This post discusses the Pakistan Resolution and its importance with reference to the events preceding and following it.
What is Pakistan Resolution 1940?
the Pakistan Resolution 1940 was a resolution that the All India Muslim League passed on 23rd March 1940 in its annual session in Lahore. The Muslim League leader and the premier of Bengal, Maulvi Fazal-ul-Haq had presented this resolution in the session.
The resolution stated that ‘the Muslim majority areas in the north-west and north-east should be constituted into independent and sovereign Muslim states to solve the constitutional problem of India forever.
The league initially called it Lahore Resolution for its passage in the AIML session in Lahore city. However, the anti-league press sarcastically referred to it as the Pakistan Resolution. For the Indian press of that time, the resolution was a dream never to see its practical realization. As the anti-Muslim League press popularized the title ‘Pakistan Resolution’ more and more, the league also adopted the title and named it Pakistan Resolution 1940.
What is the importance of Pakistan Resolution 1940?
1. The first formal demand for a separate Muslim state
The Muslim league since its establishment in 1906 struggled for constitutional guarantees for Muslim rights and interests in a united India. It did never talk about a separate homeland for Muslims till March 23, 1940. It even did not pay any heed to Iqbal’s demand for a separate Muslim state in the northwest of India. The league also ignored the proposal of Ch. Rehmat Ali in 1933 to start a movement for the establishment of Muslim states in India.
Thus by adopting the Pakistan Resolution, the league demanded for the first time a separate homeland for Indian Muslims. This was something that it continuously rejected but it now had become its slogan. The reason behind this shift in the policy of the league was the Congress’ Anti-Muslim policies it adopted and pursued persistently. Muslim League attempted to work with the congress and reach a consensus on political and constitutional issues but to no avail because of the anti-muslim approach of the Congress.
2. Muslims got a new vision and purpose
Congress rule 1937-39 had become a nightmare for many Muslims as the Congress ministries mistreated them. Muslims thought Congress victimized them because of their religion. Despite their support to Congress in the 1937 elections, the Muslims now felt insecure and left at the mercy of extremist elements.
They saw uncertainty in times to come esp. they wondered what would happen after the British left India. They could imagine the miserable life that would be spent under Congress or another anti-Muslim political party.
Thus, the demand for a separate homeland gave them a sense of direction and road map. A separate homeland seemed the only salvage to their worries and social, economic, and political problems. Now they had an organization to guide them towards the achievement of Pakistan where they could live as per their beliefs.
3. Enhancement in the Muslim ownership of the league
Muslims worried about what would be their future in post-British India? Congress tyranny during its rule in 1937-39 had alienated Muslims who now looked for the league as their only hope. When Muslim League passed the Lahore Resolution demanding a separate Muslim state, the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent supported it wholeheartedly.
4. Creation of Pakistan
Muslims supported the League in its aim and objectives thereby helping in its efforts to compel the British to accept the Partition of India. The untiring efforts of Mr. Jinnah and his strong conviction in the Two-nation Theory were ultimately successful. Finally, the Muslim League and Muslims had achieved their goal of achieving a separate Muslim state on August 14, 1947.
Thus Pakistan Resolution 1940 changed the course of Indian history. Had this resolution not passed, the history of Indo-Pakistan would have been different.