The Delhi Muslim Proposal originated in 1926 and Despite Jinnah’s exhortation to the Muslims to represent a united front, the Muslim League split into two as already mentioned. The Jinnah Group met at Calcutta from 30 December 1927 to 1 January 1928 and the Shafi Group convened at Lahore from 31 December1927 to 1 January 1928.Both meetings claimed to be the Nineteenth Session of the All-India Muslim League. The basic reason for the split was that Jinnah Group stood for boycotting the Simon Commission and the Shafi Group for cooperating with it.
The Muslim League Splits into Two Despite Jinnah‟s exhortation to the Muslims to represent a united front, the Muslim League split into two as already mentioned. The Jinnah Group met at Calcutta from 30 December 1927 to 1 January 1928 and the Shafi Group convened at Lahore from 31 December1927 to 1 January 1928.Both meetings claimed to be the Nineteenth Session of the All-India Muslim League. The basic reason for the split was that Jinnah Group stood for boycotting the Simon Commission and the Shafi Group for cooperating with it. The Jinnah Group session was attended by some prominent non-Muslims among them Mrs. Annie Besant, Mrs. Sarojini Naidu and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya.Mrs. Besant and Pandit Malaviya figured among those who addressed the meeting. One of the resolutions enjoined that the Mussulmans throughout the country should have nothing to do with the commission at any stage or in any form. Another resolution confirmed the Delhi Muslim Proposals. Yet another resolution‟ severely condemned Sir Muhammad Shafi and his colleagues for holding a session at Lahore in contravention of the Constitution of the League. “On 16 February 1928 Jinnah supported a resolution proposed by Lala Lajput Rai in the Legislative Assembly expressing the Assembly‟s entire lack of confidence in the Simon Commission. Jinnah supported the resolution and reiterated that the principle for which we are fighting is that we want for the Indian representative‟s equal status and equal power. One can only imagine Jinnah‟s distress. Not to speak of Hindu-Muslim unity, even the Muslims were divided amongst themselves. Beside the two Groups of the League there were the Jamiat-i- Ulema-i-Hind the All – India Khilafat Conference and sundry provincial groups. He sought respite from the endless stress by a trip to England and sailed on 5 May 1928 by SS Rajputana. One of his fellow-passengers on the outward voyage, Dewan Chamanlal, wrote an article recoding his impressions of Jinnah. Today he is unfortunately, frankly disgusted, he noted. The first problem to solve and settle is the problem of Hindu-Muslim unity, Jinnah told him. He also regretted that Ghandi is not a politician and added. I wish he had been.”1 1 Creation of Pakistan: Compiled By Jamil-ud- Din Ahmad:Publishers United LTD, 176, Anarkali, Lahore Jan 1986- 1 Origin of the Nehru Committee The Nehru Report was the Congress alternative to the forthcoming Simon Report. Lord Birkenhead, the Conservative Secretary of State had never made a secret of his poor opinion of Indian politics. He believed that „India would not be capable of supporting Dominion Status for centuries.‟ In his opinion real obstacle to democratic institutions in India was the age long hatred between Hindus and Mohammedans. All the conferences in the world cannot bridge the unbridgeable. A committee with Motilal Nehru as chairman was accordingly appointed by the conference to consider and determine the principles of the Constitution for India. Jawaharlal Nehru was not a member of the Committee but as secretary of the congress had much to do with it. The Report of the Committee came to be popular called the „Nehru Report‟ after the name of the chairman of the Committee. At the fourth meeting of the conference at Lucknow in August 1928, Motilal Nehru presented the Report of his Committee. The conference approved the Report except that some members of the conference, among them Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Bose, took exception to the fact that the Report had settled for a Dominion Status. They pointed out that at the Madras session the Congress had declared complete national independence as its goal. “On behalf of those who stood for independence, Jawaharlal Nehru read a statement confirming that in their opinion the Constitution of India should only be based on full independence. They had decided, however, not to obstruct or hamper the work of this conference but proposed to carry on such activity as we consider proper and necessary in favor of complete independence. The report came up for final consideration before the All – Parties Convention which opened at Calcutta on 22 December 1928.”2 2 Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah (His Personality and His Politics) By S.M Burke, Salim Al-Din Qurashi. Karachi, Oxford University Press- 2 The Nehru Report Towards the end of 1927 the British Government in pursuance of the Government of India Act of 1919, appointed a statutory Commission to inquire into the working and future the Indian Constitution under the supervision of Simon. It consisted of the members of the Parliament and no Indian was there as a representative. In this conference, Moti lal Nehru was appointed as its Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru as Secretary. The final report was not signed by M.jakar, Mr.Joshi and Shoaib Qureshi also refused to sign it. Salient Features of Nehru Report Dominion status was demanded instead of self rule. Declaration of Rights should be increased. Muslims will be given one-fourth seats in the Central assembly for ten years. Federal parliamentary system was demanded. They demanded joint system of election but asked to reserve seats for minorities except Punjab and Bengal. Reaction of Muslims The Muslims of all shades of opinion united in opposition to the Nehru report. The two wings into which the Muslim league had been spilt since 1927 came closer. Nearly every shade of opinion in Muslim politics was represented in all Indian Muslim conference which met at Delhi on 31st December 1928 and 1st January 1929 under the chairmanship of Highness the Agha Khan (Sultan Muhammad Shah). “They demanded the following demands. Their should be a federal system with complete autonomy and residuary powers vested in the provinces Separate electorates were to continue Muslims should be given due share in the central and provincial cabinets. A due portion of seats should be given to Muslims in the public services and all statutory self-Government bodies. 