Whenever there are discussions around the Independence of India, the subject of partition becomes inevitable. Within this discussion are some prominent names like Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Khwaja Salimullah and The Muslim League. It is not only a curious question but a fundamental question of Indian history for students and IAS aspirants, ‘What is the Muslim League?’ and ‘How was it formed?’
What was Muslim League?
Muslim League was an Indian Political Party formed by the then-popular Muslim Politicians earlier known as the All India Muslim League (AIML). This party contributed to the independence of India and also the one that led to the partition of British India into Modern India and Pakistan.
However, at the time of its establishment, the allegiance of the party was towards the British Government. They expected better opportunities for the discriminated Muslim community from Britishers. This was all a part of the larger ‘Divide and Rule’ tactic of Britishers in India. They later joined the INC to become a part of India’s National Movement.
However, after the formation of East and West Pakistan, the party didn’t survive much longer. It lost its foothold in Bangladesh in the 1954 elections and the defeat in Pakistan followed closely. This was a result of the death of two prominent leaders, Mohammad and Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan. All Indian Muslim League lost unity and popularity, disintegrating into smaller factions and soon disappearing altogether.
Formation of the Muslim League
Muslim League was formed after a consultation with Lord Minto to prove Muslim allegiance to the Britishers and the progress of Muslims in a society where their community was a minority.
It was proposed and founded by Khwaja Salimullah on the 30th of December 1906 with the support of popular leaders like Vikar-ul-Mulk, Syed Amir Ali, Syed Nabiullah, Khan Bahadur Ghulam and Mustafa Chowdhury.
The party was formed in Dhaka for the welfare of all Muslims in India. Its first allegiance was towards the British Government and it was only in 1913 when Jinnah joined the party that it called for self-governance of India. The party also called for Hindu-Muslim unity in independent India.
Then in 1940, AIML started fearing the Hindu majority in India and suspected the loss of their rights. This is when they started to demand a separate state for Muslims.
The Lucknow Pact
The Lucknow Pact was a meeting between the All Indian Muslim League and the Indian National Congress to discuss the structure of the Indian Government. Here that Congress agreed to separate electorates for Muslims in Provincial Council Elections. This meeting in the December of 1916 paved the way for Hindu-Muslim unity in the non-cooperation.
Objectives of the Muslim League
The objectives of AIML were as follows:
- To safeguard the rights of Muslims.
- Open pathways to better education for the community.
- Cover for the loss of sovereignty by the Muslims.
- Freedom to practice religion freely.
- Improve the economic backwardness of Muslims in India.