- 1 Historical context
- 2 Background
- 3 Rise to prominence
- 4 Significance and evaluation
- 5 Timeline Summary
- 6 HSC Past Questions
British imperialism in India
- In 1600 the EIC was formed in London for trade with the East
- For a century and a half the EIC traded around the coast of an India ruled by the Mighal dynasty
- In the mid-18th C Mughal rule collapsed. The EIC took over in Bengal
- British Govt. assumed authority in place of the Company
- For almost a century (1757-1849) British pursued a policy of conquest in India
- During the century of conquest the British created an administration which supported the economic exploitation of India
- Several areas were left under the ‘rule’ of Indian princes
- After the Indian Mutiny 1857-58, the British were much more cautious about changing Indian society, and two India’s, princely and British, remained until independence in 1947
- The Indian National Congress, India’s first national organisation was founded in 1885. It was soon divided between Moderates and Extremists and failed to win Muslim support
- From 1885 til end of WWI in 1918 Congress was to make little impact on British rule in India.
Rise of Muslim identity
- The great Muslim leader of the 19th century Sir Saiyid Ahmad Khan acknowledged that India was a: “community of communities”, but this was a long way from seeing it as a single nation
- India as he saw it was divided in two distinct and separate groups: Hindu and Muslim
- There could be no such things as a single nation covering the whole of India
- Sir Saiyid Ahmad Khan: “The aims and objects of the Indian National Congress are based upon an ignorance of history and present day realities; they do not take into consideration that India is inhabited by different nationalities. The Congress thinks that these nationalities profess the same religion, that they speak the same language, that their way of life and customs are the same, that their attitude to history is similar and is based upon the same historical traditions. The Muslims are in a minority, but they are a united minority. At least traditionally they are prone to take the sword in hand when the majority oppresses them.”
Profile: Saiyid Ahmad Khan
- Most prominent Muslim leader in India during 19th C
- Born 1817 – as young man entered the service of the EIC
- He accepted the Quran but insisted it be interpreted in the light of modern scientific learning
- His message:
- Hindus and Muslims formed two separate communities with separate and conflicting interest
- A government based on democracy would harm the interests of Muslims. They would be outnumbered and outvoted in elections and therefore ruled by Hindus
- Muslims should regard British rule as the chief safeguard of their interests and avoid political action against British Govt.
- As Muslim interests were safe in the hands of the British, Muslims should confine their attention to the social and educational development of their fellow Muslims
- Saiyid had no sympathy for the hopes of Congress – Congress had none for him
- A. Jinnah – a later successor of Saiyid – agreed there was a Hindu nation but it was limited to those areas where the Hindus were in the majority.
- In Jinnah’s view those areas with a Muslim majority constituted a separate Muslim nation
- This view of India as two separate nations would later be vigorously opposed by Ghandi
- To his way of thinking there could be only one nation, undivided by any difference in religion
- For Ghandi, as for so many other Hindu’s differences of religion were unimportant.
- A deeper unity he maintained tied both Hindus and Muslims together in the common bond of Indian identity.
Rise of Indian nationalism
- Nationalism was slow to evolve in India, there were several reasons for:
- The Indian subcontinent contained several distinct racial groups and a diversity of cultures (languages and religions)
- The immense size of the subcontinent and the varying landscapes and environments, made the development of opposition difficult.
- Literacy was poor and more than 90% of people lived in villages
Family background and education
- Born: 25 December 1876
- Place of Birth: Disputed – in lower Sindhi or Jhirk, Karachi
- One of 8 children
- Father was prosperous Gujurati merchant
- Family decent: Reflected Shia, Sunni and Ismaili influences
- Educated: Sind Madrasatul Islam and the Christian Missionary Society High School in Karachi.
- Age 16: Passes matriculation examination of the University of Bombay
- Prior to being sent to London, Jinnah marries Emibai, a distant cousin, at his mother’s urging. She died shortly after he left for London.
- 1892: Offered apprenticeship at London Office of Graham’s Shipping and Trading Company.
- Soon left the apprenticeship to study law – Joins Lincoln’s Inn.
- 1896: At age19, Jinnah is the youngest Indian to be called to the Bar in England.
- Western Influences:
- Jinnah’s lifestyle came to represent that of an upper-class English professional
- Passion for nationalist politics
- He adopted British parliamentary and legal practices and skills which he would use later.
- Exposed to the idea of a democratic nation and progressive poltics
- Dress and behaviour: Western clothing- he prided himself on his appearance – said to never wear the same silk tie twice and had about 200 tailored suits.
- Jinnah’s behaviour reflected as much Anglo-Indian sociology as Islamic theology.
- Ambitious, domineering, charismatic man.
- Professor Lawrence Ziring: Jinnah’s “Personality…made Pakistan possible…it would not have emerged without him”
Early career as a lawyer
- Returned to India to practise law at the Bombay Bar in 1896 – only Muslim barrister in Bombay
- At the turn of the century Jinnah was a typical Indian nationalist – he adopted two strategies to get rid of the British:
- Operate within the British system
- Work for a united front of Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Parsees against the British.
- He succeeded to an extent in both.
- Gained a reputation as an arrogant nationalist.
- On one occasion in Bombay, when Jinnah was arguing a case in court the British presiding judge interrupted him several times, exclaiming ‘Rubbish’. Jinnah responded: ‘Your honour, nothing but rubbish has passed your mouth all morning’. Sir Charles Ollivant, judicial member of the Bombay provincial government, was so impressed by Jinnah that in 1901 he offered him permanent employment at 1500 rupees a month. Jinnah declined, saying he would soon earn that amount in a day. Not too long afterwards he proved himself correct.
- He often antagonised British superiors – however he was clever enough to consciously remain within the boundaries – he learned to use British law skilfully against the British
- At several points in his long career, Jinnah was threatened by the British with imprisonment for speaking in favour of Indian home rule or rights.
