Formation of the Muslim League:
The Muslims were happy with the favourable response that the government gave to their Simla deputation. Meanwhile, the anti-partition agitation was gaining ground. The fear of being ruled by the Hindus, lest the national movement succeed and the belief that the Congress was a predominantly Hindu Organization, led Muslims to aspire for a central organization of their own.
In December 1906, a large number of eminent Muslim Leaders were present at Dhaka to attend the Mohammedan Educational Conference. At this meeting, Nawab Salimullah of Dacca proposed the scheme of a political organization, which would look exclusively after the interests of the Muslim community. The scheme was accepted and on 30th December 1906, the ALL-India Muslim League was founded under the leadership of Agha Khan, Nawab Nawab Salimullah of Dacca and Nawab Moinuddin Malik.
The Agha Khan was elected permanent President of the League. Its headquarters were established at Aligarh, but its central office was shifted to Lucknow in 1910.
The constitution and principles of the league were written by Maulana Mohammad Ali.
The First annual session of the Muslim League was held in Karachi on 29 December 1907.
The British Branch of the Muslim League was opened in London in 1908, with Sir Syed Ameer Ali as Chairman.
Objectives of the Muslim League:
The objectives of the Muslim League were-
- To promote amongst the Mussalmans of India feeling of loyalty to the British government and to remove any misconception that may arise as to the intentions of the government with regard to any of its measures.
- To protect and advance the political rights and interests of Mussalmans of India and respectfully to represent their needs and aspirations to the government.
- To prevent the rise among the Muslims of any feelings of hostility towards other communities ‘without prejudice to the other objects of the League’.
Policies of the Muslim League From 1906-1940:
The League favoured the partition of Bengal. It tried to persuade Indian Muslims to remain loyal to the British government. It tried to keep the Muslims remain away from the Indian National Congress. In 1913, there was a significant change in the programme of the Muslim League. The three objectives adopted in 1906 were replaced by the following-
- Promotion among Indians of loyalty to the British Crown.
- Protection of rights of Muslims.
- Without detriment to the foregoing objects, the attainment of the system of self-government suitable for India.
Several factors were responsible for this temporary change in League’s mood. Among them, the annulment of the partition of Bengal in 1911, aggravated by the open hostilities between England and Turkey during the First World War, developed later into the Lucknow Pact, the launching of the Khilafat Movement and the Khilafat issue being included as one of the demands of the Non-cooperation movement. In 1916, the Congress and the League held their session simultaneously at Lucknow and concluded an agreement for cooperation, known as “the Lucknow Pact“.
The Muslim League at its Lahore Session in 1940 A.D. for the first time asked for the formation of a separate state of Pakistan. This demand of the Muslim League resulted in the partition of India in 1947 A.D.