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The Delhi Muslim Proposals

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					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.




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       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.


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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.



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        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


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DOCUMENT INFO
Description: 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.