Some Ignored Facts About The Allahabad
Session Of All-India Muslim League And Iqbal

Muhammad Haneef Shahid


The Allahabad session of the all-India Muslim League was dominated by the presidential address of Allama Iqbal, the far-reaching implications of which  over-shadowed the rest of the proceedings. What else happened during the session? This paper is an attempt to answer the question and also to highlight some other similarly seldom documented aspects of the freedom movement of which Iqbal was a part.


Since the Iqbal centenary celebrations (2-8 December, 1977) and the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah centenary celebrations (1976), a lot of valuable material has been unearthed for the benefit of the admirers of these two ‘Founding Fathers of Pakistan’.

As far as the Allahabad Address of Allama Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal is concerned, he delivered it at the 21st Session of the All India Muslim League held from 29-30 December, 1930, in which he declared:

“I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sindh and Baluschistan amalgamated into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim state appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North West India”.[1]

This presidential address of Allama Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal has been reproduced time and again by different scholars in full as well as in excerpts, and is easily available. Luckily, we happen to possess an original copy of the address. Its title page reads:

All India Muslim League Allahabad session December 1930 Presidential Address Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal Barrister-at-Law Lahore[2]

We have had a comparative study of this 22-page presidential address with the one published in the Speeches, Writings and Statements of Iqbal compiled and edited by Latif Ahmed Sherwani.[3] There is no difference except that the latter comprises 23 pages.

In brief, the point that we want to stress and make known to the lovers of Allama Iqbal is that it was the practice of the All India Muslim League that in every session, before the presidential address, a brief introduction of the session in question was given along with the number and names of visitors and delegates. Afterwards, the chairman of the Reception Committee used to give his welcome address, requesting the president to deliver his address. At the conclusion of the presidential address, a number of resolutions were moved and passed by the house. If we presume the presidential address to be the ‘soul’ of a session, the “Introduction” and the “Resolutions” may be considered its ‘body’. Hence we cannot and should not ignore the ‘body’ for the ‘soul’. They are part and parcel of each other. In other words, we cannot separate the “Introduction” and “Resolutions” from the presidential address.[4]

Keeping in view the usefulness and importance of the “Introduction” and “Resolutions” and assuming them to be the part and parcel of the presidential address, we feel pleasure in describing the same.

Proceedings of the Twenty-First Session of the All India Muslim League, held at Allahabad, December 29-30-1930.

The Twenty-First Session of the All India Muslim League opened at Allahabad on the 29th December, 1930, under the Presidentship of Sir Muhammad Iqbal. It was not possible to obtain the number of delegates who had arrived at Allahabad from other parts of the country. Among those present at the morning’s sitting of the League, it was said, there were a few from Karachi, one from Bihar, some from the Punjab, one from Hyderabad (Sind) and several from the United Provinces. Among the audience of about 600 persons, a large majority was formed by local people. Besides, several honorary magistrates of Allahabad and several Government officials were also present.

Among the delegates, who were reported to have arrived from outstation, may be mentioned Seth Abdullah Haroon, M.L.A., (Karachi), Mr. Abdul Majid (Hyderabad Sind) Nawab Ismail Khan (Meerut), Maulvi Alauddin (Meerut), Maulana S. Sadiq (Punjab), Maulana Abdul Khair (Ghazipur), Khan Bahadur Barakatullah (Ghazipur), Shad Nazir Hawen, M.L.C (Bihar), Maulvi Abdul Kafi (Cawnpore), Maulvi Adus Samed (Bedaun), Mr. Azhar Ali, M.L.A., (Lucknow), Syed Hussain Imam (Patna), Maulana Abdul Majid (Badaun), Syed Zakir Ali (Lucknow), Syed Habib (Lahore), and Maulvi Abdul Qadir (Lahore).

The proceedings commenced at about 11.a.m. Mr. Muhammad Hussain, chairman of the Reception Committee, welcomed the delegates. In the course of his speech, he said that the Muslims had left no stone unturned in trying to arrive at some settlement with the Hindus, but the latter had failed to respond. He repudiated the charge that the Muslims, due to their communalism, were an obstacle in the progress of the country. If the mentality of the Hindus would change and the Muslims were assured that their traditions, religion, education and language would not be annihilated, and that they would be treated like other sons of India, the Muslims would cease to bring up the question of the protection of their rights. But their experience in the local boards, in every department of the administration, and even in trade, had been to the contrary.

Mr. Muhammad Hussain expressed his appreciation for the attitude of the Muslim delegates to the Round Table Conference. He warned the Government that if no solution to the difficulties was affected at the Round Table Conference, the Muslim would not hesitate to make any sacrifice in order to secure fulfilment of their demands.

Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal next delivered his presidential address, at the conclusion of which Mr. Muhammad Yakub, General Secretary of the Muslim League, explained the substance of the address in Urdu for the benefit of those who did not have sufficient knowledge of English.

Second Meeting

The session which was scheduled for three days, terminated on the second day, after passing seven resolutions.  It took only about three hours to consider the resolutions which had been passed by the Subject Committee the previous afternoon at a meeting attended by about 25 members.

Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, president of the League, had to leave the meeting at about 11.00 a.m., after presiding for about an hour, while the most important resolution of the Session was under discussion. On his departure, Nawab Muhammad Ismail Khan of Meerut was voted to the chair.

The audience at the meeting was smaller than on the previous day, and it was apparent that the number of League members present was below the requisite quorum. When the chairman proceeded to take votes on the resolution to which Dr. M.U.S. Jung had moved an amendment, Dr. Jung said that according to the rules of the League, the quorum at a meeting should be of 75 members, and he accordingly raised a point of order that there was no quorum at the meeting. Dr. Jung’s objection was, however, overruled by Nawab Muhammad Ismail Khan, the chairman, by saying that the objection of a lack of quorum should have been raised at the first day’s meeting, this day’s meeting being an adjourned meeting needed no quorum. The following resolutions were adopted:


The All-India Muslim League places on record its deep sense of sorrow and loss on the sad deaths of Maulvi Mazhar ul-Haq, Sahibzada Aftab Ahmad Khan, Mirza Ali Muhammad Khan, Sir Ibrahim Haroon and Syed Jalil, old and prominent members of the League, and conveys its condolence to the members of the bereaved families.

On the motion of Mr. Hussain Imam, seconded by Dr. M.U.S Jung, the League adopted the following resolution:

Constitutional Reforms

Resolved that as the Government of India’s Despatch on constitutional reforms fails to lead the country towards responsible government, the recommendations contained in the Despatch would not satisfy Indian aspirations in general and Muslim demands in particular.

Another resolution, which gave rise to a prolonged debate and some opposition was moved by Syed Habib Shah and ran as follows:

Round Table Conference

The All- India Muslim League, while appreciating the united efforts of the Muslim members to the Round-Table Conference in giving faithful expression to Muslim opinion, strongly supports the resolution passed by the All-India Muslim Conference at Delhi on January 1, 1929, under the president ship of His Highness the Aga Khan, and hopes that the Muslim members will combine to abide by that resolution.

Moving the resolution, Syed Habib Shah remarked that it was a matter of gratification that the Muslim delegates to the Round-Table Conference, though they were not chosen by the Muslim of the country, were still supporting Muslim demands. He declared that whatever was the decision at the Round-Table Conference about the future constitution, the question of its acceptance or non-acceptance was a matter which concerned the Muslims in India, and he asserted that they would not be prepared to abide by a decision which did not safeguard Muslim rights.

Dr. M.U.S Jung next moved the following amendment to the resolution:

Resolved that although Mr. M. A Jinnah’s 14 points constitute the minimum Muslim demands having in view the larger interests of the country and also the complicated nature of the problem to be solved, and considering the difficulties which they may have to face at the spur of the moment, the All-India Muslim League considers it advisable not to restrict the full power of the Muslim members to negotiate a satisfactory settlement.

Dr. Jung, pressing his amendment, referred to the circumstances which led a party of Muslims to hold a Muslim Conference at Delhi, and asserted that it would be against the prestige of the League, which was an older political body than the Muslim Conference under reference, if the League adopted a resolution recorded by the Muslim Conference. Dr. Jung held that the resolution of Delhi Muslim Conference was based on a narrower view than the 14 points of Mr. Jinnah. For instance, he said, Resolution No.7 of the Delhi Muslim Conference relating to protection of the rights of a minority, had confused the issue by demanding majority representation in provinces where Muslims were in a majority and weightage where Muslims were in a minority. Concluding, Dr. Jung emphasized that they should stick to Mr. Jinnah’s 14 points. The political exigencies demanded that the delegates should be allowed sufficient latitude in exercising their discretion in negotiating a satisfactory solution to the difficulties at the London Conference.

Most of the speakers who followed, vigorously opposed the amendment. Seth Abdullah Haroon of Karachi, opposing the amendment and supporting the original resolution, asserted that he could not give any power to the delegates to the Round-Table Conference.  They were not elected by the Muslims, he said, nor were before them; and if they wanted to carry on any negotiations, they might do so. But the terms of any settlement would have to be considered by the Muslims in India before they could be accepted.

