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All-India Muslim League
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/2/20

All India Muslim League
Presiding Leader(s): Muhammad Ali Jinnah; A. K. Fazlul Huq; Aga Khan III; Nawab Waqar-ul-Mulk Kamboh; Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy; Sir Feroz Khan Noon; Khwaja Nazimuddin; Liaquat Ali Khan; Khaliq-uz-Zaman; Mohammad Ali Bogra; Abul Mansur Ahmed
Founder: Nawab Khwaja Salimullah
Founded: 30 December 1906 at Dacca, British India (now Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Dissolved: 14 August 1947
Succeeded by: Muslim League in Pakistan; Awami League in Bangladesh; Indian Union Muslim League in India
Headquarters: Lucknow
Newspaper: Dawn
Student wing: AIMSF
Paramilitary wing: Muslim National Guard[1]
Ideology: Pan-Islamism; Conservatism; Two-nation theory
Religion Islam
International affiliation All–India Muslim League (London Chapter)
Election symbol: Crescent and Star
Party flag

The All-India Muslim League (popularised as the Muslim League) was a political party established in 1906 in British India. Its strong advocacy for the establishment of a separate Muslim-majority nation-state, Pakistan, successfully led to the partition of India in 1947 by the British Empire.[2]

The party was formed in Dhaka (now in Bangladesh) many years after the death of Syed Ahmad Khan who was central figure for the formation of The Aligarh Muslim University[3] . It remained an elitist organisation until 1937 when the leadership began mobilising the Muslim masses and the league then became a popular organisation.[4][5]

In the 1930s, the idea of a separate nation-state and influential philosopher Sir Muhammad Iqbal's vision of uniting the four provinces in North-West British India further supported the rationale of the two-nation theory aligning with the same ideas proposed by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1920s.[6] With global events leading up to World War II and the Congress party's effective protest against the United Kingdom unilaterally involving India in the war without consulting the Indian people, the Muslim League went on to support the British war efforts. The Muslim League played a decisive role in the 1940s, becoming a driving force behind the division of India along religious lines and the creation of Pakistan as a Muslim state in 1947.[7]

After the partition and subsequent establishment of Pakistan , All-India Muslim League was formally disbanded in India and the leftover Muslim League diminished to a minor party, that too only in Kerala, India. In Bangladesh, the Muslim League was revived in 1976 but it was reduced in size, rendering it insignificant in the political arena. In India a separate independent entity called the Indian Union Muslim League was formed however in Pakistan the Pakistan Muslim League became the original successors of the All-India Muslim League.


The AIME Conference in 1906, held at the Ahsan Manzil palace of the Dhaka Nawab Family, laid the foundation of the Muslim League.

With the sincere efforts by the pioneers of the Congress to attract Muslims to their sessions the majority of the Muslim leadership, with exception of few scholars like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Syed Ameer Ali, who focussed more on muslims educations and scientific developments, rejected the notion that India's has two distinct communities to be represented separately Congress sessions.[8]

In 1886, Sir Syed founded the Muhammadan Educational Conference, but a self-imposed ban prevented it from discussing politics. Its original goal was to advocate for British education, especially science and literature, among India's Muslims. The conference, in addition to generating funds for Sir Syed's Aligarh Muslim University, motivated the Muslim upper class to propose an expansion of educational uplift elsewhere, known as the Aligarh Movement. In turn, this new awareness of Muslim needs helped stimulate a political consciousness among Muslim elites, For few of them, many years after the death of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan the All-India Muslim League was formed in Dhaka, Bangladesh.[9]

The formation of a Muslim political party on the national level was seen as essential by 1901. The first stage of its formation was the meeting held at Lucknow in September 1906, with the participation of representatives from all over India. The decision for re-consideration to form the all-Indian Muslim political party was taken and further proceedings were adjourned until the next meeting of the All India Muhammadan Educational Conference. The Simla Deputation reconsidered the issue in October 1906 and decided to frame the objectives of the party on the occasion of the annual meeting of the Educational Conference, which was scheduled to be held in Dhaka. Meanwhile, Nawab Salimullah Khan published a detailed scheme through which he suggested the party to be named All-India Muslim Confederacy.

Pursuant upon the decisions taken earlier at the Lucknow meeting and later in Simla, the annual meeting of the All-India Muhammadan Educational Conference was held in Dhaka from 27 December until 30 December 1906.[10] Three thousand delegates attended,[2] headed by both Nawab Waqar-ul-Mulk Kamboh and Nawab Muhasan-ul-Mulk (the Secretary of the Muhammaden Educational Conference), in which they explained its objectives and stressed the unity of Muslims under the banner of an association.[10] It was formally proposed by Nawab Salimullah Khan and supported by Hakim Ajmal Khan, Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, Zafar Ali Khan, Syed Nabiullah, a barrister from Lucknow, and Syed Zahur Ahmad, an eminent lawyer, as well as several others.

Separate electorates

The Muslim League's insistence on separate electorates and reserved seats in the Imperial Council were granted in the Indian Councils Act after the League held protests in India and lobbied London.[11]

The draft proposals for the reforms communicated on 1 October 1908 provided Muslims with reserved seats in all councils, with nomination only being maintained in Punjab. The communication displayed how much the Government had accommodated Muslim demands [12] and showed an increase in Muslim representation in the Imperial and provincial legislatures.[13] But the Muslim League's demands were only fully met in UP and Madras. However, the Government did accept the idea of separate electorates. The idea had not been accepted by the Secretary of State, who proposed mixed electoral colleges, causing the Muslim League to agitate and the Muslim press to protest what they perceived to be a betrayal of the Viceroy's assurance to the Simla deputation.[14]

On 23 February Morley told the House of Lords that Muslims demanded separate representation and accepted them. This was the League's first victory. But the Indian Councils Bill did not fully satisfy the demands of the Muslim League.[15] It was based on the October 1908 communique in which Muslims were only given a few reserved seats. The Muslim League's London branch opposed the bill and in a debate obtained the support of several parliamentarians.[16] In 1909 the members of the Muslim League organised a Muslim protest.[17] The Reforms Committee of Minto's council believed that Muslims had a point and advised Minto to discuss with some Muslim leaders. The Government offered a few more seats to Muslims in compromise but would not agree to fully satisfy the League's demand.[18]

Minto believed that the Muslims had been given enough while Morley was still not certain because of the pressure Muslims could apply on the government. The Muslim League's central committee once again demanded separate electorates and more representation on 12 September 1909.[19] While Minto was opposed, Morley feared that the Bill would not pass parliament without the League's support and he once again discussed Muslim representation with the League leadership.[20] This was successful. The Aga Khan compromised so that Muslims would have two more reserved seats in the Imperial Council. The Muslim League hesitantly accepted the compromise.[21]

Early years

Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah (Aga Khan III) was appointed the first honorary president of the Muslim League, though he did not attend the Dhaka inaugural session. There were also six vice-presidents, a secretary, and two joint secretaries initially appointed for a three-year term, proportionately from different provinces.[22] The League's constitution was framed in 1907, espoused in the "Green Book," written by Maulana Mohammad Ali.

Aga Khan III shared Ahmad Khan's belief that Muslims should first build up their social capital through advanced education before engaging in politics, but would later boldly tell the British Raj that Muslims must be considered a separate nation within India. Even after he resigned as president of the AIML in 1912, he still exerted a major influence on its policies and agendas.[23] In 1913, Mohammed Ali Jinnah joined the Muslim league.

Intellectual support and a cadre of young activists emerged from Aligarh Muslim University. Historian Mushirul Hasan writes that in the early 20th century, this Muslim institution, designed to prepare students for service to the British Raj, exploded into political activity. Until 1939, the faculty and students supported an all-India nationalist movement. After 1939, however, sentiment shifted dramatically toward a Muslim separatist movement, as students and faculty mobilised behind Jinnah and the Muslim League.[24]

Communalism grows

Politically, there was a degree of unity between Muslim and Hindu leaders after World War I, as typified by the Khilafat Movement. Relationships cooled sharply after that campaign ended in 1922. Communalism grew rapidly, forcing the two groups apart.[25] Major riots broke out in numerous cities, including 91 between 1923 and 1927 in Uttar Pradesh alone.[26] At the leadership level, the proportion of Muslims among delegates to the Congress party fell sharply, from 11% in 1921 to under 4% in 1923.[27]

Muhammad Ali Jinnah became disillusioned with politics after the failure of his attempt to form a Hindu-Muslim alliance, and he spent most of the 1920s in Britain. The leadership of the League was taken over by Sir Muhammad Iqbal, who in 1930 first put forward the demand for a separate Muslim state in India. The "Two-Nation Theory", the belief that Hindus and Muslims were two different nations who could not live in one country, gained popularity among Muslims. The two-state solution was rejected by the Congress leaders, who favoured a united India based on composite national identity. Congress at all times rejected "communalism" — that is, basing politics on religious identity.[28] Iqbal's policy of uniting the North-West Frontier Province, Baluchistan, Punjab, and Sindh into a new Muslim majority state became part of the League's political platform.[29]

The League rejected the Committee report (the Nehru Report), arguing that it gave too little representation (only one quarter) to Muslims, established Devanagari as the official writing system of the colony, and demanded that India turn into a de facto unitary state, with residuary powers resting at the centre – the League had demanded at least one-third representation in the legislature and sizeable autonomy for the Muslim provinces. Jinnah reported a "parting of the ways" after his requests for minor amendments to the proposal were denied outright, and relations between the Congress and the League began to sour.[30]

Conception of Pakistan

Main articles: Pakistan Movement and Allahabad Address

On 29 December 1930, Sir Muhammad Iqbal delivered his monumental presidential address to the All-India Muslim League annual session. He said:[31]

I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province [modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa], 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.

Sir Muhammad Iqbal did not use the word "Pakistan" in his address. Some scholars argued that "Iqbal never pleaded for any kind of partition of the country. Rather he was an ardent proponent of a 'true' federal setup for India..., and wanted a consolidated Muslim majority within the Indian Federation".[32]

Another Indian historian, Tara Chand, also held that Iqbal was not thinking in terms of partition of India, but in terms of a federation of autonomous states within India.[33] Dr. Safdar Mehmood also asserted in a series of articles that in the Allahabad address, Iqbal proposed a Muslim majority province within an Indian federation and not an independent state outside an Indian Federation.[34]

On 28 January 1933, Choudhary Rahmat Ali, founder of the Pakistan National Movement, voiced his ideas in the pamphlet entitled "Now or Never;[35] Are We to Live or Perish Forever?" In a subsequent book, Rehmat Ali discussed the etymology in further detail.[36][page needed] "Pakistan' is both a Persian and an Urdu word. It is composed of letters taken from the names of all our South Asia homelands; that is, Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh and Balochistan. It means the land of the Pure".

The British and the Indian Press vehemently criticised these two different schemes and created confusion about the authorship of the word "Pakistan" to such an extent that even Jawaharlal Nehru had to write:[37]

Iqbal was one of the early advocates of Pakistan and yet he appears to have realised its inherent danger and absurdity. Edward Thompson has written that in the course of a conversation, Iqbal told him that he had advocated Pakistan because of his position as President of Muslim League session, but he felt sure that it would be injurious to India as a whole and to Muslims especially.

Campaign for Pakistan

Main article: Pakistan Movement

Muslim League Working Committee at the Lahore session

Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman seconding the Resolution with Jinnah and Liaquat presiding the session.

Until 1937, the Muslim League had remained an organisation of elite Indian Muslims. The Muslim League leadership then began mass mobilisation and it then became a popular party with the Muslim masses in the 1940s, especially after the Lahore Resolution.[4][38] Under Jinnah's leadership, its membership grew to over two million and became more religious and even separatist in its outlook.[39][40]

The Muslim League's earliest base was the United Provinces,[41] where they successfully mobilised the religious community in the late 1930s. Jinnah worked closely with local politicians, however, there was a lack of uniform political voice by the League during the 1938–1939 Madhe Sahaba riots in Lucknow.[42] From 1937 onwards, the Muslim League and Jinnah attracted large crowds throughout India in its processions and strikes.[43]

At a League conference in Lahore in 1940, Jinnah said:

Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literature... It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes and different episodes ... To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state.[44]

In Lahore, the Muslim League formally recommitted itself to creating an independent Muslim state which would include Sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan, the North West Frontier Province, and Bengal, and which would be "wholly autonomous and sovereign". The resolution guaranteed protection for non-Muslim religions.[citation needed] The Lahore Resolution, moved by the sitting Chief Minister of Bengal A. K. Fazlul Huq,[45] was adopted on 23 March 1940, and its principles formed the foundation for Pakistan's first constitution. In the Constituent Assembly of India's elections of 1946, the Muslim League won 425 out of 476 seats reserved for Muslims (and about 89.2% of Muslim votes) on a policy of creating the independent state of Pakistan, and with an implied threat of secession if this was not granted. Congress, led by Gandhi and Nehru, remained adamantly opposed to dividing India.

In opposition to the Lahore Resolution, the All India Azad Muslim Conference gathered in Delhi in April 1940 to voice its support for a united India.[46] Its members included several Islamic organisations in India, as well as 1400 nationalist Muslim delegates;[47][48] the "attendance at the Nationalist meeting was about five times than the attendance at the League meeting."[49] The All-India Muslim League worked to try to silence those Muslims who stood against the partition of India, often using "intimidation and coercion".[49][48] For example, Deobandi scholar Maulana Syed Husain Ahmad Madani traveled across British India, spreading the idea he wrote about in his book, Composite Nationalism and Islam, which stood for Hindu-Muslim unity and opposed the concept of a partition of India;[50][51] while he was doing this, members of the pro-separatist Muslim League attacked Madani and disturbed his rallies.[52][50] The murder of the All India Azad Muslim Conference leader Allah Bakhsh Soomro also made it easier for the All-India Muslim League to demand the creation of Pakistan.[49]

Role in communal violence

Further information: Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947

In the British Indian province of Sind, the historian Ayesha Jalal describes the actions that the pro-separatist Muslim League used in order to spread communal division and undermine the government of Allah Bakhsh Soomro, which stood for a united India:[53]

Even before the 'Pakistan' demand was articulated, the dispute over the Sukkur Manzilgah had been fabricated by provincial Leaguers to unsettle Allah Bakhsh Soomro's ministry which was dependent on support from the Congress and Independent Party. Intended as a way station for Mughal troops on the move, the Manzilgah included a small mosque which had been subsequently abandoned. On a small island in the near distance was the temple of Saad Bela, sacred space for the large number of Hindus settled on the banks of the Indus at Sukkur. The symbolic convergence of the identity and sovereignty over a forgotten mosque provided ammunition for those seeking office at the provincial level. Making an issue out of a non-issue, the Sind Muslim League in early June 1939 formally reclaimed the mosque. Once its deadline of 1 October 1939 for the restoration of the mosque to Muslims had passed, the League started an agitation.[53]

In the few years before the partition, the Muslim League "monetarily subsidized" mobs that engaged in communal violence against Hindus and Sikhs in the areas of Multan, Rawalpindi, Campbellpur, Jhelum and Sargodha, as well as in the Hazara District.[54][55][56] The Muslim League paid assassins money for every Hindu and Sikh they murdered.[54] As such, leaders of the Muslim League, including Muhammad Ali Jinnah, issued no condemnation of the violence against Hindus and Sikhs in the Punjab.[57]

Impact on the future courses of the Subcontinent


Main articles: Politics in Pakistan and Pakistan Muslim League

After the partition of the British Indian Empire, the Muslim League played a major role in giving birth to modern conservatism in Pakistan and the introduction of the democratic process in the country.[58]

The Pakistani incarnation was originally led by the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and later by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, but suffered from ill-fate following the military intervention in 1958. One of its factions[59] remained supportive of President Ayub Khan until 1962, when all factions decided to reform into the Pakistan Muslim League led by Nurul Amin, and to support Fatima Jinnah in the presidential elections in 1965. Furthermore, it was the only party to have received votes from both East and West Pakistan during the elections held in 1970. During the successive periods of Pakistan, the Pakistan Muslim League went on to be one of the ruling parties holding alternating power within the nation.


