November 7, 1931
An agreement was finally reached in London amongst the leaders of the Muslims and other minorities in India by which separate electorates for Muslims and other minorities was considered sine qua non.1 This perturbed Gandhi and the Congress. In its meeting held on November 8, 1931 the INC Working Committee condemned this unity amongst the minorities and requested Gandhi, who was in London at that time for the purpose of participation in the 2nd RTC, to come back to India.2
December 31, 1931
A public meeting at Madras was presided over by Maulana Yakub Hassan, member of Indian Legislative Assembly and former Deputy Speaker of the Central Legislative Assembly. In his presidential address, Maulana Yakub Hassan, referring to Iqbal’s recent Allahabad Muslim League Session, explained, “Iqbal’s utterances had given new complexion to the legitimate and rational demands of Muslims as contained in Mr. Jinnah’s Fourteen Points”.3
November 17-December 24, 1932
Third Round Table Conference was held in London. Allama Iqbal and other politicians from British India participated. It ended without coming to any conclusion or agreement. Jinnah, however, was not invited to this conference.
January 3, 1932
On a request from Jinnah, Nawab Ismail Khan and Maulana Shah Masood Ahmad, President and Secretary All India Muslim Conference respectively, in a statement issued from London resigned from their offices and announced the merger of All India Muslim Conference in the AIML.4 This was done for uniting the Muslims under the aegis of AIML.5
The Congress’ Civil Disobedience Movement, initiated for the purpose of pressuring the British Government to hand over power to the Congress leaders, continued all over British India. The Muslim leaders of all the provinces were against this. Other minorities were also alarmed by Congress’ Movement. Statements were being issued against each other. In this background Dr. Moonje, a Congress leader, remarked that Jinnah and Sir Aga Khan were in London as if they were Ambassadors-at-large of the Muslims at St. James Court. In this way the Congress leaders were doing their utmost to suppress the Muslims’ identity as a nation or as a community.
August 16, 1932
As there was unity amongst all the leaders of the minorities including the Muslims. Ramsay MacDonald, the Prime Minister, in a statement announced on behalf of the British Government that His Majesty’s Government proposed to grant separate electorates to the Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians and Europeans living in British India in the central and provincial legislatures. In this statement the Muslim demand for creation of Sindh as a separate Muslim province was also accepted. It was also made clear that the Muslim majorities in Bengal and Punjab will not be disturbed.7 This is known as the Communal Award. This was done to pacify Jinnah and other Muslim leaders who had become united at the RTC.
October 23, 1932
In a statement issued from London, Jinnah made it clear to both the Congress leaders and the British Government that unless there was a settlement between the Muslim and Hindu nations, no constitution in India could work in the coming future.8
Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, a student at Cambridge, issued a pamphlet titled “Now or Never” in which he coined the word “Pakistan”, which means ‘P’ derived from the Punjab, ‘A’ from Afghan (North-West Frontier Province now called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), ‘K’ from Kashmir, ‘S’ from Sindh, and ‘tan’ from Balochistan. This scheme was also brought to the notice of Joint Parliamentary Committee which was framing the new constitutional reforms for India.9
March 5, 1933
A meeting of the Executive Board of All India Muslim Conference presided over by Allama Iqbal decided to merge the All India Muslim Conference with the AIML.
March 12, 1933
A meeting of the AIML Council presided over by Abdul Aziz was held in Lahore. About 20 Muslim leaders including Sir Mohammad Iqbal, Sir Mohammad Yakub, Maulvi Shah Dawoodi, M. Yamin Khan, Captain Sher Mohammad Khan, Khan Sahib Haji Rashid Ahmad, and Khan Sahib S. M. Abdullah participated. It was “unanimously resolved to invite Mr. Jinnah to give a lead to the Mussalmans of India in the present political situation and with that end in view to hold the annual session of the League on April 29 and 30, 1933 or such other date as would suit the convenience of Mr. Jinnah”.10
March 17, 1933
The White Paper was issued by the British Government from London in which the Communal Award was given parliamentary cover. It was on this basis that a Joint Parliamentary Committee by the British Parliament was formed to frame the new constitution of India which later took the shape of Government of India Act 1935.11
May 12, 1933
Abdul Aziz, President of AIML, issued a press statement in which he disclosed that he had received a requisition signed by more than 100 Muslim leaders belonging to all the provinces of India – UP, Punjab, Bombay, Sindh, Madras, Bengal, Assam, CP and Berar, Delhi, NWFP, Bihar and Orissa – dated April 12, 1933 in which it had been requested to disband All India Muslim Conference and the AIML “being the old premier political organization of the Indian Mussalmans”, to be made the “Parliament of Indian Muslims”. This requisition also made it clear that “the presence of a personality like Mr. Jinnah is essential to lead, guide and unite the community in the present chaotic state of Muslim politics”.12
December 7, 1933
Sir Allama Mohammad Iqbal’s press statement was published in the newspapers in which he urged upon Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru that “Either Indian majority community will have to accept for itself the permanent position of an agent of British imperialism of the East or the country will have to be redistributed on the basis of religious, historical and cultural affinities so as to do away with the question of electorates and the communal problem in its present form”.13
January 4, 1934
Jinnah arrived in Bombay on a short visit to India. On his arrival he was given a rousing reception.14
February 24, 1934
Debate on the “Constitutional Reforms and India” was held in Bombay which Jinnah attended as the chief guest. In his speech, Jinnah criticized certain aspects of the White Paper, especially the diarchy. Jinnah explained that the White Paper had not proposed a “genuine” federation.15 He, however, made it clear that he accepts the Communal Award for the present.
