23rd March 1940, is a landmark in our history. Teams of journalists had arrived from all over the world to cover the event; and an estimated 100,000 Muslims had gathered from all parts of India, such was its magnitude. A short while after the meeting had ended, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah turned to Matlub ul Hasan Syed, and said “Iqbal is no more amongst us, but had he been alive he would have been happy to know that we did exactly what he wanted us to do.”
This statement reinforces the fact that Allama Iqbal was the driving force behind not only Lahore Resolution, but the concept of the state we today call “Pakistan”. Influenced by Sir Syed Ahmed’s two-nation theory, deeply studying the teachings of great Indian Muslim thinkers and politicians and after analyzing the ongoing situation of the subcontinent, he knew what should be done and he wrote a letter to Quaid-e-Azam dated 11th August 1937, saying:
My dear Mr. Jinnah,
“Events have made it abundantly clear that the League ought to concentrate all its activities on the North-West Indian Musalmans. The League office of Delhi informed Mr. Ghulam Rasool that the dates of the sessions of the Muslim League have not been fixed as yet.
This being so, I fear it will not be possible to hold the sessions in August and September. I, therefore, repeat my request that the League sessions may be held in Lahore in the middle or end of October. The enthusiasm for the League is rapidly increasing in the Punjab, and I have no doubt that the holding of the session in Lahore will be a turning point in the history of the League and an important step towards mass contact.”
He also knew that it was only under Quaid-i Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s leadership that the Muslims of India could attain their desired goal; for he said:
My dear Mr. Jinnah,
“I know you are a busy man but I do hope you won’t mind my writing to you often, as you are the only Muslim in India today to whom the community has right to look up for safe guidance through the storm which is coming to North-West India, and perhaps to the whole of India”. And three months before his death he had stated:
“There is only one way out. Muslims should strengthen Jinnah’s hands. They should join the Muslim League. Indian question, as is now being solved, can be countered by our united front against both the Hindus and the English. Without it our demands are not going to be accepted. People say our demands smack of communalism. This is sheer propaganda. These demands relate to the defense of our national existence. The united front can be formed under the leadership of the Muslim League. And the Muslim League can succeed only on account of Jinnah. Now none but Jinnah is capable of leading the Muslims.”
Actually it was some years earlier, that Allama Iqbal had observed the steadfast Hindu, Sikh prejudice and the psyche of the British Government very closely during the 2nd Round Table Conference. Thus in his Presidential address at the annual session of the All-India Muslim Conference, on 21st March. 1932, he said:
“In the present address I propose, among other things, to help you, in the first place, in arriving at a correct view of the situation as it emerged from a rather hesitating behavior of our delegation the final stages of the Round-Table Conference. In the second place, I shall try, according to my lights to show how far it is desirable to construct a fresh policy now that the Premier’s announcement at the last London Conference has again necessitated a careful survey of the whole situation.”
He was then invited to speak in the Third Round Table Conference where the audience consisted of the Muslim delegates, foreign diplomats, members of the House of Commons, Members of the House of Lords etc. He stressed on the fact that ‘Provincial autonomy’ was imperative in order to protect the cultural and religious rights of Muslim majority provinces, which under the central Government, would not be possible. He made reference to his Allahabad address, and hoped that people would try and understand his viewpoint.
Yet when Nehru made a statement saying that the attitude of the Muslim delegation was based on “reactionarism”, Iqbal gave a reply which concluded as follows:
“In conclusion I must put a straight question to punadit Jawhar Lal, how is India’s problem to be solved if the majority community will neither concede the minimum safeguards necessary for the protection of a minority of 80 million people, nor accept the award of a third party; but continue to talk of a kind of nationalism which works out only to its own benefit? This position can admit of only two alternatives. Either the Indian majority community will have to accept for itself the permanent position of an agent of British imperialism in the East, or the country will have to be redistributed on a basis of religious, historical and cultural affinities so as to do away with the question of electorates and the communal problem in its present form.”
In the light of all this, it becomes very clear that it was mainly Allama Iqbal’s vision that made others see what needed to be done for the Muslims and what ultimately convinced Quaid-e-Azam to return from his self-imposed exile (1930-34) in England, which had been due to the discouraging circumstances in India, and to take a certain course of action which he admitted in the following words:
“His views were substantially in consonance with my own and had finally led me to the same conclusions as a result of careful examination and study of the constitutional problems facing India and found expression in due course in the united will of Muslim India as adumbrated in the Lahore Resolution of the All-India Muslim League, known as the “Pakistan Resolution” passed on 23rd March, 1940.”