Short Answer Questions
Why did the British treat the Muslims harshly immediately after the uprising of 1857? Why did the British attitude towards the Muslims change in the later part of the 19th century?
The British established their supremacy in India after dethroning the Mughal rulers. Therefore, the Muslims became bitter enemies of the British. They participated in the Wahabi Movement and also took part in the uprising of 1857. This made the British view them with suspicion. The British government consciously discriminated against the Muslims, holding them responsible for the uprising of 1857.
After the 1870s, the British government changed its attitude and followed the policy of appeasing the Muslims in order to undermine the National Movement. They sowed the seeds of dissension between the Hindus and the Muslims and encouraged separatist and communal tendencies.
How did the Hindi-Urdu controversy become an important factor in the formation of the Muslim League?
In the United Provinces, Urdu was the court language and all the petitions to the offices and courts were submitted in Urdu. Some sections of the society protested against this practice. On April 8, 1900, the Government instructed that all petitions were to be submitted in Hindi, in Devanagari script, and the court summons and official announcements to be issued in Hindi as well as in Urdu. The Muslims resented this. The controversy continued for months and relations between the communities became worse.
How did the relative economic backwardness of the Muslims foster communal feelings in India?
The communal and separatist trend of thinking grew among the Muslims to some extent because of their relative backwardness in education, trade and industry.
- The upper class Muslims were conservative and hostile to modern education. Because of this, the number of Muslims educated in western system of education remained small.
- The British government in India had consciously discriminated against the Muslims after 1858, holding them responsible for the uprising of 1857. They were discriminated in the recruitment to civil and military services.
- The Muslim community was not much involved in the growth of any organised industry. Here too they lagged behind.
- Some members of the Muslim community did not keep up with the modern trends in social and cultural spheres. Many Hindus, on the other hand, adopted the Western system of education. Since modern education was essential for entry into government service, the Muslims had the disadvantage in this respect.
In these circumstances, it was quite easy for the British officials to incite the Muslims against the Hindus.
What promises were made by Lord Minto to the Muslim deputation led by Agha Khan in 1906? Why did the British imperialists encourage the formation of the Muslim League?
The Viceroy, Lord Minto received the deputation led by Agha Khan and expressed his sympathy with their aspirations. He assured them that their political rights and interests as a community would be safeguarded.
The British welcomed the formation of the Muslim League. They supported the League to provide an opposition to the Congress. They won initially the support of the Muslims by asserting that the Muslim interests were different from those of the Hindus. Thus, the policies of the Muslim League to some extent weakened nationalist sentiments.
What is meant by Separate (Communal) Electorates?
Separate electorates means the system of election to legislatures which divides voters on the basis of religion, caste or occupation. The Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909 provided separate electorates for Muslim whereby seats were reserved for the Muslims from where Muslims could vote for the Muslim candidates.
What was the Lucknow Pact?
The joint scheme of political reforms agreed to by both the Congress and the Muslim League in 1916 is known as the Lucknow Pact.
The reasons for the formation of the Muslim League were many. In this context explain:
(a) Any three factors that led to the formation of the Muslim League in India.
(b) Any three aims of the Muslim League.
(c) Any four demands made by the Muslim Deputation in 1906 to the Viceroy, Lord Minto.
(a) Three factors that led to the formation of the Muslim League in India are-
- Loss of Sovereignty by Mughal Rulers — The British established their supremacy in India after dethroning the Mughal rulers. The British government consciously discriminated against the Muslims, holding them responsible for the uprising of 1857. However, after the 1870s, the British government changed its attitude and followed the policy of appeasing the Muslims in order to undermine the National Movement. They sowed the seeds of dissension between the two communities and encouraged separatist and communal tendencies.
- British Policy of Divide and Rule — The British saw the unity between the Hindus and the Muslims as a threat to them. Thus, to check the growth of a united national feeling in India and to encourage communal and separatist tendencies in Indian politics they decided to follow the policy of 'Divide and Rule'.
- Relative Backwardness of the Muslim Community in Education, Trade and Industry — The communal and separatist trend of thinking grew among the Muslims to some extent because of their relative backwardness in education, trade and industry.
(b) Three aims of the Muslim League are-
- To promote, among the Muslims of India, support for the British government and to remove any misconceptions regarding the intention of the government in relation to Indian Muslims.
- To protect and advance the political rights and interests of the Muslims and to represent their needs and aspirations to the government in mild and moderate language.
- To prevent the rise of feelings of hostility between the Muslims of India and other communities.
(c) Four demands made by the Muslim Deputation in 1906 to the Viceroy, Lord Minto are as follows-
- Representation of Muslims in elected bodies on the basis of their political importance and not on their numerical strength.
- Separate electoral constituencies for the Muslims in the Provincial Council and the Imperial Legislative Council.
- Preference to be given to Muslims while nominating members of the Viceroy's Council.
- Reservation of seats for Muslims in the State services.