Mr. Hafizur Rehman took serious objection to Mr. Jung’s attack on the representative character of the Delhi Muslim Conference.

It was at this stage that Sir Muhammad Iqbal left the meeting and Nawab Muhammad Ismial Khan took the chair.

On the discussion being resumed, Moulvi Muhammad Yakub regretted that the debate on the resolution had led to an unpleasant discussion due to some misunderstanding.  The question before them, he said, was not whether the resolution of the Muslim Conference or Mr. Jinnah’s 14 points represented the majority view. In Moulvi Yakib’s opinion there was really no difference between Mr. Jinnah’s 14 points and the points adopted by the Muslim Conference. The only point for consideration, he said, was whether the League could give some discretion to the Muslim delegates to the Round Table Conference in effecting a compromise.

Moulvi Muhammad Yakub did not appreciate the statements made by some speakers that the Muslim delegates to the Round Table Conference should not be regarded as the Muslims’ representatives, as such a declaration would not only lower the prestige of the Muslim leaders in London, but would also lead their opponents, and even the Government, to tell the Muslim delegates, on the latter’s pressing the Muslim demands, that their view did not represent the views of the Muslims of India.

Mr. Muhammad Hussain remarked that the Government would not have the face to tell the Muslim delegates that they were not representatives of Muslims, as these delegates were selected by the Viceroy himself. And if the Government thought that they were not representatives, why then were the real representatives not invited to the Conference?

Mr. Muhammad Azim also opposed Dr. Jung’s amendment; and Syed Habib Shah, mover of the resolution, replying to the debate, asked if the Muslim delegates should be given any authority to make any settlement!

Dr. Jung’s objection about the want of a quorum having been ruled out, votes were taken with the result that the amendment of Dr. Jung was rejected, and the resolution of Syed Habib Shah was declared carried.

Moulvi Muhammad Yakub next moved the follwing resolution:

North-West Frontier Province

The All-India Muslim League, while fully realizing the particular conditions of the North-West Province, and recognizing the necessity of taking special measures for the safeguarding of the Frontier, is strongly of opinion that the continued political dissatisfaction in the province cannot be removed, nor can the local aspirations be satisfied with any scheme of administration which gives an inferior place to the scheme of administration which gives an inferior place to province in comparison with other provinces in the country.

The mover regretted that neither the Simon Commission, nor the report of the Central Simon Committee, nor the Government  of India’ s Despatch affected a satisfactory solution of the problem of North-West Frontier Province; nor did the Government take any action on repeated resolutions of the Legislative Assembly on the Subject.

The resolution, seconded by Maulana Abdul Majid, was passed.

The League next considered the following resolution moved by Maulana Abdul Majid of Bombay:

New Constitution

The All- India Muslim League is emphatically of opinion that the Musalmans of India will not be satisfied with any Constitution that does not guarantee (a) full Muslim representation on population basis in the legislatures of the Punjab and Bengal, (b) the constitution of Sind into a separate province forthwith and without any condition, and (c) the conferment of full power on the North-West Frontier Province and British Baluchistan.

The League declares that the Muslim insistence on the adoption of a Federal Constitution of India is contingent upon the clear understanding that the above-mentioned units shall, in the matter of Provincial autonomy, be treated on the same footing as the other components of the Federation.

In the course of his speech, the mover remarked that an attempt was being made on behalf of the Hindus, and also the British Government, that Muslims should not be in power in any province. The resolution was passed.

The only other resolution which aroused opposition was the motion of Mr. Hussain Imam:


Muslim Representation

The All- India Muslim League considers it essential and imperative that statutory provisions should be made for the adequate representation of Musalmans in the cabinets as well as in the public service of the country

Dr. Jung, opposing the motion, asserted that they would be committing suicide by passing that resolution; for the resolution which the League had just passed would give Muslims power in five provinces, and that would enable them to have only Muslims in a cabinets and in public services in their provinces in their provinces, but in case they imposed any restrictions about Muslim representation, those restrictions would also be imposed in the provinces in which they would be in power, and they would consequently have to accept non-Muslim representation in their provinces also.

Syed Habib Shah opposed the amendment of Dr. Jung , as he felt that the administration of any province could not be carried out by one community without the cooperation of others. The amendment was rejected, and the resolution was passed.

Finally, the League, on the motion of Mr. Zakir Ali, appointed a committee consisting of Nawab Muhammad Ismail Khan, Kazi Masud Hasan and Moulvi Muhammad Yakub to revise and amend the Constitution of the All-India Muslim League.

