Pakistan Resolution–23 March 1940

By  Bassam JavedPakistan Resolution 1

It all started in 1939 when Lord Linlithgow, the British Viceroy, declared that India had officially entered into World War II. This war proclamation was done without taking Congress or the Muslim League into confidence. Later, when he talked to political parties on the issue, he failed to garner Congress and Muslim League’s support for the war effort. Britain, to win support of these two major political parties offered to modify the federal scheme embodied in the Government of India Act, 1935 that paved the way for Indian independence.

Sequel to the offer, the Congress demanded off the British Government to declare Indian independence, immediate transfer of maximum power and assurances that the future constitution would only be framed by the Constituent Assembly of India. The Congress also threatened of a civil disobedience movement if its demand were not met. It was at that time that Muslim League pitched in and made it clear to the Congress that any future constitution must have the approval and consent of the Muslims of India as well. Muslim League decided not to hinder the war effort. The Chief Ministers of Punjab and Bengal in a show of allegiance to Muslim League cooperated with the defense authorities engaged in persecuting the war. The ensuing talks with the Viceroy failed. The Congress ministers in eight of the provinces resigned en block. Mr. Jinnah called for the observance of 22 December 1939 as the ‘Day of Deliverance and Thanksgiving’ to mark the end of the ‘tyranny, oppression and injustices’ meted out to Muslims by the Congress regime against the Muslim minorities therein in those provinces from where the chief ministers had resigned.

By that time the All India Muslim League had become skeptical of getting a fair and just deal for the Muslims of India from the Hindu majority Congress. It was for this reason that just three months after the declaration of ‘Day of Deliverance and Thanksgiving’, the Muslim League adopted the historic resolution in its annual session at Lahore. The landmark resolution was moved by A K Fazlul Haq, Chief Minister of Bengal and was seconded by Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman, the UP Muslim League leader. The resolution stated that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to Muslims unless it was designed on the basic principle that geographically contiguous units will be demarcated into regions which should be constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are in majority, should be grouped together to constitute independent states. The resolution demanded that the North-Western and Eastern Zones of India be constituted into two independent Muslim states. The Lahore Resolution soon came to be acknowledged as the ‘Pakistan Resolution’ as virulent anti-Muslim League propaganda picked up hype in the Hindu press.

The basic concept underlying the resolution was explained candidly by Mr. Jinnah himself. He said, “It has always been taken for granted mistakenly that the Musalmans are a minority. The Muslamans are not a minority. The Muslamans are a nation…..what the unitary government of India for 150 years has failed to achieve cannot be realized by the imposition of a central government…except by means of Armed Forces. The problem in India is not of an inter-communal character but manifestly, of an international one and it must be treated as such.

Hindus and Muslims belong to two civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions and yoking together two such nations under a single state must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state. This was Jinnah’s exposition of the famous two nation theory. The Congress leaders rejected it out rightly. Incidentally, Nirad S Chaudhri, a Congress leader, in his autobiography had also written that, “The so called two nation theory was formulated long before Mr. Jinnah or the Muslim League: in truth, it was not a theory at all: it was a fact of history.” The British Viceroy Lord Linlithgow had also stated in 1934 that : India is inhibited by many races….often as distinct from one another in origin, tradition and manner of life as are the nations of Europe…”

Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the inspirational and charismatic leader of Muslims of India had fashioned a crowd as it were into a nation. He proceeded to consolidate the Muslim League, which became an effective political organ of the masses and was able to fight the ruling British on one hand and the Hindu Congress on the other. He was successful in transforming a mere political party into an epic movement, which he led to freedom and sovereign statehood in the space of just seven years with an indomitable will and an unshakable resolve. Only Mr. Jinnah, the incomparable, could do it. He realized the dreams of millions of Muslims, who otherwise would have suffered under the tyranny of India and rewrote the history of South Asia by carving out an independent and sovereign Muslim State out of the sub-continent in 1947.


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