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The Lahore Resolution (LR) or the PR of 1940 is a significant document. It’s a document of primary importance in the history of
By the time when this resolution was passed there were different proposals about the future and especially the future of the Muslims of India. They were talking of Muslim India, division of
Identity of the Muslims:
What were the bases of these demands or proposals for example the cultural zones or confederacy or other proposals, the basis of all these demands was the distinct socio-cultural identity of the Muslims of this Sub-Continent. The cultural and civilizational heritage and the identity derived from Islam and the political experience. Both these factors are important socio-cultural identity derived from Islam and the political experience of Muslims of this Sub-Continent, political experience of the Muslims who were in a minority. That factor has to be taken into account because they did not want to be overwhelmed by the majority community and they wanted to protect and promote their identity and interests and that is why there were different proposals .Ultimately the political experience led them to the conclusion that perhaps partition or division of India will offer them a more secure solution, a better option and a more practical method to realize their goals and objectives.
A political demand:
Pakistan Movement or struggle for the establishment of Pakistan where LR stands as a landmark was a political movement and the demand which the Muslims of South Asia made in the city of Lahore in March 1940 was also a political demand, a separate state or a separate homeland a separate country. However, this combined the spiritual and worldly dimensions, spiritual dimensions that were the bases of their cultural and socio-political identity. Political demands pertain to how to secure that identity for example Quaid-e-Azam’s fourteen points those were political demands and whatever was suggested in the LR was also a political demand so you were combining the spiritual and the worldly elements in this demand.
Allama Iqbal talked about the redistribution of India in his Allahabad Address. First he talked about North West of India where Muslims were in majority and later in his letters he talked about
The term Pakistan:
Similarly, Ch.Rehmat Ali another hero in the struggle for the establishment of Pakistan. He also talked about the Muslim India and he coined the term
We can go on and on and can talk about other Muslim leaders who expressed a similar opinion, an opinion which was close to what Iqbal has said or what subsequently Ch.Rehmat Ali has said and if we look at the speeches and statements which Quaid-e-Azam made in 1940 before the passage of the LR we will find that he also emphasized on the same principle. The principle that Muslims are a separate nation, they have their own culture and identity and that can only be secured if there are specific constitutional and political arrangements and initially those arrangements were in the form of federation but now in the LR the ML was talking of separatism that is the achievement of the same objective through the method suggested in the LR and that is a different method than what was ML pleading in the past.
An Annual Session of Muslim League:
ML session the annual session was held in the city of Lahore in what was the Minto Park or Iqbal Park and if you go there today you will find a monument to that day which is described as the Minar-e-Pakistan. It is at this place that the ML held its session which was a 3 days session March 22, 23, 24, in the year 1940.The key Resolution that we are discussing was moved by Maulvi Fazal-e-Haq and it was seconded by Ch.Khaliquzzaman and others. This movement was moved on March 2third which was the second day of ML session then Muslim delegate from different parts of India spoke on this resolution about the Muslim problems as a whole in India, what should be done to deal with these problems and on 2fourth March in the evening this resolution was adopted.
LR was adopted on March, 24 not on March 2third but we celebrate March 2third as the Pakistan Day because it was on that day this resolution was moved was presented to the public, was presented to the India as a whole that this is what the Muslims of South Asia want. Since it was presented on March 2third and this day has become the Pakistan Day. This session that the ML session at Lahore was presided over by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who made a speech there, presidential Address there reviewing the whole situation of India and the kinds of points he raised re-enforced what was demanded in the LR.
Quaid maintained that Hindu-Muslim problem was not a communal problem because it’s a problem between two nations the Muslims and the Hindus and no constitution will work in this Sub-Continent without recognizing this reality that is the reality of two nations. He also argued that the Muslims are not going to accept a constitution that establishes the govt of the majority Hindu on them. If Hindus and Muslims are placed in a democratic system this would mean a Hindu Raj for Muslims.
In fact, before LR meeting Q.A had published an article in a British weekly “Time and Tied” and he also made a couple of statements and all those statements are to that affect that is whatever he said in the presidential address. He said before the meeting that if some constitutional solution cannot be found for accommodating the Muslim demands perhaps the separatism be alternative left for them. To him Muslims were a nation by every definition of international law that is what Q A maintained that Muslims are a nation by any definition of a nation. A nation with their own culture, civilization, heritage, names and nomenclature. In fact, with their own outlook of life and outlook on life that’s how Q A was defining Muslims as a nation.
Other leaders who spoke on that occasion not only presented same views and problems which the Muslims were facing but also talked about the efforts which the ML had made in the past for coming to some kind of political arrangement. They also then supported the resolution which was adopted at that session.
Text of the Resolution:
Let’s take up now the text of the LR; I will highlight the important points raised in the Resolution. There are four points raised in this Resolution.
The Federal system:
The first thing which the LR says is that the Federal system under the govt of India Act, 1935 is not acceptable to the Muslims, that means that the resolution was saying that the Muslims were not satisfied with the Federal model or the provincial autonomy given to the provinces under the govt of India Act 1935.
The second point raised in the LR was that no revised constitutional plan would be acceptable, unless it was framed with their approval and consent. This means that when the British govt would revised the constitutional framework Muslims will accept the new constitution only if it involves their consultation and their consent then it would be acceptable to the Muslims.