The proceedings of the Session terminated after expression of the League’s feeling of gratitude to the President and to the persons responsible for making arrangement for the session, by Moulvi Muhammad Yakub and Mr. Zahur Ahmad.

Moulvi Muhammad Yakub remarked that it was true that the present Session of the League was not as representative as its previous Session, but this, he said, was due to numerous Muslim leaders being out of India. Such would be the case, he added, with any conference held at this juncture; and it was due to the absence of its leaders that the Indian National Congress had not held its Session at the end of the year.[5]

The All India Muslim Conference

Lahore, March 21, 1932

This session of the All-India Muslim Conference opened at Lahore on the 21st March, 1932 under the presidency of Sir Muhammad Iqbal and in the presence of about 1,000 visitors, delegates, distinguished persons and leaders including Mr. A.H. Ghuznavi. Dr Shafaat Ahmed Khan, Mr. Muhammad Hasan, Saiyed Murtuza Sahib, Mr. Hasan Jan, Mr. Abdus Samad, Dr. Ziauddin, Mr. Saiyed Hussain Imana, Mr. Saiyed Abdul Hafiz, Maulana Muhammad Sahfi Daudi, Mr. Masud Ahmed, Nawab Saifullah Khan, Capt. Raja Sheir Muhammad Khan, K.B. Malik Muhammad Amin, Mr. Malik Feroze Khan Noon, the Hon. Nawab Saiyed Meharshah and Haji Abdullah Haroon.

The Welcome Speech

Haji Rahim Baksh, chairman of the Reception Committee, said that the Muslim intelligentsia were divided into three groups. Firstly, there was the pro-Congress group whose number was not large, but who were whole-heartedly supporting the Congress and condemning terrorism. Secondly, there were those who had lost faith both in the Congress and the British Government, and who urged us to stand on our own legs and work out our salvation. This idea was gradually gaining ground with Muslims. Some of these also were extremists and behaved with civil disobedience and direct action against the opinion of the majority. Thirdly, there were the moderates who, disappointed by Congress, were extending the hand of friendship to the British and would welcome an Anglo-Indian alliance. But, the speaker asked: “Will the Government take this hand and do anything to ensure Muslims’ cooperation in India? Muslims are at the cross- roads. The Congress has frittered away the opportunity to form an alliance with Muslims. They do not even now realize the usefulness of this link. At the same time the prospects of Muslim demands being accepted by the British in their entirety are not very bright. Which line of action are you going to adopt?”

Second Day, March 22, 1932

Exchange of Lathi Blows and Brickbats

Scenes of rowdyism marked the concluding session of the Conference today. The proceedings began two hours late and just as Sir Muhammad Iqbal entered the pandal a large number of Ahrarees also tried to enter but were kept back. A tug-of-war resulted at the gate between the Ahrarees and the volunteers of the conference resulting in an exchange of Lathi blows, brickbats and force. The police later intervened and dispersed the crowd, but just as it retired rowdyism continued and the proceedings of the conference took the form of moving resolutions. Without speeches or with very brief speeches and without discussions, all resolutions were hurried through during the time when the crowd outside was attempting to enter the pandal from one side or the other amidst various kinds of slogans.



The most important resolutions passed were:

Muslim Demands

Whereas the Muslim community is profoundly dissatisfied with the result of the last two conferences inasmuch as the Muslim demands formulated on January 1, 1929, and July 5, 1931 have not been conceded and whereas the conference is generally of the opinion that its policy of cooperation has not yet yielded satisfactory results, it holds that it is not longer possible for the Muslims to continue to cooperate with the Round-Table Conference and its sub-committees which are preparing a constitution in the absence of a decision the full Muslim demands will be embodied therein. But in view of the undertaking given by the British Government to announce its decision on the communal question without delay this conference urges upon the Government to announce its decision at the earliest possible opportunity so that the Muslim community may clearly understand its position in the constitution. If the decision is not announced before the end of June the next meeting of the executive board of the conference should be held on July 3 this year at the latest to launce a programme of direct action.

Emergency Preparations

This conference is further of opinion that in the meantime the community should be organized in the following manner to be prepared for any emergency which may arise: (a) to establish more branches of the Muslim Conference in all parts of the country to bring about coordination of work among the Muslim organization in the country with a view to political emancipation and the economic betterment and solidarity of the community, (b) to enrol volunteers under the branches of the conference with a declaration from them that they will be prepared for all possible sacrifices for the enforcement of the demands of the Muslim Conference, (c) to collect funds for the above purposes.

Direct Action

The Conference further authorises the working committees to prepare a programme of direct action and place the same before the executive board by the end of June 1932 for necessary action.

