UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Dec 30

30 December 1906

The All-India Muslim League was founded


The Muslim League was an important feature in the Indian struggle for independence. One of the most prominent faces of the League, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, became a champion of the Two-Nation Theory which ultimately paved the way for the country’s partition. Read more about the Muslim League in this article for the UPSC exam. It is an important part of modern history for the IAS exam.

What happened?

On 30 December 1906, the All-India Muslim League (AIML), popularly known as the Muslim League was founded in Dhaka, British India (now in Bangladesh).

Background

  • The communal idea that the Muslims are a separate nation was sown into the Indian political ethos first by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, a philosopher and Muslim reformist.
  • Although he wanted Muslims to get educated and think in a scientific temper, he suggested aligning with the British rather than rebel against them, as most beneficial for the community. He had founded the Muhammadan Educational Conference in 1886 but this organisation stayed away from politics and desisted from even discussing it as per its own code.
  • On 30 December 1906, around 3000 delegates attended a conference of the Muhammadan Educational Conference at Dhaka in which the ban on politics was removed and a motion was moved to form the AIML. The name was proposed by Nawab Khawaja Sir Salimullah Bahadur and seconded by Hakim Ajmal Khan.
  • The AIML was the first Muslim political party of India.
  • The idea was that the Congress Party was only catering to the needs of the Hindus. This was an erroneous idea since the Congress always meant to include every community of the country and had many Muslim leaders as members.
  • The founders of the Muslim League were: Khwaja Salimullah, Vikar-ul-Mulk, Syed Amir Ali, Syed Nabiullah, Khan Bahadur Ghulam and Mustafa Chowdhury.
  • The first Honorary President of the League was Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah (Aga Khan III).
  • The AIML was essentially a party of educated elite Muslims, at least in the beginning.
  • The party’s chief aim was to promote and secure civil rights for Muslims. It espoused loyalty to the British government as a means to achieve more political and civil rights.
  • The objectives of the league were:
    • To create among Muslims the feelings of loyalty towards the British Government.
    • To safeguard the political rights of the Muslims and to convey the same to the government.
    • To prevent the rise of prejudice against other communities of India among the Muslims.
  • Muhammad Ali Jinnah joined the league in 1913.
  • When the Congress party was opposed to the government and fighting for the gradual establishment of an independent India, the league propounded loyalty to the government. They, in fact, provided the government a tool to fight the growing nationalism in the country.
  • Even though partition of the country was not on the minds of Indian Muslims in the early years of the league, it came into the picture after 1930. Leaders of the league began the propaganda that Hindus and Muslims are not one nation and have separate cultures and identities although they have been cohabitating for centuries.
  • In 1940, Jinnah gave a speech in Lahore in which he talked of the impossibility of living as one nation. In response to this, some members of the league who were opposed to the Two Nation Theory broke away from the party and formed the All-India Jamhur Muslim League (AIJML). The AIJML later merged with the Congress party.
  • In 1937, the Muslim League was not able to form the government in any province in the provincial elections held that year as per the Government of India Act. Even in the 125 non-general constituencies out of which 59 were reserved for Muslims, the Congress managed to win 25 seats with 15 seats coming from the Muslim dominated North-West Frontier Province.
  • In 1939, the Congress ministries resigned following the viceroy’s declaration that made India a party to the Second World War. The league urged Muslims to celebrate December 22 as Deliverance Day.
  • The party, under Jinnah spearheaded the campaign for Pakistan throughout the 1940s and was successful in its mission of dividing the country. The country was partitioned along communal lines along with independence in 1947.
  • The league was dissolved on 14 August 1947. It continues to exist in various forms as political parties in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. In India, the Indian Union Muslim League functions as a political party with its base in Kerala and ironically, aligns itself with the Congress Party.
Also on this day

1922: Creation of the Soviet Union. 1971: Death of eminent scientist and father of Indian space programme Vikram Sarabhai. 2006: Hanging of Saddam Hussein, the former President of Iraq.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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