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Muslims’ New Strategy When Bengal was partitioned in 1905, Hindus reacted against the decision and they went on violent protests and boycotts of British goods. On the other hand, the Muslims remained loyal to the British rule. The British could not sustain the pressure of demonstrations and reversed the decision of partition in 1911. This was a betrayal to the Muslims’ loyalty. They realized the British rulers could no longer be trusted. Now they had to devise a new strategy for achieving their goals. They wanted to turn towards the demand of self-rule but they needed constitutional protection – separate electorate and provincial autonomy – from Hindus after the British would leave India. Muslim League, therefore, signed the Lucknow Pact in 1916 in which Congress agreed on granting the Muslims 1/3 reserved seats in the central legislative council.
Jinnah’s Role At the time of the pact, Muhammad Ali Jinnah was an idealist who believed that Hindus and Muslims could work together. He wanted that all religious groups should live together in harmony. He was a strong supporter of Hindu-Muslim unity. He believed that joint demands would put more pressure on the British. Therefore he persuaded the Congress and the Muslim League for the Lucknow Pact in 1916. He believed that this pact would lead to united Indian nation.
Joint Demand Congress was keen to gain the support of Muslim League for its demand of self-rule in India. It hoped that it would be difficult for the British to reject the joint demand of self-rule for longer time. Therefore, it was ready to give concessions to Muslim League for its own objective of home-rule. That is why Congress went into Lucknow Pact with Muslim League in 1916.
The main clauses of the Lucknow Pact were:
Although this Hindu Muslim Unity was not able to live for more than eight years, and collapsed after the development of differences between the two communities after the Khilafat Movement, yet it was an important event in the history of the Muslims of South Asia. It was the first time when Congress recognized the Muslim League as the political party representing the Muslims of the region. As Congress agreed to separate electorates, it in fact agreed to consider the Muslims as a separate nation. They thus accepted the concept of the Two-Nation Theory.
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Examine the role of Quaid e Azam as the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity especially in the context of Lucknow Pact (1916).
Jinnah started his political career in 1906, by joining the Congress. The Hindu centric policies of Gandhi forced Jinnah to leave Congress. He joined the Muslim league in 1913 and became the president at the 1916 session in Lucknow. An agreement reached between the Congress and Muslim league at the joint session of both the parties held in Lucknow in the year 1916.Jinnah made both the parties reach an agreement to pressure the British govt. to adopt a more liberal approach to India and gave Indians more authority to run their country beside safeguarding the basic Muslim demands. Jinnah himself was the mastermind and architect of this pact.
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Reasons for the pact
When the All-India Muslim League came into existence, it was a moderate organization with its basic aim to establish friendly relations with the Crown. However, due to the decision of the British government to annul the partition of Bengal, the Muslim leadership decided to change its stance. In 1913, a new group of Muslim leaders entered the fold of the Muslim League with a much different view than their predecessors. Demand for a separate homeland was included in the objectives of Muslim League of 1913 which brought Muslims and Hindus closer. So, for the first time in history, Muslim League and Indian National Congress worked together to present a set of demands to British which came to be known as the Lucknow Pact.
Muslim League and Congress
As a result of the hard work of Mr. Jinnah, both the Muslim League and the Congress met for their annual sessions at Bombay in December 1915. The principal leaders of the two political parties assembled at one place for the first time in the history of these organizations. The speeches made from the platform of the two groups were similar in tone and theme. Within a few months of the Bombay meetings, 19 Muslim and Hindu elected members of the Imperial Legislative Council addressed a memorandum to the Viceroy on the subject of reforms in October 1916. Their suggestions did not become news in the British circle, but were discussed, amended and accepted at a subsequent meeting of the Congress and Muslim League leaders at Calcutta in November 1916. This meeting settled the details of an agreement about the composition of the legislatures and the quantum of representation to be allowed to the two communities. The agreement was confirmed by the annual sessions of the Congress and the League in their annual sessions held at Lucknow on December 29 and December 31, 1916 respectively. Sarojini Naidu gave Jinnah, the chief architect of the Lucknow Pact, the title of "the Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity".
Quaid E Azam’s Role :
Earlier Mr Jinnah was a great supporter of Hindu-Muslim UnityIt was largely through his efforts that the Congress and the Muslim League began to hold their annual sessions jointly, to facilitate mutual consultation and participation. In 1915 the two organizations held their meetings in Bombay and in 1916 in Lucknow, where the Lucknow Pact was concluded. Under the terms of the pact, the two organizations put their seal to a scheme of constitutional reform that became their joint demand vis-à-vis the British government. There was a good deal of give and take, but the Muslims obtained one important concession in the shape of separate electorates, already conceded to them by the government in 1909 but hitherto resisted by the Congress Meanwhile, a new force in Indian politics had appeared in the person of Mohan Das K. Gandhi. Both the Home Rule League and the Indian National Congress had come under his sway. Opposed to Gandhi's Non-co-operation Movement and his essentially Hindu approach to politics, Jinnah left both the League and the Congress in 1920. For a few years he kept himself aloof from the main political movements. He continued to be a firm believer in Hindu-Muslim unity and constitutional methods for the achievement of political ends. After his withdrawal from the Congress, he used the Muslim League platform for the propagation of his views. But during the 1920s the Muslim League, and with it Jinnah, had been overshadowed by the Congress and the religiously oriented Muslim Khilafat committee.
