The relationship between the League (Muslims) and Congress (Hindus)


  • 70% Hindu, 20% Muslim, 10% Other
  • Hindu beliefs: polytheistic, not one holy book but several, it doesnt matter which god you worship it is all one way of worshipping the ultimate, society was characterised by castes, your soul can be reborn many times
  • Muslim beliefs: monotheistic, did not believe in castes, did not like to see any visuals of the prophet Muhammed or Allah, different communities did not insist on a certain practice 

Why did they clash?

  • Muslims prayed in silence, while Hindus liked to create loud noise and they didnt always stop the noise as Muslims prayed
  • At the Muslims festival of Bakr'Id cows were ritually slaughtered, they were sacred to the Hindus 
1 of 18

The Lucknow Pact 1916

An agreement reached between Congress and the League. It covered a broad statement of political objective but also precise details of reserved seats for minorities in any eventual case of swaraj. 

2 of 18

The Khalifat Movement

Support for the Caliph against the break up of the Ottoman Empire post-WWII. The movement was supported by Gandhi, when it collapsed in 1924 many Muslims became uncomfortable with his leadership. 

3 of 18

1927 Delhi-Muslim Proposal

  • An attempt at improving Hindu-Muslim relations 
  • The Muslims would give up their electorates in the Hindus provided safeguards
  • Hindu minorities in Sind, NWFP and Baluchistan would get the same concessions in the form of reservations of seats as Muslims would in Hindu dominated provinces
  • Initially Congress accept 
4 of 18

1928 Nehru Report

  • Chaired by Motilal Nehru, a small group would outline the framework for an Indian Constuent in any case of self-rule 
  • This went against both the Lucknow Pact and the Delhi-Muslim proposal 
5 of 18

The 14 Points of M. A. Jinnah

  • Set out how to protect Muslims in a self-ruled India 
  • He can no longer work with Congress and commits himself to the Muslim League 
  • 2nd Point: all cabinets at provincial and national level should have 1/3 Muslim representation 
6 of 18

1930 Allahabad Address

  • This is the first time the concept of Pakistan is discussed; combine Sind, NWFP, Baluchistan and Punjab to create a Muslim dominated state
  • 2 Nation Theory: Muslims primary identity in India is based on their religion not their language or ethnicity 
7 of 18

Round Table Conferences 1930-32

  • Muslims attend while Congress dont (apart from the 2nd RTC) iy is in their interest appeal to the British 
  • Gandhi attended the 2nd RTC and managed to offend all representatives of minorities telling them to go home as he represented them all 
8 of 18

1932 Communal Award

  • A new voting system was to be incorporated into India's new constitution 
  • Sets out the right for minorities to have separate recognition 
  • Gandhi is devastated and goes on hunger strike on the basis that Congress is the best protector of minorities 

Is this the British taking advantage of the divide between Congress and the League??? 

9 of 18

1935 Gov. of India Act & subsequent 1937 Elections

  • Congress won 716/1585 seats with majorities in 5 provinces: Madras, Bihar, CP and UP 
  • Jinnah could not find enough candidates for Muslim seats and the League faired badly 
  • "Rule of the Congress Ministries"
10 of 18

Outbreak of WWII

  • Linlithgow committed India to war in 1939 without the consultation of any Indians 
  • Congress leaders react by instructing all members to resign from provincial ministries throughout India but this removed their influence over external affairs 
  • The British are back in control 
  • In contrast Jinnah and the League work with the British to strenghten their political position and prominence
  • In 1942 Congress launched 'Quit India' all Congress leaders were improsoned by the British 
11 of 18

1940 The Lahore Declaration

  • Basically outlines Pakistan; Muslim majority provinces should be grouped into an autonomous sovereign state 
  • Jinnahs solution to minorities in Pakistan was the hostage theory 
  • "Jinnahs appeal to religion was always ambigous... evidence suggests that his use of the communal factor was a political tactic. not an ideological commitment... asserting Muslims were a nation avoided the logic of nations"
12 of 18

1945 Simla Conference

  • Jinnah refused to accept the legitamacy of Muslims who were not in the League 
  • Wavell refused to accept Congress as the representatives of all Indians, but also the League as representative of all Muslims 
  • Wavell advised to set out the consequences of Pakistan to test Jinnahs support 
  • Instead Wavell proposed an interim council - rejected by Jinnah who sensed his popularity grwoing with every refusal to comprimise 
13 of 18

1945 General Election

  • Labour won 
  • Nerhu and Congress are ecstatic they have many friendships in the party 
  • Jinnah on the other hand doesn't, they have lost the upper hand they worked for during the war
  • Congress are favourites again 
14 of 18

1946 Indian General Election

  • The results showed an even greater polarisation of support 
  • Proved for once and for all Congress didnt represent all Muslims 
  • The League won 100% of the Muslim seats in Central Assembly 
  • Congress won 90% of the general electorate seats
15 of 18

The Cabinet Mission

  • Led by Sec. of State Pethick-Lawrence but really under the direction of Stafford Cripps who had a clear preference for Congress and close frienships with Gandhi and Nehru
  • The May Statement was issued on the proposals made by the cabinet mission, the League accepted and Congress did not 
  • A further statement was released forcing Congress to accept by they made a counter interpretation that if provincial groups could secede then induvidual pronvinces could sucede from their provincial groups back into the Indian state - in practice this would fragment Pakistan 
  • After the Cabinet Mission left, Nehru held a press conference saying that once Congress had control over the proposed All-India Union it would act as it pleased and predicted the provincial groupings would fall apart, and Pakistan would wither and die
  • Jinnah was furious, he immediately withdrew the League's acceptance 
16 of 18

16th August - Direct Action Day

  • Jinnahs attempt at emulating Gandhis satyagrahas 
  • The day became a public holiday 
  • After 72 hours of Hindu v Muslim fighting 5000 lay dead, 20000 injured and 100000 were left homeless 
17 of 18

1946 The Interim Government

  • Came to power in September 
  • Nehru became Prime Minister with Congress controlling foreign and home affairs
  • The flow of information was immediately diverted from the viceroy to Congresss
  • Jinnah was finance minister
  • The League did not have a veto over Muslim administaration as they had asked for 
18 of 18


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all The British Empire and the fall of colonialism resources »