Main article: Indian Union Muslim League

After the partition of India in 1947, the All-India Muslim League was disbanded. It was succeeded by Indian Union Muslim League in the new India.[60]

Indian Union Muslim League contests Indian General Elections under the Indian Constitution.[61] The party has always had a constant, if small presence, in the Indian Parliament.[62] The party has had two members in every Lower House from the third to the 16th House, with the exception of the Second, in which it had no members, and the fourth, in which it had three members. The party had a single member in the 14th Lower House. The party currently has four members in Parliament.[63] The party is currently a part of the United Progressive Alliance in national level.[62]

Indian Union Muslim League is recognized by the Election Commission of India as a State Party in Kerala.The party is a major member of the opposition United Democratic Front, the Indian National Congress-lead pre-poll state-level alliance in Kerala.[62] Whenever the United Democratic Front rules in Kerala, the party leaders are chosen as important Cabinet Ministers.[62]


Main article: Awami League

The Muslim League formed its government in East Bengal immediately after the partition of Bengal, with Nurul Amin becoming the first Chief Minister.

Problems in East Pakistan for the Muslim League began to rise following the issue of the Constitution of Pakistan. Furthermore, the Bengali Language Movement proved to be the last event that led the Muslim League to lose its mandate in East Bengal. The Muslim League's national conservatism program also faced several setbacks and resistance from the Communist Party of Pakistan. In an interview given to print media, Nurul Amin stated that the communists had played an integral and major role in staging the massive protests, mass demonstrations, and strikes for the Bengali Language Movement.[64]

All over the country, the political parties had favoured the general elections in Pakistan with the exception of the Muslim League.[65] In 1954, legislative elections were to be held for the Parliament.[65] Unlike in West Punjab, not all of the Hindu population migrated to India, instead a large number stayed in the state.[65] The influence of the Communist Party deepened, and its goal of attaining power was finally realised during the elections. The United Front, the Communist Party, and the Awami League returned to power, inflicting a severe defeat to the Muslim League.[65] Out of 309, the Muslim League only won 10 seats, whereas the Communist Party got 4 seats of the ten contested. The communists working with other parties had secured 22 additional seats, totalling 26. The right-wing Jamaat-e-Islami had completely failed in the elections.[65]

In 1955, the United Front named Abu Hussain Sarkar as the Chief Minister of the State and he ruled the state in two non-consecutive terms until 1958, when martial law was imposed.[65] The Muslim League remained as a minor party in East Pakistan but participated with full rigour during the Pakistan general elections in 1970. It won 10 seats from East Pakistan and 7 seats from other parts of Pakistan. After the independence of Bangladesh, the Muslim League was revived in 1976 but its size was reduced, rendering it insignificant in the political arena.

United Kingdom

During the 1940s, the Muslim League had a United Kingdom chapter active in the British politics. After the establishment of Pakistan, the Pakistani community's leaders took over the UK branch, choosing Zubeida Habib Rahimtoola as president of the party to continue to serve its purpose in the United Kingdom.[66] At present, the Muslim League's UK branch is led by the PML-N, with Zubair Gull as its president.[66]

Historical versions

Historically, Pakistan Muslim League can also refer to any of the following political parties in Pakistan:[67]

• Muslim League, the original successor of the All-India Muslim League, which was disbanded during the first martial law.
• Convention Muslim League, a political platform created by General Ayub Khan in 1962 when he became the president.
• Council Muslim League, a party created by political leaders who opposed General Ayub Khan.
• Muslim League, a party created by Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan when he split with the Council Muslim League to run for the 1970 general elections.

See also

• Indian Independence Movement
• Indian Muslim nationalism
• Indian Nationalism


1. Sajjad, Mohammad (2014). Muslim Politics in Bihar: Changing Contours. Routledge. ISBN 9781317559818.
2. "Establishment of All India Muslim League". Story of Pakistan. June 2003. p. 1. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
4. Rizvi, H. (2000). Military, State and Society in Pakistan. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 69–. ISBN 978-0-230-59904-8. The Muslim League maintained an elitist character until 1937 when its leadership began to engage in popular mobilisation. It functioned as a mass and popular party for 7-8 years after the Congress provincial ministries resigned in 1939, more so, after the passage of the Lahore Resolution in March 1940.
5. Keay, John (2000). India: A History. Atlantic Monthly Press. p. 468. ISBN 978-0-8021-3797-5. Heavily supported by mainly landed and commercial Muslim interests ... they duly consummated this distrust [of Congress] by forming the All India Muslim League.
6. ... s?from=mdr
7. Jalal, Ayesha (1994). The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League, and the Demand for Pakistan. Cambridge University Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-521-45850-4. In 1940, ... [the A.I.M.L.] formally demanded independent Muslim states, repudiating the minority status which separate representation necessarily entailed, and instead asserted that Muslims were a nation ... The claim was built upon the demand for 'Pakistan'. But from first to last, Jinnah avoided giving the demand a precise definition.
8. Metcalf, Barbara; Metcalf, Thomas (2006). A Concise History of Modern India (PDF) (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 136–137. ISBN 978-0-511-24558-9.
9. Rashid Kahn, Abdul (January–June 2007). "All India Muhammadan Educational Conference and the Foundation of the All India Muslim League". Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society. 55 (1/2): 65–83.
10. Pakistan movement. Commencement and evolution, p. 167, 168, by Dr. Sikandar Hayat Khan and Shandana Zahid, published by Urdu Science Board, Lahore. ISBN 969-477-122-6
11. Talbot, Ian; Singh, Gurharpal (23 July 2009). The Partition of India. Cambridge University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-521-85661-4.
12. Robinson, Francis (1974). Separatism Among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces' Muslims, 1860–1923. Cambridge University Press. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-521-04826-2.
13. Robinson, Francis (1974). Separatism Among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces' Muslims, 1860-1923. Cambridge University Press. pp. 153–154. ISBN 978-0-521-04826-2.
14. Robinson, Francis (1974). Separatism Among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces' Muslims, 1860–1923. Cambridge University Press. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-521-04826-2.
15. Robinson, Francis (1974). Separatism Among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces' Muslims, 1860–1923. Cambridge University Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-521-04826-2.
16. Robinson, Francis (1974). Separatism Among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces' Muslims, 1860–1923. Cambridge University Press. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-521-04826-2.
17. Robinson, Francis (1974). Separatism Among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces' Muslims, 1860-1923. Cambridge University Press. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-521-04826-2.
18. Robinson, Francis (1974). Separatism Among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces' Muslims, 1860–1923. Cambridge University Press. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-521-04826-2.
19. Robinson, Francis (1974). Separatism Among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces' Muslims, 1860–1923. Cambridge University Press. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-521-04826-2.
20. Robinson, Francis (1974). Separatism Among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces' Muslims, 1860–1923. Cambridge University Press. pp. 160–161. ISBN 978-0-521-04826-2.
21. Robinson, Francis (1974). Separatism Among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces' Muslims, 1860–1923. Cambridge University Press. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-521-04826-2.
22. "Establishment of All India Muslim League". Story of Pakistan. June 2003. p. 2. Retrieved 11 May 2007.
23. Valliani, Amin (January–June 2007). "Aga Khan's Role in the Founding and Consolidation of the All India Muslim League". Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society. 55 (1/2): 85–95.
24. Hasan, Mushirul (March 1985). "Nationalist and Separatist Trends in Aligarh, 1915–47". The Indian Economic and Social History Review. 22 (1): 1–33. doi:10.1177/001946468502200101.
25. Markovits, Claude, ed. (2004) [First published 1994 as Histoire de l'Inde Moderne]. A History of Modern India, 1480–1950. London: Anthem Press. pp. 371–372. ISBN 978-1-84331-004-4. Remarkable unity shown between Hindus and Muslims [during the Khilafat movement] ... the tension between the religious communities worsened ... the reforms of 1919 had encouraged Muslim separatism by maintaining constituencies reserved for Muslims: having to get only the votes of their coreligionists, Hindu and Muslim politicians tended to emphasise what divided rather than what united the two communities.
26. Sarkar, Sumit (1989) [First published 1983]. Modern India: 1885–1947. Macmillan. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-333-43805-3. Three waves of riots in Calcutta ... disturbances the same year in Dacca, Patna, Rawalpindi and Delhi; and no less than 91 communal outbreaks in U.P., the worst-affected province, between 1923 and 1927.
27. Brown, Judith M. (1985). Modern India: The Origins of an Asian Democracy. Oxford University Press. p. 228. ISBN 978-0-19-913124-2. By 1923 only 3.6 per cent of Congress delegates were Muslims, compared with 10.9 per cent in 1921.
28. Ludden, David E. (1996). Contesting the nation: religion, community, and the politics of democracy in India. U. of Pennsylvania Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-0812215854.
29. Lyon, Peter (2008). Conflict between India and Pakistan: an encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-57607-712-2.
30. Holt, P. M.; Lambton, Ann K. S.; Lewis, Bernard (1977). The Cambridge History of Islam. Cambridge University Press. p. 103ff. ISBN 978-0-521-29137-8.
31. Tariq, Abdur-Rahman, ed. (1973). Speeches and Statements of Iqbal. Lahore: Sh. Ghulam All & Sons. pp. 11–12. OCLC 652259138.
32. Grover, Verinder, ed. (1995). Political Thinkers of Modern Muslim India. Vol. 26, Mohammad Iqbal. New Delhi: Deep & Deep Publications. pp. 666–67. ISBN 9788171005727.
33. Chand, Tara (1972). History of the Freedom Movement in India. Volume Three. New Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. pp. 252–253. OCLC 80100683. It is, however, doubtful whether he [Iqbal] contemplated the partition of India and the establishment of a sovereign Muslim state ... at Allahabad, in December 1930 ... It was certainly not a scheme for the partition of India into two independent sovereign states ... his plan of amalgamating Panjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan in one autonomous region ... There is no reference here to the two-nation theory and to the incompatibility of Hindu and Muslim cultures.
34. lang, 23, 24 & 25 March 2003;[full citation needed] Also see, Mahmood, Safdar (2004). Iqbal, Jinnah aur Pakistan (in Urdu). Lahore: Khazina Ilm-wa-Adab. pp. 52–69.
35. Full text of the pamphlet "Now or Never", published by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, ... _1933.html
36. Ali, Choudhary Rahmat (1947). Pakistan: the fatherland of the Pak nation. Cambridge: The Pakistan National Liberation Movement. OCLC 12241695.
37. Nehru, Jawaharlal (1946). Discovery of India. New York: John Day Company. p. 353. OCLC 370700.
38. Dhulipala, Venkat (2015). Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India. Cambridge University Press. pp. 50–. ISBN 978-1-316-25838-5. During this growth spurt, the ML itself was transformed from an elite moribund organization into a mass-based party that gave itself a new constitution, a more radical ideology and a revamped organizational structure.
39. Sebestyen, Victor (2014). 1946: The Making of the Modern World. Pan Macmillan UK. pp. 247–. ISBN 978-1-74353-456-4. That, too, had begun life as a cosy club of upper-class Indians, seeking a limited range of extra privileges for Indian Muslims. However, under the leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the League grew rapidly to a membership of more than two million and its message became increasingly religious and separatist in tone.
40. Khan, Yasmin (2017) [First published in 2007]. The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan (New ed.). Yale University Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-300-23364-3. Although it was founded in 1909 the League had only caught on among South Asian Muslims during the Second World War. The party had expanded astonishingly rapidly and was claiming over two million members by the early 1940s, an unimaginable result for what had been previously thought of as just one of the numerous pressure groups and small but insignificant parties.
41. Talbot, Ian (1982). "The growth of the Muslim League in the Punjab, 1937–1946". Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics. 20 (1): 5–24. doi:10.1080/14662048208447395. Despite their different viewpoints all these theories have tended either to concentrate on the All-India struggle between the Muslim League and the Congress in the pre-partition period, or to turn their interest to the Muslim cultural heartland of the UP where the League gained its earliest foothold and where the demand for Pakistan was strongest.
42. Dhulipala, Venkat (2010). "Rallying the Qaum: The Muslim League in the United Provinces, 1937–1939". Modern Asian Studies. 44 (3): 603–640. doi:10.1017/s0026749x09004016. JSTOR 40664926.
43. Talbot, Ian (1993). "The role of the crowd in the Muslim League struggle for Pakistan". The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History. 21 (2): 307–333. doi:10.1080/03086539308582893. Huge crowds attended Muslim League meetings and flocked to glimpse Jinnah as he journeyed about India from 1937 onwards. They also joined in processions, strikes, and riots.
44. Hay, Stephen (1988) [First published 1958]. Sources of Indian Tradition. Volume Two: Modern India and Pakistan (Second ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 230. ISBN 978-0-231-06650-1.
45. Lyon, Peter (2008). Conflict between India and Pakistan: an encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-57607-712-2. The Lahore Resolution ... was moved by a Bengali, Fazlul Huq (Haq).
46. Qasmi, Ali Usman; Robb, Megan Eaton (2017). Muslims against the Muslim League: Critiques of the Idea of Pakistan. Cambridge University Press. p. 2. ISBN 9781108621236.
47. Haq, Mushir U. (1970). Muslim politics in modern India, 1857-1947. Meenakshi Prakashan. p. 114. OCLC 136880. This was also reflected in one of the resolutions of the Azad Muslim Conference, an organization which attempted to be representative of all the various nationalist Muslim parties and groups in India.
48. Ahmed, Ishtiaq (27 May 2016). "The dissenters". The Friday Times. However, the book is a tribute to the role of one Muslim leader who steadfastly opposed the Partition of India: the Sindhi leader Allah Bakhsh Soomro. Allah Bakhsh belonged to a landed family. He founded the Sindh People’s Party in 1934, which later came to be known as ‘Ittehad’ or ‘Unity Party’. ... Allah Bakhsh was totally opposed to the Muslim League’s demand for the creation of Pakistan through a division of India on a religious basis. Consequently, he established the Azad Muslim Conference. In its Delhi session held during April 27–30, 1940 some 1400 delegates took part. They belonged mainly to the lower castes and working class. The famous scholar of Indian Islam, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, feels that the delegates represented a ‘majority of India’s Muslims’. Among those who attended the conference were representatives of many Islamic theologians and women also took part in the deliberations ... Shamsul Islam argues that the All-India Muslim League at times used intimidation and coercion to silence any opposition among Muslims to its demand for Partition. He calls such tactics of the Muslim League as a ‘Reign of Terror’. He gives examples from all over India including the NWFP where the Khudai Khidmatgars remain opposed to the Partition of India.
49. Ali, Afsar (17 July 2017). "Partition of India and Patriotism of Indian Muslims". The Milli Gazette.
50. Kumar, Pramod (1992). Towards Understanding Communalism. Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development. p. 22. ISBN 9788185835174. His consciousness was not transformed into communal consciousness, so much so that the Muslim League 'goondas' attacked him several times. For instance, in 1945, Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani was touring India to plead for composite nationalism and for opposing the idea of partition. Near Moradabad railway station Muslim League 'goondas' threw Keechar (marshy water) on him.
51. Engineer, Asgharali (1987). Ethnic conflict in south Asia. Ajanta Publications. p. 28. At one time, in 1945, Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani was touring throughout India to plead for composite nationalism and for opposing the idea of partition: once he was coming out of the railway station near Moradabad, and Muslim League goondas threw keechar (marshy water) on him.
52. Engineer, Asgharali (2006). Muslims and India. Gyan Publishing House. p. 35. ISBN 9788121208826. The Maulana was a great champion of composite nationalism and he toured whole of India after two nation theory resolution was adopted on 23rd March 1940 at Lahore and appealed to the Muslims not to be misled by the Muslim League propaganda. He was repeatedly attacked by the Muslim League volunteers and his meetings were sought to be disturbed.
53. Jalal, Ayesha (2002). Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam Since 1850. Routledge. p. 415. ISBN 9781134599370.
54. Abid, Abdul Majeed (29 December 2014). "The forgotten massacre". The Nation. On the same dates, Muslim League-led mobs fell with determination and full preparations on the helpless Hindus and Sikhs scattered in the villages of Multan, Rawalpindi, Campbellpur, Jhelum and Sargodha. The murderous mobs were well supplied with arms, such as daggers, swords, spears and fire-arms. (A former civil servant mentioned in his autobiography that weapon supplies had been sent from NWFP and money was supplied by Delhi-based politicians.) They had bands of stabbers and their auxiliaries, who covered the assailant, ambushed the victim and if necessary disposed of his body. These bands were subsidized monetarily by the Muslim League, and cash payments were made to individual assassins based on the numbers of Hindus and Sikhs killed. There were also regular patrolling parties in jeeps which went about sniping and picking off any stray Hindu or Sikh. ... Thousands of non-combatants including women and children were killed or injured by mobs, supported by the All India Muslim League.
55. Chitkara, M. G. (1996). Mohajir's Pakistan. APH Publishing. ISBN 9788170247463. When the idea of Pakistan was not accepted in the Northern States of India, the Muslim League sent out its goons to drive the Hindus out of Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi and appropriate their property.
56. Bali, Amar Nath (1949). Now it can be told. Akashvani Prakashan Publishers. p. 19. The pamphlet 'Rape of Rawalpindi' gives gruesome details of what was done to the minorities in the Rawalpindi Division. No such details have been published for other towns but the pattern of barbarities committed by the Muslim League goondas was the same everywhere.
57. Ranjan, Amit (2018). Partition of India: Postcolonial Legacies. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780429750526. In the evening of 6 March Muslim mobs numbering in the thousands headed towards Sikh villages in Rawalpindi, Attock and Jhelum districts. ... According to British sources, some two thousand people were killed in the carnage in three rural district: almost all non-Muslims. The Sikhs claimed seven thousand dead. Government reports showed that Muslim ex-service persons had taken part in the planned attacks. The Muslim League leaders, Jinnah and others did not issue any condemenation of these atrocities.
58. M S, Amogh (20 May 2011). "A history project on the impact of the AIMD on the future courses of India and Pakistan". Online Daily.
59. Masood, Alauddin (25 January 2008). "PML Perpetually Multiplying Leagues". The Weekly.
60. "Explained: History of Muslim League in Kerala and India". The Indian Express. 6 April 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
61. "Explained: History of Muslim League in Kerala and India". The Indian Express. 6 April 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
62. "Explained: History of Muslim League in Kerala and India". The Indian Express. 6 April 2019. Retrieved 4 August2019.
63. "Explained: History of Muslim League in Kerala and India". The Indian Express. 6 April 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
64. Nair, M. Bhaskaran (1990). Politics in Bangladesh: A Study of Awami League, 1949–58. New Delhi, India: Northern Book Centre. pp. 73–. ISBN 978-81-85119-79-3.
65. Ali, Tariq (2002). The Clash of Fundamentalism. United Kingdom: New Left Book plc. p. 181. ISBN 978-1-85984-457-1.
66. "Muslim League in UK". PMLN Muslim League in UK. Archived from the original on 4 June 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
67. Mumtaz, Ashraf. Dawn (Pakistan), 14 May 2006.