Provincial Autonomy

Whereas the scheme of federation propounded by the Round Table Conference is bound to involve considerable delay in the working of details and whereas the provinces of British India have been demanding complete provincial autonomy ever since the inauguration of the Government of India Act, 191, this conference demands the immediate introduction of  provincial autonomy in all provinces in British India simultaneously while the details of the federation scheme are being explored and worked out.[6]

The All India Muslim Conference

New Delhi, August 7, 1932

A meeting of the working Committee of the All-India Muslim Conference was held at New Delhi, on the 7th August, 1932 with Sir Muhammad Iqbal in the chair. Those present included Malik Feroz Khan Noon, Maulana Mazharuddin, Syed Habiab-Shah, Syed Zakir Ali, Maulana Shafi Daudi, the Hon’ble Syed Hussain Imam, and Mufti Muhammad Sadique. The following resolutions were adopted:

The Alwar Agitation

Whereas the attitude of the Alwar Durbar towards its Muslims subjects and their many grievance which they have, for a long time, been most respectfully and constitutionally laying before the Durbar, have been one of extreme indifference and even of hostility; whereas the recent policy of the Alwar Durbar have been characterized by ruthless repression, so much so that about ten thousand Muslims, men and women, of all ages and stations in life, have been driven to migrate from the Alwar city to Jaipur, Ajmeer, Rewari, Ferozepore, Jherka, Gurgaon, Hissar, Agra, Bharatpur, Delhi and other places; whereas the Alwar Durbar has not allowed the deputation appointed by the All-India Muslim Conference in its session, in Lahore, to wait upon the Maharaja of Alwar to make a representation about the grievances of the Alwar Muslim and whereas the Alwar Durbar has failed to appoint an independent Commission to investiage the predisposing cause of the deplorable incidents of the 29th May, 1932 when State troops fired on Muslims, as demanded by the working Committee of the Conference on the 6th June, 1932 it is hereby resolved that,

(a)              A deputation should wait on the viceroy in order to place the whole case before His Excellency and request him to appoint an independent Commission of Enquiry for the purpose of investigating all the grievances of the Alwar Muslims.

(b)             Telegrams be sent to the Secretary of State for India, the Viceroy and the A.G.G. Rajputana States drawing their attention to the situation in Alwar, and the ruin it is causing to innocent men and women, and its probable consequences in British India.

The Committee calls upon Muslim India to render immediate financial aid to the Alwar refugees.

The Working Committee further calls upon the Press in India to take up the just cause of the Alwar refugees.


Ahrar Prisoners

In view of the general feelings of Muslmans throughout the country, that the Ahrar prisoners who were sent to jail in connection with the Kashmere agitation should be immediately released by the Government the desirability of the immediate release of Ahrar prisoners.

In view of the fact that the sword is exempt from the operation of the Arms Act in some districts of the Punjab, while licence is necessary in others, the working Committee is strongly of the opinion that the sword be exempted from the operation of the Arms Act throughout the Punjab. The Working Committee further calls upon the Muslim members of the Punjab Legislative Council to take necessary steps for the same.

Communal Award

The Working Committee while appreciating the desire of the Sikhs to join the Minorities Pact and while welcoming their conversations with certain Muslims at Simla, is strongly of the opinion that such conversation may be used for bringing about postponement of the announcement by the British Government of their decision on the Communal question, and therefore calls upon the Muslims at Simla taking part in those conversations, to postpone the same till the decision is announced by the Government.

The Working Committee is emphatically of the opinion that, in view of the acuteness of the present situation and the possibilities of further complications, it is the duty of the British Government to announce their decision on the communal question without further delay.

Syed Zakir Ali’s resolution regarding the further programme of the Conference in case the Government do not concede the minimum demands of the Muslim Conference, was placed before the Working Committee. Some of the suggestions made therein, were discussed by the members at great length. It was, however, finally decided to form a sub-committee to discuss and formulate a fuller and stronger programme to be placed before the next meeting of the Executive Board or before the special session of the All-India Muslim Conference. The Sub-committee wold consist among others of Sir Muhammad Iqbal (Chairman), Maulana Mazhruddin, Hasrat Mohani, Syed Habib Shah, Ghulam Rasul, and Syed Zakir Ali.

It was resolved that the next meeting of the Executive Board be held in Delhi after the announcement by the  Government of the decision on the Communal problem, giving ten days clear notice to the members of the Board.[7]

The All India Muslim Conference

Delhi, August 20, 1932

The working Committee of the All-India Muslim Conference met again at Delhi on the 20th August, 1932 and discussed the communal decision of the Government. After a heated debate, a committee consisting among others of Syed Zakir Ali and Mr. Masood Ahmed, was constituted for drafting the main resolution on the Communal decision. The draft resolution was presented to the Working Committee and with a few amendments was adopted for presentation to the Board.