- Lord Willington, Viceroy of India in 1931-36 did not take to Jinnah, and even the gruff but kindly Lord Wavell, Viceroy in 1943-7, was made to feel uncomfortable by Jinnah’s clear-minded advocacy of the Muslims, even though he recognised the justice of Jinnah’s arguments. The last Viceroy, however, Lord Mountbatten, could not cope with what he regarded as Jinnah’s arrogance and haughtiness, preferring the natives to be more friendly and pliant.
Congress and All India Muslim League (AIML) leader
Jinnah joins congress:
- On his return from England in 1896, Jinnah joined the Indian National Congress.
- In 1906 he attended the Calcutta session as secretary to Dadabhai Naoroji, who was now president of Congress.
- One of his patrons and supporters, G.K. Gokhale, a distinguished Brahmin, called him “the best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity”
- When Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the Hindu nationalist, was being tried by the British on sedition charges in 1908 he asked Jinnah to represent him.
Jinnah joins the Muslim League:
- Jinnah was an active and successful member of Indian congress from the start and had resisted joining the Muslim League until 1913, 7 years after its foundation.
- In 1913, for example, he piloted the Muslim Wakfs (Trust) Bill through the Viceroy’s Legislative Council, and it won widespread praise.
- Muslims saw him as strong on their side. For this part, Jinnah though the Muslim League was “rapidly growing into a powerful factor for the birth of a United India” and maintained that the charge of ‘separation’ sometimes levelled at Muslims was extremely incorrect.
Ambassador of ‘Unity':
- On the death of his mentor, Gokhale, in 1915, Jinnah was struck with ‘sorrow and grief’ (Bolitho 1954: 62) and in May 1015 he proposed a memorial to Gokhale be constructed.
- A few weeks later in a letter to The Times of India he argued that the Congress and League should meet to discuss the future of India, appealing to Muslim leaders to keep pace with their Hindu ‘friends’.
Lucknow Muslim League and the Lucknow Pact:
- Jinnah was elected president of the Lucknow Muslim League session in 1916 (from now he would be one of its main leaders, becoming president of the League itself from 1920-1930 and again from 1937-1947 until after the creation of Pakistan).
- Lucknow Pact:
- He helped bring the Congress and the League on to one platform to agree on a common scheme of reforms.
- Muslims were promised 30% representation in provincial councils.
- A common front was constructed again British imperialism.
- Jinnah described himself as “a staunch Congressman” who had “no love for sectarian cries” (Afzal 1966: 56-62).
- NOTE: high point of his career as ambassador of the 2 communities and the closest the Congress and Muslim league came.
All India Home Rule League:
- Played an important role in founding this
- Aimed to work for dominion status –> details under Gandhi
1918: Married Ruttie
1918 Rowlatt Acts:
- Opposed to these acts along side Congress.
- States that the “constitutional rights of the people have been violated”
Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms 1919:
- Muslims are given separate electorates ( in the provincial and imperial legislative council) as agreed in the Lucknow Pact.
- Good step forward and strengthened Muslim individualism in Indian politics
1919: Becomes president of the Muslim League.
1919 Khilafat Movement: Strengthened Jinnah’s faith to work for the interests of Muslims.
Fall in Importance:
- Gandhi’s emergence in the 1920’s – and the radically different style of politics he introduced which drew in the masses – marginalised Jinnah.
- The emphasis on Hinduism and the concomitant growth in communal violence worried Jinnah.
- Throughout the decade he remained president of the Muslim League, but the party was virtually non-existent.
- Congress has little time for him and his unrelenting opposition to British imperialism did not win him favour with the authorities.
- In 1929, while Jinnah was vainly attempting to make sense of the uncertain political landscape, Ruttie died.
- He moved to London with his daughter Dina and sister, Fatima, and returned to his career as a successful lawyer.
- His role in India seemed to have concluded.
Rise to prominence
Differences with Gandhi
- In subsequent years, however, he felt dismayed at the injection of violence into politics. Since Jinnah stood for “ordered progress”, moderation, gradualism and constitutionalism, he felt that political terrorism was not the pathway to national liberation but, the dark alley to disaster and destruction.
- Hence, the constitutionalist Jinnah could not possibly, countenance Gandhi’s novel methods of Satyagraha (civil disobedience) and the triple boycott of government-aided schools and colleges, courts and councils and British textiles.
- Earlier, in October 1920, when Gandhi, having been elected President of the Home Rule League, sought to change its constitution as well as its nomenclature, Jinnah had resigned from the Home Rule League, saying: “Your extreme program has for the moment struck the imagination mostly of the inexperienced youth and the ignorant and the illiterate. All this means disorganisation and choas”. Jinnah did not believe that ends justified the means.
The Nehru Report
- The future course of events was not only to confirm Jinnah’s worst fears, but also to prove him right. Although Jinnah left the Congress soon thereafter, he continued his efforts towards bringing about a Hindu-Muslim entente, which he rightly considered “the most vital condition of Swaraj”. However, because of the deep distrust between the two communities as evidenced by the country-wide communal riots, and because the Hindus failed to meet the genuine demands of the Muslims, his efforts came to naught. One such effort was the formulation of the Delhi Muslim Proposals in March, 1927. In order to bridge Hindu-Muslim differences on the constitutional plan, these proposals even waived the Muslim right to separate electorate, the most basic Muslim demand since 1906, which though recognized by the congress in the Lucknow Pact, had again become a source of friction between the two communities. surprisingly though, the Nehru Report (1928), which represented the Congress-sponsored proposals for the future constitution of India, negated the minimum Muslim demands embodied in the Delhi Muslim Proposals.