Further reading

• Cohen, Stephen Philip (2004). The Idea of Pakistan. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-1503-0.
• Graham, George Farquhar Irving (1974). The Life and Work of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. Karachi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-636069-0.
• Malik, Iftikar H. (2008). The History of Pakistan. The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-34137-3.
• Moore, R. J. (1983). "Jinnah and the Pakistan Demand". Modern Asian Studies. 17 (4): 529–561. doi:10.1017/s0026749x00011069. JSTOR 312235.
• al Mujahid, Shairf (January–June 2007). "Reconstructing the Saga of the All India Muslim League (1906–47)". Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society. 55 (1/2): 15–26.

External links

• Government of Pakistan website
• Pakistan News website
• The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
• Chronicles Of Pakistan
• Jinnah at a Meeting of the Muslim League 16-second QuickTime film clip
• Colloquium on the One Hundred Years of Muslim League at the University of Chicago, 4 Nov 2006
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Muhammad Ali Jinnah
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/2/20

Muhammad Ali Jinnah
محمد علی جناح
Jinnah in 1945
1st Governor-General of Pakistan
In office: 14 August 1947 – 11 September 1948
Monarch: George VI
Prime Minister: Liaquat Ali Khan
Preceded by: Position established
Succeeded by: Khawaja Nazimuddin
Speaker of the National Assembly
In office: 11 August 1947 – 11 September 1948
Deputy: Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan
Preceded by: Position established
Succeeded by: Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan
President of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan
1st President of Pakistan
In office: 11 August 1947 – 11 September 1948
Deputy: Liaquat Ali Khan
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Office abolished
Personal details
Born: Mohammedali Jinnahbhai, 25 December 1876, Karachi, Bombay Presidency, British India (present-day Sindh, Pakistan)
Died: 11 September 1948 (aged 71), Karachi, Federal Capital Territory, Dominion of Pakistan (present-day Sindh, Pakistan) [1]
Resting place: Mazar-e-Quaid
Nationality: British Indian (1876–1947); Pakistani (1947–1948)
Political party: Pakistan Muslim League (1947–1948)
Other political affiliations: Indian National Congress (1906–1920); All-India Muslim League (1913–1947)
Spouse(s): Emibai Jinnah (m. 1892; died 1893); Rattanbai Petit (m. 1918; died 1929)
Relations: See Jinnah family
Children: Dina
Parents: Jinnahbhai Poonja (father); Mithibai Jinnah (mother)
Alma mater: The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
Profession : Barrister Politician

Muhammad Ali Jinnah (born Mahomedali Jinnahbhai; 25 December 1876 – 11 September 1948) was a Pakistani barrister, politician and the founder of Pakistan.[2] Jinnah served as the leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan's creation on 14 August 1947, and then as Pakistan's first Governor-General until his death. He is revered in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Azam ("Great Leader") and Baba-i-Qaum, ("Father of the Nation"). His birthday is a national holiday in Pakistan.[3][4]

Born at Wazir Mansion in Karachi, Jinnah was trained as a barrister at Lincoln's Inn in London. Upon his return to British India, he enrolled at the Bombay High Court, and took an interest in national politics, which eventually replaced his legal practice. Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress in the first two decades of the 20th century. In these early years of his political career, Jinnah advocated Hindu–Muslim unity, helping to shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the All-India Muslim League, in which Jinnah had also become prominent. Jinnah became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League, and proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims. In 1920, however, Jinnah resigned from the Congress when it agreed to follow a campaign of satyagraha, which he regarded as political anarchy.

By 1940, Jinnah had come to believe that Muslims of the Indian subcontinent should have their own state. In that year, the Muslim League, led by Jinnah, passed the Lahore Resolution, demanding a separate nation. During the Second World War, the League gained strength while leaders of the Congress were imprisoned, and in the elections held shortly after the war, it won most of the seats reserved for Muslims. Ultimately, the Congress and the Muslim League could not reach a power-sharing formula for the subcontinent to be united as a single state, leading all parties to agree to the independence of a predominantly Hindu India, and for a Muslim-majority state of Pakistan.

As the first Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah worked to establish the new nation's government and policies, and to aid the millions of Muslim migrants who had emigrated from the new nation of India to Pakistan after independence, personally supervising the establishment of refugee camps. Jinnah died at age 71 in September 1948, just over a year after Pakistan gained independence from the United Kingdom. He left a deep and respected legacy in Pakistan. Innumerable streets, roads and localities in the world are named after Jinnah. Several universities and public buildings in Pakistan bear Jinnah's name. According to his biographer, Stanley Wolpert, he remains Pakistan's greatest leader.

Early years

Family and childhood

See also: Jinnah family

Portrait of Jinnah's father, Jinnahbhai Poonja

Jinnah's given name at birth was Mahomedali Jinnahbhai,[a] and he likely was born in 1876,[ b] to Jinnahbhai Poonja and his wife Mithibai, in a rented apartment on the second floor of Wazir Mansion near Karachi,[5] now in Sindh, Pakistan but then within the Bombay Presidency of British India. Jinnah's family was from a Gujarati Khoja Shi’a Muslim background, though Jinnah later followed the Twelver Shi'a teachings.[6][7][8][9] After his death, his relatives and other witnesses claimed that he had converted in later life to the Sunni sect. His religion at the time of his death was disputed in multiple court cases.[10] Jinnah was from a wealthy merchant background, his father was a merchant and was born to a family of textile weavers in the village of Paneli in the princely state of Gondal (Kathiawar, Gujarat); his mother was also of that village. They had moved to Karachi in 1875, having married before their departure. Karachi was then enjoying an economic boom: the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 meant it was 200 nautical miles closer to Europe for shipping than Bombay.[11][12] Jinnah was the second child;[13][14] he had three brothers and three sisters, including his younger sister Fatima Jinnah. The parents were native Gujarati speakers, and the children also came to speak Kutchi and English.[15] Jinnah was not fluent in Gujarati, his mother-tongue, nor in Urdu; he was more fluent in English.[16][17][18] Except for Fatima, little is known of his siblings, where they settled or if they met with their brother as he advanced in his legal and political careers.[19]

As a boy, Jinnah lived for a time in Bombay with an aunt and may have attended the Gokal Das Tej Primary School there, later on studying at the Cathedral and John Connon School. In Karachi, he attended the Sindh-Madrasa-tul-Islam and the Christian Missionary Society High School.[20][21][22] He gained his matriculation from Bombay University at the high school. In his later years and especially after his death, a large number of stories about the boyhood of Pakistan's founder were circulated: that he spent all his spare time at the police court, listening to the proceedings, and that he studied his books by the glow of street lights for lack of other illumination. His official biographer, Hector Bolitho, writing in 1954, interviewed surviving boyhood associates, and obtained a tale that the young Jinnah discouraged other children from playing marbles in the dust, urging them to rise up, keep their hands and clothes clean, and play cricket instead.[23]

Education in England

Lincoln's Inn, seen in 2006

In 1892, Sir Frederick Leigh Croft, a business associate of Jinnahbhai Poonja, offered young Jinnah a London apprenticeship with his firm, Graham's Shipping and Trading Company.[24] He accepted the position despite the opposition of his mother, who before he left, had him enter an arranged marriage with his cousin, two years his junior from the ancestral village of Paneli, Emibai Jinnah. Jinnah's mother and first wife both died during his absence in England.[25] Although the apprenticeship in London was considered a great opportunity for Jinnah, one reason for sending him overseas was a legal proceeding against his father, which placed the family's property at risk of being sequestered by the court. In 1893, the Jinnahbhai family moved to Bombay.[20]

Soon after his arrival in London, Jinnah gave up the business apprenticeship in order to study law, enraging his father, who had, before his departure, given him enough money to live for three years. The aspiring barrister joined Lincoln's Inn, later stating that the reason he chose Lincoln's over the other Inns of Court was that over the main entrance to Lincoln's Inn were the names of the world's great lawgivers, including Muhammad. Jinnah's biographer Stanley Wolpert notes that there is no such inscription, but inside (covering the wall at one end of New Hall, also called the Great Hall, which is where students, Bar and Bench lunch and dine)[26] is a mural showing Muhammad and other lawgivers, and speculates that Jinnah may have edited the story in his own mind to avoid mentioning a pictorial depiction which would be offensive to many Muslims.[27] Jinnah's legal education followed the pupillage (legal apprenticeship) system, which had been in force there for centuries. To gain knowledge of the law, he followed an established barrister and learned from what he did, as well as from studying lawbooks.[28] During this period, he shortened his name to Muhammad Ali Jinnah.[29]

During his student years in England, Jinnah was influenced by 19th-century British liberalism, like many other future Indian independence leaders. His main intellectual references were peoples like Bentham, Mill, Spencer, and Comte.[30][31] This political education included exposure to the idea of the democratic nation, and progressive politics.[32] He became an admirer of the Parsi British Indian political leaders Dadabhai Naoroji and Sir Pherozeshah Mehta. Naoroji had become the first British Member of Parliament of Indian extraction shortly before Jinnah's arrival, triumphing with a majority of three votes in Finsbury Central. Jinnah listened to Naoroji's maiden speech in the House of Commons from the visitor's gallery.[33][34]

The Western world not only inspired Jinnah in his political life, but also greatly influenced his personal preferences, particularly when it came to dress. Jinnah abandoned local garb for Western-style clothing, and throughout his life he was always impeccably dressed in public. He came to own over 200 suits, which he wore with heavily starched shirts with detachable collars, and as a barrister took pride in never wearing the same silk tie twice.[35] Even when he was dying, he insisted on being formally dressed, "I will not travel in my pyjamas."[19] In his later years he was usually seen wearing a Karakul hat which subsequently came to be known as the "Jinnah cap".[36]

Dissatisfied with the law, Jinnah briefly embarked on a stage career with a Shakespearean company, but resigned after receiving a stern letter from his father.[37] In 1895, at age 19, he became the youngest Indian to be called to the bar in England.[14] Although he returned to Karachi, he remained there only a short time before moving to Bombay.[37]

Legal and early political career


Jinnah as a barrister

At the age of 20, Jinnah began his practice in Bombay, the only Muslim barrister in the city.[14] English had become his principal language and would remain so throughout his life. His first three years in the law, from 1897 to 1900, brought him few briefs. His first step towards a brighter career occurred when the acting Advocate General of Bombay, John Molesworth MacPherson, invited Jinnah to work from his chambers.[38][39] In 1900, P. H. Dastoor, a Bombay presidency magistrate, left the post temporarily and Jinnah succeeded in getting the interim position. After his six-month appointment period, Jinnah was offered a permanent position on a 1,500 rupee per month salary. Jinnah politely declined the offer, stating that he planned to earn 1,500 rupees a day—a huge sum at that time—which he eventually did.[38][39][40] Nevertheless, as Governor-General of Pakistan, he would refuse to accept a large salary, fixing it at 1 rupee per month.[41]

As a lawyer, Jinnah gained fame for his skilled handling of the 1907 "Caucus Case". This controversy arose out of Bombay municipal elections, which Indians alleged were rigged by a "caucus" of Europeans to keep Sir Pherozeshah Mehta out of the council. Jinnah gained great esteem from leading the case for Sir Pherozeshah, himself a noted barrister. Although Jinnah did not win the Caucus Case, he posted a successful record, becoming well known for his advocacy and legal logic.[42][43] In 1908, his factional foe in the Indian National Congress, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, was arrested for sedition. Before Tilak unsuccessfully represented himself at trial, he engaged Jinnah in an attempt to secure his release on bail. Jinnah did not succeed, but obtained an acquittal for Tilak when he was charged with sedition again in 1916.[44]

One of Jinnah's fellow barristers from the Bombay High Court remembered that "Jinnah's faith in himself was incredible"; he recalled that on being admonished by a judge with "Mr Jinnah, remember that you are not addressing a third-class magistrate", Jinnah shot back, "My Lord, allow me to warn you that you are not addressing a third-class pleader."[45] Another of his fellow barristers described him, saying:

He was what God made him, a great pleader. He had a sixth sense: he could see around corners. That is where his talents lay ... he was a very clear thinker ... But he drove his points home—points chosen with exquisite selection—slow delivery, word by word.[42][46]

Trade unionist

Mr Jinnah was also a supporter of working class causes and an active trade unionist.[47] He was elected President of All India Postal Staff Union in 1925 whose membership was 70,000.[47] According to All Pakistan Labour Federation's publication "Productive Role of Trade Unions and Industrial Relations", being a member of Legislative Assembly, Jinnah pleaded forcefully for rights of workers and struggled for getting a "living wage and fair conditions" for them.[48] He also played an important role in enactment of Trade Union act of 1926 which gave trade union movement legal cover to organise themselves.[48]

Rising leader

Further information: Indian independence movement and Pakistan movement

Jinnah in 1910

In 1857, many Indians had risen in revolt against British rule. In the aftermath of the conflict, some Anglo-Indians, as well as Indians in Britain, called for greater self-government for the subcontinent, resulting in the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885. Most founding members had been educated in Britain, and were content with the minimal reform efforts being made by the government.[49] Muslims were not enthusiastic about calls for democratic institutions in British India, as they constituted a quarter to a third of the population, outnumbered by the Hindus.[50] Early meetings of the Congress contained a minority of Muslims, mostly from the elite.[51]