Next day, the 21st August, the Executive Board met under the Chairmanship of Sir Muhammad Iqbal. The draft resolution was proposed by Mr. Abdul Majid and was seconded by Syed Muhammad Hussain. Forty-one members attended the meeting, the chief among them being Dr. Shafaat Ahmed Khan, Nawab Jamshed Ali Khan, Maulana Shaif Daudi, Hafiz Hidayat Hussain, Muhammad yamin Khan, Haji Wajehuddin, Nawab Muhammad Yousaf, Kunwar Ismail Ali Khan, Haji Rahimbuksh,the Hon’ble Mr. Hussain Imam. Ghulam Shaikh Narang, the Hon’ble Mr. Muhammad Padsha, Dr. Iqbal, Malik Feroze Khan Noon, Nawab Ismail Khan and Dr. Ziauddin. The following were the resolutions adopted by the Executive Board.

Muslim Representation

In the opinion of the Board, the Decision of His Majesty’s Government about the measure of Muslim representation in the Provincial Legislatures is disappointing, as it falls very much short of the Muslim demands embodied in their resolution of the All- India Muslim Conference, and as it (a) denies the right of statutory majority by separate electorates to the Musalmans in the Punjab and Bengal, (b) reduces the weightage now enjoyed by the Musalmans in the United Provinces, Bihar and Orissa and Madras Legislative Councilss, (c) gives weightage to non-Muslim minorities in the North-west Frontier Province equivalent to three times their population, which is much in excess of the weigtage given to Muslims in their minority provinces, (d) omits British Baluchistan from the general scheme of reforms, (e) leaves the question of separation of Sind as a province as before.

Muslim Demands I

The Board, while appreciating the efforts of His Majesty’s Government to meet the demands of all concerned and recognizing that their decision does meet a portion of the Muslim demands, is strongly of the opinion that no constitution would be acceptable to the Muslim India, unless it embodied in it all the other Muslim demands set forth in their resolution of January 1929 and further explained and confirmed in their resolution of April 1932.

Federal States

The Board most emphatically adds that the Muslims of India will not accept any constitution unless it creates completely autonomous Federal States of equal status, and accepts the principle that the transfer of power shall be from the Parliament to the Provinces and not from the Parliament to the Central Government.

Future Constitution

The Board further requests His Majesty’s Government to make an immediate announcement that the future constitution will be based on the Principles stated in the preceding paragraphs.

Muslims of Bengal

The Executive Board is emphatically of the opinion that a great injustice has been done to the Muslims of Bengal, as His Majesty’s Government have, in their decision, departed from the well recognized principle that no majority shall be reduced to a minority or an equality.

Separation of Sind

Separation of Sind being one of the most vital demands of the Muslim India, this meeting  of the Board demands that Sind be separated from the Bombay Presidency without any further delay.

Muslim Demands II

In view of the change in the political atmosphere caused by the announcement of the decision made by His Majesty’s Government, the Board urges upon the Muslmans of India to continue to cultivate friendly relations with the sister communities, and remain prepared for all eventualities in order to protect their rights and secure, by all constitutional means, the remaining demands which they consider more vital than the mere allotment of seats.[8]

The All India Muslim Conference

New Delhi, March 5, 1933

A meeting of the Executive Board of the All-India Muslim Conference was held in the Western Hostel, New Delhi on the 5th March, 1933 under the presidentship of Sir Muhammad Iqbal. About 50 members attended the meeting including Messrs. Syed Abdul Azeez, S.M.Padsh, Hussain Imam and Muhammad Suhrawardy, members of the Council of State; Messrs. Masood Ahmed, Ismail Ali Khan, Captain Sher Muhammad Khan, Muhammad Yamin Khan, Muhammad Uazzan Sahib, Haji Wajihuddin, Sir Muhammad Yakub, Haji Abdullah Haroon, Muhammad Sadique, K. Uppi Saheb Bahadur, Dr. Ziauddin, Muhammad Ibrahim Ali Khan, A.H. Ghuznavi, Muhammad Anwarul Azeem and Shafi Daudi, members of the Legislative Assembly; Nawab Sir Muhammad Yusaf Mali, Sir Feroze Khan Noon, Dr. Shafaat Ahmed Khan, Hafiz Hidayat Hussain, Abdus Samad, Syed Zakir Ali, S.M. Habib, Maulana Mazharuddin, Zahur Ahmed, Abdul Jabbar, M.L.C., Ghuzanfarullah M.L.C., Mufti Muhammad Sadiq (Qadian), Major Sir Hissamuddin Khan and the Raja Saheb of Salempore.