- In vain did Jinnah argue at the National convention (1928): “What we want is that Hindus and Mussalmans should march together until our object is achieved…These two communities have got to be reconciled and united and made to feel that their interests are common”. The Convention’s blank refusal to accept Muslim demands represented the most devastating setback to Jinnah’s life-long efforts to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity, it meant “the last straw” for the Muslims, and “the parting of the ways” for him, as he confessed to a Parsee friend at that time. Jinnah’s disillusionment at the course of politics in the subcontinent prompted him to migrate and settle down in London in the early thirties. He was, however, to return to India in 1934, at the pleadings of his co-religionists, and assume their leadership. But, the Muslims presented a sad spectacle at that time. They were a mass of disgruntled and demoralised men and women, politically disorganised and destitute of a clear-cut political program.
- Birkenhead in 1928 challenged Indians to come up with their own proposal for constitutional change for India; in response, the Congress convened a committee under the leadership of Motilal Nehru. The Nehru Report favoured constituencies based on geography on the ground that being dependent on each other for election would bind the communities closer together. Jinnah, though he believed separate electorates, based on religion, necessary to ensure Muslims had a voice in the government, was willing to compromise on this point, but talks between the two parties failed. He put forth proposals that he hoped might satisfy a broad range of Muslims and reunite the League, calling for mandatory representation for Muslims in legislatures and cabinets. These became known as his Fourteen Points. He could not secure adoption of the Fourteen Points, as the League meeting in Delhi at which he hoped to gain a vote instead dissolved into chaotic argument.
The Round Table Conferences
- After Baldwin was defeated at the 1929 British parliamentary election, Ramsey MacDonald of the Labour Party became prime minister.
- MacDonald desired a conference of Indian and British leaders in London to discuss India’s future, a course of action supported by Jinnah.
- Three Round Table Conferences followed over as many years, none of which resulted in a settlement.
- Jinnah was a delegate to the first two conferences, but was not invited to the last.
- He remained in Britain for most of the period 1930 through 1934, practising as a barrister before the Privy Council, where he dealt with a number of Indian-related cases. His biographers disagree over why he remained so long in Britain—Wolpert asserts that had Jinnah been made a Law Lord, he would have stayed for life, and that Jinnah alternatively sought a parliamentary seat.
- Bolitho called this period “Jinnah’s years of order and contemplation, wedged in between the time of early struggle, and the final storm of conquest”
Return to India in the 1930s and revival of the Muslim League
- Beginning in 1933, Indian Muslims, especially from the United Provinces, began to urge Jinnah to return to India and take up again his leadership of the Muslim League, an organisation which had fallen into inactivity.
- He remained titular president of the League, but declined to travel to India to preside over its 1933 session in April, writing that he could not possibly return there until the end of the year.
- Among those who met with Jinnah to seek his return was Liaquat Ali Khan, who would be a major political associate of Jinnah in the years to come and the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. At Jinnah’s request, Liaquat discussed the return with a large number of Muslim politicians and confirmed his recommendation to Jinnah.
- In early 1934, Jinnah relocated to the subcontinent, though he shuttled between London and India on business for the next few years, selling his house in Hampstead and closing his legal practice in Britain
- Muslims of Bombay elected Jinnah, though then absent in London, as their representative to the Central Legislative Assembly in October 1934.
- The British Parliament’s Government of India Act 1935 gave considerable power to India’s provinces, with a weak central parliament in New Delhi, which had no authority over such matters as foreign policy, defence, and much of the budget.
- Full power remained in the hands of the Viceroy, however, who could dissolve legislatures and rule by decree.
- The League reluctantly accepted the scheme, though expressing reservations about the weak parliament.
Significance and evaluation
Impact of the 1937 election
- The Congress was much better prepared for the provincial elections in 1937, and the League failed to win a majority even of the Muslim seats in any of the provinces where members of that faith held a majority. It did win a majority of the Muslim seats in Delhi, but could not form a government anywhere, though it was part of the ruling coalition in Bengal. The Congress and its allies formed the government even in the North-West Frontier Province (N.W.F.P.), where the League won no seats despite the fact that almost all residents were Muslim.
- According to Singh, “the events of 1937 had a tremendous, almost a traumatic effect upon Jinnah”
- Despite his beliefs of twenty years that Muslims could protect their rights in a united India through separate electorates, provincial boundaries drawn to preserve Muslim majorities, and by other protections of minority rights, Muslim voters had failed to unite, with the issues Jinnah hoped to bring forward lost amid factional fighting.
- Singh notes the effect of the 1937 elections on Muslim political opinion: “when the Congress formed a government with almost all of the Muslim MLAs sitting on the Opposition benches, non-Congress Muslims were suddenly faced with this stark reality of near total political powerlessness. It was brought home to them, like a bolt of lightning, that even if the Congress did not win a single Muslim seat … as long as it won an absolute majority in the House, on the strength of the general seats, it could and would form a government entirely on its own …”
- In the next two years, Jinnah worked to build support among Muslims for the League. He secured the right to speak for the Muslim-led Bengali and Punjabi provincial governments in the central government in New Delhi (“the centre”).
- He worked to expand the league, reducing the cost of membership to two annas (⅛ of a rupee), half of what it cost to join the Congress. He restructured the League along the lines of the Congress, putting most power in a Working Committee, which he appointed
Development of the Muslim League as a mass party
- The Muslim League was dormant: primary branches it had none; even its provincial organizations were, for the most part, ineffective and only nominally under the control of the central organization.
- Nor did the central body have any coherent policy of its own till the Bombay session (1936), which Jinnah organized. To make matters worse, the provincial scene presented a sort of a jigsaw puzzle: in the Punjab, Bengal, Sindh, the North West Frontier, Assam, Bihar and the United Provinces, various Muslim leaders had set up their own provincial parties to serve their personal ends.
- Extremely frustrating as the situation was, the only consultation Jinnah had at this juncture was in Allama Iqbal (1877-1938), the poet-philosopher, who stood steadfast by him and helped to charter the course of Indian politics from behind the scene.
