial meeting was thwarted and made a failure. This was a great victory for Jinnah who was later honored by way of a memorial hall named Jinnah’s People’s Memorial Hall. It was constructed by using public funds that were collected to raise a statue of Jinnah in the Bombay Town Hall and still stands today as a memorial to Jinnah.
March 28, 1919
As a protest against the passage of Indian Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill (popularly known as the Rowlatt Act), which had recently been passed by the Imperial Legislative Council, Jinnah resigned from the membership of Imperial Legislative Council. In a letter he addressed to the Viceroy, Jinnah made it clear that “the passing of the Rowlatt Bill by the Government of India, and the assent given to it by Your Excellency as Governor-General against the will of the people has severely shaken the trust reposed by them in British justice”. Jinnah further wrote: “The fundamental principles of justice have been uprooted and the constitutional rights of the people have been violated at a time when there is no real danger to the state by an over fretful and incompetent bureaucracy which is neither responsible to the people nor in touch with real public opinion.”
April 13, 1919
Following Jinnah’s resignation, there started a demonstration against the Government. It was declared that April 13, 1919 will be observed as a protest day all over India. It was on this day that Jallianwala Tragedy (also known as Jallianwala Bagh massacre) in Amritsar occurred in which more than four hundred people were killed by British Indian forces led by Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer. Mr. and Mrs. Jinnah were to address such a protest gathering in Bombay but the Government suppressed holding of this protest rally in Bombay. They then proceeded to Hyderabad (Deccan) and addressed a protest meeting there.
April 26, 1919
The possibility of arresting Jinnah was discussed for some months but on April 26, 1919 a decision was taken to ban Jinnah’s newspaper Bombay Chronicle and its editor Benjamin G. Horniman, a British journalist, was deported to England. Thus Jinnah was deprived of his newspaper for stirring the Indian people against the British Government. As a matter of fact, the Government avoided arresting Jinnah because of his “pragmatic” and popular ideas which, if he was arrested, would gain support of the people. The Government worked so as to control the publicity of his ideas. It was in this background that Gandhi was secretly encouraged to come at the forefront of politics and check the popularity of Jinnah. The Hindu mind was already ready for it because they also feared the dominance of Jinnah as a Muslim leader in the Congress, which was considered against the interest of the Hindu Raj.
August 27, 1919
Jinnah, being the leader of the Muslim delegation, along with his delegation met Edwin Montagu, Secretary of State for India, in London and presented the Muslim viewpoint regarding Ottoman Turkey and preservation of Holy Places of Islam in Arabia.
December 23, 1919
Government of India Act 1919, incorporating the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, was approved by the Crown after the Bill was passed by the British Parliament. For the purpose of presenting his viewpoint regarding these reforms, Jinnah visited London and presented his viewpoint before Edwin Montagu, Secretary of State for India, in the Joint Parliamentary Meeting and other forums.
December 30, 1919
The sessions of AIML and INC were simultaneously held at Amritsar as sympathy for the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh. This was all done in accordance with Jinnah’s planning. The most important issue in these sessions was whether to accept the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms 1919 or reject them. In these sessions two groups emerged: 1) Tilak-Das group who wanted to reject the new reforms; 2) Jinnah-Gandhi group who wanted to accept these reforms with some amendments. Ultimately Jinnah-Gandhi group prevailed over the deliberations of the AIML and Congress, and respective resolutions were passed with the support of the majority. The AIML session, which was presided over by Hakim Ajmal Khan, passed another resolution with the support and amendment of Jinnah which made it clear that in the future in India further efforts would be made “to protect and advance the political, religious, and other rights and interests of Indian Mussalmans”. In the original resolution, the word ‘religious’ was not included. It was because of Jinnah’s suggestion that the word was also included.
December 28, 1920
Jinnah attended the Nagpur Congress session. In this session, Gandhi introduced his resolution to intensify the Non-Cooperation or Satyagraha Movement by which elections under the new reforms were to be boycotted. Schools, educational institutions and foreign goods were also to be boycotted. The lawyers were also required to boycott the courts all over the country. This was against the stance of Jinnah for which Gandhi promised to work the new reforms in the Amritsar Session of the Congress on December 26, 1919. Jinnah tried his best to appeal to the participants but his sane call was not heard because Gandhi had aroused the religious sentiments of both the Hindu and Muslim youths and leaders. The Muslims were stirred over the Khilafat issue and danger to the holy places of Islam in Arabia. In this matter, Gandhi got the support of Jamiat-ul-Ulema-i-Hind and the Central Khilafat Committee by ignoring Jinnah and his AIML. The Hindu youth were also secretly stirred that the rise of Jinnah in the Congress and AIML alike was considered against the interests of the Hindu Raj. This was prepared under the secret role of the Hindu youth headed by Jawaharlal Nehru. After the Congress Amritsar session, Gandhi had gradually changed and got the support of Home Rule League, Jamiat-ul-Ulema-i-Hind, and Central Khilafat Committee before capturing over the Congress politics at the Nagpur sessions. Jinnah thought this a dangerous scenario for the future of the Muslims, which a number of Muslim leaders including the Ali brothers were to realize later. Therefore, Jinnah left the Congress and devoted all of his political activities to the Muslims led by AIML. Jinnah developed the belief that Gandhi had deceived him by turning against the promises he had made to him in December 1919 at the Congress Amritsar session.
