Pakistan Movement

Pakistan Movement

The Pakistan Movement or Tehrik-e-Pakistan (Urdu: تحریک پاکستان) refers to the historical movement to have AN independent Muslim state named Pakistan created from the separation of the north-western region of the Indian subcontinent, partitioned within or outside the British Indian Empire. It had its origins in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh (present day Uttar Pradesh). Muslims there were a minority, yet their elite had a disproportionate amount of representation in the civil service and a strong degree of overall influence of culture and literature. The idea of Pakistan spread from Northern India through the Muslim diaspora of this region, and spread outwards to the Muslim communities of the rest of India.[1] The movement was led by lawyer Muhammad Ali Jinnah, along with other prominent political figures such as Allama Iqbal, Liaqat Ali Khan, Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, Fatima Jinnah, Bahadur Yar Jung, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar, Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman, A.K. Fazlul Huq, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar and Dr. Sir Ziauddin Ahmed.

The movement ultimately achieved success in 1947, when part of northwest India was partitioned, granted independence and renamed Pakistan.


History of the movement

The Muslim League Governing Council at the Lahore session. The woman wearing the black cloak is Muhatarma Amjadi Banu Begum, the wife of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar, a prominent Muslim League leader. Begum was a leading representative of the UP's Muslim women during the years of the Pakistan Movement.

Minority Muslims

Muhammad Ali Jinnah desired to build a state on the principles based on the two-nation theory, composed of three parts: "one nation, one culture, one language". Jinnah's central goal was to create a homeland for all British India's Muslims. However, Jinnah represented in particular the Muslims of the British Raj who belonged to the provinces where Muslims were a minority, i.e., present-day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Muslims from these provinces collectively form the community of Muhajirs in Pakistan today.

The replacement, in 1837, of Persian as the official and court language by English and the local languages of the various provinces of British India resulted in Hindi being given the same status as Urdu as an official language of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. This made the Muslim diaspora wary. Furthermore, the democratization process attempted by the British in the late 19th century made these Muslims feel that they would lose all of their privileged influence.

In 1909, the British allowed their subjects to elect part of their Legislative Councils. This move added further to the Muslims' fears of marginalization, as they made up only 25-30% of the population of British India and, to make matters worse, only a small number of them (20%) even bothered to vote (according to the 1881 census). Muslims living in provinces where they were a minority were particularly alarmed, especially those belonging to the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, as the Muslim elite there had the most to lose. In the United Provinces, Muslims made up only 1/4 of the population but held 18% of the civil service jobs.

In the late 19th century, the Muslims from the United Provinces assembled under Syed Ahmed Khan. First of all, Khan sought to improve education within his community. Toward this goal he founded the Muhammedan Anglo-Oriental College (MAO College) in Aligarh in 1875; this later developed into the Aligarh Muslim University in 1920. MAO College produced the first opponents of the Indian National Congress - the Congress claimed to represent all Indians, but Muslims made up only 6.6% of the delegates between 1892 and 1909, and MAO College dissidents drew attention to this fact.

The 1882 Local Self-Government Act had already troubled Syed Ahmed Khan. When, in 1906, the British announced their intention to establish Legislative Councils, Muhsin al-Mulk, the secretary of both the All India Muhammadan Educational Conference and MAO College, hoped to win a separate Legislative Council for Muslims by making correspondence to several prominent Muslims in different regions of the sub-continent and organising a delegation led by Aga Khan III to meet with Viceroy Lord Minto,[2][3][4][5] a deal to which Minto agreed because it appeared to assist the British divide and rule strategy.[citation needed]. The delegation consisted of 35 members, who each represented their respective region proportionately.

The role of the graduates from Aligarh in creating the Muslim League and then taking part in the Khilafat movement shows the significance of UP Muslims in the origin of Muslim separatist ideas in India. These Muslims actually had a sense of Muslim identity. Separatist feelings among Muslims developed due to discrimination,social and economic factors. The Muslims of UP thought about a respectable life for all Muslims regardless of language and religious sect. These Muslims couldn't envisage that they will be called "MAHAJIRS" and ironically still have to fight for their rights.

Though Muslim separatism was diluted as a result of the irregularity of social dissatisfaction felt by the community, people from present-day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat (Jinnah's native state) and Maharashtra were anxious to distance themselves from the growing Hindu influence. However, the Muslims in majority from Greater Punjab, Greater Bengal, Sindh, and North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) did not share the same sentiment. Punjab was ruled by unionist party.Feudals were ruling in Sindh,Balochistan,and NWFP.