Jinnah devoted much of his time to his law practice in the early 1900s, but remained politically involved. Jinnah began political life by attending the Congress's twentieth annual meeting, in Bombay in December 1904.[52] He was a member of the moderate group in the Congress, favouring Hindu–Muslim unity in achieving self-government, and following such leaders as Mehta, Naoroji, and Gopal Krishna Gokhale.[53] They were opposed by leaders such as Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai, who sought quick action towards independence.[54] In 1906, a delegation of Muslim leaders, known as the Simla Delegation, headed by the Aga Khan called on the new Viceroy of India, Lord Minto, to assure him of their loyalty and to ask for assurances that in any political reforms they would be protected from the "unsympathetic [Hindu] majority".[55] Dissatisfied with this, Jinnah wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper Gujarati, asking what right the members of the delegation had to speak for Indian Muslims, as they were unelected and self-appointed.[53] When many of the same leaders met in Dacca in December of that year to form the All-India Muslim League to advocate for their community's interests, Jinnah was again opposed. The Aga Khan later wrote that it was "freakishly ironic" that Jinnah, who would lead the League to independence, "came out in bitter hostility toward all that I and my friends had done ... He said that our principle of separate electorates was dividing the nation against itself."[56] In its earliest years, however, the League was not influential; Minto refused to consider it as the Muslim community's representative, and it was ineffective in preventing the 1911 repeal of the partition of Bengal, an action seen as a blow to Muslim interests.[57]

Although Jinnah initially opposed separate electorates for Muslims, he used this means to gain his first elective office in 1909, as Bombay's Muslim representative on the Imperial Legislative Council. He was a compromise candidate when two older, better-known Muslims who were seeking the post deadlocked. The council, which had been expanded to 60 members as part of reforms enacted by Minto, recommended legislation to the Viceroy. Only officials could vote in the council; non-official members, such as Jinnah, had no vote. Throughout his legal career, Jinnah practised probate law (with many clients from India's nobility), and in 1911 introduced the Wakf Validation Act to place Muslim religious trusts on a sound legal footing under British Indian law. Two years later, the measure passed, the first act sponsored by non-officials to pass the council and be enacted by the Viceroy.[58][59] Jinnah was also appointed to a committee which helped to establish the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun.[60]

In December 1912, Jinnah addressed the annual meeting of the Muslim League although he was not yet a member. He joined the following year, although he remained a member of the Congress as well and stressed that League membership took second priority to the "greater national cause" of an independent India. In April 1913, he again went to Britain, with Gokhale, to meet with officials on behalf of the Congress. Gokhale, a Hindu, later stated that Jinnah "has true stuff in him, and that freedom from all sectarian prejudice which will make him the best ambassador of Hindu–Muslim Unity".[61] Jinnah led another delegation of the Congress to London in 1914, but due to the start of the First World War found officials little interested in Indian reforms. By coincidence, he was in Britain at the same time as a man who would become a great political rival of his, Mohandas Gandhi, a Hindu lawyer who had become well known for advocating satyagraha, non-violent non-co-operation, while in South Africa. Jinnah attended a reception for Gandhi, and returned home to India in January 1915.[62]

Farewell to Congress

Jinnah's moderate faction in the Congress was undermined by the deaths of Mehta and Gokhale in 1915; he was further isolated by the fact that Naoroji was in London, where he remained until his death in 1917. Nevertheless, Jinnah worked to bring the Congress and League together. In 1916, with Jinnah now president of the Muslim League, the two organisations signed the Lucknow Pact, setting quotas for Muslim and Hindu representation in the various provinces. Although the pact was never fully implemented, its signing ushered in a period of co-operation between the Congress and the League.[63][51]

During the war, Jinnah joined other Indian moderates in supporting the British war effort, hoping that Indians would be rewarded with political freedoms. Jinnah played an important role in the founding of the All India Home Rule League in 1916. Along with political leaders Annie Besant and Tilak, Jinnah demanded "home rule" for India—the status of a self-governing dominion in the Empire similar to Canada, New Zealand and Australia, although, with the war, Britain's politicians were not interested in considering Indian constitutional reform. British Cabinet minister Edwin Montagu recalled Jinnah in his memoirs, "young, perfectly mannered, impressive-looking, armed to the teeth with dialectics, and insistent on the whole of his scheme".[64]

Marriage certificate of Jinnah and Rattanbai Petit[32]

In 1918, Jinnah married his second wife Rattanbai Petit ("Ruttie"), 24 years his junior. She was the fashionable young daughter of his friend Sir Dinshaw Petit, and was part of an elite Parsi family of Bombay.[32] There was great opposition to the marriage from Rattanbai's family and the Parsi community, as well as from some Muslim religious leaders. Rattanbai defied her family and nominally converted to Islam, adopting (though never using) the name Maryam Jinnah, resulting in a permanent estrangement from her family and Parsi society. The couple resided at South Court Mansion in Bombay, and frequently travelled across India and Europe. The couple's only child, daughter Dina, was born on 15 August 1919.[32] The couple separated prior to Ruttie's death in 1929, and subsequently Jinnah's sister Fatima looked after him and his child.[65]

Relations between Indians and British were strained in 1919 when the Imperial Legislative Council extended emergency wartime restrictions on civil liberties; Jinnah resigned from it when it did. There was unrest across India, which worsened after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, in which British troops fired upon a protest meeting, killing hundreds. In the wake of Amritsar, Gandhi, who had returned to India and become a widely respected leader and highly influential in the Congress, called for satyagraha against the British. Gandhi's proposal gained broad Hindu support, and was also attractive to many Muslims of the Khilafat faction. These Muslims, supported by Gandhi, sought retention of the Ottoman caliphate, which supplied spiritual leadership to many Muslims. The caliph was the Ottoman Emperor, who would be deprived of both offices following his nation's defeat in the First World War. Gandhi had achieved considerable popularity among Muslims because of his work during the war on behalf of killed or imprisoned Muslims.[66][67][68] Unlike Jinnah and other leaders of the Congress, Gandhi did not wear western-style clothing, did his best to use an Indian language instead of English, and was deeply rooted in Indian culture. Gandhi's local style of leadership gained great popularity with the Indian people. Jinnah criticised Gandhi's Khilafat advocacy, which he saw as an endorsement of religious zealotry.[69] Jinnah regarded Gandhi's proposed satyagraha campaign as political anarchy, and believed that self-government should be secured through constitutional means. He opposed Gandhi, but the tide of Indian opinion was against him. At the 1920 session of the Congress in Nagpur, Jinnah was shouted down by the delegates, who passed Gandhi's proposal, pledging satyagraha until India was independent. Jinnah did not attend the subsequent League meeting, held in the same city, which passed a similar resolution. Because of the action of the Congress in endorsing Gandhi's campaign, Jinnah resigned from it, leaving all positions except in the Muslim League.[70][71]

Wilderness years; interlude in England

Jinnah's passport

The alliance between Gandhi and the Khilafat faction did not last long, and the campaign of resistance proved less effective than hoped, as India's institutions continued to function. Jinnah sought alternative political ideas, and contemplated organising a new political party as a rival to the Congress. In September 1923, Jinnah was elected as Muslim member for Bombay in the new Central Legislative Assembly. He showed much skill as a parliamentarian, organising many Indian members to work with the Swaraj Party, and continued to press demands for full responsible government. In 1925, as recognition for his legislative activities, he was offered a knighthood by Lord Reading, who was retiring from the Viceroyalty. He replied: "I prefer to be plain Mr Jinnah."[72]

In 1927, the British Government, under Conservative Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, undertook a decennial review of Indian policy mandated by the Government of India Act 1919. The review began two years early as Baldwin feared he would lose the next election (which he did, in 1929). The Cabinet was influenced by minister Winston Churchill, who strongly opposed self-government for India, and members hoped that by having the commission appointed early, the policies for India which they favoured would survive their government. The resulting commission, led by Liberal MP John Simon, though with a majority of Conservatives, arrived in India in March 1928.[73] They were met with a boycott by India's leaders, Muslim and Hindu alike, angered at the British refusal to include their representatives on the commission. A minority of Muslims, though, withdrew from the League, choosing to welcome the Simon Commission and repudiating Jinnah. Most members of the League's executive council remained loyal to Jinnah, attending the League meeting in December 1927 and January 1928 which confirmed him as the League's permanent president. At that session, Jinnah told the delegates that "A constitutional war has been declared on Great Britain. Negotiations for a settlement are not to come from our side ... By appointing an exclusively white Commission, [Secretary of State for India] Lord Birkenhead has declared our unfitness for self-government."[74]

Birkenhead in 1928 challenged Indians to come up with their own proposal for constitutional change for India; in response, the Congress convened a committee under the leadership of Motilal Nehru.[1] The Nehru Report favoured constituencies based on geography on the ground that being dependent on each other for election would bind the communities closer together. Jinnah, though he believed separate electorates, based on religion, necessary to ensure Muslims had a voice in the government, was willing to compromise on this point, but talks between the two parties failed. He put forth proposals that he hoped might satisfy a broad range of Muslims and reunite the League, calling for mandatory representation for Muslims in legislatures and cabinets. These became known as his Fourteen Points. He could not secure adoption of the Fourteen Points, as the League meeting in Delhi at which he hoped to gain a vote instead dissolved into chaotic argument.[75]

After Baldwin was defeated at the 1929 British parliamentary election, Ramsay MacDonald of the Labour Party became prime minister. MacDonald desired a conference of Indian and British leaders in London to discuss India's future, a course of action supported by Jinnah. Three Round Table Conferences followed over as many years, none of which resulted in a settlement. Jinnah was a delegate to the first two conferences, but was not invited to the last.[76] He remained in Britain for most of the period 1930 through 1934, practising as a barrister before the Privy Council, where he dealt with a number of India-related cases. His biographers disagree over why he remained so long in Britain—Wolpert asserts that had Jinnah been made a Law Lord, he would have stayed for life, and that Jinnah alternatively sought a parliamentary seat.[77][78] Early biographer Hector Bolitho denied that Jinnah sought to enter the British Parliament,[77] while Jaswant Singh deems Jinnah's time in Britain as a break or sabbatical from the Indian struggle.[79] Bolitho called this period "Jinnah's years of order and contemplation, wedged in between the time of early struggle, and the final storm of conquest".[80]

In 1931, Fatima Jinnah joined her brother in England. From then on, Muhammad Jinnah would receive personal care and support from her as he aged and began to suffer from the lung ailments which would kill him. She lived and travelled with him, and became a close advisor. Muhammad Jinnah's daughter, Dina, was educated in England and India. Jinnah later became estranged from Dina after she decided to marry a Christian, Neville Wadia from a prominent Parsi business family.[81] When Jinnah urged Dina to marry a Muslim, she reminded him that he had married a woman not raised in his faith. Jinnah continued to correspond cordially with his daughter, but their personal relationship was strained, and she did not come to Pakistan in his lifetime, but only for his funeral.[82][83]

Return to politics

The early 1930s saw a resurgence in Indian Muslim nationalism, which came to a head with the Pakistan Declaration. In 1933, Indian Muslims, especially from the United Provinces, began to urge Jinnah to return and take up again his leadership of the Muslim League, an organisation which had fallen into inactivity.[84] He remained titular president of the League,[c] but declined to travel to India to preside over its 1933 session in April, writing that he could not possibly return there until the end of the year.[85]

Among those who met with Jinnah to seek his return was Liaquat Ali Khan, who would be a major political associate of Jinnah in the years to come and the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. At Jinnah's request, Liaquat discussed the return with a large number of Muslim politicians and confirmed his recommendation to Jinnah.[86][87] In early 1934, Jinnah relocated to the subcontinent, though he shuttled between London and India on business for the next few years, selling his house in Hampstead and closing his legal practice in Britain.[88][89]

Muslims of Bombay elected Jinnah, though then absent in London, as their representative to the Central Legislative Assembly in October 1934.[90][91] The British Parliament's Government of India Act 1935 gave considerable power to India's provinces, with a weak central parliament in New Delhi, which had no authority over such matters as foreign policy, defence, and much of the budget. Full power remained in the hands of the Viceroy, however, who could dissolve legislatures and rule by decree. The League reluctantly accepted the scheme, though expressing reservations about the weak parliament. The Congress was much better prepared for the provincial elections in 1937, and the League failed to win a majority even of the Muslim seats in any of the provinces where members of that faith held a majority. It did win a majority of the Muslim seats in Delhi, but could not form a government anywhere, though it was part of the ruling coalition in Bengal. The Congress and its allies formed the government even in the North-West Frontier Province (N.W.F.P.), where the League won no seats despite the fact that almost all residents were Muslim.[92]

Jinnah (front, left) with the Working Committee of the Muslim League after a meeting in Lucknow, October 1937

According to Jaswant Singh, "the events of 1937 had a tremendous, almost a traumatic effect upon Jinnah".[93] Despite his beliefs of twenty years that Muslims could protect their rights in a united India through separate electorates, provincial boundaries drawn to preserve Muslim majorities, and by other protections of minority rights, Muslim voters had failed to unite, with the issues Jinnah hoped to bring forward lost amid factional fighting.[93][94] Singh notes the effect of the 1937 elections on Muslim political opinion, "when the Congress formed a government with almost all of the Muslim MLAs sitting on the Opposition benches, non-Congress Muslims were suddenly faced with this stark reality of near-total political powerlessness. It was brought home to them, like a bolt of lightning, that even if the Congress did not win a single Muslim seat ... as long as it won an absolute majority in the House, on the strength of the general seats, it could and would form a government entirely on its own ..."[95]

In the next two years, Jinnah worked to build support among Muslims for the League. He secured the right to speak for the Muslim-led Bengali and Punjabi provincial governments in the central government in New Delhi ("the centre"). He worked to expand the League, reducing the cost of membership to two annas (⅛ of a rupee), half of what it cost to join the Congress. He restructured the League along the lines of the Congress, putting most power in a Working Committee, which he appointed.[96] By December 1939, Liaquat estimated that the League had three million two-anna members.[97]

Struggle for Pakistan

Main article: Pakistan Movement

Background to independence

Jinnah addresses the Muslim League session at Patna, 1938

Until the late 1930s, most Muslims of the British Raj expected, upon independence, to be part of a unitary state encompassing all of British India, as did the Hindus and others who advocated self-government.[98] Despite this, other nationalist proposals were being made. In a speech given at Allahabad to a League session in 1930, Sir Muhammad Iqbal called for a state for Muslims in British India. Choudhary Rahmat Ali published a pamphlet in 1933 advocating a state "Pakistan" in the Indus Valley, with other names given to Muslim-majority areas elsewhere in India.[99] Jinnah and Iqbal corresponded in 1936 and 1937; in subsequent years, Jinnah credited Iqbal as his mentor, and used Iqbal's imagery and rhetoric in his speeches.[100]

Although many leaders of the Congress sought a strong central government for an Indian state, some Muslim politicians, including Jinnah, were unwilling to accept this without powerful protections for their community.[98] Other Muslims supported the Congress, which officially advocated a secular state upon independence, though the traditionalist wing (including politicians such as Madan Mohan Malaviya and Vallabhbhai Patel) believed that an independent India should enact laws such as banning the killing of cows and making Hindi a national language. The failure of the Congress leadership to disavow Hindu communalists worried Congress-supporting Muslims. Nevertheless, the Congress enjoyed considerable Muslim support up to about 1937.[101]

Events which separated the communities included the failed attempt to form a coalition government including the Congress and the League in the United Provinces following the 1937 election.[102] According to historian Ian Talbot, "The provincial Congress governments made no effort to understand and respect their Muslim populations' cultural and religious sensibilities. The Muslim League's claims that it alone could safeguard Muslim interests thus received a major boost. Significantly it was only after this period of Congress rule that it [the League] took up the demand for a Pakistan state ..."[91]

Balraj Puri in his journal article about Jinnah suggests that the Muslim League president, after the 1937 vote, turned to the idea of partition in "sheer desperation".[103] Historian Akbar S. Ahmed suggests that Jinnah abandoned hope of reconciliation with the Congress as he "rediscover[ed] his own Islamic roots, his own sense of identity, of culture and history, which would come increasingly to the fore in the final years of his life".[21] Jinnah also increasingly adopted Muslim dress in the late 1930s.[104] In the wake of the 1937 balloting, Jinnah demanded that the question of power sharing be settled on an all-India basis, and that he, as president of the League, be accepted as the sole spokesman for the Muslim community.[105]

Iqbal's influence on Jinnah

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.

