Table of Contents
The Lahore Resolution, 1940
In March 1940 in Lahore, Jinnah told 100,000 at a public meeting,
“Muslims are not a minority as it is commonly known and understood . . . Muslims are a nation according to any definition of a nation, and they must have their homelands, their territory, and their state.”
The position became Muslim League policy on March 24, 1940, as the Lahore Resolution.
The resolution declared:
No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary. That the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in 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.
Importance Of Lahore Resolution:
In the views of I.H. Qureshi;-
“At its annual session—-historic in retrospect—-at Lahore the League for the first time adopted the idea of partition as its final goal. Jinnah’s presidential address to the session is a landmark in the history of Muslim nationalism in India, for it made an irrefutable case for a separate Muslim nationhood and for dividing India into Muslim and Hindu States.”
According To K.K. Aziz:-
“With the adoption of the Pakistan ideal by the Muslim League in 1940, Muslim nationalism had come into its own. It had taken the Muslims three quarters of a century finally to decide what they wanted. They had tried everything; a revolt in 1857, friendship with Britain, opposition to the Congress, extremist agitation, co-operation with the Congress, belligerent neutrality, negotiations, appeals and threats. First as dethroned rulers they resented the overlordship of the British. Then as a weak minority they sought friendship with the governing power. Then for a time they made a common cause with the Hindus and led the Khilafat agitation. Then once again their separatism came to the surface and they fought for communal safeguards. When these safeguards failed to give them the protection they needed or expected the latent nationalism triumphed. The march of history had made a nation of a community. No longer did they eat out their heart in sullen impotence, trusting in the beneficence of the British or the goodwill of the Hindus. To the Congress claim that India was a national state, that it was neither plural nor multinational the Muslims answered with the brand new idea of a separate Muslims nationalism.”
Cripps Mission, 1942:
As the conflict in the Pacific theater intensified, the British worried that Japan would invade India and realized local support needed to be shored up.
In March 1942 Richard Stafford Cripps (1889–1952) arrived in India on a high-level mission to appease Muslim concerns.
More than 1 million men from the subcontinent were now in the British Indian Army, and most were Muslims.
Cripps offered independence for the subcontinent at war’s end, an assembly to draft a constitution, protection for minorities, and choice for the provinces as to whether to join the new Indian state.
But without a guarantee for an independent Muslim state, the Muslim League rejected Cripps’s offer. Congress rejected the plan as well.
In July 1944, Gandhi, just released from prison, proposed he and Jinnah meet.
That September the two conferred in Bombay for six days.
Gandhi tried to convince Jinnah that Muslim demands for a separate state were folly.
Gandhi argued that the subcontinent’s Muslims were descendants of Hindus, proving the subcontinent’s historic unity. Gandhi was also worried that if Muslims pressed their demands, other minority groups would seek independence as well.
Importance Of Gandhi-Jinnah Talks:
According To K.K. Aziz:-
“The crucial Jinnah-Gandhi talks took place at Bombay in September 1944 but failed to reconcile the differences between the two leaders. The heart of the matter was that the Muslims did not trust the Hindus and refused to accept Gandhi’s word that partition would be effected when the British had departed, Jinnah wanted his Pakistan then and there before the British went—-The talks failed but brought some solid advantages to the Muslims. By the simple fact of agreeing to meet Jinnah as the representative of the Muslims, the Congress had tacitly abandoned its claim to speak for all India. It now acknowledged the Muslim League as a power with which terms must be made. Further the sharpness and depth of the differences between the two peoples were revealed. No longer could the Congress take shelter behind the pretence that no communal problem gnawed at India’s vital parts and that all was wee. Jinnah had won a clear victory by getting Gandhi to recognize Pakistan. This gave wide publicity to his Two-Nation Theory.”
Both parties recognized the results of the upcoming election would be critical in establishing their legitimacy and position in the subcontinent’s future.
The Muslim League’s primary campaign platform was independent Muslim statehood.
The Congress Party campaigned on the platform of a united India.
Muslim League candidates won all 30 seats reserved for Muslims in the central assembly.
Congress also did well, winning 80 percent of the general seats.
General Election 1945-46
According To Ch. Muhammad Ali:-
“The elections of 1946 had been fought on the issue of Pakistan and the Muslims of thee Punjab had given a clear verdict in its favour. The Hindus were opposed to Pakistan because it implied the partition of India.”