- Undismayed by this bleak situation, Jinnah devoted himself with singleness of purpose to organizing the Muslims on one platform.
- He embarked upon country-wide tours.
- He pleaded with provincial Muslim leaders to sink their differences and make common cause with the League.
- He exhorted the Muslim masses to organize themselves and join the League.
- He gave coherence and direction to Muslim sentiments on the Government of India Act, 1935.
- He advocated that the Federal Scheme should be scrapped as it was subversive of India’s cherished goal of complete responsible Government, while the provincial scheme, which conceded provincial autonomy for the first time, should be worked for what it was worth, despite its certain objectionable features.
- He also formulated a viable League manifesto for the election scheduled for early 1937.
- He was, it seemed, struggling against time to make Muslim India a power to be reckoned with.
- Despite all the manifold odds stacked against it, the Muslim League won some 108 (about 23 per cent) seats out of a total of 485 Muslim seats in the various legislatures.
- Though not very impressive in itself, the League’s partial success assumed added significance in view of the fact that the League won the largest number of Muslim seats and that it was the only all-India party of the Muslims in the country.
- SIGNIFICANCE: The elections represented the first milestone on the long road to putting Muslim India on the map of the subcontinent.
- Congress in Power With the year 1937 opened the most mementoes decade in modern Indian history.
- In that year came into force the provincial part of the Government of India Act, 1935, granting autonomy to Indians for the first time, in the provinces.
- The Congress, having become the dominant party in Indian politics, came to power in seven provinces exclusively, spurning the League’s offer of cooperation, turning its back finally on the coalition idea and excluding Muslims as a political entity from the portals of power.
- In that year, also, the Muslim League, under Jinnah’s dynamic leadership, was transformed into a mass organization, and made the spokesman of Indian Muslims as never before.
- Above all, in that momentous year were initiated certain trends in Indian politics, the crystallization of which in subsequent years made the partition of the subcontinent inevitable.
- The practical manifestation of the policy of the Congress which took office in July, 1937, in seven out of eleven provinces, convinced Muslims that, in the Congress scheme of things, they could live only on sufferance of Hindus and as “second class” citizens.
- The Congress provincial governments, it may be remembered, had embarked upon a policy and launched a program in which Muslims felt that their religion, language and culture were not safe.
- This blatantly aggressive Congress policy was seized upon by Jinnah to awaken the Muslims to a new consciousness, organize them on all-India platform, and make them a power to be reckoned with. He also gave coherence, direction and articulation to their innermost, yet vague, urges and aspirations. Above all, the filled them with his indomitable will, his own unflinching faith in their destiny.
- As a result of Jinnah’s ceaseless efforts, the Muslims awakened from what Professor Baker calls (their) “unreflective silence” (in which they had so complacently basked for long decades), and to “the spiritual essence of nationality” that had existed among them for a pretty long time.
- Roused by the impact of successive Congress hammerings, the Muslims, as Ambedkar (principal author of independent India’s Constitution) says, “searched their social consciousness in a desperate attempt to find coherent and meaningful articulation to their cherished yearnings. To their great relief, they discovered that their sentiments of nationality had flamed into nationalism”.
- In addition, not only had they developed the will to live as a nation, he had also endowed them with a territory which they could occupy and make a State as well as a cultural home for the newly discovered nation.
- These two pre-requisites, as laid down by Renan, provided the Muslims with the intellectual justification for claiming a distinct nationalism (apart from Indian or Hindu nationalism) for themselves.
- So that when, after their long pause, the Muslims gave expression to their innermost yearnings, these turned out to be in favor of a separate Muslim nationhood and of a separate Muslim state.
The demand for Pakistan
Quaid-i-Azam- “We are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of values and proportion, legal laws and moral code, customs and calendar, history and tradition, aptitudes and ambitions; in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life. By all canons of international law, we are a nation”.
NB: Jinnah is revered in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Azam (Great Leader) and Baba-i-Qaum (Father of the Nation).
- The formulation of the Muslim demand for Pakistan in 1940 had a highly significant impact on the nature and course of Indian politics.
- On the one hand, it shattered forever the Hindu dreams of a pseudo-Indian, in fact, Hindu empire on British exit from India
- On the other, it heralded an era of Islamic renaissance and creativity in which the Indian Muslims were to be active participants.
- The Hindu reaction was quick, bitter and malicious.
- Equally hostile were the British to the Muslim demand, their hostility having stemmed from their belief that the unity of India was their main achievement and their foremost contribution.
- The irony was that both the Hindus and the British had not anticipated the astonishingly tremendous response that the Pakistan demand had elicited from the Muslim masses.
- Above all, they failed to realize how a hundred million people had suddenly become supremely conscious of their distinct nationhood and their high destiny.
- In channeling the course of Muslim politics towards Pakistan, no less than in directing it towards its consummation in the establishment of Pakistan in 1947, no one played a more decisive role than did Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
- It was his powerful advocacy of the case of Pakistan and his remarkable strategy in the delicate negotiations that followed the formulation of the Pakistan demand, particularly in the post-war period, that made Pakistan inevitable.
- While the British reaction to the Pakistan demand came in the form of the Cripps offer of April, 1942, which conceded the principle of self-determination to provinces on a territorial basis became the basis of prolonged Jinnah-Gandhi talks in September, 1944), represented the Congress alternative to Pakistan.
- The Cripps offer was rejected because it did not concede the Muslim demand the whole way it offered a “moth-eaten, mutilated” The most delicate as well as the most tortuous negotiations, however, took place during 1946-47, after the elections which showed that the country was sharply and somewhat evenly divided between two parties- the Congress and the League- and that the central issue in Indian politics was Pakistan.
- These negotiations began with the arrival, in March 1946, of a three-member British Cabinet Mission.
