Simla Deputation [1906]

Lord Minto

In 1905, with Viceroy Minto a new installment of reforms was indicated in which the elected principle would be extended. The anti-partition agitation had convinced the Muslims of the futility of expecting any fairplay from the Hindu majority. Therefore, to safeguard their interests, the Muslim leaders drew up a plan for separate electorates for their community and presented it to the Viceroy Lord Minto at Simla on October 1, 1906.

The Simla Deputation consisting of seventy representatives of all shades of opinion and led by Sir Aga Khan who read the address, written by Mr. Bilgrami. The long address said, among other things, that the position of the Muslim community should not be estimated on it’s numerical strength alone, but in terms of it’s political importance and the service rendered to the Empire. He also pointed out that the representative institutions of the West were inappropriate and inadequate for India and their application raised difficult problems and that it was necessary to proceed in this unchartered field with utmost care and in whatever sphere (municipal or provincial) it was intended to introduce or extend the electoral system. The Muslims should be represented as a community.


The Viceroy in his reply to the Simla Deputation address reassured the Muslims that their political rights and interests as a community shall be safeguarded by any administrative reorganization under him.