The question of the amalgamation of the All-India Muslim League with the Muslim Conference was discussed.

It was understood that Sir Muhammad Yakub and Mr. Shafi Daudi expressed their willingness to resign secretaryships of the respective organizations for the object of effecting unification.

Syed Habib Shah (Lahore) opposed amalgamation on the ground that the existence of both the organizations was necessary for the welfare and political advancement of the country.

Excitement and confusion marked the proceedings of the Council of the Muslim League. The President, Mr. Abdul Aziz, Barrister, admitted the Press to the proceedings before launch which the Associated Press representative attended. There were some protests against the Press being admitted, but the general sense of the House prevailed in favour of the Chairman’s ruling

After lunch when the Council reassembled and the Free Press reporter joined the Press table, Sir Muhammad Yakub raised the point whether the Press should be allowed to continue to report the proceedings. The President said that his ruling had been already given. Thereupon, confusion and uproar occurred, and a number of members staged a walk-out. The meeting ended amid confusion.[9]

The All India Muslim Conference

New Delhi, March 26, 1933

A meeting of the Executive Board of the All-India Muslim Conference was held in Western Hostel, New Delhi, on the 26th March, 1933 under the presidency of Sir M. Iqbal. About forty members were present, including Dr. Shaffat Ahmed, Mr. S.M. Padshah, Mr. Muhammad Moazzam Sahib, Mr. Rahimtoola M. Chinly, Nawab Ibrahim Ali Khan, Kunwar Ismail Ali Khan, Mr. Hussain Imam, Mr. Muhammad Suhrawardy, Mr. Yamin Khan, Mian Shah Nawaz, Mr. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Haji Abdullah Harron, Mr. A.H.Ghuznavi, Haji Rashid Ahmed, Captain Sher Muhammad Khan and K.B. Haji Rahimbuksh. The agenda included consideration of the White Paper and the election of the President for the next session of the conference.

Resolution on White Paper

A series of resolutions were passed. The following is the text of the main resolution:

This meeting of the Executive Board of the All-India Muslim Conference expresses its profound disappointment with the scheme of Reforms outlined in the White Paper. In the opinion of the Board the said scheme fails to meet the demand of the Muslim community as embodied in the various resolutions of the All-India Muslim Conference. In view of the extreme dissatisfaction of the Muslim community with the proposals of His Majesty’s Government, the Board demand radical changes on the following:

(a)              The Provinces should  be granted the larger measure of fiscal administrative and legislative autonomy;

(b)             The Governor’s powers are excessive and should be severely curtailed;

(c)              Ministers should be fully responsible to the legislature, and should hold office only as long as they enjoy the confidence of the House;

(d)             Provincial Governments should have effective control over the Imperial services and complete control over the provincial and other services;

(e)              The power of the Governor-General should be curtailed;

(f)               “High Courts” should be an exclusively provincial subject. The appointments of the High Court Judges should be made by His Majesty on the recommendation of the Provincial Governors. The Provincial Legislatures, and not the Federal Legislature should regulate the power of superintendence exercised by the High Court over subordinate court in the province.

(g)               No weightage or other privileges should be given to the state;

(h)             Fundamental safeguards for the protection of the personal law, education and culture of the Muslims should be incorporated in the constitution;

(i)                Provision should be made for effective representation of Muslims in the public service and the army, and immediate steps should be taken to Indianize the army;

(j)                As Muslims claim one-third representation in the Upper Chamber of the Federal Legislature and have been definitely promised one-third of the Births Indian share of the seats and cannot see any effective way of securing a sufficient number of seats among the representatives of the state to make up their proportion to one-third of the whole House, it is their considered opinion that a slightly increased proportion over one-third of the British Indian share is essential. Muslims further disapprove of the principle of joint electorates in the election to the Upper House of the Federal Legislature, and are for separate electorates with direct elections;

(k)              A substantial measure of reform should be immediately introduced in Baluchistan;

(l)                 One seat allotted to Delhi in the Upper Chamber should go to Muslims and non-Muslims by rotation;

(m)           The population of Delhi and Ajmer being equal, Ajmer should have the same measure of representation in both the Houses of the Federal Legislature as Delhi, such representation to be regulated by the same principle as in Delhi, and when represented by a Muslim the other should be represented by a non-Muslim in the Upper Chamber and vice versa;

(n)              Inasmuch as his Majesty’s Government’s decision promised to give the Muslims of Bihar and Orissa 42 seats out of 175, i.e., 24 per cent of the whole House, by separate electorate, the proportion thus fixed should on no account be changed, and states be so allotted to Muslims in the province in both the provincial legislatures that the total proportion of 24 per cent be undisturbed.