In the views of Dr. I.H. Qureshi:-
“The developments in the Punjab call for two comments. In the first place the Congress anxiety to forge alliance with the enemies of the League showed that it was prepared to go to any length to keep the League out of the office in a province which was considered the heart of Pakistan. The general policy of the Congress towards ministry making in Muslim provinces was thus one of obstruction and intrigue. The idea was to harass the League parliamentary parties so that no ministry could come into office and if this was unfruitful to intrigue against the League administrations with a view to breaking them. Sindh and the Punjab conclusively prove the truth of this conclusion.”
Cabinet Mission Plan
The Cabinet Mission Plan, as it was called, proposed a single nation with a national government that would leave provinces virtually autonomous and free to write their own constitutions.
Indian Reaction To The Cabinet Plan:
According To V.P. Memon, Mr. Gandhi commented on the plan saying:-
“It was open to the Constituent Assembly to vary the proposals, to reject or improve upon them; otherwise the Constituent Assembly could not be a sovereign body. Thus the mission had suggested certain subjects for the Union Centre: The Constituent Assembly could if they chose, add to them or reduce them. Similarly, it was open to the Constituent Assembly to abolish the distinction of Muslims and non-Muslims which the mission had felt forced to recognize. As regarding groups, no province could be compelled to belong to a group against its will.”
Subject to these interpretations Gandhi ji said:-
“The mission had brought something of which they had every reason to be proud.”
Lord Mountbatten’s 3rd June Plan:
Lord Mountbatten developed an alternative plan to partitioning India.
The details were completed at the Governor’s Conference in April 1947 and approved in Britain in May; the plan called for the right of the Indian provinces to choose independence.
The details of what became known as the June 3 Plan were to be kept secret until announced publicly, but Nehru was able to see the document before its release.
Fearing the plan would lead to a balkanization of the subcontinent, Nehru rejected it.
The plan was hastily revised by Lord Mountbatten and a Hindu assistant on his staff and refined by Nehru; it now proposed a transfer of authority to the independent dominions of India and Pakistan.
Lord Mountbatten himself took it to London, where Prime Minister Clement Attlee (r. 1945–51) and his cabinet quickly approved the partition plan.
Both Congress and Britain wanted to limit Pakistan’s size, and the Pakistan envisioned was smaller than the five provinces the Muslim League sought to include in the new nation.
On June 4, 1947, Jinnah, Nehru, Baldeve Singh, and Lord Mountbatten addressed the public in a radio broadcast and announced a plan to draw borders for the two new nations.
Elected representatives in Sind, West Punjab, and East Bengal would determine territorial borders for their provinces.
In the NWFP and parts of Assam, a plebiscite would be held.
Baluchistan’s borders would be determined through a consultative arrangement.
And in Bengal and Punjab, a commission would be appointed to delineate the boundaries between Muslim and non-Muslim areas.
The decisions on borders would remain secret until after independence. Mountbatten also made a surprise announcement about accelerating the transfer of power. Instead of June 1948, as previously planned, the transfer would take place on August 15, 1947—little more than a month from the date of the broadcast.
In late June 1947 Baluchistan decided to join Pakistan, as did the NWFP in a vote in early July. After Bengal chose to become part of Pakistan, a referendum in Sylhet, Assam, determined the parts of Assam that would join with Bengal.
Following notes on 3rd June Plan have been taken from Idea of Pakistan by Stephen Cohen.
The British plan to partition the Indian subcontinent into two dominions—India and Pakistan—was announced on June 3, 1947.
In the event, Pakistan was the first state created after World War II, on August 14, 1947.
The India Act of 1935 provided the legal framework for Pakistan until 1956, when the state passed its own constitution.
Since much of the NWFP was the home of Pashtun tribes that had never been directly ruled by the British, however, it was allowed to keep a system of tribal governance, and the Pakistan government, like the British before it, sent political agents to deal with the population.
Pakistan’s aforementioned liabilities quickly made themselves felt. Not only did the government have to bridge two wings over a thousand miles of now-hostile Indian Territory, but in large parts of the country it had little or no influence. Tribal leaders had the ultimate authority over who and what traversed their territory, and they managed tribal affairs by traditional laws through the tribal council, or Jirga.
For complete Pakistan Affairs notes click here.