- The crucial task with which the Cabinet Mission was entrusted was that of devising in consultation with the various political parties, constitution-making machinery, and of setting up a popular interim government.
- But, because the Congress-League gulf could not be bridged, despite the Mission’s (and the Viceroy’s) prolonged efforts, the Mission had to make its own proposals in May, 1946.
- Known as the Cabinet Mission Plan, these proposals stipulated a limited centre, supreme only in foreign affairs, defense and communications and three autonomous groups of provinces.
- Two of these groups were to have Muslim majorities in the north-west and the north-east of the subcontinent, while the third one, comprising the Indian mainland, was to have a Hindu majority.
- Tragically though, the League’s acceptance was put down to its supposed weakness and the Congress put up a posture of defiance, designed to swamp the League into submitting to its dictates and its interpretations of the plan. Faced thus, what alternative had Jinnah and the League but to rescind their earlier acceptance, reiterate and reaffirm their original stance, and decide to launch direct action (if need be) to wrest Pakistan.
- The way Jinnah maneuvered to turn the tide of events at a time when all seemed lost indicated, above all, his masterly grasp of the situation and his adeptness at making strategic and tactical moves. Partition Plan By the close of 1946, the communal riots had flared up to murderous heights, engulfing almost the entire subcontinent.
- The two peoples, it seemed, were engaged in a fight to the finish. The time for a peaceful transfer of power was fast running out.
- Realizing the gravity of the situation, His Majesty’s Government sent down to India a new Viceroy- Lord Mountbatten.
- His protracted negotiations with the various political leaders resulted in 3 June.(1947) Plan by which the British decided to partition the subcontinent, and hand over power to two successor States on 15 August, 1947. The plan was duly accepted by the three Indian parties to the dispute- the Congress the League and the Akali Dal (representing the Sikhs).
Role during World War II
- On 3 September 1939, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced the commencement of war with Nazi Germany. The following day, the Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, without consulting Indian political leaders, announced that India had entered the war along with Britain.
- There were widespread protests in India.
- After meeting with Jinnah and with Gandhi, Linlithgow announced that negotiations on self-government were suspended for the duration of the war.
- The Congress on 14 September demanded immediate independence with a constituent assembly to decide a constitution; when this was refused, its eight provincial governments resigned on 10 November and governors in those provinces thereafter ruled by decree for the remainder of the war.
- Jinnah, on the other hand, was more willing to accommodate the British, and they in turn increasingly recognised him and the League as the representatives of India’s Muslims.
- Jinnah later stated, “after the war began, … I was treated on the same basis as Mr. Gandhi. I was wonderstruck why I was promoted and given a place side by side with Mr. Gandhi.”
- Although the League did not actively support the British war effort, neither did they try to obstruct it.
- With the British and Muslims to some extent cooperating, the Viceroy asked Jinnah for an expression of the Muslim League’s position on self-government, confident that it would differ greatly from that of the Congress.
- To come up with such a position, the League’s Working Committee met for four days in February 1940 to set out terms of reference to a constitutional sub-committee.
- The Working Committee asked that the sub-committee return with a proposal that would result in “independent dominions in direct relationship with Great Britain” (Historian Jalal) where Muslims were dominant.
- On 6 February, Jinnah informed the Viceroy that the Muslim League would be demanding partition instead of the federation contemplated in the 1935 Act.
- The Lahore Resolution (sometimes called the “Pakistan Resolution”, although it does not contain that name), based on the sub-committee’s work, embraced the Two-Nation Theory and called for a union of the Muslim-majority provinces in the northwest of British India, with complete autonomy.
- Similar rights were to be granted the Muslim-majority areas in the east, and unspecified protections given to Muslim minorities in other provinces. The resolution was passed by the League session in Lahore on 23 March 1940.
- Reactions to Lahore:
- Gandhi’s reaction to the Lahore Resolution was muted; he called it “baffling”, but told his disciples that Muslims, in common with other people of India, had the right to self-determination.
- Leaders of the Congress were more vocal; Jawaharlal Nehru (son of Motilal) referred to Lahore as “Jinnah’s fantastic proposals” while Chakravarti Rajagopalachari deemed Jinnah’s views on partition “a sign of a diseased mentality”.
- Linlithgow met with Jinnah in June 1940, soon after Winston Churchill became the British prime minister, and in August offered both the Congress and the League a deal whereby in exchange for full support for the war, Linlithgow would allow Indian representation on his major war councils.
- The Viceroy promised a representative body after the war to determine India’s future, and that no future settlement would be imposed over the objections of a large part of the population.
- This was satisfactory to neither the Congress nor the League, though Jinnah was pleased that the British had moved towards recognising Jinnah as the representative of the Muslim community’s interests.
- Jinnah was reluctant to make specific proposals as to the boundaries of Pakistan, or its relationships with Britain and with the rest of the subcontinent, fearing that any precise plan would divide the League.
- The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941 brought the United States into the war à Cripps Scheme (overlap w/Demand for Pakistan)
- In the following months, the Japanese advanced in southeast Asia, and the British Cabinet sent a mission led by Sir Stafford Cripps to try to conciliate the Indians and cause them to fully back the war.
- Cripps proposed giving some provinces what was dubbed the “local option” to remain outside of an Indian central government either for a period of time or permanently, to become dominions on their own or be part of another confederation.
- The Muslim League was far from certain of winning the legislative votes that would be required for mixed provinces such as Bengal and Punjab to secede, and Jinnah rejected the proposals as not sufficiently recognising Pakistan’s right to exist.
- The Congress also rejected the Cripps plan, demanding immediate concessions which Cripps was not prepared to give. Despite the rejection, Jinnah and the League saw the Cripps proposal as recognising Pakistan in principle.
- The Congress followed the failed Cripps mission by demanding, in August 1942, that the British immediately “Quit India”, proclaiming a mass campaign of satyagraha until they did.
