22 December 1939
Muslim League’s Day of Deliverance
The Muslim League observed ‘Day of Deliverance’ on 22 December 1939 when the Congress Party members who were part of the Central and provincial governments resigned in mass protesting the Viceroy’s decision to make India a party to the Second World War without duly consulting Indians.
Background of the Muslim League’s Day of Deliverance
- On 3 September 1939, the then Viceroy Lord Linlithgow declared that India was at war with Nazi Germany during the Second World War, along with Britain.
- The dominant political party in India at that time, the Indian National Congress (Formed on 28th December 1885), objected to this decision of the viceroy which was taken without consulting Indians.
- The Congress was in power in 7 British Indian provinces after elections in 1937. The Muslim League (Founded on December 30, 1906) could form the government in only one province then.
- The League wanted to portray a negative image of the Congress and it directed efforts to showcase the “plight” of Muslims under Congress rule.
- The 1938 Pirpur Report brought out by the League listed cruelties suffered by Muslims in the Congress-ruled provinces. It tried to project a pro-Hindu stance and anti-Muslim bias in them. This report became an important document used to demand and justify the partition of the country.
- On 22 October 1939, the Congress called upon all its ministries to resign in the wake of the Viceroy’s declaration.
- On 2 December that year, League chief Muhammad Ali Jinnah called upon Indian Muslims to celebrate 22 December as ‘Deliverance Day’ from Congress. He stated, “I wish the Muslims all over India to observe Friday 22 December as the “Day of Deliverance” and thanksgiving as a mark of relief that the Congress regime has, at last, ceased to function.”
- The Congress criticised this move of the League. Mahatma Gandhi appealed to Jinnah to desist from observing this day.
- Jawaharlal Nehru (November 14, 1889) offered Jinnah to deal with the allegations of anti-Muslim bias by the party but his attempts fell through because the League was adamant on being the sole representative of Indian Muslims. This was unacceptable to Nehru as there were several Muslims in the Congress party.
- The observance of this day was also disapproved by senior congress leader Abul Kalam Azad (November 11 1888)
- The day was observed by the League in India as decided. Some other parties also joined the celebration. They were the All-India Depressed Classes Association and the Independent Labour Party. Prominent leaders who joined Jinnah in the observance included Dr B R Ambedkar and E V Ramasami (Periyar) of the Justice Party.
Also on this day