(o)             The representation accorded to Commerce should include the Muslim Chamber of Commerce in Bengal and Bihar as electoral units in their respective province;

(p)             The electoral qualifications of the landholder’s constituency should be reduced in Bengal, Bihar and single-seated constituencies be changed into multi-seated ones in each province by the single transferable vote.

Another resolution passed eulogized the services rendered by the Aga Khan to the Muslim community at the Round Table Conference, and thanked Mr. Hussain Imam for the invitation to hold the next session of the conference in Bihar.

It was understood that Sir M. Iqbal and Dr. Shafaat Ahmed Khan were rival candidates in the field for the presidentship. A compromise was reached and the meeting unanimously elected Dr. Shafaat Ahmed as the President of the forthcoming session, which was postponed until after the Joint Parliamentary Committee meetings. Meanwhile, Sir M. Iqbal would continue to act as the president.[10]


Notes and References

[1] Presidential Address of Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal delivered at the Annual Session of the All India Muslim League at Allahabad on the 29 December, 1930, printed by Guran Ditta Kapur at Kapur Printing Works, Lahore, 1930, p. 7; (an original copy is owned by the author). See also Speeches, Writing and Statements of Iqbal, compiled & edited by Latif Ahmed Sherwani, p. 10. Allama Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal repeated the same idea of a Free Muslim State of States in a letter which he sent to Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on 28th May, 1937, writing thus: “After a long and careful study of Islamic Law I have come to the conclusion that if this System of Law is properly understood and applied, at least the right to subsistence is secured to every body.  But the enforcement and development of the ‘shariat’ of Islam is impossible in this country without a ‘Free Muslim State or States’. (Letters of Iqbal, compiled & edited by Bashir Ahmad Dar, p. 254.)

[2] Presidential Address of Allama Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, printed by Guran Ditta Kapur at the Kapur Art Printing Works, Lahore, 1930.

[3] Speeches, Writings and Statements of Iqbal, compiled & edited by Latif Ahmed Sherwani, Lahore, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, 1977, pp. 10-43.

It will not be out of place to mention that some scholars and historians do not care for authenticity while quoting the date and year when the above-mentioned presidential address was delivered; for example, Mr. Muhammad Hamza Farooqi in Safarnama-e-Iqbal (Urdu) on p. 10, has written that ‘Iqbal delivered his presidential address on 31st  December, 1930’. It is of utmost imperative that care should be taken while giving such quotations of historical importance.

[4] Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada in Foundation of Pakistan ‑ All-India Muslim League Documents: 1906-1947, published by the National Publishing House Ltd, Karachi, 1969, has given full proceedings of all the sessions of All-India Muslim League, but on the contrary, Mr. G . Allana in Pakistan Movement: Historic Documents has quoted excerpts from the presidential address and two resolutions only; see pp. 86-88.

Mirza Akhtar Hasan, author of ‘History of the Muslim League’ (Urdu) published by Maktaba-e-League Delhi, has adopted the same pattern and style as that of Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada about which we have already discussed, i.e. firstly, he has given an introduction of the session, secondly, the address of welcome by chairman of the Reception Committee, thirdly, text of the presidential address and lastly, the detail of the resolution passed; see pp. 382-393.

[5] Evolution of Muslim Political Thought in India ‑ The Communal Award (Volume Four), compiled and edited by A.M. Zaidi under the auspices of the Indian Institute of Applied Political Research, New Delhi, S. Chand & Company, 1978, pp. 59-60 and 83-89.

[6] Ibid., pp. 520-521 and 532-534.

Mr. Latif Ahmed Sherwani has given only the presidential address of Allama Iqbal which he delivered at the Annual Session of the All India Muslim Conference, held at Lahore on 21st March, 1932, in Speeches, Writings and Statements of Iqbal, pp. 26-43). Likewise , he has reproduced the presidential address of Allama Iqbal only which he delivered at the annual session of the All-India Muslim League, 29th December, 1930, pp. 3-26)

[7] Evolution of Muslim Political Thought in India ‑ The Communal Award (Volume Four), compiled and edited by A. M. Zaidi, pp. 572-574.

[8] Ibid., pp. 575-577.

[9] Ibid., pp. 588-589.

[10] Ibid., pp. 590-592.