-- Muhammad Iqbal, 1938[106]

The well documented influence of Iqbal on Jinnah, with regard to taking the lead in creating Pakistan, has been described as "significant", "powerful" and even "unquestionable" by scholars.[107][108][109] Iqbal has also been cited as an influential force in convincing Jinnah to end his self-imposed exile in London and re-enter the politics of India.[110] Initially, however, Iqbal and Jinnah were opponents, as Iqbal believed Jinnah did not care about the crises confronting the Muslim community during the British Raj. According to Akbar S. Ahmed, this began to change during Iqbal's final years prior to his death in 1938. Iqbal gradually succeeded in converting Jinnah over to his view, who eventually accepted Iqbal as his "mentor". Ahmed comments that in his annotations to Iqbal's letters, Jinnah expressed solidarity with Iqbal's view: that Indian Muslims required a separate homeland.[111]

Iqbal's influence also gave Jinnah a deeper appreciation for Muslim identity.[112] The evidence of this influence began to be revealed from 1937 onwards. Jinnah not only began to echo Iqbal in his speeches, he started using Islamic symbolism and began directing his addresses to the underprivileged. Ahmed noted a change in Jinnah's words: while he still advocated freedom of religion and protection of the minorities, the model he was now aspiring to was that of the Prophet Muhammad, rather than that of a secular politician. Ahmed further avers that those scholars who have painted the later Jinnah as secular have misread his speeches which, he argues, must be read in the context of Islamic history and culture. Accordingly, Jinnah's imagery of the Pakistan began to become clear that it was to have an Islamic nature. This change has been seen to last for the rest of Jinnah's life. He continued to borrow ideas "directly from Iqbal—including his thoughts on Muslim unity, on Islamic ideals of liberty, justice and equality, on economics, and even on practices such as prayers".[113][114]

In a speech in 1940, two years after the death of Iqbal, Jinnah expressed his preference for implementing Iqbal's vision for an Islamic Pakistan even if it meant he himself would never lead a nation. Jinnah stated, "If I live to see the ideal of a Muslim state being achieved in India, and I was then offered to make a choice between the works of Iqbal and the rulership of the Muslim state, I would prefer the former."[115]

Second World War and Lahore Resolution

Main article: Lahore Resolution

The leaders of the Muslim League, 1940. Jinnah is seated at centre.

On 3 September 1939, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced the commencement of war with Nazi Germany.[116] The following day, the Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, without consulting Indian political leaders, announced that India had entered the war along with Britain. There were widespread protests in India. After meeting with Jinnah and with Gandhi, Linlithgow announced that negotiations on self-government were suspended for the duration of the war.[117] The Congress on 14 September demanded immediate independence with a constituent assembly to decide a constitution; when this was refused, its eight provincial governments resigned on 10 November and governors in those provinces thereafter ruled by decree for the remainder of the war. Jinnah, on the other hand, was more willing to accommodate the British, and they in turn increasingly recognised him and the League as the representatives of India's Muslims.[118] Jinnah later stated, "after the war began, ... I was treated on the same basis as Mr Gandhi. I was wonderstruck why I was promoted and given a place side by side with Mr Gandhi."[119] Although the League did not actively support the British war effort, neither did they try to obstruct it.[120]

Jinnah and Gandhi arguing in 1939

With the British and Muslims to some extent co-operating, the Viceroy asked Jinnah for an expression of the Muslim League's position on self-government, confident that it would differ greatly from that of the Congress. To come up with such a position, the League's Working Committee met for four days in February 1940 to set out terms of reference to a constitutional sub-committee. The Working Committee asked that the sub-committee return with a proposal that would result in "independent dominions in direct relationship with Great Britain" where Muslims were dominant.[121] On 6 February, Jinnah informed the Viceroy that the Muslim League would be demanding partition instead of the federation contemplated in the 1935 Act. The Lahore Resolution (sometimes called the "Pakistan Resolution", although it does not contain that name), based on the sub-committee's work, embraced the Two-Nation Theory and called for a union of the Muslim-majority provinces in the northwest of British India, with complete autonomy. Similar rights were to be granted to the Muslim-majority areas in the east, and unspecified protections given to Muslim minorities in other provinces. The resolution was passed by the League session in Lahore on 23 March 1940.[122][123]

Jinnah makes a speech in New Delhi, 1943

Gandhi's reaction to the Lahore Resolution was muted; he called it "baffling", but told his disciples that Muslims, in common with other people of India, had the right to self-determination. Leaders of the Congress were more vocal; Jawaharlal Nehru referred to Lahore as "Jinnah's fantastic proposals" while Chakravarti Rajagopalachari deemed Jinnah's views on partition "a sign of a diseased mentality".[124] Linlithgow met with Jinnah in June 1940,[125] soon after Winston Churchill became the British prime minister, and in August offered both the Congress and the League a deal whereby in exchange for full support for the war, Linlithgow would allow Indian representation on his major war councils. The Viceroy promised a representative body after the war to determine India's future, and that no future settlement would be imposed over the objections of a large part of the population. This was satisfactory to neither the Congress nor the League, though Jinnah was pleased that the British had moved towards recognising Jinnah as the representative of the Muslim community's interests.[126] Jinnah was reluctant to make specific proposals as to the boundaries of Pakistan, or its relationships with Britain and with the rest of the subcontinent, fearing that any precise plan would divide the League.[127]

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 brought the United States into the war. In the following months, the Japanese advanced in Southeast Asia, and the British Cabinet sent a mission led by Sir Stafford Cripps to try to conciliate the Indians and cause them to fully back the war. Cripps proposed giving some provinces what was dubbed the "local option" to remain outside of an Indian central government either for a period of time or permanently, to become dominions on their own or be part of another confederation. The Muslim League was far from certain of winning the legislative votes that would be required for mixed provinces such as Bengal and Punjab to secede, and Jinnah rejected the proposals as not sufficiently recognising Pakistan's right to exist. The Congress also rejected the Cripps plan, demanding immediate concessions which Cripps was not prepared to give.[128][129] Despite the rejection, Jinnah and the League saw the Cripps proposal as recognising Pakistan in principle.[130]

Jinnah with Mahatma Gandhi in Bombay, 1944

The Congress followed the failed Cripps mission by demanding, in August 1942, that the British immediately "Quit India", proclaiming a mass campaign of satyagraha until they did. The British promptly arrested most major leaders of the Congress and imprisoned them for the remainder of the war. Gandhi, however, was placed on house arrest in one of the Aga Khan's palaces prior to his release for health reasons in 1944. With the Congress leaders absent from the political scene, Jinnah warned against the threat of Hindu domination and maintained his Pakistan demand without going into great detail about what that would entail. Jinnah also worked to increase the League's political control at the provincial level.[131][132] He helped to found the newspaper Dawn in the early 1940s in Delhi; it helped to spread the League's message and eventually became the major English-language newspaper of Pakistan.[133]

In September 1944, Jinnah and Gandhi, who had by then been released from his palatial prison, met formally at the Muslim leader's home on Malabar Hill in Bombay. Two weeks of talks followed between them, which resulted in no agreement. Jinnah insisted on Pakistan being conceded prior to the British departure and to come into being immediately, while Gandhi proposed that plebiscites on partition occur sometime after a united India gained its independence.[134] In early 1945, Liaquat and the Congress leader Bhulabhai Desai met, with Jinnah's approval, and agreed that after the war, the Congress and the League should form an interim government with the members of the Executive Council of the Viceroy to be nominated by the Congress and the League in equal numbers. When the Congress leadership were released from prison in June 1945, they repudiated the agreement and censured Desai for acting without proper authority.[135]


Field Marshal Viscount Wavell succeeded Linlithgow as Viceroy in 1943. In June 1945, following the release of the Congress leaders, Wavell called for a conference, and invited the leading figures from the various communities to meet with him at Simla. He proposed a temporary government along the lines which Liaquat and Desai had agreed. However, Wavell was unwilling to guarantee that only the League's candidates would be placed in the seats reserved for Muslims. All other invited groups submitted lists of candidates to the Viceroy. Wavell cut the conference short in mid-July without further seeking an agreement; with a British general election imminent, Churchill's government did not feel it could proceed.[136]

The British people returned Clement Attlee and his Labour Party later in July. Attlee and his Secretary of State for India, Lord Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, immediately ordered a review of the Indian situation.[137] Jinnah had no comment on the change of government, but called a meeting of his Working Committee and issued a statement calling for new elections in India. The League held influence at the provincial level in the Muslim-majority states mostly by alliance, and Jinnah believed that, given the opportunity, the League would improve its electoral standing and lend added support to his claim to be the sole spokesman for the Muslims. Wavell returned to India in September after consultation with his new masters in London; elections, both for the centre and for the provinces, were announced soon after. The British indicated that formation of a constitution-making body would follow the votes.[138]

The Muslim League declared that they would campaign on a single issue: Pakistan.[139] Speaking in Ahmedabad, Jinnah echoed this, "Pakistan is a matter of life or death for us."[140] In the December 1945 elections for the Constituent Assembly of India, the League won every seat reserved for Muslims. In the provincial elections in January 1946, the League took 75% of the Muslim vote, an increase from 4.4% in 1937.[141] According to his biographer Bolitho, "This was Jinnah's glorious hour: his arduous political campaigns, his robust beliefs and claims, were at last justified."[142] Wolpert wrote that the League election showing "appeared to prove the universal appeal of Pakistan among Muslims of the subcontinent".[143] The Congress dominated the central assembly nevertheless, though it lost four seats from its previous strength.[143]

In February 1946, the British Cabinet resolved to send a delegation to India to negotiate with leaders there. This Cabinet Mission included Cripps and Pethick-Lawrence. The highest-level delegation to try to break the deadlock, it arrived in New Delhi in late March. Little negotiation had been done since the previous October because of the elections in India.[144] The British in May released a plan for a united Indian state comprising substantially autonomous provinces, and called for "groups" of provinces formed on the basis of religion. Matters such as defence, external relations and communications would be handled by a central authority. Provinces would have the option of leaving the union entirely, and there would be an interim government with representation from the Congress and the League. Jinnah and his Working Committee accepted this plan in June, but it fell apart over the question of how many members of the interim government the Congress and the League would have, and over the Congress's desire to include a Muslim member in its representation. Before leaving India, the British ministers stated that they intended to inaugurate an interim government even if one of the major groups was unwilling to participate.[145]

Nehru (left) and Jinnah walk together at Simla, 1946

The Congress soon joined the new Indian ministry. The League was slower to do so, not entering until October 1946. In agreeing to have the League join the government, Jinnah abandoned his demands for parity with the Congress and a veto on matters concerning Muslims. The new ministry met amid a backdrop of rioting, especially in Calcutta.[146] The Congress wanted the Viceroy to immediately summon the constituent assembly and begin the work of writing a constitution and felt that the League ministers should either join in the request or resign from the government. Wavell attempted to save the situation by flying leaders such as Jinnah, Liaquat, and Jawaharlal Nehru to London in December 1946. At the end of the talks, participants issued a statement that the constitution would not be forced on any unwilling parts of India.[147] On the way back from London, Jinnah and Liaquat stopped in Cairo for several days of pan-Islamic meetings.[148]

The Congress endorsed the joint statement from the London conference over the angry dissent from some elements. The League refused to do so, and took no part in the constitutional discussions.[147] Jinnah had been willing to consider some continued links to Hindustan (as the Hindu-majority state which would be formed on partition was sometimes referred to), such as a joint military or communications. However, by December 1946, he insisted on a fully sovereign Pakistan with dominion status.[149]

Following the failure of the London trip, Jinnah was in no hurry to reach an agreement, considering that time would allow him to gain the undivided provinces of Bengal and Punjab for Pakistan, but these wealthy, populous provinces had sizeable non-Muslim minorities, complicating a settlement.[150] The Attlee ministry desired a rapid British departure from the subcontinent, but had little confidence in Wavell to achieve that end. Beginning in December 1946, British officials began looking for a viceregal successor to Wavell, and soon fixed on Admiral Lord Mountbatten of Burma, a war leader popular among Conservatives as the great-grandson of Queen Victoria and among Labour for his political views.[148]
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Mountbatten and independence

Main article: Partition of India

On 20 February 1947, Attlee announced Mountbatten's appointment, and that Britain would transfer power in India not later than June 1948.[151] Mountbatten took office as Viceroy on 24 March 1947, two days after his arrival in India.[152] By then, the Congress had come around to the idea of partition. Nehru stated in 1960, "the truth is that we were tired men and we were getting on in years ... The plan for partition offered a way out and we took it."[153] Leaders of the Congress decided that having loosely tied Muslim-majority provinces as part of a future India was not worth the loss of the powerful government at the centre which they desired.[154] However, the Congress insisted that if Pakistan were to become independent, Bengal and Punjab would have to be divided.[155]

Lord Louis Mountbatten and his wife Edwina Mountbatten with Jinnah in 1947

Mountbatten had been warned in his briefing papers that Jinnah would be his "toughest customer" who had proved a chronic nuisance because "no one in this country [India] had so far gotten into Jinnah's mind".[156] The men met over six days beginning on 5 April. The sessions began lightly when Jinnah, photographed between Louis and Edwina Mountbatten, quipped "A rose between two thorns" which the Viceroy took, perhaps gratuitously, as evidence that the Muslim leader had pre-planned his joke but had expected the vicereine to stand in the middle.[157] Mountbatten was not favourably impressed with Jinnah, repeatedly expressing frustration to his staff about Jinnah's insistence on Pakistan in the face of all argument.[158]

Jinnah feared that at the end of the British presence in the subcontinent, they would turn control over to the Congress-dominated constituent assembly, putting Muslims at a disadvantage in attempting to win autonomy. He demanded that Mountbatten divide the army prior to independence, which would take at least a year. Mountbatten had hoped that the post-independence arrangements would include a common defence force, but Jinnah saw it as essential that a sovereign state should have its own forces. Mountbatten met with Liaquat the day of his final session with Jinnah, and concluded, as he told Attlee and the Cabinet in May, that "it had become clear that the Muslim League would resort to arms if Pakistan in some form were not conceded."[159][160] The Viceroy was also influenced by negative Muslim reaction to the constitutional report of the assembly, which envisioned broad powers for the post-independence central government.[161]

On 2 June, the final plan was given by the Viceroy to Indian leaders: on 15 August, the British would turn over power to two dominions. The provinces would vote on whether to continue in the existing constituent assembly or to have a new one, that is, to join Pakistan. Bengal and Punjab would also vote, both on the question of which assembly to join, and on the partition. A boundary commission would determine the final lines in the partitioned provinces. Plebiscites would take place in the North-West Frontier Province (which did not have a League government despite an overwhelmingly Muslim population), and in the majority-Muslim Sylhet district of Assam, adjacent to eastern Bengal. On 3 June, Mountbatten, Nehru, Jinnah and Sikh leader Baldev Singh made the formal announcement by radio.[162][163][164] Jinnah concluded his address with "Pakistan Zindabad " (Long live Pakistan), which was not in the script.[165] In the weeks which followed Punjab and Bengal cast the votes which resulted in partition. Sylhet and the N.W.F.P. voted to cast their lots with Pakistan, a decision joined by the assemblies in Sind and Baluchistan.[164]