For Jinnah, Islam laid a cultural base for an ideology of ethnic nationalism whose objective was to gather the Muslim community in order to defend the Muslim minorities. Jinnah's representation of minority Muslims was quite apparent in 1928, when in the All-Party Muslim Conference, he was ready to swap the advantages of separate electorates for a quota of 33% of seats at the Centre. He maintained his views at the Round Table Conferences, while the Muslims of Punjab and Bengal were vying for a much more decentralized political setup. Many of their requests were met in the 1935 Government of India Act. Jinnah and the Muslim League played a peripheral role at the time and in 1937 could manage to gather only 5% of the Muslim vote. Jinnah refused to back down and went ahead with his separatist plan. He presented the two-nation theory in the now famous Lahore Resolution in March 1940, seeking a separate Muslim state,[6]

The idea of a separate state had first been introduced by Allama Iqbal in his speech in December 1930 as the President of the Muslim League.[7] The state that he visualized included only Punjab, Sindh, North West Frontier Province (NWFP), and Balochistan. Three years later, the name Pakistan was proposed in a declaration in 1933 by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, a University of Cambridge graduate. Again, Bengal was left out of the proposal.[8] In the Lahore Resolution of March 1940, the proposed state's name remained unrecognized and its borders so undetermined that it was not clear whether there would be one Muslim state or two. It stated "that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority, as in the north-western and eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign."

In his book Idea of Pakistan, Stephen P. Cohen writes on the influence of South Asian Muslim nationalism on the Pakistan movement:[9]

"It begins with a glorious precolonial state empire when the Muslims of South Asia were politically united and culturally, civilizationally, and strategically dominant. In that era, ethnolinguistic differences were subsumed under a common vision of an Islamic-inspired social and political order. However, the divisions among Muslims that did exist were exploited by the British, who practiced divide and rule politics, displacing the Mughals and circumscribing other Islamic rulers. Moreover, the Hindus were the allies of the British, who used them to strike a balance with the Muslims; many Hindus, a fundamentally insecure people, hated Muslims and would have oppressed them in a one-man, one-vote democratic India. The Pakistan freedom movement united these disparate pieces of the national puzzle, and Pakistan was the expression of the national will of India's liberated Muslims."

Part of Jinnah's strategy to entice the leaders of those provinces who continued to oppose the idea of Pakistan was to present all the provinces as loose groupings of the state. The 1937 election resulted in a major shift in Indian politics; the Congress won in seven provinces and lost in four. The Congress success worried the Muslims. Jinnah grasped this moment and suggested that Muslims would be left to contend with a Hindu government after the withdrawal of the British. He stated that "Hindu Congress" was "putting Islam in danger."


This was an effective move by Jinnah, especially in Punjab, where the Muslim League had to fend off not just the Congress, whose support base was Hindus living in the cities, but also the Unionist Party, founded in 1922, by peasant leaders Fazl-e-Hussain (a Muslim) and Chhotu Ram (a Hindu). This party won all the elections between 1923 and 1937. However, Fazl-e-Hussain died in 1936 and in September 1937, the new party leader, Sikandar Hayat Khan (Punjabi politician) agreed to sign a pact with Jinnah. Sikandar Hayat Khan's motives remain unclear, but it is suspected that he hoped to become the leader of Muslim League in his own province, if not its ultimate leader. Whatever be the reason, this helped the Muslim League to carve out a niche in Punjab. In the 1946 election campaign, the Muslim League was able to publicize its views widely. It claimed that Islam was threatened by Congress. "Pirs" and "Sajjada Nashin" helped the Muslim League to attract Muslim voters. It won 75 seats to Union Party's 10.


In Sindh, the Muslim League remained at the margins till the mid-1940s. Just as in Punjab, it faced two parties, Congress and the Sindh United Party, which had been founded in 1936 when the Sindh Province came into being. Its inspiration was the Punjab Unionist Party. The Muslim League first gained a foothold in Sindh in the 1930s over the Manzilgarh issue, named after a very controversial site that the Muslim League wanted to officially declare as a mosque.

The Muslim League in Sindh was more interested in defending Sindhi culture than in creating an Islamic state for British Raj Muslims. This was obvious from the behaviour of its leader in the 1940s, G. M. Syed, who left Congress in 1938 to become the leader of the Muslim League in Sindh. He championed the cause of regional self-determination in 1946 at the Cabinet Mission. He had been dismissed from the Muslim League, but the Muslim League in Sindh continued to remain steeped in Sindhi nationalism. Many Sindhis regarded the formation of Pakistan as a way of freeing their region from British rule.


In Bengal, the Muslim League enjoyed more support than in the other majoritarian provinces. But even here, it gained strength later on. Its popularity was based on its ability to create separatist feelings in East Bengal where the Muslims were mostly concentrated. Here again, the Muslim League had to face off two parties in the 1930s: the Congress and the Krishak Proja Party, a peasant party, founded in 1936 by A.K. Fazlul Haq. This party narrowly ousted the Muslim League by winning 31% of the votes, compared to Muslim League's 27% in the 1937 elections. However, by 1946, the League had won 104 of the 111 seats, by again branding the Congress as "Hindu" and calling it a "threat to Islam". However, the success of the two-nation theory depended on the strong regional feelings with the President of the Bengal Muslim League, declaring in 1944, that religion transcends geographical boundaries, but culture does not and so Bengalis are different from people of other provinces of India and the "religious brothers" of Pakistan.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

In NWFP, the Muslim League faced its hardest challenge yet. It had intense competition from Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan dubbed as the "Frontier Gandhi" due to his efforts in following in the footsteps of Gandhi. The popularity of the Congress, along with the strong Paktoon identity created by Ghaffar Khan in the cultural and the political arenas made life hard for the Muslim League. With the support of Ghaffar Khan, the Congress was able to contain the Muslim League to the non-Pakhtoon areas, particularly, the Hazara region. The Muslim League could only manage to win 17 seats, against the 30 won by Congress, in the 1946 elections.


