Establishment of All India Muslim League [1906]

Group photo taken at the Annual Mohammaden Educational Conference in Dacca, 1906

With the establishment of All India Muslim League with it’s headquarters at Lucknow, it elected Sir Aga Khan as it’s President. It also elected six vice presidents, a secretary and two joint secretaries for a term of three years. It’s initial membership was four hundred in fixed proportions of the provinces. The constitution of the League known as the "Green Book" was written by Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar. It’s branches were also setup in other provinces. Syed Ameer Ali established a branch of the League in London in 1908, supporting the same objectives.

Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar wrote the constitution of the Muslim League

The Muslim League was established with the following objectives:

1. To inculcate among Muslims a feeling of loyalty to the Government and to disabuse their minds of mis-understandings and misconceptions out of it’s actions and intentions.

2. To protect and advance the political rights and interests of the Muslims of India and to represent to the Government from time to time, their needs and aspirations.

3. To prevent the growth of ill-will between Muslims and other nationalities without prejudice to it’s own purposes.

Many Hindu historians and several British writers have alleged that the Muslim League was founded at official instigation. They argue that Lord Minto who inspired the establishment of a Muslim organization so as to break the Congress and to minimize the strength of Indian Freedom movement. But these statements are not supported by evidence. Contrary to this, the widely accepted view is that the Muslim League was basically established to protect and advance the Muslim interests and to combat the growing influence of the Indian National Congress.

Nawab Viqar ul Mulk chaired the meeting at Dacca

On December 30, 1906, the annual meeting of Mohammadan Educational Conference was held at Dacca under the chairmanship of Nawab Viqar ul Mulk. Almost three thousand delegates attended the session making it the most representative ever gathering of Muslim India. For the first time the conference lifted it’s ban on political discussion, when Nawab Salim ullah Khan presented a proposal to establish

Nawab Salim Ullah Khan proposed the formation of All India Muslim League

a political party to safeguard the interests of the Muslims - All India Muslim League.

So far three factors had kept the Muslims away from the Congress - Sir Syed’s advice to the Muslims to give it a wide berth, the Hindu agitation against the partition of Bengal and the Hindu religious revivalism’s hostility towards the Muslims. The Muslims remained loyal to Sir Syed’s advice but events were fast changing the Indian scene and politics was being thrust on all sections of the population.

Syed Ameer Ali established a branch of the Muslim League in London

Besides these, the motivating factors were that the Muslim intellectual class wanted representation; the masses needed to unite at one platform and it was through the dissemination of western thought of John Locke, Milton, Thomas Paine, etc. at the MAO College that initiated the emergence of Muslim nationalism.