- The British promptly arrested most major leaders of the Congress and imprisoned them for the remainder of the war.
- Gandhi, however, was placed on house arrest in one of the Aga Khan’s palaces prior to his release for health reasons in 1944.
- With the Congress leaders absent from the political scene, Jinnah warned against the threat of Hindu domination and maintained his Pakistan demand without going into great detail about what that would entail. Jinnah also worked to increase the League’s political control at the provincial level.
- He helped to found the newspaper Dawn in the early 1940s in Delhi; it helped to spread the League’s message and eventually became the major English-language newspaper of Pakistan.
- In September 1944, Jinnah and Gandhi, who had by then been released from his palatial prison, met at the Muslim leader’s home on Malabar Hill in Bombay.
- Two weeks of talks followed, which resulted in no agreement. Jinnah insisted on Pakistan being conceded prior to the British departure, and to come into being immediately on their departure, while Gandhi proposed that plebiscites on partition occur sometime after a united India gained its independence.
- In early 1945, Liaquat and the Congress leader Bhulabhai Desai met, with Jinnah’s approval and agreed that after the war, the Congress and the League should form an interim government and that the members of the Executive Council of the Viceroy should be nominated by the Congress and the League in equal numbers.
- When the Congress leadership was released from prison in June 1945, they repudiated the agreement and censured Desai for acting without proper authority.
Independence and Partition
- On 20 February 1947, Attlee announced Mountbatten’s appointment, and that Britain would transfer power in India not later than June 1948.
- Mountbatten took office as Viceroy on 24 March 1947, two days after his arrival in India.
- By then, the Congress had come around to the idea of partition.
- Nehru stated in 1960, “the truth is that we were tired men and we were getting on in years … The plan for partition offered a way out and we took it.”
- Leaders of the Congress decided that having loosely tied Muslim-majority provinces as part of a future India was not worth the loss of the powerful government at the centre which they desired.
- However, the Congress insisted that if Pakistan were to become independent, Bengal and Punjab would have to be divided.
- Mountbatten had been warned in his briefing papers that Jinnah would be his “toughest customer” who had proved a chronic nuisance because “no one in this country [India] had so far gotten into Jinnah’s mind”.
- The men met over six days beginning on 5 April.
- Jinnah feared that at the end of the British presence in India, they would turn control over to the Congress-dominated constituent assembly, putting Muslims at a disadvantage in attempting to win autonomy.
- He demanded that Mountbatten divide the army prior to independence, which would take at least a year.
- Mountbatten had hoped that the post-independence arrangements would include a common defence force, but Jinnah saw it as essential that a sovereign state should have its own forces. Mountbatten met with Liaquat the day of his final session with Jinnah, and concluded, as he told Attlee and the Cabinet in May, that “it had become clear that the Muslim League would resort to arms if Pakistan in some form were not conceded.”
- The Viceroy was also influenced by negative Muslim reaction to the constitutional report of the assembly, which envisioned broad powers for the post-independence central government.
- On 2 June, the final plan was given by the Viceroy to Indian leaders: on 15 August, the British would turn over power to two dominions.
- The provinces would vote on whether to continue in the existing constituent assembly, or to have a new one, that is, to join Pakistan. Bengal and Punjab would also vote, both on the question of which assembly to join, and on partition.
- A boundary commission would determine the final lines in the partitioned provinces.
- Plebiscites would take place in the North-West Frontier Province (which did not have a League government despite an overwhelmingly Muslim population), and in the majority-Muslim Sylhet district of Assam, adjacent to eastern Bengal.
- On 3 June, Mountbatten, Nehru, Jinnah and Sikh leader Baldev Singh made the formal announcement by radio. Jinnah concluded his address with “Pakistan zindabad ” (Long live Pakistan), which was not in the script.
- In the weeks which followed Punjab and Bengal cast the votes which resulted in partition. Sylhet and the N.W.F.P. voted to cast their lots with Pakistan, a decision joined by the assemblies in Sind and Baluchistan.
- On 4 July 1947, Liaquat asked Mountbatten on Jinnah’s behalf to recommend to the British king, George VI, that Jinnah be appointed Pakistan’s first governor-general.
- This request angered Mountbatten, who had hoped to have that position in both dominions—he would be India’s first post-independence governor-general—but Jinnah felt that Mountbatten would be likely to favour the new Hindu-majority state because of his closeness to Nehru.
- In addition, the governor-general would initially be a powerful figure, and Jinnah did not trust anyone else to take that office.
- Although the Boundary Commission, led by British lawyer Sir Cyril Radcliffe, had not yet reported, there were already massive movements of populations between the nations-to-be, as well as sectarian violence.
- On 11 August, he presided over the new constituent assembly for Pakistan at Karachi, and addressed them, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan … You may belong to any religion or caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”
- On 14 August, Pakistan became independent; Jinnah led the celebrations in Karachi. One observer wrote, “here indeed is Pakistan’s King Emperor, Archbishop of Canterbury, Speaker and Prime Minister concentrated into one formidable Quaid-e-Azam.”
Governor-General of Pakistan
- In recognition of his singular contribution, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was nominated by the Muslim League as the Governor-General of Pakistan, while the Congress appointed Mountbatten as India’s first Governor-General. Pakistan, it has been truly said, was born in virtual chaos.
- Indeed, few nations in the world have started on their career with less resources and in more treacherous circumstances. The new nation did not inherit a central government, a capital, an administrative core, or an organized defense force. Its social and administrative resources were poor; there was little equipment and still less statistics. The Punjab holocaust had left vast areas in a shambles with communications disrupted. This, along with the en masse migration of the Hindu and Sikh business and managerial classes, left the economy almost shattered.
