Q. 133.5( 2 Votes )

The Muslim League

Answer :

(13.1) The 1940 Resolution of the Muslim League demanded autonomy for the Muslim-majority regions of the subcontinent, which were the geographically contiguous units in the North-West and the East. They wanted these to be ‘independent states’ which would have autonomy and sovereignty. However, at this point, the idea of a formal ‘Pakistan’ had not yet developed, and the ambiguous nature of their resolution did not refer to any kind of partition (as we now understand it) either.

(13.2) In the provincial elections in 1937, the Muslim League failed to capture many seats across different provinces. In the United Provinces, the Muslim League wanted to create a joint government with the Congress. The Congress, however, rejected this offer, since it had won an absolute majority in the province.

In this context, many scholars argue that it was this rejection that convinced the Muslim League that if India remained united, Muslims would be unable to gain political power as they remained a minority. This became an impetus for the demand for autonomy.

Further, the Muslim League believed that only a Muslim party could understand and represent Muslim interests. Since they believed that Congress was essentially a Hindu party, they further demanded autonomy.

(13.3) The 1940 Resolution was distinctive for multiple reasons:

a. It was an ambiguous resolution, in that it did not actually mention the creation of Pakistan or the Partition.

b. It was an articulation for autonomy, but even the Muslim leaders did not seriously demand a separate state.

c. It was possible that Jinnah himself saw this demand as a bargaining counter in order to gain favours for the Muslim League and block concessions to the Congress.

d. It was only after the failure of the Cabinet Mission’s plan in 1946 that the Partition and the creation of Pakistan seemed inevitable.

Thus, the Resolution was unique because it did not formally articulate a notion of ‘Pakistan’.


(13.1) Khushdeva Singh’s visit to Karachi was in 1949, therefore after the Partition. However, the people of Karachi did not show any hostile attitude towards him, in spite of the widespread violence of the Partition. Instead, they welcomed him. His friends gave him company at the airport for the whole time he was there, even though it was very late and the hours were long. They even accompanied him to the plane and gave him a basket of grapes as a gift. Their attitude was thus of friendship and companionship, with no ill will towards him.

(13.2) While at the airport in Karachi, Khushdeva Singh expressed his feelings of gratitude at the immense generosity of his friends from Karachi. In spite of his insistence that they had already shown so much generosity and should take some rest, they still stayed until he boarded the plane, and handed him a basket of grapes. Khushdeva Singh felt an inexpressible sense of gratitude and happiness because of the overwhelming affection that he was given during his stop-over.

(13.3) Khushdeva Singh’s narrative was written in 1949, after the violent Partition of British India into India and Pakistan. The violence and hatred that had been incited between different religious groups during the Partition should have, in this case, created hostility between him and his friends in Karachi, particularly because the Partition was fresh in everyone’s memory. However, his narrative depicts that in his encounter with his friends, he did not feel any sense of hostility or hatred. Instead, he was given complete affection and love from them- they stayed at the airport for the entire night until his departure, even though he insisted that they should take rest, and also gave him a departing gift. His testimony is evidence that love is stronger than hate, since the hatred brought about by the Partition was completely lost in their act of love towards him.

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