In conclusion, Muslim separatism has its origin in the provinces where the minoritarian Muslims resided as they faced social and political marginalization. In 1946, the Muslim majorities agreed to the idea of Pakistan, as a response to Congress, portrayed as the "Hindu" party by Jinnah, winning in seven of the 11 provinces. This was a small moment of political unity as the Muslim League had not completely established itself in the provinces where the Muslims were in a majority. The principal role of the Muslims of UP was clearly visible from their over-representation in the governing body of the Muslim League. Prior to 1938, Bengal with 33 million Muslims had only ten representatives, less than the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, which were home to only seven million Muslims. The desire of the Muslim minorities to dominate a nation that was still to be created, or whose creation had to be sustained, became obvious soon after Partition in 1947, when a clause in the Lahore Resolution which stated that "constituent units [of the states to come] shall be autonomous and sovereign" was not respected. This clause was used only to bring on board Muslim majorities. Once Pakistan was born, there was no longer any need to woo Muslims who were in majority in any region.[6][10]


  • 1931 Kashmir Resistance movement
  • 1930-32 Round Table Conferences
  • 1932 Communal Award (1932)
  • 1933 Now or Never Pamphlet
  • 1935 Government of India Act
  • 1937 Elections
  • 1937-39 Congress Rule in 7 out of 11 Provinces
  • 1937 Strong anti congress governments in Punjab and Bengal
  • 1938 Fazal-ul-Haq of Bengal joined Muslim League
  • 1938 Jinah Sikandar pact
  • 1938 Pirpur Report
  • 1939-45 World War II
  • 1939 Resignation of congress ministries and non congress power players got golden chance
  • 1940 Pakistan Resolution
  • 1940 March 19 Khaksar Massacre in Lahore[11][12]
  • 1942 Quit India Movement and non congress players further got space
  • 1942 Cripps' mission
  • 1944 Gandhi - Jinnah Talks
  • 1945 The Simla Conference
  • 1946 The Cabinet Mission the last British effort to united India
  • 1946 Direct Action Day in the aftermath of cabinet mission plan
  • 1946 Interim Government installed in office
  • 1946 Quit Kashmir Campaign as the formation of the interim government of Azad Kashmir
  • 1947 June 3 Partition Plan
  • 1947 Creation of Pakistan

Notable quotations

Allama Iqbal
I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single State. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim State appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North-West India.[13]
Choudhary Rahmat Ali
At this solemn hour in the history of India, when British and Indian statesmen are laying the foundations of a Federal Constitution for that land, we address this appeal to you, in the name of our common heritage, on behalf of our thirty million Muslim brethren who live in Pakistan - by which we mean the five Northern units of India, Viz: Punjab, North-West Frontier Province (Afghan Province), Kashmir, Sind and Baluchistan - for your sympathy and support in our grim and fateful struggle against political crucifixion and complete annihilation.[8]
Muhammad Ali Jinnah
It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religious in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders, and it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality, and this misconception of one Indian nation has troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literatures. They neither intermarry nor interdine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspect on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes, and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other and, likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built for the government of such a state.”[14]

Leaders and notable figures

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Pakistan was inevitable p. 51-52, Author Syed Hassan Riaz, published by University Karachi. ISBN 969-404-003-5
  3. ^ History of Pakistan Movement (1857-1947), p. 237-238, Author Prof. M. Azam Chaudhary, published by Abdullah Brothers, Urdu Bazar, Lahore
  4. ^ History of Pakistan and its background, p. 338. Author Syed Asghar Ali Shah Jafri, published by Evernew Book Palace, Circular road, Urdu Bazar, Lahore.
  5. ^ History of Pakistan, p. 58-59. Author Prof. Muhammed Khalilullah (Ex-Principal Federal Govt. Urdu College, Karachi; Former Dean Law Faculty, University of Karachi), published by Urdu Academy Sindh, Karachi.
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ Shafique Ali Khan (1987), Iqbal's Concept of Separate North-west Muslim State: A Critique of His Allahabad Address of 1930, Markaz-e-Shaoor-o-Adab, Karachi, OCLC 18970794
  8. ^ a b Choudhary Rahmat Ali, (1933), Now or Never; Are We to Live or Perish Forever?, pamphlet, published 28 January
  9. ^ The Idea of Pakistan. Stephen Philip Cohen. Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2004.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Allama Mashraqi
  12. ^,_1940_by_Nasim_Yousaf.pdf
  13. ^ Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s 1930 Presidential Address, from Columbia University site
  14. ^ "VIEW: March towards independence". Daily Times. 2011-03-23. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 

External links

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