During this year in February, Gandhi called off the Non-Cooperation Movement when he saw this issue had divided the Indian people. It was not only that the Muslims became divided, but the Hindus as well. All this was witnessed at Congress Gaya session held on December 26, 1922. For all this there was none but Gandhi who was responsible. The AIML session in December was also not held. Jinnah, as President of the AIML, took the responsibility of keeping the Muslim people united around one political party.
March 31-April 1, 1923
It was because of efforts of Jinnah that the annual session of the AIML was held at Lucknow. G. M. Bhurgri, a close associate of Jinnah, presided over this session. This session was prorogued because of some divergent views amongst the League leaders for the revival of AIML.
Maulana Mahomed Ali Jauhar, who was arrested in the Khilafat Movement agitation in 1921, was released from jail. This was because on July 1923 the Lausanne Treaty was concluded by which Istanbul was vacated by the British forces “removing the major Muslim complaint against the British”. In this way “the Khilafat movement had lost much of its momentum” because Gandhi had separated himself from the Khilafat Movement. This irritated Maulana Mahomed Ali Jauhar.
September 4-8, 1923
Special Congress session was held in Delhi in which Maulana Mahomed Ali Jauhar participated. Maulana Jauhar sided with C. R. Das’ Council-entry programme, instead of Gandhi’s path which was against the proposal. Gandhi considered the Council-entry programme actually mooted by Jinnah, who had already left the Congress.
November 14, 1923
Jinnah was elected unopposed as member of Indian Legislative Assembly from the Bombay constituency.
May 24-25, 1924
The prorogued AIML session was held in Lahore presided over by Jinnah in which Maulana Mahomed Ali Jauhar also participated. A number of AIML leaders appreciated Jinnah’s efforts for the revival of Muslim League because of the reason that “under the present circumstances” it was “most essential to voice our grievances and to safeguard and advance our rights and privileges in India”. In this way majority of the Muslim leaders had become favorable to Jinnah’s concern for revival of AIML and his thinking that for the future of the Muslims of British India, the revival of the League was of utmost importance. Some days before the holding of this session of the AIML at Lahore, Jinnah gave an interview to the press in which he explained that there was great danger to the existence of Muslims in the Indo-Pak subcontinent because of the rise of Shuddhi and the Sangathan movements who have made a point of playing music near the Muslim mosques. Under these circumstances, there was no other organization other than the AIML that could save the future of the Muslims in the subcontinent.
In June 1924 the Government of India appointed the Reforms Enquiry Committee (also known as the Muddiman committee) headed by A. P. Muddiman, of which Jinnah was also appointed a member. For some months this Committee interviewed a number of people and conducted its proceedings, finalizing its report in November 1924. There occurred a split in the proceedings of this Committee. The majority members wrote a separate report i.e., the Majority Report while Jinnah along with three other members (Dr. Tej Bahadur Sapru, P. S. Sivaswamy Aiyer, and R. P. Paranjpye) wrote a Minority Report which disagreed with the Majority Report. Both these reports were submitted on December 3, 1924. In the Minority Report, it was on insistence from Jinnah that the AIML Resolution was included which demanded that: 1) Separate electorates should be continued and included in the new reforms; 2) Federal constitution should be proposed by which autonomy of the provinces should be maintained; 3) Integrity of the Muslim majority provinces must be maintained in the new constitution; and 4) On any communal issue, the majority will not impose its will on the minority community unless and until ¾ of the members of the concerned community agree to it.
December 30-31, 1924
16th session of AIML was held in Bombay and presided over by Jinnah. In this session majority of the Muslim leaders from all over India participated and agreed for the revival of AIML, including Maulana Mahomed Ali Jauhar, who erstwhile had not agreed. Now, he not only agreed to the revival of AIML but “garlanded Mr. Jinnah at the conclusion of proceedings and embraced him and kissed him on both cheeks amidst loud outburst of applause from the audience”. In his speech Jinnah made it clear that it was the “practical situation” in the political sense which made him struggle for the revival of the party, a decision which was essential for the future survival of Muslims as a whole in the Indo-Pak subcontinent.
Under the pressure from Congress and Swarajya parties, the Government was not ready to accept the Minority Report. In a press conference on March 1925, Jinnah made it clear that unless the new constitution was not framed in the light of the Minority Report, the Muslims would not accept the new constitution. The Government considered it a threat from Jinnah and delayed the constitutional proposals in fear of Jinnah who was still very popular and effective in the Indian politics.
The Government of India appointed the Indian Sandhurst Committee (also known as the Skeen Committee) headed by Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Skeen, Chief of the General Staff and with a number of members of the Central Legislative Assembly including Jinnah. The purpose of this Committee was to probe into the possibility of how the Indian applicants could be granted commission in the Indian Army and whether it was desirable and practicable to establish a military college in India to train Indians for the commissioned ranks of the Indian Army and, if a military college was established in India, it should supersede or be supplemented by Sandhurst and Woolwich so far as the training of Indians for the commissioned ranks of the Indian Army is concerned. Jinnah had been speaking for this cause in the Central Assembly since the World War I. All the elected members of the Central Assembly became favorable to Jinnah’s concept of grant of commission to the Indians in the Army so that Indians could take up the defence of India.
The writer is Ex-Director, National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, and Professor at Quaid-i-Azam Chair (NIPS), Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad.
E-mail: [email protected]
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