Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s 1930 Presidential Address
25th Session of All India Muslim League
December 29-30, 1930 at Allahabad (U.P.)

(Summary and Abridged Version Prepared by Dr. A. Zahoor)
Copyright © 1999 Dr. A. Zahoor, All Rights Reserved. Copyrights and Terms of Use

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The unity of an Indian nation must be sought, not in the negation, but in the mutual harmony and cooperation of the many. It is on the discovery of Indian unity in this direction that the fate of India as well as of Asia really depends. India is Asia in miniature. If an effective principle of cooperation is discovered in India, it will bring peace and mutual goodwill to this ancient land which has suffered so long, more because of her situation in historic space than because of any inherent incapacity of her people. And it will at the same time solve the entire political problem of Asia.

It is however, painful to observe that our attempts to discover such a principle of internal harmony have so far failed. Perhaps, we suspect each other’s intentions, and inwardly aim at dominating each other. Perhaps, in the higher interests of mutual cooperation, we cannot afford to part with the monopolies which circumstances have placed in our hands, and conceal our egoism under the cloak of a nationalism, outwardly simulating a large-hearted patriotism, but inwardly as narrow-minded as a caste or tribe. Perhaps, we are unwilling to recognize that each group has a right to free development according to its own cultural traditions. [For a background to some of the issues mentioned in Allama's address, refer to 1923-24 and 1927 events in the Muslims in the Indian Subcontinent - V, 1800-1950 CE].

A community which is inspired by a feeling of ill-will towards other communities is low and ignoble. I entertain the highest respect for the customs, laws, religious and social institutions of other communities. Nay, it is my duty, according to the teaching of the Qur’an, even to defend their places of worship if need be. Yet I love the communal group which is the source of my life and behavior; and which has formed me what I am by giving me its religion, its literature, its thought, its culture and thereby recreating its whole past, as a living operative factor, in my present consciousness.

The units of Indian society are not territorial as in European countries. India is a continent of human groups belonging to different races, speaking different languages, and professing different religions. The principle of European democracy cannot be applied to India without recognizing the fact of communal groups. Muslim future in India depends on proper solution of contemporary dialectic between nationalism and Islam. I have no hesitation in declaring that, if the principle that the Indian Muslim is entitled to full and free development on the lines of his own culture and tradition in his own Indian homelands is recognized as the basis of a permanent communal settlement, he will be ready to stake his all for the freedom of India. The Muslim demand is actuated by a genuine desire for free development, which is practically impossible under the type of unitary government contemplated by the nationalist Hindu politicians with a view to securing permanent communal dominance in the whole of India. The Muslim demand for the creation of a Muslim India within India is, therefore, perfectly justified.

I would like to see the Punjab, the North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim state appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North-West India. [This region has been under muslim control for more than a millennium, refer to Muslims in the Indian Subcontinent - I, 617-1290 CE]. In view of India’s infinite variety in climates, races, languages, creeds and social systems, the creation of autonomous states based on the unity of language, race, history, religion and identity of economic interests, is the only possible way to secure a stable constitutional structure in India.

The Muslims of India can have no objection to purely territorial electorates if provinces are demarcated so as to secure comparatively homogeneous communities, possessing linguistic, racial, cultural and religious unity. I would never advise the Muslims of India to agree to a system, whether of British or of Indian origin, which virtually negatives the principle of true federation, or fails to recognize them as a distinct political entity. The (Simon) scheme appears to be aiming at a kind of understanding between Hindu India and British Imperialism - you perpetuate me in India, and in return, I give you a Hindu oligarchy to keep all other Indian communities in perpetual subjection.

No Muslim politician should be sensitive to the taunt embodied in that propaganda word ‘communalism’. We are seventy millions and far more homogeneous than any other people in India. Indeed, the Muslims of India are the only Indian people who can truly be described as a nation in the modern sense of the word. The Hindus, though ahead of us in almost all respects, have not yet been able to achieve the kind of homogeneity which is necessary for a nation, and which Islam has given you as a free gift.

Leading Muslims of all shades of opinion will have to meet together, not to pass resolutions, but finally to decide the Muslim attitude and to show the path to tangible achievement. If territorial reorganization, federal principle and religious identity are not accepted, Muslims must prepare for independent and concerted political action. At critical moments in their history, it is Islam that has saved Muslims and not vice versa. If today you focus your vision on Islam and seek inspiration from the ever vitalizing idea embodied in it, you will be only reassembling your scattered forces, regaining your lost integrity, and thereby saving yourself from total destruction.

An Excerpt from a Letter of Allama Muhammad Iqbal

Less than a year before his death, during his long illness beginning in 1934, Allama Iqbal wrote a letter to Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Quaid-i-Azam) on June 21, 1937:

“... In these circumstances it is obvious that the only way to a peaceful India is a redistribution of the country on the lines of racial, religious and linguistic affinities. Many British statesmen also realise this, and the Hindu-Muslim riots which are rapidly coming in the wake of this constitution are sure further to open their eyes to the real situation in the country. I remember Lord Lothian telling me before I left England that my scheme was the only possible solution of the troubles in India, but that it would take twenty-five years to come...” ['Letters of Iqbal to Jinnah', with a Foreword by M.A. Jinnah (Quaid-i-Azam), Lahore, 1942].

Abridged Version of lecture in Muslims in the Indian Subcontinent and the E-Book


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Summary and Abridged Version including Notes: Copyright © 1999 by Dr. A. Zahoor
All Rights Reserved

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