The growth of communalism in India was encouraged by the British authorities as well as certain trends in Indian society. In the light of this observation, explain:
(a) The Divide and Rule Policy of the British.
(b) The writings and speeches of the Assertive Nationalists.
(c) The erroneous interpretation of Indian History.
(a) The British saw the unity between the Hindus and the Muslims as a threat to them. Thus, to check the growth of a united national feeling in India and to encourage communal and separatist tendencies in Indian politics, they decided to follow the policy of 'Divide and Rule'. They did so in the following manner:
- In 1871, Lord Mayo's government adopted a resolution which made Urdu the medium of instruction for Muslims in primary and secondary schools and increased government aid to educational institutions run by the Muslims.
- They tried to create hatred among the Hindus and the Muslims by portraying Muslim rulers as plunderers, and Hindu rulers as cruel kings to their Muslim subjects.
- They tried to justify the Partition of Bengal by convincing the Muslims that Bengal was being partitioned to create a new Muslim majority province where the Hindus would not be able to subvert their interests.
- They tried to utilise the caste structure to turn the non-brahmins and the lower castes against high castes.
- They treated Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs as separate communities and accepted their communal leaders as authentic representatives of all their co-religionists.
They tried to spread communal hatred through the Press, posters, literature and public platform.
(b) The assertive nationalists played an important role in the national movement. But some of their actions marked a step back in respect of the growth of national unity.
- The speeches and actions of some of the assertive nationalists annoyed some sections of Indians.
- For example, the propagation of Shivaji and Ganapati festivals by Tilak, Aurobindo Ghosh's concept of India as mother and nationalism as religion and the initiation of the Anti-Partition agitation with dips in the Ganga did not appeal to some of the Muslims.
(c) The manner in which Indian history was interpreted in those days contributed to the growth of communal thinking among the Hindus and the Muslims.
- Some British and communal historians divided Indian history into the Hindu and the Muslim periods. The rule of Turks, Afghans and Mughals was called the Muslim rule, where the rulers were said to be the followers of Islam and their subjects, the followers of other religions. In the so-called Hindu period, Muslim rulers were dubbed as foreign invaders who had settled in India. They portrayed Rana Pratap and Shivaji as national heroes and Akbar and Aurangzeb as foreigners and infused communal feelings.
- The British and communal historians ignored the notion of a composite culture in India and tried to create a rift between the two communities. They failed to interpret that the diversity was primarily class-wise and region-wise and not religion-wise.
- Some communal historians highlighted the myth that Indian society and culture had reached great heights during the ancient period but was declining during the medieval period which was dominated by Mughal rulers. They did not give much importance to the contribution of the medieval period to the development of Indian economy, religion, art, literature, culture and society.
- The communal bias was propagated through poetry, drama, novels, short stories, newspapers, etc.
With reference to the Lucknow Pact, answer the following questions:
(a) Mention any three factors that led to the signing of the Lucknow Pact in 1916.
(b) Mention any three clauses of the Pact.
(c) Why was the signing of the Lucknow Pact an important event towards the growth of unity in India?
(a) Three factors that led to the signing of the Lucknow Pact in 1916 were-
- National Events — There were important national events that changed the attitude of the Muslim League.
- Firstly, the Partition of Bengal was cancelled.
- Secondly, nationalist Muslims like Abul Kalam Azad and the All Brothers - Maulana Mohammad Ali and Shaukat Ali — made use of this opportunity to spread nationalist ideas among the Muslims for mobilising public opinion in favour of self-government.
- Thirdly, Tilak was released from jail in 1914, after six years.
- Finally, under the 'Seditious Meetings Act,' some prominent Muslim leaders were arrested. This brought the Muslim League and the Congress closer.
- Changes in the Objectives of the Muslim League — In the beginning the League had support for the British Government as one of its objectives.
- In 1913, the League had amended its Constitution to include, 'a system of self-government under the aegis of the British Crown' as the ideal of the Muslim League. Therefore, it agreed with the Congress to have a political goal for India.
- The unity of interests and objectives opened the doors for renewed cooperation between the Congress and the Muslim League.
- Annie Besant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak too played a significant role in bringing the two organisations together.
- A Compromise Between the Two Factions of the Congress — Annie Besant tried to reunite the two wings of the Congress — the Early Nationalists and the Assertive Nationalists. Tilak rejoined the Congress in 1916 and played a major role in resolving differences between the Congress and the League.
(b) Three clauses of the Lucknow Pact are as follows-
- Abolition of the India Council — The India Council of the Secretary of State, operating from England, should be abolished. The Secretary of State for India was to be assisted by two Under-Secretaries, of whom one should be an Indian.
- Minorities in Elected Bodies — The minorities should have adequate separate representation in elected bodies.
- Limitation of the Imperial Legislature — Defence, foreign affairs and political relations of India, i.e., declaration of war, or signing of peace treaties, were excluded from the control of the Imperial Legislature.