On 4 July 1947, Liaquat asked Mountbatten on Jinnah's behalf to recommend to the British king, George VI, that Jinnah be appointed Pakistan's first governor-general. This request angered Mountbatten, who had hoped to have that position in both dominions—he would be India's first post-independence governor-general—but Jinnah felt that Mountbatten would be likely to favour the new Hindu-majority state because of his closeness to Nehru. In addition, the governor-general would initially be a powerful figure, and Jinnah did not trust anyone else to take that office. Although the Boundary Commission, led by British lawyer Sir Cyril Radcliffe, had not yet reported, there were already massive movements of populations between the nations-to-be, as well as sectarian violence. Jinnah arranged to sell his house in Bombay and procured a new one in Karachi. On 7 August, Jinnah, with his sister and close staff, flew from Delhi to Karachi in Mountbatten's plane, and as the plane taxied, he was heard to murmur, "That's the end of that."[166][167][168] On 11 August, he presided over the new constituent assembly for Pakistan at Karachi, and addressed them, "You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan ... You may belong to any religion or caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the State ... I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State."[169] On 14 August, Pakistan became independent; Jinnah led the celebrations in Karachi. One observer wrote, "here indeed is Pakistan's King Emperor, Archbishop of Canterbury, Speaker and Prime Minister concentrated into one formidable Quaid-e-Azam."[170]


Jinnah announcing the creation of Pakistan over All India Radio on 3 June 1947

The Radcliffe Commission, dividing Bengal and Punjab, completed its work and reported to Mountbatten on 12 August; the last Viceroy held the maps until the 17th, not wanting to spoil the independence celebrations in both nations. There had already been ethnically charged violence and movement of populations; publication of the Radcliffe Line dividing the new nations sparked mass migration, murder, and ethnic cleansing. Many on the "wrong side" of the lines fled or were murdered, or murdered others, hoping to make facts on the ground which would reverse the commission's verdict. Radcliffe wrote in his report that he knew that neither side would be happy with his award; he declined his fee for the work.[171] Christopher Beaumont, Radcliffe's private secretary, later wrote that Mountbatten "must take the blame—though not the sole blame—for the massacres in the Punjab in which between 500,000 to a million men, women and children perished".[172] As many as 14,500,000 people relocated between India and Pakistan during and after partition.[172] Jinnah did what he could for the eight million people who migrated to Pakistan; although by now over 70 and frail from lung ailments, he travelled across West Pakistan and personally supervised the provision of aid.[173] According to Ahmed, "What Pakistan needed desperately in those early months was a symbol of the state, one that would unify people and give them the courage and resolve to succeed."[174]

Among the restive regions of the new nation was the North-West Frontier Province. The referendum there in July 1947 had been tainted by low turnout as less than 10 percent of the population were allowed to vote.[175] On 22 August 1947, just after a week of becoming governor general, Jinnah dissolved the elected government of Dr. Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan.[176] Later on, Abdul Qayyum Khan was put in place by Jinnah in the Pashtun-dominated province despite him being a Kashmiri.[177] On 12 August 1948 the Babrra massacre in Charsadda occurred resulting in the death of 400 people aligned with the Khudai Khidmatgar movement.[178]

Along with Liaquat and Abdur Rab Nishtar, Jinnah represented Pakistan's interests in the Division Council to appropriately divide public assets between India and Pakistan.[179] Pakistan was supposed to receive one-sixth of the pre-independence government's assets, carefully divided by agreement, even specifying how many sheets of paper each side would receive. The new Indian state, however, was slow to deliver, hoping for the collapse of the nascent Pakistani government, and reunion. Few members of the Indian Civil Service and the Indian Police Service had chosen Pakistan, resulting in staff shortages. Partition meant that for some farmers, the markets to sell their crops were on the other side of an international border. There were shortages of machinery, not all of which was made in Pakistan. In addition to the massive refugee problem, the new government sought to save abandoned crops, establish security in a chaotic situation, and provide basic services. According to economist Yasmeen Niaz Mohiuddin in her study of Pakistan, "although Pakistan was born in bloodshed and turmoil, it survived in the initial and difficult months after partition only because of the tremendous sacrifices made by its people and the selfless efforts of its great leader."[180]

Jinnah speaking at the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 14 August 1947

The Indian Princely States were advised by the departing British to choose whether to join Pakistan or India. Most did so prior to independence, but the holdouts contributed to what have become lasting divisions between the two nations.[181] Indian leaders were angered at Jinnah's attempts to convince the princes of Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bhopal and Indore to accede to Pakistan—the latter three princely states did not border Pakistan. Jodhpur bordered it and had both a Hindu majority population and a Hindu ruler.[182] The coastal princely state of Junagadh, which had a majority-Hindu population, did accede to Pakistan in September 1947, with its ruler's dewan, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, personally delivering the accession papers to Jinnah. But the two states that were subject to the suzerainty of Junagadh—Mangrol and Babariawad—declared their independence from Junagadh and acceded to India. In response, the nawab of Junagadh militarily occupied the two states. Subsequently, the Indian army occupied the principality in November,[183] forcing its former leaders, including Bhutto, to flee to Pakistan, beginning the politically powerful Bhutto family.[184]

The most contentious of the disputes was, and continues to be, that over the princely state of Kashmir. It had a Muslim-majority population and a Hindu maharaja, Sir Hari Singh, who stalled his decision on which nation to join. With the population in revolt in October 1947, aided by Pakistani irregulars, the maharaja acceded to India; Indian troops were airlifted in. Jinnah objected to this action, and ordered that Pakistani troops move into Kashmir. The Pakistani Army was still commanded by British officers, and the commanding officer, General Sir Douglas Gracey, refused the order, stating that he would not move into what he considered the territory of another nation without approval from higher authority, which was not forthcoming. Jinnah withdrew the order. This did not stop the violence there, which broke into Indo-Pakistani War of 1947.[181][185]

Some historians allege that Jinnah's courting the rulers of Hindu-majority states and his gambit with Junagadh are evidence of ill-intent towards India, as Jinnah had promoted separation by religion, yet tried to gain the accession of Hindu-majority states.[186] In his book Patel: A Life, Rajmohan Gandhi asserts that Jinnah hoped for a plebiscite in Junagadh, knowing Pakistan would lose, in the hope the principle would be established for Kashmir.[187] However, when Mountbatten proposed to Jinnah that, in all the princely States where the ruler did not accede to a Dominion corresponding to the majority population (which would have included Junagadh, Hyderabad and Kashmir), the accession should be decided by an 'impartial reference to the will of the people', Jinnah rejected the offer.[188][189][190] Despite the United Nations Security Council Resolution 47, issued at India's request for a plebiscite in Kashmir after the withdrawal of Pakistani forces, this has never occurred.[185]

In January 1948, the Indian government finally agreed to pay Pakistan its share of British India's assets. They were impelled by Gandhi, who threatened a fast until death. Only days later, on 30 January, Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, who believed that Gandhi was pro-Muslim. After hearing about Gandhi's murder on the following day, Jinnah publicly made a brief statement of condolence, calling Gandhi "one of the greatest men produced by the Hindu community".[191]

In February 1948, in a radio talk broadcast addressed to the people of the US,[192] Jinnah expressed his views regarding Pakistan's constitution to be in the following way:

The Constitution of Pakistan is yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly, I do not know what the ultimate shape of the constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam. Today these are as applicable in actual life as these were 1300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fair play to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan.

In March, Jinnah, despite his declining health, made his only post-independence visit to East Pakistan. In a speech before a crowd estimated at 300,000, Jinnah stated (in English) that Urdu alone should be the national language, believing a single language was needed for a nation to remain united. The Bengali-speaking people of East Pakistan strongly opposed this policy, and in 1971 the official language issue was a factor in the region's secession to form the country of Bangladesh.[193]

Illness and death

Jinnah spent many of the last days of his life at Quaid-e-Azam Residency, Ziarat, Pakistan.

From the 1930s, Jinnah suffered from tuberculosis; only his sister and a few others close to him were aware of his condition. Jinnah believed public knowledge of his lung ailments would hurt him politically. In a 1938 letter, he wrote to a supporter that "you must have read in the papers how during my tours ... I suffered, which was not because there was anything wrong with me, but the irregularities [of the schedule] and over-strain told upon my health".[194][195] Many years later, Mountbatten stated that if he had known Jinnah was so physically ill, he would have stalled, hoping Jinnah's death would avert partition.[196] Fatima Jinnah later wrote, "even in his hour of triumph, the Quaid-e-Azam was gravely ill ... He worked in a frenzy to consolidate Pakistan. And, of course, he totally neglected his health ..."[197] Jinnah worked with a tin of Craven "A" cigarettes at his desk, of which he had smoked 50 or more a day for the previous 30 years, as well as a box of Cuban cigars. As his health got worse, he took longer and longer rest breaks in the private wing of Government House in Karachi, where only he, Fatima and the servants were allowed.[198]

In June 1948, he and Fatima flew to Quetta, in the mountains of Balochistan, where the weather was cooler than in Karachi. He could not completely rest there, addressing the officers at the Command and Staff College saying, "you, along with the other Forces of Pakistan, are the custodians of the life, property and honour of the people of Pakistan."[199] He returned to Karachi for 1 July opening ceremony for the State Bank of Pakistan, at which he spoke. A reception by the Canadian trade commissioner that evening in honour of Dominion Day was the last public event he attended.[200]

Jinnah and his sister Fatima Jinnah's wax statues at the museum in the Pakistan Monument, Islamabad

On 6 July 1948, Jinnah returned to Quetta, but at the advice of doctors, soon journeyed to an even higher retreat at Ziarat. Jinnah had always been reluctant to undergo medical treatment, but realising his condition was getting worse, the Pakistani government sent the best doctors it could find to treat him. Tests confirmed tuberculosis, and also showed evidence of advanced lung cancer. He was treated with the new "miracle drug" of streptomycin, but it did not help. Jinnah's condition continued to deteriorate despite the Eid prayers of his people. He was moved to the lower altitude of Quetta on 13 August, the eve of Independence Day, for which a ghost-written statement for him was released. Despite an increase in appetite (he then weighed just over 36 kilograms or 79 pounds), it was clear to his doctors that if he was to return to Karachi in life, he would have to do so very soon. Jinnah, however, was reluctant to go, not wishing his aides to see him as an invalid on a stretcher.[201]

By 9 September, Jinnah had also developed pneumonia. Doctors urged him to return to Karachi, where he could receive better care, and with his agreement, he was flown there on the morning of 11 September. Dr. Ilahi Bux, his personal physician, believed that Jinnah's change of mind was caused by foreknowledge of death. The plane landed at Karachi that afternoon, to be met by Jinnah's limousine, and an ambulance into which Jinnah's stretcher was placed. The ambulance broke down on the road into town, and the Governor-General and those with him waited for another to arrive; he could not be placed in the car as he could not sit up. They waited by the roadside in oppressive heat as trucks and buses passed by, unsuitable for transporting the dying man and with their occupants not knowing of Jinnah's presence. After an hour, the replacement ambulance came, and transported Jinnah to Government House, arriving there over two hours after the landing. Jinnah died later that night at 10:20 pm at his home in Karachi on 11 September 1948 at the age of 71, just over a year after Pakistan's creation.[1][202]

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru stated upon Jinnah's death, "How shall we judge him? I have been very angry with him often during the past years. But now there is no bitterness in my thought of him, only a great sadness for all that has been ... he succeeded in his quest and gained his objective, but at what a cost and with what a difference from what he had imagined."[203] Jinnah was buried on 12 September 1948 amid official mourning in both India and Pakistan; a million people gathered for his funeral. Indian Governor-General Rajagopalachari cancelled an official reception that day in honour of the late leader. Today, Jinnah rests in a large marble mausoleum, Mazar-e-Quaid, in Karachi.[204][205][206]


Special services and prayers were held in the Kwitang mosque of Jakarta (Indonesia) after the death of Jinnah.

In the 1965 presidential election, Fatima Jinnah, by then known as Madar-e-Millat ("Mother of the Nation"), became the presidential candidate of a coalition of political parties that opposed the rule of President Ayub Khan, but was not successful.[207]

The Jinnah House in Malabar Hill, Bombay, is in the possession of the Government of India, but the issue of its ownership has been disputed by the Government of Pakistan.[208] Jinnah had personally requested Prime Minister Nehru to preserve the house, hoping one day he could return to Bombay. There are proposals for the house to be offered to the government of Pakistan to establish a consulate in the city as a goodwill gesture, but Dina Wadia had also staked claim on the property.[208][209]

After Jinnah died, his sister Fatima asked the court to execute Jinnah's will under Shia Islamic law.[210] This subsequently became part of the argument in Pakistan about Jinnah's religious affiliation. Vali Nasr says Jinnah "was an Ismaili by birth and a Twelver Shia by confession, though not a religiously observant man."[211] In a 1970 legal challenge, Hussain Ali Ganji Walji claimed Jinnah had converted to Sunni Islam. Witness Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada stated in court that Jinnah converted to Sunni Islam in 1901 when his sisters married Sunnis. In 1970, Liaquat Ali Khan and Fatima Jinnah's joint affidavit that Jinnah was Shia was rejected. But in 1976 the court rejected Walji's claim that Jinnah was Sunni; effectively accepting him as a Shia. In 1984 a high court bench reversed the 1976 verdict and maintained that "the Quaid was definitely not a Shia", which suggested that Jinnah was Sunni.[212] According to the journalist Khaled Ahmed, Jinnah publicly had a non-sectarian stance and "was at pains to gather the Muslims of India under the banner of a general Muslim faith and not under a divisive sectarian identity." Liaquat H. Merchant, Jinnah's grandnephew, writes that "the Quaid was not a Shia; he was also not a Sunni, he was simply a Muslim".[210] An eminent lawyer who practised in the Bombay High Court until 1940 testified that Jinnah used to pray as an orthodox Sunni.[213] According to Akbar Ahmed, Jinnah became a firm Sunni Muslim by the end of his life.[10]


See also: List of things named after Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Tomb of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi

Jinnah's legacy is Pakistan. According to Mohiuddin, "He was and continues to be as highly honored in Pakistan as [first US president] George Washington is in the United States ... Pakistan owes its very existence to his drive, tenacity, and judgment ... Jinnah's importance in the creation of Pakistan was monumental and immeasurable."[214] Stanley Wolpert, giving a speech in honour of Jinnah in 1998, deemed him Pakistan's greatest leader.[215]

Statue of Jinnah at York University in Toronto

According to Jaswant Singh, "With Jinnah's death Pakistan lost its moorings. In India there will not easily arrive another Gandhi, nor in Pakistan another Jinnah."[216] Malik writes, "As long as Jinnah was alive, he could persuade and even pressure regional leaders toward greater mutual accommodation, but after his death, the lack of consensus on the distribution of political power and economic resources often turned controversial."[217] According to Mohiuddin, "Jinnah's death deprived Pakistan of a leader who could have enhanced stability and democratic governance ... The rocky road to democracy in Pakistan and the relatively smooth one in India can in some measure be ascribed to Pakistan's tragedy of losing an incorruptible and highly revered leader so soon after independence."[218]

London Blue Plaque dedicated to Jinnah

His birthday is observed as a national holiday, Quaid-e-Azam Day, in Pakistan.[219][220][221] Jinnah earned the title Quaid-e-Azam (meaning "Great Leader"). His other title is Baba-i-Qaum (Father of the Nation). The former title was reportedly given to Jinnah at first by Mian Ferozuddin Ahmed. It became an official title by effect of a resolution passed on 11 August 1947 by Liaquat Ali Khan in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. There are some sources which endorse that Gandhi gave him that title.[222] Within a few days of Pakistan's creation Jinnah's name was read in the khutba at mosques as Amir-ul-Millat, a traditional title of Muslim rulers.[213]

The civil awards of Pakistan includes a 'Order of Quaid-i-Azam'. The Jinnah Society also confers the 'Jinnah Award' annually to a person that renders outstanding and meritorious services to Pakistan and its people.[223] Jinnah is depicted on all Pakistani rupee currency, and is the namesake of many Pakistani public institutions. The former Quaid-i-Azam International Airport in Karachi, now called the Jinnah International Airport, is Pakistan's busiest. One of the largest streets in the Turkish capital Ankara, Cinnah Caddesi, is named after him, as is the Mohammad Ali Jenah Expressway in Tehran, Iran. The royalist government of Iran also released a stamp commemorating the centennial of Jinnah's birth in 1976. In Chicago, a portion of Devon Avenue was named "Mohammed Ali Jinnah Way". A section of Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, New York was also named 'Muhammad Ali Jinnah Way' in honour of the founder of Pakistan.[224] The Mazar-e-Quaid, Jinnah's mausoleum, is among Karachi's landmarks.[225] The "Jinnah Tower" in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India, was built to commemorate Jinnah.[226]

There is a considerable amount of scholarship on Jinnah which stems from Pakistan; according to Akbar S. Ahmed, it is not widely read outside the country and usually avoids even the slightest criticism of Jinnah.[227] According to Ahmed, some books published about Jinnah outside Pakistan mention that he consumed alcohol, but this is omitted from books published inside Pakistan. Ahmed suggests that depicting the Quaid drinking would weaken Jinnah's Islamic identity, and by extension, Pakistan's. Some sources allege he gave up alcohol near the end of his life.[91][228] Yahya Bakhtiar, who observed Jinnah at close quarters, concluded that Jinnah was a "very sincere, deeply committed and dedicated Mussalman."[213]

According to historian Ayesha Jalal, while there is a tendency towards hagiography in the Pakistani view of Jinnah, in India he is viewed negatively.[229] Ahmed deems Jinnah "the most maligned person in recent Indian history ... In India, many see him as the demon who divided the land."[230] Even many Indian Muslims see Jinnah negatively, blaming him for their woes as a minority in that state.[231] Some historians such as Jalal and H. M. Seervai assert that Jinnah never wanted the partition of India—it was the outcome of the Congress leaders being unwilling to share power with the Muslim League. They contend that Jinnah only used the Pakistan demand in an attempt to mobilise support to obtain significant political rights for Muslims.[232]

In judging Jinnah, we must remember what he was up against. He had against him not only the wealth and brains of the Hindus, but also nearly the whole of British officialdom, and most of the Home politicians, who made the great mistake of refusing to take Pakistan seriously. Never was his position really examined.

