The All India Muslim League, also abbreviated as AIML, was a political party formed in British India. It is popularly known as the Muslim League. It was created in 1906 with the primary goal to represent Indian Muslims and to protect their separate identity towards the British Government. The All India Muslim League was founded at Dhaka in British India which is now a part of Bangladesh. The few important members of Muslim League were Khwaja Nazimuddin, Aga Khan, Muhammad Ali Bogra, and A. K. Fazlul Huq etc.
Background of All India Muslim League
Indian National Congress was established in the year 1885. It was formed with a view to putting the thoughts and demands of every Indian, irrespective to their religion, in front of the British Government. Indian National Congress was doing well and was since it was co-operating with the British Government so it succeeded in achieving many major changes in the structure of the Government and its policies.
Although Congress succeeded in many ways, it failed in gaining the trust of Indian Muslims. The Indian Muslims believed that Congress was a Hindu oriented group and cannot work for Muslim communities as well. It led the idea of forming a new political group separately for Indian Muslims.
Reason of All India Muslim League
It had become impossible for the British Government to successfully rule over Indians until they were separated in Hindu and Muslims. So the British Government applied the policy of ‘Divide and Rule’ on Hindu and Muslims with the partition of Bengal. It created a major difference between two important communities of British India and led the way to clear a Muslim Political Group. The few reasons behind creating All India Muslim League were-
- The Muslim Leaders assumed that the Congress Party was a completely Hindu Party and there was no place for Muslims of India in it. There was the majority of Hindus in the party and also out of the 72 delegates who had attended the first session of Indian National Congress only 2 delegates were Muslims of India. It created a strong discontentment among the Indian Muslims.
- Although the Education System in British India was gradually improving, it was not completely available to the Muslims. The Indian Muslims were kept away from higher education and they were suffering from Educational Backwardness. They needed a political party that could raise this problem and could do something in favour of it.
- The India Muslims wanted that they should be given equal importance as is given to the Hindus. The ancestors of Hindus like Maharana Pratap, Ashok, and Chandragupta Maurya etc. were highly praised but the ancestors of Muslims like Akbar, Tipu Sultan, Humayun etc. were always ignored.
- They believed that Hindu and Muslim are two different communities and Muslim is also as important as Hindu. They have different customs and traditions and also different needs. So the problems of both communities cannot be solved by one party. They needed a separate party for themselves.
- The British Government had established its empire in India by dethroning the Mughal rulers so they believed that the Muslim Community of India can create someday a major problem for the British Government. This is why the British Government had always suppressed the Muslims of India.
- The Indian National Congress had demanded and supported Hindi to be made an official language of India. They wanted Urdu to be replaced by Hindi and it created anger among Muslims of India.
- The success of Shimla Deputation cleared that the Governor-General and Viceroy of British India, Lord Minto had an interest in Muslims and it inspired them to create a separate political party of Indian Muslims to represent themselves.
Formation of All India Muslim League
Although the Indian National Congress was a Non-Communal party, the Indian Muslim felt that it was highly biased towards the Hindus of India. Then the few prominent Muslim Leaders decided to form their own political party which would reflect their lifestyle and their problems to the British Government.
On the 1st October 1906, 35 Muslims delegates of India met the Governor-General and Viceroy of India Lord Minto through Shimla Deputation. The deputation was led by Aga Khan III and Lord Minto supported and encouraged Indian Muslims to create their own separate political party. Later the Aga Khan III and Viqar-ul-Mulk invited the Muslims of India at Dhaka on 30th December 1906 to establish a new organisation for the welfare of the Indian Muslims which was named as ‘All India Muslim League’.
Now the Muslim League was formed and the first president of it was Aga khan. Viqar-ul-Mulk with Mohsin-ul-Mulk was made joint secretary. The first session of All India Muslim League was held at Karachi on 29th December 1907 and Adamji Peer Bhai was the President of it at that time.
Objectives of All India Muslim League
All India Muslim League was formed with various objectives concerned on the welfare of Indian Muslims and to provide them with all the facilities equally that was being provided to the other Indian Communities. Few of its objectives were-
- Muslims were suffering from discriminations and the first objective of the League was to prevent any kind of hostility rising in their minds against the other communities of India.
- To put forward the problems and needs of Muslim Communities to the British Government and to fulfil them.
- Through the All India Muslim League, the Muslim of India wanted to prove their loyalty and co-operation to the British Government.
- All India Muslim League aimed at providing Muslims with their rights and also ensuring them the right to education like others and places in administration as well.
All India Muslim League started working with given important objectives along with a few other objectives to provide good co-ordination to the British Government. All India Muslim League knew that it is very important to gain the trust of British Government because it could be led towards the path to fulfilling all its demands as soon as possible so it established its new branch at London in 1908 and held a meeting on 6th May inviting some famous and effective British who supported the visions of All India Muslim League and praised it.
The Morley-Minto Reforms also known as the Indian Councils Act 1909 was a big step towards providing Indian Muslims a separate identity. It was passed in 1909 which assured the provision of separate Muslim Category in Central Council. Now a separate constituency for Muslims was introduced and only Muslims communities had the right to elect their representative. This idea created a major difference between Hindu and Muslim of India.
Call for Pakistan:
By the year 1930, All India Muslim League had emerged as an effective Political Party which had gained the support of Indian Muslims. Muhammad Iqbal was the President of Muslim League at that time. In one of his address, he talked about a separate Muslim state and demanded it. Although his demand was to create that separate Muslim State within the Territory of India.
Muhammad Iqbal asked Mohammad Ali Jinnah to be the President of the Muslim League who was a Lawyer and practising in the UK. On his urge, Jinnah returned to India and held the post of President of Muslim League. During his address to the Muslims in 1940, Muhammad Ali Jinnah said that India was a country with the majority of Hindus and Muslims would find it difficult to survive here. So Muslims of India should be given a different country called Pakistan.
In the year 1946, the British Government called an election to constitute the government in the Centre and its Province. In this election, the Muslim League had to face strong opposition by Indian National Congress. The manifesto of Muslim League for this election demanded a separate nation for Indian Muslims but it also stated that the separate nation would welcome the people of other religions as well and would also provide them with the same respect of citizen as to the Muslims.
On the policy of creating Pakistan, the Muslim League won approximately 88-89% votes and thus after the partition of British India, the Muslim League gave birth to an independent nation called Pakistan.
After the formation of Pakistan, Jinnah became its Governor and Liyaqat Ali Khan was its first Minister. All India Muslim League was later named as ‘Muslim League’ in Pakistan.
Muslim League in Present India:
The few members of Muslim League which did not leave India even after partition kept the Muslim League alive in India. Although after few years, some of its member left for Pakistan and some of the rest joined Indian National Congress. Now the Muslim League is only a part of Kerala Government.
Muslim League in Pakistan:
Mohammad Ali Jinnah took his last breath in the year 1948. With the death of its leader, the Muslim League was also divided and formed other new parties. These were;
- All Pakistan Awami Muslim league
- Jinnah Awami Muslim League
- Sindh Muslim League
- Azad Pakistan Party
- Jinnah Muslim League
Thus the whole journey of All India Muslim League encountered many changes and turning points that we discussed above. As it was not that easy to gain the support of the mass yet All India Muslim League did it and was quite successful.