When the failure of the Non-co-operation Movement and the emergence of Hindu revivalist movements led to antagonism and riots between the Hindus and Muslims, the league gradually began to come into its own. Jinnah's problem during the following years was to convert the league into an enlightened political body prepared to co-operate with other organizations working for the good of India. In addition, he had to convince the Congress, as a prerequisite for political progress, of the necessity of settling the Hindu-Muslim conflict.
To bring about such a rapprochement was Jinnah's chief purpose during the late 1920s and early 1930s. He worked toward this end within the legislative assembly, at the Round Table Conferences in London (1930-32), and through his 14 points, which included proposals for a federal form of government, greater rights for minorities, one-third representation for Muslims in the central legislature, separation of the predominantly Muslim Sindh region from the rest of the Bombay province, and the introduction of reforms in the north-west Frontier Province. But he failed. His failure to bring about even minor amendments in the Nehru Committee proposals (1928) over the question of separate electorates and reservation of seats for Muslims in the legislatures frustrated him. He found himself in a peculiar position at this time; many Muslims thought that he was too nationalistic in his policy and that Muslim interests were not safe in his hands, while the Indian National Congress would not even meet the moderate Muslim demands halfway. Indeed, the Muslim League was a house divided against itself. The Punjab Muslim League repudiated Jinnah's leadership and organized itself separately. In disgust, Jinnah decided to settle in England. From 1930 to 1935 he remained in London, devoting himself to practice before the Privy Council. But when constitutional changes were in the offing, he was persuaded to return home to head a reconstituted Muslim League.
In 1913, the Quaid-e-Azam’s inclusion in the Muslim League was a historic event which gave new dimensions to Muslim League’s struggle. He was a great advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity and was widely respected in Muslim League and the Congress. He succeeded in persuading both the Congress and the Muslim League parties to hold their annual sessions in Bombay in 1915. Both the parties set up Reform Committees for making a scheme for constitutional changes in consultation with other political parties.
The atmosphere of Lucknow in 1916, where the Muslim League and the Congress, for the first time in the history of India, held their joint sessions, was even more cordial. The scheme for constitutional reforms prepared by the Reform Committees of Congress and Muslim League, in which the Quaid-e-Azam played a major role, was placed before the joint session for approval. Finally the scheme was approved and an agreement on the scheme of constitutional reforms was reached between Congress and Muslim League known as Lucknow Pact. It was decided that both Congress and Muslim League would submit the jointly approved scheme to the Government for its introduction after the war in order to introduce self-Government in India.
Lucknow Pact (Hindi: लखनऊ का मुआहिदा, Urdu: لکھنؤ کا معاہده — Lakḣna'ū kā Muʿāhidah; Urdu pronunciation: [ləkʰnəˌu kaː mʊˈaːɦɪd̪a]) refers to an agreement reached between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League at the joint session of both the parties, held in Lucknow, in the year 1916. Muhammed Ali Jinnah, then a member of the Congress as well as the League, made both the parties reach an agreement to pressure the British government to adopt a more liberal approach to India and give Indians more authority to run their country, besides safeguarding basic Muslim demands. After the unpopular partition of Bengal, Jinnah approached the League to make it more popular among the Muslim masses. Jinnah himself was the mastermind and architect of this pact. Due to the reconciliation brought about by Jinnah between the Congress and the League, the Nightingale of India, Sarojini Naidu, gave him the titile of “the Ambassidor of Hindu-Muslim Unity”.
The Lucknow Pact also established cordial relations between the two prominent groups of the Indian National Congress – the "hot faction" garam dal led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and the moderates or the "soft faction", the naram dal led by Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
Role of the Quaid-e-Azam
Jinnah was the principal architect of the Lucknow Pact and was hailed as an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. He presided over the League session at Lucknow in December 1916. Jinnah said,
“To the Hindus our attitude should be of good-will and brotherly feelings. Co-operation in the cause of our motherland should be our guiding principle. India’s real progress can only be achieved by a true understanding and harmonious relations between the two great sister communities. With regard to our own affairs, we can depend upon nobody but ourselves”
Gains from Muslim Point-of-view
1. Separate Electorate
2. One Third Muslim seats in Central Legislature.
3. Unofficial bill, if opposed by three-fourth members of a community, it will not be passed.
Achievements of Lucknow Pact.
On August 20, 1917 the Secretary of State Montague promised for:
1. Greater association of Indian in all branches of government.
2. Responsible government
3. Induction of Indians in the commissioned ranks
Importance of Lucknow Pact
The Lucknow Pact was a bright chapter in the dark and gloomy environs of the Indian political history marred with communal strife and narrow-mindedness. It was a political agreement which set in a new path leading towards a happy and prosperous future. The Lucknow pact created political homogeneity between the two separate political entities, Hindus and Muslims, who frankly and fairly admitted each others interests with sincerity. The credit for creating this harmonious situation undoubtedly went to the unflinching and untiring efforts of the Quaid-e-Azam who was conferred with a proud title of Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity by the famous poet politician Mrs. Sarojni Naidu.
The historical struggle of the Muslims confirmed their identity. They organized their political party to address the demands. They also got recognition by the Hindus as a separate nation. The British accepted their role in the political domain.