-- Sir Francis Mudle[233][234]

Jinnah has gained the admiration of Indian nationalist politicians such as Lal Krishna Advani, whose comments praising Jinnah caused an uproar in his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).[235] Indian politician Jaswant Singh's book Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence (2009) caused controversy in India.[236] The book was based on Jinnah's ideology and alleged that Nehru's desire for a powerful centre led to Partition.[237] Upon the book release, Singh was expelled from his membership of Bharatiya Janata Party, to which he responded that BJP is "narrow-minded" and has "limited thoughts".[238][239]

Jinnah was the central figure of the 1998 film Jinnah, which was based on Jinnah's life and his struggle for the creation of Pakistan. Christopher Lee, who portrayed Jinnah, called his performance the best of his career.[240][241] The 1954 Hector Bolitho's book Jinnah: Creator of Pakistan prompted Fatima Jinnah to release a book, titled My Brother (1987), as she thought that Bolitho's book had failed to express the political aspects of Jinnah. The book received positive reception in Pakistan. Jinnah of Pakistan (1984) by Stanley Wolpert is regarded as one of the best biographical books on Jinnah.[242]

Jinnah's portraits on the stamps of Turkmenistan and Iran

The view of Jinnah in the West has been shaped to some extent by his portrayal in Sir Richard Attenborough's 1982 film, Gandhi. The film was dedicated to Nehru and Mountbatten and was given considerable support by Nehru's daughter, the Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi. It portrays Jinnah (played by Alyque Padamsee) in an unflattering light, who seems to act out of jealousy of Gandhi. Padamsee later stated that his portrayal was not historically accurate.[243]

In a journal article on Pakistan's first governor-general, historian R. J. Moore wrote that Jinnah is universally recognised as central to the creation of Pakistan.[244] Stanley Wolpert summarises the profound effect that Jinnah had on the world:

Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.[245]

See also

• List of peace activists
• List of civil rights leaders


1. Gujarati: મહમદ અલી ઝીણાભાઇ
2. While Jinnah's birthday is celebrated as 25 December 1876, there is reason to doubt that date. Karachi did not then issue birth certificates, no record was kept by his family (birth dates being of little importance to Muslims of the time), and his school records reflect a birth date of 20 October 1875. See Bolitho, p. 3
3. Jinnah was permanent president of the League from 1919 to 1930, when the position was abolished. He was also sessional president in 1916, 1920, and from 1924 until his death in 1948. See Jalal, p. 36.


1. Singh, pp. 402–405.
2. Ahmed, p. 239.
3. "National public holidays of Pakistan in 2013". Office Holidays. Archived from the original on 22 April 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
4. "Nation celebrates Quaid-e-Azam's birthday". Pakistan Today. 25 December 2012. Archived from the original on 22 April 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
5. Qasim Abdallah Moini (20 December 2003). "Remembering the Quaid". Archived from the originalon 7 October 2008. Retrieved 3 July 2009.. "[I]t has been alleged in sections of the press that the Quaid was born not in this quarter of Karachi but in Jhirk, located in Thatta district. But most historians and biographers go along with the official line ..."
6. Wolpert, p. 4.
7. Wolpert, p. 18.
8. Walsh, Judith E. (2017). A Brief History of India. Infobase Publishing. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-4381-0825-4. son of a middle-class merchant of the Muslim Khoja community who had migrated to Sind from Gujarat.
9. Ahmed, Khaled. "Was Jinnah a Shia or a Sunni?". The Friday Times. Archived from the original on 17 November 2011.
10. Ahmed, p. 4: "Although born into a Khoja (from khwaja or 'noble') family who were disciples of the Ismaili Aga Khan, Jinnah moved towards the Sunni sect early in life. There is evidence later, given by his relatives and associates in court, to establish that he was firmly a Sunni Muslim by the end of his life (Merchant 1990)."
11. Singh, pp. 30–33.
12. Wolpert, pp. 3–5.
13. Desai, Anjali (2007). India Guide Gujarat. Indian Guide Publications. ISBN 978-0-9789517-0-2. In 1913, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the son of an affluent Gujarati merchant from Kathiawad, joined the League after leaving the Congress due to disagreements with Gandhiji.
14. Ahmed, p. 3.
15. Jinnah, Fatima, pp. 48–49.
16. Swamy 1997.
17. Ghosh 1999.
18. Malik 2006.
19. Puri, p. 34.
20. Singh, p. 54.
21. Ahmed, p. 26.
22. Sharif, Azizullah. "Karachi: Restoration of Church Mission School ordered" (Archive). Dawn. 20 February 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2014. "Taking notice of the highly dilapidated and bad condition of the Church Mission School (CMS) where Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had studied,[...]"
23. Bolitho, pp. 5–7.
24. Read, pp. 95–96.
25. Wolpert, pp. 8–9.
26. "Paintings". Lincoln's Inn. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
27. Wolpert, pp. 9–10.
28. Wolpert, pp. 12–13.
29. Singh, p. 56.
30. Asghar Ali Engineer, They Too Fought for India's Freedom: The Role of Minorities, Hope India Publications, 2006, p. 72
31. Anil Chandra Banerjee, Two Nations: The Philosophy of Muslim Nationalism, Concept Publishing Company, 1981, p. 219
32. Syed Qasim Mehmood (1998). Encyclopedia Pakistanica, p. 725. Qadir Printers, Karachi.
33. Bolitho, pp. 10–12.
34. Singh, p. 55.
35. Wolpert, p. 9.
36. Ahmed, p. 85.
37. Wolpert, pp. 14–15.
38. Bolitho, pp. 14–17.
39. Wolpert, p. 17.
40. Ahmed, pp. 4–5.
41. Ahmed, p. 212.
42. Official website, Government of Pakistan. "The Lawyer: Bombay (1896–1910)". Archived from the original on 27 January 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2006.
43. Bolitho, p. 20.
44. Wolpert, p. 29.
45. Bolitho, p. 17.
46. Wolpert, p. 19.
47. "'Pakistan's founder worked as a trade union leader'". Dawn. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
48. "Quaid backed labour struggle". Dawn. 27 October 2003. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
49. Bolitho, p. 23.
50. Cohen, pp. 18, 24.
51. Malik, p. 120.
52. Wolpert, p. 20.
53. Singh, pp. 41–42.
54. Wolpert, p. 28.
55. Wolpert, pp. 20–23.
56. Wolpert, pp. 24–26.
57. Singh, p. 47.
58. Wolpert, p. 33.
59. Singh, p. 75.
60. Official website, Government of Pakistan. "The Statesman: Jinnah's differences with the Congress". Archived from the original on 27 January 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2006.
61. Wolpert, pp. 34–35.
62. Wolpert, pp. 35–37.
63. Wolpert, pp. 38, 46–49.
64. Bolitho, pp. 61–70.
65. Ahmed, pp. 11–15.
66. Singh, pp. 90–93.
67. Wolpert, pp. 61–71.
68. Mohiuddin, p. 61.
69. Jalal, p. 8.
70. Bolitho, pp. 84–85.
71. Wolpert, pp. 71–72.
72. Wolpert, pp. 74–76, 87.
73. Singh, pp. 130–131.
74. Wolpert, pp. 89–90.
75. Wolpert, pp. 96–105.
76. Singh, p. 170.
77. Bolitho, pp. 99–100.
78. Wolpert, pp. 119–130.
79. Singh, p. 172.
80. Bolitho, p. 102.
81. Singh, Kuldip (6 August 1996). "Obituary: Neville Wadia". The Independent.
82. Bolitho, pp. 101–102.
83. Wolpert, pp. 370–371.
84. Jalal, pp. 9–13.
85. Wolpert, p. 133.
86. Bolitho, pp. 104–106.
87. Malik, p. 130.
88. Bolitho, p. 106.
89. Wolpert, p. 134.
90. Wolpert, p. 136.
91. Talbot, Ian (February 1984). "Jinnah and the Making of Pakistan". History Today. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
92. Jalal, pp. 15–34.
93. Singh, p. 188.
94. Jalal, p. 35.
95. Singh, p. 198.
96. Jalal, pp. 39–41.
97. Moore, p. 548.
98. Moore, p. 532.
99. Malik, p. 121.
100. Ahmed, p. 80.
101. Hibbard, pp. 121–124.
102. Hibbard, p. 124.
103. Puri, p. 35.
104. Ahmed, p. 8.
105. Singh, p. 200.
106. "Iqbal and Pakistan Movement". Retrieved 31 October 2017.
107. Paul, T. (2014). The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World. pp. 37–38. ISBN 978-0-19-932223-7. Iqbal wrote several letters to Jinnah in 1937 persuading him to take the lead in creating Pakistan... These correspondences would change the way Jinnah would look at the issue of a separate homeland for Muslims.
Kenworthy, Leonard (1968). Leaders of New Nations. Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday. p. 230. Iqbal's influence was perhaps the most powerful in Jinnah's decision to support the partition
Iqbal, Khurshid (2009). The Right to Development in International Law: The Case of Pakistan. Routledge Research in Human Rights Law. ISBN 978-1-134-01998-4. Jinnah's views were significantly influenced by the ideas of Muhammad Iqbal
Khan, Zamir (30 June 2010). "Iqbal and Quaid's Vision of Pakistan" (PDF). The Dialogue. 5 (2): 151. Iqbal's influence on Jinnah is unquestionable
108. Shah, Mujawar (1996). Religion and Politics in Pakistan: 1972–88. p. 35. ISBN 9789698329013. Iqbal's correspondence with Jinnah also played an important role in formulating his course of action.
"The Concept". Pakistani Periodicals. 26 (1–6): 21. 2006. Certainly these views influenced Mr Jinnah to declare urgently a solid solution to the Indian constitutional problem by projecting Muslims as a separate body
Naik, Vasant (1947). Mr. Jinnah: A Political Study. p. 55. the biographer of Jinnah admits 'that these letters of Iqbal exercised influence on the mind of Mohamed Ali Jinnah.'
109. Saleena Karim (2010). Secular Jinnah & Pakistan: What the Nation Doesn't Know. Checkpoint Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-906628-22-2.
110. Ziring, Lawrence (1980). Pakistan: The Enigma of Political Development. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-7129-0954-9. It was Iqbal who encouraged Jinnah to return to India
Aziz, Qutubuddin (2001). Jinnah and Pakistan. p. 98. Iqbal's persuasive letter to Jinnah in London to return to India and undertake the leadership of the Muslim League....undoubtedly contributed to Jinnah's eventual decision to return to India permanently
Singh, Iqbal (1951). The Ardent Pilgrim: An Introduction to the Life and Work of Mohammed Iqbal. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-19-563979-7. Iqbal was indirectly responsible for Jinnah's return to India from London.
Global Encyclopaedia of Indian Philosophy. Global Vision Publishing House. 2010. p. 342. ISBN 9788182202948. Iqbal was an influential force in convincing Jinnah to end his self-imposed exile in London.
111. Ahmed, pp. 62–73.
112. Kazimi, M. (2005). M.A. Jinnah Views and Reviews. Oxford University Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-19-597979-4. Iqbal's influence led Jinnah to a deeper appreciation of Muslim identity
113. Saleena Karim (2010). Secular Jinnah & Pakistan: What the Nation Doesn't Know. Checkpoint Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-906628-22-2.
114. Khan, Zamir. "Iqbal and Quaid's Vision of Pakistan"(PDF). The Dialogue. 2010, June 30, 5, 2: 151.
115. Khan, Zamir. "Iqbal and Quaid's Vision of Pakistan"(PDF). The Dialogue. 2010, June 30, 5, 2: 152.
116. Bolitho, p. 123.
117. Singh, p. 223.
118. Jalal, pp. 47–49.
119. Singh, pp. 225–226.
120. Singh, p. 225.
121. Jalal, pp. 51–55.
122. Singh, pp. 232–233.
123. Jalal, pp. 54–58.
124. Wolpert, p. 185.
125. Wolpert, p. 189.
126. Jalal, pp. 62–63.
127. Moore, p. 551.
128. Jalal, pp. 71–81.
129. Wolpert, pp. 196–201.
130. Moore, p. 553.
131. Jalal, pp. 82–84.
132. Wolpert, pp. 208, 229.
133. Ahmed, p. 107.
134. Singh, pp. 266–280.
135. Singh, pp. 280–283.
136. Singh, pp. 289–297.
137. Jalal, p. 132.
138. Singh, pp. 301–302.
139. Singh, p. 302.
140. Wolpert, p. 251.
141. Jalal, pp. 171–172.
142. Bolitho, p. 158.
143. Wolpert, p. 254.
144. Singh, pp. 302, 303–308.
145. Singh, pp. 308–322.
146. Jalal, pp. 221–225.
147. Jalal, pp. 229–231.
148. Wolpert, p. 305.
149. Moore, p. 557.
150. Jalal, pp. 246–256.
151. Jalal, p. 237.
152. Khan, p. 87.
153. Khan, pp. 85–87.
154. Khan, pp. 85–86.
155. Wolpert, p. 312.
156. Jalal, p. 250.
157. Wolpert, p. 317.
158. Wolpert, pp. 318–319.
159. Wolpert, pp. 319–325.
160. Jalal, pp. 249–259.
161. Jalal, pp. 261–262.
162. Khan, pp. 2–4.
163. Wolpert, pp. 327–329.
164. Jalal, pp. 287–290.
165. Bolitho, p. 187.
166. Singh, pp. 393–396.
167. Jalal, pp. 290–293.
168. Wolpert, pp. 333–336.
169. Wolpert, pp. 337–339.
170. Wolpert, pp. 341–342.
171. Khan, pp. 124–127.
172. Lawson, Alastair (10 August 2007). "South Asia | Partitioning India over lunch". BBC News. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
173. Malik, p. 131.
174. Ahmed, p. 145.
175. Jeffrey J. Roberts (2003). The Origins of Conflict in Afghanistan. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 108–109. ISBN 9780275978785.
176. Nishapuri, Abdul (29 July 2012). "This too was Pakistan (1947–71): A response to Nadeem Paracha's "Also Pakistan"". Let Us Build Pakistan. Archived from the original on 14 April 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
177. M.S. Korejo (1993). The Frontier Gandhi: His Place in History. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
178. پېښور, نورالبشر نويد. "پښتونخوا کالم: زه بابړه يم". BBC Pashto.
179. RGandhi, p. 416.
180. Mohiuddin, pp. 78–79.
181. Malik, pp. 131–132.
182. RGandhi, pp. 407–408.
183. Lumby, Esmond (1954). The Transfer of Power in India. G. Allen and Unwin. pp. 237–238.
184. Wolpert, p. 347.
185. Wolpert, pp. 347–351.
186. RGandhi, p. 435.
187. RGandhi, pp. 435–436.
188. Noorani, A. G. (2014) [first published in 2013 by Tulika Books], The Kashmir Dispute, 1947–2012, Oxford University Press, pp. 13–14, ISBN 978-0-19-940018-8
189. A. G. Noorani, Jinnah and Junagadh, Frontline, 29 September 2001.
190. Raghavan, Srinath (2010), War and Peace in Modern India, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 111, ISBN 978-1-137-00737-7
191. Wolpert, pp. 357–358.
192. Adamec 2016.
193. Wolpert, p. 359.
194. Wolpert, pp. 158–159, 343.
195. Ahmed, p. 9.
196. Ahmed, p. 10.
197. Wolpert, p. 343.
198. Wolpert, pp. 343, 367.
199. Wolpert, p. 361.
200. Wolpert, pp. 361–362.
201. Wolpert, pp. 366–368.
202. Wolpert, pp. 369–370.
203. Singh, p. 407.
204. Singh, pp. 406–407.
205. Wolpert, p. 370.
206. Ahmed, p. 205.
207. "Profile of Fatima Jinnah". Fatima Jinnah Official website. Archived from the original on 11 March 2013.
208. "Dina seeks Jinnah House's possession". Dawn. 25 May 2005. Archived from the original on 29 October 2010.
209. Sitapati, Vinay (13 October 2008). "Muslim law doesn't apply to Jinnah, says daughter". The Indian Express. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
210. Ahmed, Khaled (23 May 1998). "The secular Mussalman". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 15 May 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
211. Nasr, Vali (2006). The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. pp. 88–90. ISBN 978-0-393-32968-1. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
212. "Was Jinnah a Shia or Sunni?". United News of Indiavia 9 May 1998. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
213. Ahmed, p. 195.
214. Mohiuddin, pp. 74–75.
215. Wolpert, Stanley (22 March 1998). "Lecture by Prof. Stanley Wolpert". Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 16 August2012.
216. Singh, p. 406.
217. Malik, p. 134.
218. Mohiuddin, pp. 81–82.
219. "National public holidays of Pakistan in 2013". Office Holidays. Archived from the original on 22 April 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
220. "Nation celebrates Quaid-e-Azam's birthday". Pakistan Today. 25 December 2012. Archived from the original on 22 April 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
221. Desai, Meghnad (2009). The Rediscovery of India. Penguin Books India. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-670-08300-8.
222. "Was Quaid-e Azam Jinnah the only founder of Pakistan?". The Milli Gazette. 8 May 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
223. "Projects of The Jinnah Society". Retrieved 7 September 2017.
224. "'Muhammad Ali Jinnah Way' unveiled in New York to honour Pakistan's founder". The Express Tribune. 9 February 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
225. Mehmood, Syed Qasim (1998). Encyclopedia Pakistanica. Karachi: Qadir Printers. p. 869.
226. Sekhar, A. Saye (7 September 2003). "Tower of harmony in Guntur". The Hindu. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
227. Ahmed, p. 31.
228. Ahmed, p. 200.
229. Jalal, p. 221.
230. Ahmed, p. 27.
231. Ahmed, p. 28.
232. Seervai, H. M. (2005). Partition of India: Legend and Reality. Oxford University Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-19-597719-6.
233. Bolitho, p. 208.
234. Ahmed, p. 126.
235. "Pakistan expresses shock over Advani's resignation as BJP chief". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 9 June 2005. Retrieved 20 April 2006.
236. "India state bans book on Jinnah". BBC. 20 August 2009. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
237. "Nehru not Jinnah's polity led to partition". Jai Bihar. Archived from the original on 22 August 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
238. Joy, Santosh (19 August 2009). "BJP expels Jaswant Singh over praise for Jinnah in his book". LiveMint. Archived from the original on 15 December 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
239. "Jaswant Singh expelled over Jinnah remarks". Jai Bihar. 19 August 2009. Archived from the original on 21 August 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
240. Lindrea, Victoria (11 October 2004). "Christopher Lee on the making of legends". BBC. Retrieved 5 November2011.
241. "Christopher Lee talks about his favorite role". 21 March 2002. Retrieved 5 August 2009 – via YouTube.
242. "Leading News Resource of Pakistan". Daily Times. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
243. Ahmed, pp. 28–29.
244. Moore, pp. 529–569.
245. Wolpert, p. vii.