April 1-2, 1934
Jinnah came on a short visit to India and presided over AIML Council meeting held in Delhi in which the Communal Award was accepted. Some speakers at this meeting expressed a strong feeling that Mr. Jinnah should stay in the country at this critical hour. Mr. Jinnah replied that he could come back to the country at any time, by air when he needed, and that he would be promoting the interests of the country in England.”16 It was at this meeting that both groups of the Muslim League became united making Jinnah their President. Jinnah was happy to note that the AIML had become united after a long time. In an interview Jinnah also said: “I was immensely impressed with most of the speeches made there by the various leaders, who had come from different provinces in India”. Thus, he was also happy to note that the AIML had become a “perfectly sound and healthy” organization.17
May 24, 1934
Jinnah departed for England from Bombay with the happy memories that Muslim India had become united.
Jinnah was re-elected unopposed as Member of the Indian Central Legislative Assembly from his Bombay constituency despite being in London.18
December 14, 1934
Jinnah departed for India from London by Ship Venice.
January 3, 1935
Jinnah reached Bombay by ship.
January 16, 1935
A meeting of the Punjab Muslim League Council was held at the house of Allama Iqbal in Lahore. Allama Iqbal presided over this meeting as President of the Punjab Muslim League. In this meeting Congress’ attitude towards the Muslims was strongly condemned. The meeting also urged upon Jinnah as President of the AIML to focus on Muslim interests with full force.
January 24, 1935
Jinnah maneuvered amongst the Members of the Indian Central Legislative Assembly and managed to get his friend Sir Abdul Rahim elected as President of the Assembly by 70 votes to 62. The opponent, a Congress candidate, T. A. K. Sherwani was defeated.
February 7, 1935
Jinnah’s called for a resolution asking for acceptance of the Communal Award and partial adoption of the provincial portion of the final report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) – which later became known as Government of India Act 1935 – but rejection of central portion of the JPC was passed by majority vote by the Indian Central Legislative Assembly. The Congress’ resolution for total rejection of the JPC was defeated. It must be mentioned here that for the purpose of Assembly business the nomenclature of Jinnah’s party was “Independent Party.”
February 13, 1935
Congress inspired an anonymous letter in the name of “J” published in the Times of India in which Congress’ frustration about Jinnah was expressed in this way: “Assembly by its approval of Mr. Jinnah’s ‘judgment’ discarded all immediate thought of an Indian ‘nation’ embracing all India’s peoples. What he wants apparently is the creation of a ‘Hindu India’ and a ‘Muslim India’ in the north, composed of a solid block of Muslim States extending from the Afghan frontier as far as and including Bengal. This will exist as a perpetual menace overhanging ‘Hindu India’ of the South”. This meant that Jinnah was secretly working for the establishment of Pakistan.
February 16, 1935
The AIML Council chaired by Jinnah discussed various matters. A great concern was also expressed as to why Balochistan was not made a separate province at par with the other advanced provinces of India.
March 1, 1935
Jinnah-Prasad Talks ended in failure. Talks were held between these two great leaders – Jinnah as President of the AIML and Rajendra Prasad as President of the Indian National Congress. The Congress President who had felt hurt on account of Jinnah’s recent success in the Assembly feared that Jinnah may go for Pakistan. The Jinnah-Prasad Talks, however, failed to win over Jinnah on the issue of One Indian Nation.
