Indian Act 1935
Women casting vote in election 1937
Jinnah as permanent president of ML
Muslim League manifesto
- Firstly, the present constitution, with all its limitations, should be replaced by a system of self- government.
- Secondly, it would support greater provincial autonomy and safeguard the interests of minority communities
- The repeal of repressive laws
- The nationalization of the army
- Increased social fund for the rural poor
Nehrus furious statement
Iqbals letter to Jinnah
EmphasisIt is significant that in this letter of 1937, Iqbal emphasized that, as far as he could see, Islamic sharia was impossible to develop unless the Muslims had a fully independent state of their own. This is significant as the Muslims League had not yet adopted the resolution calling for an independent Muslims state.
- The Muslim League captured around half of all the Muslims seats and did well in the United Provinces, Madras and Bombay.
- Of the 11 provinces of the British Raj, the Congress won an outright majority in five and managed to form governments in another three.
- The Muslim League learned valuable lessons from the elections, which highlighted the fact that its support lay more in Muslims minority rather than majority provinces.
Coalition governments with support of Muslim League
- In the Punjab, it was the Unionist Party led by Sir Iskandar Hayat which won 96 seats out of 175 and formed the government.
- In Bengal, the chief minister was now Fazl-ul Haq, who was from a regional party but had Muslim League support to form his government.
- In the North West Frontier Province, Dr Khan Sahib, an ally of the congress, was success full under the banner of “Redshirts”
- In the other Muslim Provinces of Sindh and Assam, unstable coalitions were formed with Muslims League support.
Behavior of Congress after winning the elections
Arrogance of CongressThe Congress became even more arrogant in its dealing with the Muslim League after the election results and in areas where the Muslims League was the single largest party, the Congress refused to corporate. The terms for corporation the Congress leadership put forward were so unreasonable that it was obvious that they were calculated to insult: Muslims League members should resign their membership of the League and join the Congress to carry out Congress Party orders. It is significant that the Congress Party’s claim to represent the whole of India was certainly not proved by this election. The Congress Party’s candidates were overwhelmingly Hindu in composition and had won votes mainly from caste Hindus.
Lessons learned by Muslim League from election 1937Many lessons could be drawn from the results of the elections.
- Firstly, the Muslim League did better in those provinces in which the Muslims tended to be in the minority. In provinces where there was a Muslim majority, there was no need for autonomy was guaranteed under the 1935 Act.
- Secondly, the Muslim League was still a poorly organized party. In the era of mass politics, the League needed to improve its organizational structure and planning.
- Thirdly, the majority of the Muslim League leaders tended to be seen as aristocrats and princes who had little in common with the majority of Muslims, who were poor and illiterate. This perception could have done little to win votes for the Muslim League.
Congress as vote catcher for Muslim League
- A series of moves, including the compulsory adoption of singing Hindu nationalist songs such as the Vande Matram, alienated and worried Muslims.
- A ’Basic Education’ scheme was launched by Gandhi at Wardha, later known as the Wardha scheme, and was introduced in all Congress educational ministries.
- Spinning cotton by hand was made a part of the curriculum
- Teaching was to be in Hindi with no religious education which meant that Muslim students were at a disadvantage.
- School children were also required to show reverence for Gandhi’s portrait which was hung up in their schools.