- The treasury was empty, India having denied Pakistan the major share of its cash balances. On top of all this, the still unorganized nation was called upon to feed some eight million refugees who had fled the insecurities and barbarities of the north Indian plains that long, hot summer. If all this was symptomatic of Pakistan’s administrative and economic weakness, the Indian annexation, through military action in November 1947, of Junagadh (which had originally acceded to Pakistan) and the Kashmir war over the State’s accession (October 1947-December 1948) exposed her military weakness. In the circumstances, therefore, it was nothing short of a miracle that Pakistan survived at all. That it survived and forged ahead was mainly due to one man-Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
- The nation desperately needed in the person of a charismatic leader at that critical juncture in the nation’s history, and he fulfilled that need profoundly. After all, he was more than a mere Governor-General: he was the Quaid-i-Azam who had brought the State into being.
- In the ultimate analysis, his very presence at the helm of affairs was responsible for enabling the newly born nation to overcome the terrible crisis on the morrow of its cataclysmic birth. He mustered up the immense prestige and the unquestioning loyalty he commanded among the people to energize them, to raise their morale, land directed the profound feelings of patriotism that the freedom had generated, along constructive channels.
- Though tired and in poor health, Jinnah yet carried the heaviest part of the burden in that first crucial year. He laid down the policies of the new state, called attention to the immediate problems confronting the nation and told the members of the Constituent Assembly, the civil servants and the Armed Forces what to do and what the nation expected of them. He saw to it that law and order was maintained at all costs, despite the provocation that the large-scale riots in north India had provided. He moved from Karachi to Lahore for a while and supervised the immediate refugee problem in the Punjab. In a time of fierce excitement, he remained sober, cool and steady. He advised his excited audience in Lahore to concentrate on helping the refugees, to avoid retaliation, exercise restraint and protect the minorities. He assured the minorities of a fair deal, assuaged their inured sentiments, and gave them hope and comfort. He toured the various provinces, attended to their particular problems and instilled in the people a sense of belonging.
- He reversed the British policy in the North-West Frontier and ordered the withdrawal of the troops from the tribal territory of Waziristan, thereby making the Pathans feel themselves an integral part of Pakistan’s body-politics. He created a new Ministry of States and Frontier Regions, and assumed responsibility for ushering in a new era in Balochistan. He settled the controversial question of the states of Karachi, secured the accession of States, especially of Kalat which seemed problematical and carried on negotiations with Lord Mountbatten for the settlement of the Kashmir Issue.
- The Radcliffe Commission, dividing Bengal and Punjab, completed its work and reported to Mountbatten on 12 August; the last Viceroy held the maps until the 17th, not wanting to spoil the independence celebrations in both nations.
- There had already been ethnically charged violence and movement of populations; publication of the Radcliffe Line dividing the new nations sparked mass migration, murder, and ethnic cleansing.
- Many on the “wrong side” of the lines fled or were murdered, or murdered others, hoping to make facts on the ground which would reverse the commission’s verdict. Radcliffe wrote in his report that he knew that neither side would be happy with his award; he declined his fee for the work.
- Christopher Beaumont, Radcliffe’s private secretary, later wrote that Mountbatten “must take the blame—though not the sole blame—for the massacres in the Punjab in which between 500,000 to a million men, women and children perished”
- As many as 14,500,000 people relocated between India and Pakistan during and after partition.
- Jinnah did what he could for the eight million people who migrated to Pakistan; although by now over 70 and frail from lung ailments, he travelled across West Pakistan and personally supervised the provision of aid.
- According to Ahmed, “What Pakistan needed desperately in those early months was a symbol of the state, one that would unify people and give them the courage and resolve to succeed.”
- Along with Liaquat and Abdur Rab Nishtar, Jinnah represented Pakistan’s interests in the Division Council to appropriately divide public assets between India and Pakistan.
- Pakistan was supposed to receive one-sixth of the pre-independence government’s assets, carefully divided by agreement, even specifying how many sheets of paper each side would receive.
- The new Indian state, however, was slow to deliver, hoping for the collapse of the nascent Pakistani government, and reunion.
- Few members of the Indian Civil Service and the Indian Police Service had chosen Pakistan, resulting in staff shortages.
- Crop growers found their markets on the other side of an international border.
- There were shortages of machinery, not all of which was made in Pakistan.
- In addition to the massive refugee problem, the new government sought to save abandoned crops, establish security in a chaotic situation, and provide basic services.
- According to economist Yasmeen Niaz Mohiuddin in her study of Pakistan, “although Pakistan was born in bloodshed and turmoil, it survived in the initial and difficult months after partition only because of the tremendous sacrifices made by its people and the selfless efforts of its great leader.”
- The Indian Princely States, of which there were several hundred, were advised by the departing British to choose whether to join Pakistan or India.
- Most did so prior to independence, but the holdouts contributed to what have become lasting divisions between the two nations.
- Indian leaders were angered at Jinnah’s courting the princes of Jodhpur, Bhopal and Indore to accede to Pakistan—these princely states did not border Pakistan, and each had a Hindu-majority population.
- The coastal princely state of Junagadh, which had a majority-Hindu population, did accede to Pakistan in September 1947, with its ruler’s dewan, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, personally delivering the accession papers to Jinnah.
- The Indian army occupied the principality in November, forcing its former leaders, including Bhutto, to flee to Pakistan, beginning the politically powerful Bhutto family.
- The most contentious of the disputes was, and continues to be, that over the princely state of Kashmir.
- It had a Muslim-majority population and a Hindu maharaja, Sir Hari Singh, who stalled his decision on which nation to join. With the population in revolt in October 1947, aided by Pakistani irregulars, the maharaja acceded to India; Indian troops were airlifted in.
- Jinnah objected to this action, and ordered that Pakistani troops move into Kashmir.
- The Pakistani Army was still commanded by British officers, and the commanding officer, General Sir Douglas Gracey, refused the order, stating that he would not move into what he considered the territory of another nation without approval from higher authority, which was not forthcoming.