3 There must be safeguards for the protection and promotion of Muslim education, language, religion, personal law, and Muslim charitable institutions.”3 Jinnah and the Nehru Report The Quaid who had gone to England on 5 may 1928 returned to India 0n 26 October 1928. In a press statement on the same day he stated that his position as president of the All-India Muslim League did not permit him to anticipate the decisions of the League on the Nehru Report. „There is only one hope for India,‟ he said, „and that is unity between Hindus and Muslims. Hindus should show a more liberal and generous mind Muslims more trust.‟ When the Muslim League convened at Calcutta for its 20th Session on 26 to 30 December 1928, a resolution was passed on 27 December on M.C Chaglas‟s motion that a delegation including Jinnah be appointed to represent the League at the Convention called by the Indian National Congress to consider the Nehru Report. He proposed four amendments to the Nehru Report which are as follows: There should be no less than one-third Muslim representation in the Central Legislature. Reforms should be given in Punjab and Bengal. The form of the Constitution should be Federal with residuary powers vesting in the provinces. Sindh should be separated from Bombay. The Burial of the Nehru Report Though some Muslims accepted the Nehru Report, by far the larger majority rejected it. This was demonstrated when a large number of highly influential Muslims attended the Muslim All-Parties Conference at Delhi on 31 December 1928 under the president ship of the Agha Khan. The conveners of the conference had invited about 600 representatives‟ belonging to all schools of thought‟. These included all non-official Muslim members of the Provincial Councils and the Central Legislature, and twenty representatives each from the following organizations: the All-India Muslim League, Calcutta (i-e., the Jinnah Group), the All-India Muslim League, Lahore (i-e,. the Shafi Group), the All-India Khilafat Conference, 3 Gulaam Rabbani (University Lecturer) F.C College (A Chartered University), Lahore. 4 and the All- India Jamiat-ul-Ulema Conference, Twenty Muslim representatives from each of the provinces of India were also invited. “The Nehru Report in effect was buried. The one-year ultimatum to the British Government was a transparent face saving device. No one could really have expected British Government to concede Dominion Status „as the next immediate step‟ within a year response to a Report which instead of uniting the Indian communities on one platform had exposed their divisions. Not surprisingly, at the next session of the Congress at Lahore (19-31 December 1929) one of the resolutions declared that „the entire scheme of the Nehru Committee‟s report‟ had lapsed. At the same time, another resolution practically confessed the real reason for burying the report.”4 The Legacy of the Nehru Report The Nehru Report was a watershed in the Indian freedom movement. Instead of bringing about Hindu-Muslim unity, it drove the majority of the Muslims away from the Congress for ever. Jinnah and the Ali Brothers had cooperated with Congress till and the respect they enjoyed among Muslims had made Congress seem a friendly organization in the eyes of a large body of Muslims. “The Ali brothers were passionately religious and powerful orators in Urdu. They were the darlings of the masses. The results of their castigation of the Congress became immediately perceptible. But in the long run it was the parting of Jinnah which had the decisive result; the Nehru Report had unwittingly laid the foundation of Pakistan. As a Hindu author observes, „the most visible result‟ of the Nehru Report was almost the complete divorce by Muslims of the nationalism as represented by the Congress. The Congress henceforth became a principally Hindu party.”5 4 Pakistan, the Real Picture: A Comprehensive History Course (712-1995- By: Rizwana Zahid Ahmed, Ferozsons (PVT) LTD, Lahore. 5 India Divided- By Rajendra Prasad- Book Traders, Lahore- Published By: Mustafa Waheed. Printed at Islamia Al Saudia Printers, Lahore. 5 The Delhi Muslim Proposals (20 March, 1927) Jinnah did not receive any positive response from the Hindu leadership to his overtures for a constitutional pact between the Muslims and the Hindus similar to the Lucknow Pact. In the mean time Hindu-Muslim relations at the popular level were marked by continuing bloody riots. From 1922 onwards the number of serious Hindu-Muslim riots rose steeply. There were 11 in 1923, 18 in 1924, 16 in 1925, 35 in 1926 and 31 up to November 1927. To achieve a breakthrough, Jinnah invited Muslim leaders from different parts of the country to meet at Delhi under his president ship on 20 March 1927.After due deliberation the conferees unanimously offered the following terms for a Hindu-Muslim concord. Muslims should accept a settlement on the basis of the following proposal, so far as representation in the various legislatures in any future scheme of Constitution is concerned. “The Muslim league decided in the Delhi session of 1927 convened by Mr.Jinnah decided to accept the Congress proposal and in place of the separate electorates gave a set of demands. These demands were known as „Delhi Proposals‟ and are as follows: Sindh should be separated from Bombay and made a province in its own right. The Northwest Frontier Province and Baluchistan should be given equal status with the other provinces including implementation of the 1919 Act. The Muslims would accept joint electorates. In Sindh, the Frontier and Baluchistan the Muslims would give the same concessions to Hindus as Hindus gave to Muslims in provinces in which the Muslims were in a minority. In the Punjab and Bengal seats would be reserved for Muslims in accordance with their ratio in the population. In the central legislature, one third of the seats would be reserved for Muslims.” 