April 22, 1935
Jinnah addressed a meeting arranged by the Bombay Muslim Students Union in which he made it clear that the Hindu Mahasabha is working for the “complete supremacy and ascendency of Hindus”. They are not treating the Muslims as their equals. This is the position, Jinnah continued, under which the Congress is also working. This situation, Jinnah added, has forced the Muslims to resort to a different path.19
April 23, 1935
Jinnah sailed to London from Bombay for the purpose of watching the final debates on the Government of India Bill 1935 based on JPC in the British Parliament. The purpose of this visit was also Jinnah’s concern that the Congress lobby might not be able to do anything against the separate electorates issue for the Muslims and the minorities.
June 4, 1935
The Government of India Bill incorporating the JPC Report was passed by the House of Commons.
July 24, 1935
After a debate in the House of Lords, the Government of India Bill, as passed by the House of Commons, was approved.
August 2, 1935
The Government of India Bill passed by the British Parliament received the Royal Assent and became the Government of India Act 1935 incorporating the Communal Award and other aspects of JPC Report.
Jinnah sold his property in London and returned to India.
April 11-12, 1936
24th Session of AIML was held in Bombay and presided over by Syed Wazir Hassan. Jinnah also addressed this session. Addressing this session, Jinnah explained the coming dangers to the Muslims from the Congress and other Hindu organizations. In his speech, Jinnah made it clear that the Congress was “behaving like an ostrich, putting its head in the sand and thinking that nobody was observing it”. It was in this session that a unanimous resolution was passed by which Jinnah was authorized to constitute Muslim League Parliamentary Board consisting of 35 members for the purpose of coming elections. Full confidence in Jinnah was expressed in this session by various speakers as a “pilot” of the Muslim nation. The real purpose of this was that “the Muslims should organize themselves as one party, with an advanced and progressive programme”.
June 8-11, 1936
First meeting of the Muslim League Parliamentary Board was arranged in Lahore and presided over by Jinnah. Of the 35 leaders invited at this meeting only 23 leaders participated but they represented all the provinces of India. Thirteen aims and objectives of the Parliamentary Board were finalized including the safe religious and political future of the Muslim nation, preservation of Urdu as a national language, and protection of Muslim culture, etc. These were the aims for which the provincial Muslim League Parliamentary Boards were to be formed. Jinnah, Abdul Matin Chaudhry, and Raja of Mahmudabad were elected President, Secretary and Treasurer of this Central Board respectively.
Jinnah toured different provinces, especially Sindh, Punjab, NWFP (now KP), Bengal and Assam to convince different Muslim leaders of the concerned provinces to unite but his efforts could not materialize because in every province the Muslims themselves were divided into various groups or parties.
In a statement to the press, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru declared: “Essentially there were only two parties in the country, namely, the Government and the Congress”. Refuting this claim of Nehru, Jinnah declared that “there was a third party, namely, Indian Muslims”.
January 13, 1937
Sir Mohammad Yakub, a prominent Muslim leader, gave an interview to the representative of the Times of India in which he said that the real objective of the Congress was to merge the Muslims into the Hindu majority. He supported Jinnah’s efforts for the cause of the Muslim nation.
Election to the provincial legislatures was held in different provinces. Out of 482 seats reserved for the Muslims in the eleven provinces, the AIML won only 25% of these seats, i.e., 106 seats. Congress could not win more than 5% of these seats, i.e., 26 seats. Along with it should also be known that of these 5% candidates, 3% belonged to the NWFP (now KP). The Congress’ performance in other Muslim majority or minority provinces was not more than 2% as a whole. This showed that the Muslim nation’s public opinion had turned against the Congress and other Hindu parties. However, the regional parties in the Muslim majority provinces attracted the Muslim masses. This meant that the Muslim population as a whole had turned against the Hindu Raj as claimed by the Congress and other Hindu parties.
March 17-18, 1937
INC Working Committee meeting presided over by Jawaharlal Nehru was held in Delhi. In his address to this meeting, Nehru made it clear that the Hindu Raj was coming and that Congress was the only organization in the country with which the Government was authorized to negotiate. This alarmed all the Muslims, particularly those living in the Muslim majority provinces.
(To be continued)
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]
1 1931, November 9. Times of India.
3 1932, January 2. Times of India.
4 1932, January 5. Times of India.
5 1932, January 6. Times of India.
6 Ibid. 1932, June 6. Times of India.
7 Ibid. P. 166-168. 1932, August 17.Times of India.
8 Ibid. P. 168. 1932, October 24. Times of India.
9 Ibid. P. 25.
10 1933, May 13. Times of India.
11 Ibid. P. 170. 1933, March 18. Times of India.
12 1933, May 13.Times of India.
13 1933, December 7. Times of India.
14 Ibid. P. 173.
15 Ibid. 1934, February 26. Times of India.
16 1934, April 2. Times of India.
17 1934, April 3. Times of India.
18 Ibid. P. 27.
19 1935, April 23. Times of India.
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