- Jinnah withdrew the order. This did not stop the violence there, which has broken into war between India and Pakistan from time to time since.
- Some historians allege that Jinnah’s courting the rulers of Hindu-majority states and his gambit with Junagadh are evidence of ill-intent towards India, as Jinnah had promoted separation by religion, yet tried to gain the accession of Hindu-majority states.
- Rajmohan Gandhi asserts that Jinnah hoped for a plebiscite in Junagadh, knowing Pakistan would lose, in the hope the principle would be established for Kashmir.
- Despite the United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 issued at India’s request for a plebiscite in Kashmir after the withdrawal of Pakistani forces, this has never occurred.
- In January 1948, the Indian government finally agreed to pay Pakistan its share of British India’s assets.
- They were impelled by Gandhi, who threatened a fast until death. Only days later, Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, who believed that Gandhi was pro-Muslim. Jinnah made a brief statement of condolence, calling Gandhi “one of the greatest men produced by the Hindu community”.
- In a radio talk addressed to the people of USA broadcast in February 1948, Jinnah said:
- “The Constitution of Pakistan is yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly, I do not know what the ultimate shape of the constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam. Today these are as applicable in actual life as these were 1300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fair play to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. ”
- In March, Jinnah, despite his declining health, made his only post-independence visit to East Pakistan.
- In a speech before a crowd estimated at 300,000, Jinnah stated (in English) that Urdu alone should be the national language, believing a single language was needed for a nation to remain united.
- The Bengali-speaking people of East Pakistan strongly opposed this policy, and in 1971 the official language issue was a factor in the region’s secession to form Bangladesh.
Evaluation: for example nationalist, communalist?
- Jinnah’s legacy is Pakistan.
- According to Mohiuddin, “He was and continues to be as highly honored in Pakistan as [first US president] George Washington is in the United States … Pakistan owes its very existence to his drive, tenacity, and judgment … Jinnah’s importance in the creation of Pakistan was monumental and immeasurable.”
- Stanley Wolpert, giving a speech in honour of Jinnah in 1998, deemed him Pakistan’s greatest leader.
- According to Singh, “With Jinnah’s death Pakistan lost its moorings. In India there will not easily arrive another Gandhi, nor in Pakistan another Jinnah.”
- Malik writes, “As long as Jinnah was alive, he could persuade and even pressure regional leaders toward greater mutual accommodation, but after his death, the lack of consensus on the distribution of political power and economic resources often turned controversial.”
- According to Mohiuddin, “Jinnah’s death deprived Pakistan of a leader who could have enhanced stability and democratic governance … The rocky road to democracy in Pakistan and the relatively smooth one in India can in some measure be ascribed to Pakistan’s tragedy of losing an incorruptible and highly revered leader so soon after independence.”
- Jinnah is depicted on all Pakistani rupee currency, and is the namesake of many Pakistani public institutions.
- The royalist government of Iran also released a stamp commemorating the centennial of Jinnah’s birth in 1976.
- There is a considerable amount of scholarship on Jinnah which stems from Pakistan; according to Akbar S. Ahmed, it is not widely read outside the country and usually avoids even the slightest criticism of Jinnah.
- According to historian Ayesha Jalal, while there is a tendency towards hagiography in the Pakistani view of Jinnah, in India he is viewed negatively.
- Ahmed deems Jinnah “the most maligned person in recent Indian history … In India, many see him as the demon who divided the land.”
- Even many Indian Muslims see Jinnah negatively, blaming him for their woes as a minority in that state.
- Some historians such as Jalal and H. M. Seervai assert that Jinnah never wanted partition of India—it was the outcome of the Congress leaders being unwilling to share power with the Muslim League.
- They contend that Jinnah only used the Pakistan demand in an attempt to mobilise support to obtain significant political rights for Muslims.
- Jinnah has gained the admiration of Indian nationalist politicians such as Lal Krishna Advani, whose comments praising Jinnah caused an uproar in his Bharatiya Janata Party.
- The view of Jinnah in the West has been shaped to some extent by his portrayal in Sir Richard Attenborough’s 1982 film, Gandhi.
- The film was dedicated to Nehru and Mountbatten, and was given considerable support by Nehru’s daughter, the Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi.
- It portrays Jinnah (played by Alyque Padamsee) as a scowling, villainous figure, who seems to act out of jealousy of the title character. Padamsee later stated that his portrayal was not historically accurate.
- In a journal article on Pakistan’s first governor-general, historian R. J. Moore wrote that Jinnah is universally recognised as central to the creation of Pakistan. Wolpert summarises the profound effect that Jinnah had on the world:
- “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.”
HSC Past Questions
- Describe the rise to prominence of the personality you have studied. (10)
- Evaluate the significance of the personality you have studied to his/her period of national and/or international history. (15)
- Describe THREE significant factors which resulted in the prominence of the personality you have studied. (10)
- To what extent did the personality you have studied have a positive impact on his or her times? (15)
- Provide a detailed description of THREE significant events in the life of the personality you have studied. (10)
- Assess the contribution of the personality you have studied to their period of national and/or international history. The personalities prescribed for study are listed. (15)
- Describe the life of the personality you have studied. (10)
- How accurate is this statement in relation to Jinnah? (15)
‘People are swept along by events. Some individuals use events to advantage.’
- Outline the life of the personality you have studied. (10)
- How accurate is this statement in relation to Jinnah? (15)
‘Individuals are products of their times.’
- Describe the personal background and the historical context of the personality you have studied. (10)
- How accurate is this statement in relation to Jinnah? (15)
‘History is about winners.’
- Describe the role played by Jinnah in national and/or international history. (10)
- How accurate is this statement in relation to Jinnah? (15)
‘Events shape people more than people shape events’
- Outline the main features in the background and rise to prominence of the twentieth-century personality you have studied. (10)
- To what extent does history present us with a balanced interpretation of this personality? (15)