6 This formula was announced on March 20, 1927.The same morning Sir Muhammad Shafi arrived in Lahore. No one is certain whether or not he approved the proposals in Delhi, but soon after his return to Lahore he issued a statement saying he did not agree with them. “The Hindu communal parties accepted the proposal with regard to joint electorates, but rejected the other two, incredible though it might seem. It was a folly and a blunder of the first magnitude. This was the first time that Muslims had agreed to have joint electorates. It was the chance of a lifetime, a rare unexpected opportunity for a new start on a real national political life. Today, it seems inconceivable that the separation of Sindh and reforms for Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Province should have come in the way of the acceptance of joint electorates. Never after that did the Muslims agree to joint electorates. As time passed, the communal demands of the Muslims increased day by day, resulting ultimately in a demand for partition.”6 Jinnah’s Fourteen Points “Jinnah presented his famous Fourteen Points at the Muslim League Council session in Delhi on 28 March 1929. At the same time he wrote a history of the Origins of Fourteen Points. In the history he stated that the Nehru Report could at best be treated only as Hindu counter proposals to the Delhi Muslim proposals of 20 March 1927. As the Nehru Report was not acceptable to the Muslim League, he drafted a proposal embodying fourteen points which he called the „basic principles‟ to safeguard the rights and interests of Muslims. To make the proposal acceptable to as many Muslim schools of thought as possible he made the list of safeguards impressively comprehensive.”7 The form of the future Constitution should be federal, with the residuary powers vested in the provinces. A uniform measure of autonomy shall be granted to all provinces. 6 [From Martial Law To Martial Law]- Politics in Punjab, (1919-1958) - By: Syed Nur Ahmed. Copyright 1985, Vanguard Books LTD, 8- Davis Road, Lahore- Nirali Duniya Printers- 7 http://www.storyofpakistan.com/articletext.asp?artid=A035 7 All legislatures in the country and other elected bodies shall be constituted on the definite principle of adequate and effective representation of minorities in every province without reducing the majority in any province to a minority or even equality. In the Central Legislature, Mussulman representation shall not be less than one –third. Representation of communal groups shall to be by means of separate electorates as at present, provided it shall be open to any community, at any time, to abandon its separate electorate in favor of joint electorate. Any territorial re- distribution that might at any time be necessary shall not in any way affect the Muslim majority in the Punjab, Bengal and NWFP Province. Full religious liberty i-e., liberty of belief, worship and observance, propaganda association and education, shall be guaranteed to all communities. No bill or resolution or any part thereof shall be passed in any legislature or any other elected body if three-fourths of the members of any community in that particular body oppose such a bill, resolution or part thereof on the ground that it would be injurious to the interests of that community or in the alternative, such other method is devised as may be found feasible and practicable to deal with such cases. Sindh should be separated from Bombay Presidency. Reforms should be introduced in NWFP and in Baluchistan. Provision should be made in the Constitution, giving Muslims an adequate share along with the other Indians in all the services of the State and in local self-governing bodies, having due regard to the requirements of efficiency. The Constitution should embody adequate safe guards for the protection of Muslims culture and for the protection and promotion of Muslim education, language, religion, and personal laws and Muslims charitable institutions and for their due share in the grants in aid given by the State and by local self-governing bodies. 8 No Cabinet either, Central or Provincial should be formed without there being a proportion of at least one –third Muslim ministers. No change shall be made in the Constitution by the Central Legislature except with the concurrence of the States constituting the Indian Federation. Importance of Jinnah's Fourteen Points A comparison of the Nehru Report with the quaid-e-Azam's Fourteen Points shows that the political gap between the Muslims and the Hindus had really widened. Fourteen points of Quaid-e-Azam became principles for Muslims of India. These points made it clear to Hindus and British Government that Muslims of India. Those points made it clear to Hindus and British Government that Muslims wanted their own identity without influence by Hindus. Fourteen Points not only revived Muslim League but also directed them on a new way. These points prepared the Muslims of India for a bold step to struggle for freedom. “The importance of these points can be judged by the fact that these points were presented in the Round Table Conference of 1930. As a result, these points became the demands of the Muslims and greatly influenced the Muslims thinking for the next two decided till the establishment of Pakistan in 1947.”8 8 http://www.angelfire.com/al/badela/timeline3.html 9 10 11
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