Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah: Background to Independence  (Episode 9)

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah: Background to Independence (Episode 9)

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Until the late 1930s, most Muslims of the British Raj expected, upon independence, to be part of a unitary state encompassing all of British India, as did the Hindus and others who advocated self-government. Despite this, other nationalist proposals were being made. In a speech given at Allahabad to a League session in 1930, Sir Muhammad Iqbal called for a state for Muslims in India. Choudhary Rahmat Ali published a pamphlet in 1933 advocating a state “Pakistan” in the Indus Valley, with other names given to Muslim-majority areas elsewhere in India. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Iqbal corresponded in 1936 and 1937; in subsequent years, Jinnah credited Iqbal as his mentorĀ and used Iqbal’s imagery and rhetoric in his speeches.

Although many leaders of the Congress sought a strong central government for an Indian state, some Muslim politicians, including Jinnah, were unwilling to accept this without powerful protections for their community. Other Muslims supported the Congress, which officially advocated a secular state upon independence, though the traditionalist wing (including politicians such as Madan Mohan Malaviya and Vallabhbhai Patel) believed that an independent India should enact laws such as banning the killing of cows and making Hindi a national language. The failure of the Congress leadership to disavow Hindu communalists worried Congress-supporting Muslims. Nevertheless, the Congress enjoyed considerable Muslim support up to about 1937.

Events which separated the communities included the failed attempt to form a coalition government including the Congress and the League in the United Provinces following the 1937 election.

Jinnah also increasingly adopted Muslim dress in the late 1930s. In the wake of the 1937 balloting, Jinnah demanded that the question of power sharing is settled on an all-India basis and that he, as president of the League, be accepted as the sole spokesman for the Muslim community.

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Qaiser Rizwan Abbasi

The author is the student of bachelors in business administration. He has a keen passion for politics and current affairs and he loves to share his ideas, opinion, and understanding.

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