The Lucknow Pact (1916)

The Muslim League and the Congress held their meetings at Lucknow in the end of December 1916. They accepted unanimously agreed reforms scheme presented by their respective committees. The Congress-League scheme popularly known as the Lucknow Pact pointed out the steps that needed to be taken to gain self government for India. Jinnah supported the coming together of the two parties to coerce the government to grant India self-rule.

The most significant achievement of this pact for the Muslims was that for the first time the Congress had recognized the Muslim League as a representative body of the Muslims of the sub-continent and they were granted separate electorates in the provincial as well as in Imperial Legislative Council. The central government was generally to avoid undue intervention in the working of the provincial governments. The Muslims who feared losing Islamic and cultural identity were assured that: No bill, nor any clause thereof, nor a resolution introduced by a non-official memeber affecting one or the other community, which question is to be determined by the members of that community in the Legislative Council concerned, shall be proceded with, if three-fourth of the members of that community in the particular Council, Imperial or provincial, oppose the bill or any Clause thereof or the resolution. The Muslims were Guaranteed more seats than the ratio of their population in the Center and minority provinces but less in Punjab and Bengal. This made the Muslims majority in these two provinces less effective in the days to come.

In an address where he said that the demand for united India was ‘irresistible’ Jinnah seemed to identify himself more with the League than with the Congress.He became the president of the League only after three years of joining it. This raised the status of the League as well as of Quaid-i-Azam as a political leader. He was of the view that the Muslims could organize themselves for political action, ”lest impending changes (self rule) should swamp them altogether as a community”.

The Congress had made it clear that the League was there to represent the Muslims and the former would not speak for all the communities and minorities. Jinnah thus came to the conclusion that the Congress did not represent all the communities of India, especially the Muslim community. He utilized the Muslim League to interpret and express the opinions of the Muslims.

At this point of history he believed in Hindu-Muslim unity and worked for the quick attainment of full independence from the British rule.

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