The Early Years of the All-India Muslim League

Members of the All-India Muslim League

The All-India Muslim League (AIML) was established on December 30, 1906 to protect the interests of Muslims in the then British-colony of India. The league would go on to become the loudest advocate of the establishment of a separate, Muslim state. The Muslim League viewed the Indian National Congress (INC), which was established in 1885, as a predominantly Hindu organization that would not keep Muslim interests in mind, and AIML sought to protect Muslim interests. In the early part of its existence, the All-India Muslim League’s interests lay in the freeing of the Indian subcontinent as a whole as opposed to a purely pro-Muslim agenda.

The first step towards the subcontinent’s independence came in the form of the Government of India Act of 1909. The law mandated that legislative councils be elected in all provinces by the population each represented; however, the councils were to have only advisory power. However, this reform is noteworthy because the British had previously ignored all of the subcontinent’s political aspirations.

Change came to the Muslim League in 1911 when Britain’s king, George V unexpectedly annulled the partition of Bengal, which had been a plan to split the province into Hindu and Muslim sections. The partition had been announced in 1905 but was dropped by the king due to strong Hindu nationalists revolts. The annulment outraged the Muslim League, which saw the annulment as a betrayal of Muslim interests by the British. Their interests had previously aligned with the British, who had supported basic Muslim rights, but now the British’s annulment as well as other actions, including the destruction of a mosque in Kampur, led to the Muslim League changing its platform from support for British rule to the goal of self-government for the subcontinent, and later, under Muhammad Al Jinnah, the creation of a separate Muslim state.

Members of the All-India Muslim League

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