During the years between the adoption of the Lahore Resolution and Independence, the Muslim population comprised just one quarter of the total Indian population
The Lahore Resolution of 1940 is the result of the what may be considered one of the most significant political movements in recent world history. It led to the creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. This homeland was destined to survive and thrive despite being plagued with innumerable conspiracies and intrigues hatched in rapid succession by ill-wishing forces.
That Pakistan came into existence seven years after the resolution of March 23, 1940 is a wonder in itself. It was created in the wake of sharp ideological divides that were exacerbated by the prejudiced conduct of the Hindu leadership, whose sole aim was to subdue the Muslim population after India’s independence from British colonial rule.
Inspired by the sagacity and farsightedness of philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal and founder of the nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Muslims of the subcontinent soon realized that they risked becoming a permanent minority if India remained undivided after Independence. This realization was not based on apprehension alone but on solid calculations. In the emerging, post-independence scenario, it was likely to become nearly impossible for Muslims to protect their fundamental rights under the umbrella of the Hindu majority, whose leaders and elite had already started exhibiting hegemonic attitudes.
During the years between the adoption of the Lahore Resolution and Independence, the Muslim population comprised just one quarter of the total Indian population. Given this situation, Muslims first demanded separate electorates with the aim of protecting their political, social and religious rights.
Due to the political developments that took place thereafter, however, they determined that even the right to separate electorates would not be enough. They had to search for some other long-term solution.
In his famous Allahabad address, Iqbal made it clear that Islam had its own socio-economic system and, in order to implement it, a separate, independent political entity was required.
Guided by Iqbal’s vision, Jinnah began working in full swing to gather Muslim support.
The overwhelming support from the Muslim masses for his call to celebrate the Day of Deliverance on December 22, 1939 was actually a symbolic vote of confidence in Jinnah’s leadership. This mass mobilization soon transformed into the Pakistan Movement. Jinnah’s speeches raised morale, which gave Muslims the confidence to shape their own destiny. It was, in fact, the most significant manifestation of the people’s will and support that ultimately triumphed over all the intrigues spearheaded by the Hindu leadership, who did their utmost, in league with some British colonial functionaries, to resist the creation of an independent Muslim homeland.
Jinnah’s address to the Lahore Conference, which finally adopted the March 23 Resolution, motivated multitudes of Muslims to launch a sustainable, unwavering movement for freedom.
According to historical estimates, thousands of people took part in the conference at Minto Park, near the Badshahi Mosque and Lahore Fort. Historian Stanley Wolpert described Jinnah’s address as the moment in which he irrevocably transformed himself into the leader of the fight for a separate Muslim homeland.
Jinnah, in his two-hour address in English, narrated the events that had taken place in the past few months and concluded: “Hindus and the Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs and literature. They neither inter-marry nor inter-dine together, and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations that are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their concepts on life and afterlife are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Muslims derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other, and likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state.”
He further stated: “Muslims are a nation according to any definition of nationhood. We wish our people to develop to the fullest, spiritual, cultural, economic, social and political life in a way that we think best and in consonance with our own ideals and according to the genius of our people.”
During his speech, Jinnah also quoted the letter written by Lala Lajpat Rai in 1924 to C.R. Das, in which he clearly mentioned that Hindus and Muslims were two separate and distinct nations that could never be merged into a single one.
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