Muslim League, 1906

 

Introduction

  • The All-India Muslim League (popularised as the Muslim League) was a political party established in 1906 in British India
  • It was found as an alternative political group to the Indian National Congress
  • It was created with the aim of representing the interests of Indian Muslims

 

Foundation

  • The formation of a Muslim political party on the national level was seen as essential by 1901.
  • The first stage of its formation was the meeting held at Lucknow in September 1906, with the participation of representatives from all over India
  • The Simla Deputation reconsidered the issue in October 1906 and decided to frame the objectives of the party on the occasion of the annual meeting of the Educational Conference, which was scheduled to be held in Dhaka.
    • Meanwhile, Nawab Salimullah Khan published a detailed scheme through which he suggested the party to be named All-India Muslim Confederacy.

 

Early Years

  • Sultan Muhammad Shah (Aga Khan III) was appointed the first honorary president of the Muslim League, though he did not attend the Dhaka inaugural session
  • In 1913, Mohammed Ali Jinnah joined the Muslim league.
  • Initially, the League was designed to prepare students for service to the British Raj; however it exploded into political activity

 

Participation in Nationalist Movement

  • From their inception, the Muslim League continually called for unity in an independent India but began to fear that it would be dominated by Hindus, who made up the majority of the population.
  • Following the First World War (1914-18) the Muslim League joined forces with Congress to advocate for Home Rule within the British Empire
  • Further, in the late 1920s and early 1930s Jinnah consolidated the views of Muslims in India into 14 points.
    • These included proposals to form a federal government and to have a one third representation of Muslims in the central government.
  • When Britain declared war with Germany in 1939 it did so on behalf of India as well.
    • The Congress refused to support this declaration because their representatives hadn’t been consulted. In contrast, whilst the Muslim League remained critical of British rule, they agreed to support India’s participation in the war in the hope of gaining a better vantage to negotiate independence.
  • In 1940, in what became known as the ‘two-nation theory’, Jinnah began to demand for the creation of a separate Muslim state from territories that were currently in British India
    • Further, the idea of a separate state of Pakistan began to gain popularity with Muslims across India.