The third point which was the key in the LR was the Adjacent units(units which are linked with each other by territory) where the Muslims are in a majority, as in Northwest and East, should be constituted as INDEPENDENT STATE where constituent units will be AUTONOMOUS AND SOVEREIGN. This is from the text of the LR what this provision of the resolution says that there are territorial units in Northwest where Muslims are in a majority and those territorial units were well known Punjab, Sind, Frontier and also Baluchistan and in the East Bengal was the Muslim majority area. So the LR was focusing on these territories which were Muslim majority territories.
The rights of the minorities:
The fourth important provision of the resolution related to the rights of the minorities. It was said in this resolution that the rights f the minorities would be protected. The reason was that those who formulated the resolution that there will be religious minorities in both countries in India and also in the Muslim state Pakistan therefore they were promising that the rights and the interests of the minorities will be adequately protected. It will be incumbent on the govt to make sure that the rights of the minorities are adequately and sufficiently secured. This was a guarantee which appears to be a natural guarantee because in totality of India Muslims were a minority and they wanted guarantees for themselves and when they are asking for a separate state they would guarantee the rights of the minorities that would be minorities in that state and similarly they knew that there would be minorities in India and that’s why they demanded guarantees for the minorities.
So these were the four points which were emphasized in the Lahore Resolution.
Now if we examine the significance which is the third aspect of this topic then there are no. of important points that have to be taken into account to understand what this resolution was suggesting.
Demarcation of territory
- One significant point is that the LR does not offer a precise demarcation of territory and it uses the word like territory units. So it was talking in general terms identifying the territory where the Muslims were in a majority so the underlying was that Muslims were in majority.
- Another important feature that comes out very clearly is that at that time they were not clear about the precise nature of the political entity that’s why the word state autonomous and sovereign has been used.
- LR was a declaration of general intact, a declaration of the direction in which the Muslim movement was to grow and this has to be seen against the backdrop of various proposals for Muslim India or for separation that existed at that time or were presented earlier and in that context LR comes forward with a formal resolution for the future of the Muslims of India.
Development of Ideas
- In fact these ideas developed gradually over a period of time. Initially ML started in 1906 as a loyal party and in 1913 it changed its objectives, it talked about self-rule subsequently it demanded safeguards and assurances and in 1940 it talked about separation. Now this transition or this movement or the struggle for the achievement for Pakistan will not stop n 1940, it went on another seven years before Pakistan came into being and as in the past now from the 1940 to 1947 the ideas crystallized gradually and things became clear over a period of time that is during the 7 years and the word state started being used and in 1946 the ML parliamentarians who have been elected met in a session in Delhi and talked about setting up of a separate Muslim state. So all these ideas developed gradually.
- Another significance of Lahore Resolution is that the word
does not appear in the text of the Resolution. It is interesting that soon after the approval of LR it began to be describe as the Pakistan Resolution. Although the word Pakistan does not appear in the text of the LR. It was known as Pakistan Resolution and it continued to be known as the Pakistan Resolution. Pakistan
- Another significance of LR is that it gave a new direction to the ML struggle for separation and for independence. However despite the passage of the LR in March, 1940 the ML was willing to go for accommodation short of fully sovereign and independent state. This reflected ML approach for political accommodation, political settlement and for constitutional struggle. The reason was that right from the beginning ML was striving for the rights and interests of the Muslims, it wanted to secure the political future of the Muslims, their civilizational and cultural heritage and identity which was based in their cultural heritage and also historical experience. So they wanted to protect that and therefore wanted a political solution that could give them a confidence that their objective would be achieved. So even after the passage of the LR you would see when we discuss the later developments the ML and the Muslims were for a political settlement and accommodation and LR was now saying very clearly that if a satisfactory solution cannot be found for the Muslims problems in South Asia or to use the phrase if the Hindu-Muslim question cannot be settled adequately then this is the way Muslims are likely to go.
Now we move on to the last aspect of our presentation today that is the developments after the passing of the LR. By 1940 World War 11 was raging and the British were involved in this War and because of the
August Offer, 1940
- The August 1940 offer suggested that the British govt would expand the Viceroy’s Executive Council and a National Defense Council would be set up and that Council would include Indians. This was the 1st proposal which was made n 1940.
- The second was that the British govt would give due weight to the views of minorities in revision of the constitution.
- The third offer was that the power could not be transfer under a system that would not be acceptable to large and powerful elements in
- The next offer was that they would seek Indian Cooperation in the Indian leadership for war efforts and implementation of these offers which are described as the August 1940 offers.
If you look at these proposals you will find that these were trying to win over the Indians and in this connection they had made certain offers which were partly acceptable to the ML. So far as the Congress was concerned it was not happy with these offers because they wanted responsible govt in
Cripps Mission, 1942
A set of proposals which were set up by the British govt in March, 1942. These were slight improvements on the offer which was made to the Indian leaders in 1940.
The Cripps Mission emphasized that ultimately
- India would be given a dominion status
The new constitution
- Indian constitutional body would frame the constitution that is the Indians would frame the new constitution.
The princely states
- The princely states would also be represented in the assembly as well as in the future dominion system.
- The constitution would be acceptable to the British govt provided certain conditions are met and one of these conditions was that any province not joining could retain its present position or these non acceding provinces could form their own unions.
- It also talked about the religious and racial minorities.
The Congress was very critical of the non acceding clause that certain provinces could stay out of that and the Congress was critical of that and it wanted responsible govt to be introduced immediately. The ML asked for two separate constituent assemblies, a separate constituent assembly for
This concludes our discussion on LR and 2 subsequent developments where ML maintained its position that is a separate state for the Muslims of this Sub-Continent.