Reorganization of All India Muslim League

While in England, the Quaid had been watching the events that were happening in India and was saddened to see how Muslim interests were being sacrificed by the chaotic situation within the Muslim League. The Muslim League was in the hands of rich landlords or some middle class intellectuals with limited horizons, while the All India Congress was emerging as the leading party for Indian independence.

In 1933, the "Now or Never" pamphlet by Choudhry Rehmat Ali was published in which the concept of a separate Muslim state was not only highlighted but the name "Pakistan" was also proposed for it. This motivated the young intellectuals of Aligarh and other universities to accelerate the growth of Muslim political consciousness throughout India.

Jinnah realized that organizing the Muslims of India into one powerful and dynamic organization was badly needed and that he would face enormous difficulties in that task.

On March 4, 1934, in a combined meeting of various factions of the Muslim League, Delhi, the formation of one Muslim League was decided and Jinnah was elected as president of that Muslim League. He was given an enthusiastic welcome on his arrival in Delhi in April 1934.

He called a meeting of the All India Muslim League Council in Delhi in October 1934 and decisions were taken to prepare grounds for the radical transformation of the Muslim League into a mass party representative of all sections of the Muslim community. After two trips to England in that year, Jinnah finally returned for good in December 1934. This was the start of a new era in India's struggle for independence. The All India Congress was not willing to acknowledge the Muslim cause and insisted on portraying only two parties in this regard, the Congress and the British. Jinnah emphasized the fact that the Congress could not win the battle of freedom until it gained the support of all the communities and assurance was not given to the minorities about their rights and protection of interest in an independent India.

On February 5, 1935 at a meeting of the Muslim Union at Aligarh, Jinnah said, "I am convinced and you will agree with me that the Congress policy is to divide the Muslims among themselves. It is the same old tactics of the British Government. They follow the policy of their masters. Don't fall into the trap. This is a moment of life and death for the Muslims…The Muslim League is determined to win freedom, but it should be a freedom not only for the strong and the dominant but equally for the weak and the suppressed."

He performed two important tasks after his return from England; the first was to unite and activate the Muslim League as the sole representative body of the Muslims of India. The second was to continue the struggle for freedom of India on constitutional lines.

The reorganization of the Muslim League was a difficult task and he was faced with enormous difficulties including opposition from petty politicians with local interests, the propaganda of the Congress-paid nationalist Muslims and open hostility of leaders from different provinces of Muslim majority. He set an example of political and moral rectitude that was unparalleled in India. He meant what he said and was extremely honest in his dealings with friends and foes alike. He followed certain well-defined principles and nothing could persuade him to deviate from this path. He exercised his powers as president with due regard to democratic principles, acted according to the constitution of the Muslim League and never exceeded his powers as president.

Gandhi and Jinnah - a study in contrasts

An extract from the book that riled India's Bharatiya Janata Party and led to the expulsion of its author Jaswant Singh, one of the foun...