(c) The signing of the Lucknow Pact was an important event towards the growth of unity in India because of the following reasons-
- Hindu-Muslim Unity — The joint scheme symbolised Hindu-Muslim unity. Both the communities agreed to compromise in some areas for the common good. The Congress compromised on its secular character by accepting the scheme of separate electorates for Muslims. The Muslim League accepted the principles of election and the majority rule. As a result of this pact, the Hindus and the Muslims worked together from 1916 to 1922.
- Unity Within the Congress — The Lucknow Session and the signing of the Lucknow Pact brought about unity between the Assertive Nationalists and the Early Nationalists. After the Surat Session of 1907, both wings of the Congress were moving in different directions. They came together in 1916 and as a result, the Congress was strengthened.
Identify the person in the picture and answer the following questions:
(a) What were his views regarding Hindu-Muslim unity?
(b) What role did he play in the formation of the Muslim League?
(c) State the impact of the Muslim League on the National Movement.
The person shown in the picture is Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan.
(a) His views regarding Hindu-Muslim unity were as follows:
- He regarded Hindus and Muslims to be one Quam (nation).
- He founded the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh which had both Hindu and Muslim patrons.
- However, under the influence of the British Principal of Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College, in the 1880s, he gave up his earlier views and declared that the political interests of Hindus and Muslims were different.
- When the Indian National Congress was founded, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan opposed it.
- He founded the United Indian Patriotic Association in 1888 mainly with a view to oppose the Congress.
- In this effort, he was supported by Mr. Beck, the British Principal of Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College (Aligarh). Beck's idea was that Anglo-Muslim unity was possible, but Hindu-Muslim unity was impossible.
- It was said that Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan believed that since the Hindus formed the majority of the Indian population, they would dominate the Muslims in case of a withdrawal of the British rule.
- He felt that the continuance of British rule was a "guarantee for the welfare and progress of the community."
- Therefore, he declared that if the educated Muslims support the British, the latter would reward them with government jobs and other special favours.
(b) Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan founded the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh which had both Hindu and Muslim patrons.
- Sir Sayyid Ahmad believed that since the Hindus formed the majority of the Indian population, they would dominate the Muslims in case of a withdrawal of the British rule.
- He felt if he supported British, they would secure their rights and be rewarded with government jobs and other special favors.
- Theodore Beck was invited by Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan to serve as the Principal of the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh.
- He identified with the Indian Muslims and made a systematic effort to alienate them from the Hindus.
- His objective was to protect the political rights of the Muslims and to strengthen the British rule in India.
- His idea was that Anglo Muslim unity was possible, but Hindu-Muslim unity was impossible.
- This paved the way for the formation of the Muslim League.
(c) The impact of the Muslim League on the National Movement is as follows:
League's Role in the Beginning —
- Initially Muslim League sought greater representation of Muslims in all services.
- As regards representation in Assemblies, it wanted more seats than its numerical representation warranted.
- Its political activities were directed not so much against the foreign rulers as against the Congress.
- Its leaders, belonging to the upper class, had little in common with the Muslim masses and they did not fight for the removal of their grievances.
Government Support to the League —
- The Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909 provided separate electorates for Muslim whereby seats were reserved for the Muslims from where Muslims could vote for the Muslim candidates.
- The provision for separate electorate in the Morley-Minto Reforms was intentionally incorporated to please the Muslim League and create a rift between the Muslim League and the Congress.
The Phase of Rapprochement — From 1910 to 1913, new forces emerged in Muslim League politics and some of its leaders realised that rapprochement with the Congress was desirable. Several factors were responsible for this change in attitude:
- Britain's hostility to Turkey in the Turko-Italian War (1911-12) and the Balkan Wars (1912-13) and the annulment of the Partition of Bengal in 1911 made a large section of Muslim leaders critical of British policies
- The younger section of emerging Muslim leaders disliked the loyalist politics of the Aligarh group and the leadership of big Nawabs and Zamindars. Some young scholars, influenced by the Deoband school of Muslim studies were inspired by nationalist sentiments.
Congress and the League —
- When the British Government acted against the Turkish interests and supported the cause of the Balkan countries, the Indian Muslims stood up and launched the Khilafat Movement against the British.
- The Congress cooperated with them and the Khilafat issue was included as one of the demands of the Non-cooperation Movement.
- As a result, a pact which is known as the Lucknow Pact was signed. The Lucknow Pact refers to the joint scheme of political reforms agreed to by both the Congress and the Muslim League in 1916 regarding the structure of government in India and the relationship between the Hindus and the Muslims.
Partition of the Country on Communal Lines —
- In 1930 the idea of two nation states was born and in the 1940 session of the League at Lahore, Jinnah put forward his two-nation theory.
- Thus, despite a severe opposition from Gandhiji, the country drifted towards the partition.
- The communal riots broke out in the country and in 1947, a separate country, Pakistan, came into existence.