Books on Jinnah

• Ahmed, Akbar S. (2005) [First published 1997]. Jinnah, Pakistan, and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-75022-1.
• Bolitho, Hector (1954). Jinnah: Creator of Pakistan. London: John Murray. OCLC 1001456192.
• Cohen, Stephen Philip (2004). The Idea of Pakistan. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-1503-0.
• Gandhi, Rajmohan (1990). Patel: A Life. Ahmedabad: Navajivan. ASIN B0006EYQ0A.
• Hibbard, Scott (1994). Religious Politics and Secular States: Egypt, India, and the United States. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-9669-9.
• Jalal, Ayesha (1994). The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan (paperback ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-45850-4.
• Jinnah, Fatima (1987). My Brother. Quaid-i-Azam Academy. ISBN 978-9694130361.
• Khan, Yasmin (2008) [2007]. The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan (paperback ed.). New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-12078-3.
• Malik, Iftikar H. (2008). The History of Pakistan. The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-34137-3.
• Mohiuddin, Yasmeen Niaz (2007). Pakistan: A Global Studies Handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-85109-801-9.
• Read, Anthony (1997). The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 978-0-393-04594-9.
• Singh, Jaswant (2009). Jinnah: India—Partition—Independence. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-547927-0.
• Wolpert, Stanley (1984). Jinnah of Pakistan. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-503412-7.

Other sources

• K. R. N. Swamy (1 December 1997), Mughals, maharajas, and the Mahatma, HarperCollins Publishers India, p. 71, ISBN 978-8-17-223280-1
• Partha Sarathy Ghosh (1 January 1999), BJP and the Evolution of Hindu Nationalism: From Periphery to Centre, Manohar Publishers & Distributors, p. 60, ISBN 978-8-17-304253-9
• Iftikhar Haider Malik (2006), Culture and Customs of Pakistan, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 61, ISBN 978-0-31-333126-8
• Ludwig W. Adamec (14 December 2016), Historical Dictionary of Islam, Rowman & Littlefield, p. 231, ISBN 978-1-44-227724-3

Journals and other media

• Moore, R. J. (1983). "Jinnah and the Pakistan Demand". Modern Asian Studies. 17 (4): 529–561. doi:10.1017/S0026749X00011069. JSTOR 312235.
• Puri, Balraj (1–7 March 2008). "Clues to understanding Jinnah". Economic and Political Weekly. Bombay: Sameeksha Trust. 43 (9): 33–35. JSTOR 40277204.

External links

• Mohammad Ali Jinnah Official Page
• Correspondence with the Muslim League - 1946 - UK Parliament Living Heritage
• Quotes from the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah
• Mohammad Ali Jinnah Biography
• Muhammad Ali Jinnah at Curlie
• Government of Pakistan Website
• Address to the First Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 August 1947
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Jun 02, 2020 8:22 am

Lala Lajpat Rai
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/2/20

Lala Lajpat Rai
Born: 28 January 1865, Dhudike, Punjab, British India
Died: 17 November 1928 (aged 63), Lahore, Punjab, British India
Occupation: Author, politician, freedom struggler
Political party: Indian National Congress
Movement: Indian Independence movement
Parents: Munshi Radha Krishan Agrawal (father); Gulab Devi Agrawal (mother)

Lala Lajpat Rai ( 28 January 1865 – 17 November 1928) was an Indian freedom fighter. He played a pivotal role in the Indian Independence movement. He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari. He was one of the three Lal Bal Pal triumvirate.[1] He was also associated with activities of Punjab National Bank and Lakshmi Insurance Company in their early stages in 1894.

Punjab National Bank (PNB) is a Banking and Financial service bank owned by the Government of India with its headquarters is in New Delhi, India. The bank was founded in 1894....

Punjab National Bank is a PSU working under Central Government of India regulated by Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and Banking Regulation Act, 1949. Punjab National Bank was registered on 19 May 1894 under the Indian Companies Act, with its office in Anarkali Bazaar, Lahore, in present-day Pakistan. The founding board was drawn from different parts of India professing different faiths and of varying back-ground with, the common objective of creating a truly national bank that would further the economic interest of the country.[1] PNB's founders included several leaders of the Swadeshi movement such as Dyal Singh Majithia and Lala Harkishen Lal, Lala Lalchand, Kali Prosanna Roy, E. C. Jessawala, Prabhu Dayal, Bakshi Jaishi Ram, and Lala Dholan Dass.[8][9] Lala Lajpat Rai was actively associated with the management of the Bank in its early years. The board first met on 23 May 1894.[1] The bank opened for business on 12 April 1895 in Lahore.

-- Punjab National Bank, by Wikipedia

Early life

Lajpat Rai was born on 28 January 1865 in a Jain family,[2] as a son of Urdu and Persian government School teacher Munshi Radha Krishan Agrawal and his wife Gulab Devi Agrawal, in Dhudike [3][4][5] In 1877, he was married to Radha Devi Agrawal, with whom had two sons, Amrit Rai Agrawal and Pyarelal Agrawal, and a daughter, Parvati Agrawal.

In the late 1870s, his father was transferred to Rewari, where he had his initial education in Government Higher Secondary School, Rewari, Punjab province, where his father was posted as an Urdu teacher. During his early life, Rai's liberal views and belief in Hinduism were shaped by his father and deeply religious mother respectively, which he successfully applied to create a career of reforming the religion and Indian policy through politics and journalistic writing.[6] In 1880, Lajpat Rai joined Government College at Lahore to study Law, where he came in contact with patriots and future freedom fighters, such as Lala Hans Raj and Pandit Guru Dutt. While studying at Lahore he was influenced by the Hindu reformist movement of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, became a member of existing Arya Samaj Lahore (founded 1877) and founder editor of Lahore-based Arya Gazette.[7] When studying law, he became a firm believer in the idea that Hinduism, above nationality, was the pivotal point upon which an Indian lifestyle must be based. He believed, Hinduism, led to practices of peace to humanity, and the idea that when nationalist ideas were added to this peaceful belief system, a secular nation could be formed. His involvement with Hindu Mahasabha leaders gathered criticism from the Naujawan Bharat Sabha as the Mahasabhas were non-secular, which did not conform with the system laid out by the Indian National Congress.[8] This focus on Hindu practices in the subcontinent would ultimately lead him to the continuation of peaceful movements to create successful demonstrations for Indian independence.[7]

Lala Lajpat Rai (left) of Punjab, Bal Gangadhar Tilak of Maharashtra, and Bipin Chandra Pal of Bengal, the triumvirate were popularly known as Lal Bal Pal, changed the political discourse of the Indian independence movement.

In 1884, his father was transferred to Rohtak, and Rai came along after the completion of his studies at Lahore. In 1886, he moved to Hisar where his father was transferred, and started to practice law and became a founding member of the Bar council of Hisar along with Babu Churamani. Since childhood, he also had a desire to serve his country and therefore took a pledge to free it from foreign rule, in the same year he also founded the Hisar district branch of the Indian National Congress and reformist Arya Samaj with Babu Churamani (lawyer), three Tayal brothers (Chandu Lal Tayal, Hari Lal Tayal and Balmokand Tayal), Dr. Ramji Lal Hooda, Dr. Dhani Ram, Arya Samaj Pandit Murari Lal,[9] Seth Chhaju Ram Jat (founder of Jat School, Hisar) and Dev Raj Sandhir. In 1888 and again in 1889, he had the honor of being one of the four delegates from Hisar to attend the annual session of the Congress at Allahabad, along with Babu Churamani, Lala Chhabil Das and Seth Gauri Shankar. In 1892, he moved to Lahore to practice before the Lahore High Court. To shape the political policy of India to gain independence, he also practiced journalism and was a regular contributor to several newspapers including The Tribune. In 1886, he helped Mahatma Hansraj establish the nationalistic Dayananda Anglo-Vedic School, Lahore.

In 1914, he quit law practice to dedicate himself to the freedom of India and went to Britain in 1914 and then to the United States in 1917. In October 1917, he founded the Indian Home Rule League of America in New York. He stayed in the United States from 1917 to 1920.


After joining the Indian National Congress and taking part in political agitation in Punjab, Lala Lajpat Rai was deported to Mandalay, Burma (now Myanmar), without trial in May 1920.

In November, however, he was allowed to return when the viceroy, Lord Minto, decided that there was insufficient evidence to hold him for subversion. Lajpat Rai's supporters attempted to secure his election to the presidency of the party session at Surat in December 1907, but he did not succeed.

Graduates of the National College, which he founded inside the Bradlaugh Hall at Lahore as an alternative to British institutions, included Bhagat Singh.[10] He was elected President of the Indian National Congress in the Calcutta Special Session of 1920.[11] In 1921, he founded Servants of the People Society, a non-profit welfare organisation, in Lahore, which shifted its base to Delhi after partition, and has branches in many parts of India.[12]

Travel to America

See also: Ghadar Party

A banquet given in honour of Lala Lajpat Rai by the California Chapter of the Hindustan Association of America at Hotel Shattuck in Berkeley on 12 February 1916.

Lajpat Rai travelled to the US in 1907, and then returned during World War I. He toured Sikh communities along the US West Coast; visited Tuskegee University in Alabama; and met with workers in the Philippines. His travelogue, The United States of America (1916), details these travels and features extensive quotations from leading African American intellectuals, including W.E.B. Du Bois and Fredrick Douglass. While in America he had founded the Indian Home Rule League in New York and a monthly journal Young India and Hindustan Information Services Association. He had petitioned the Foreign affairs committee of Senate of American Parliament giving a vivid picture of maladministration of British Raj in India, the aspirations of the people of India for freedom amongst many other points strongly seeking the moral support of the international community for the attainment of independence of India. The 32-page petition which was prepared overnight was discussed in the U.S. Senate during October 1917.[13] The book also argues for the notion of "color-caste," suggesting sociological similarities between race in the US and caste in India.

Almost unanimously white Americans have communicated to the author the following logic of the caste situation which we shall call the "white man's theory of color caste."

(1) The concern for "race purity" is basic in the whole issue; the primary and essential command is to prevent amalgamation; the whites are determined to utilize every means to this end.

(2) Rejection of "social equality" is to be understood as a precaution to hinder miscegenation and particularly intermarriage.

(3) The danger of miscegenation is so tremendous that the segregation and discrimination inherent in the refusal of "social equality" must be extended to nearly all spheres of life. There must be segregation and discrimination in recreation, in religious service, in education, before the law, in politics, in housing, in stores and in breadwinning.

-- Chapter 3: Facets of the Negro Problem [Color Caste], Excerpt from An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy, by Gunnar Myrdal

During World War I, Lajpat Rai lived in the United States, but he returned to India in 1919 and in the following year led the special session of the Congress Party that launched the non-co-operation movement. He was imprisoned from 1921 to 1923 and elected to the legislative assembly on his release.[13]

Protests against Simon Commission

Photo of Rai printed in the February 1920 issue of Young India.

In 1928, the British government set up the Commission, headed by Sir John Simon (Later, Lord Simon, 1st Viscount Simon) to report on the political situation in India. The Indian political parties boycotted the Commission, because it did not include a single Indian in its membership, and it met with country-wide protests. When the Commission visited Lahore on 30 October 1928, Lajpat Rai led non-violent march in protest against it. The protesters chanted "Simon go back" and carried black flags.

The superintendent of police, James A. Scott, ordered the police to lathi (baton) charge the protesters and personally assaulted Rai.[14] Despite being extremely injured, Rai subsequently addressed the crowd and said, "I declare that the blows struck at me today will be the last nails in the coffin of British rule in India".[15]


He did not fully recover from his injuries and died on 17 November 1928. Doctors thought that Scott's blows had hastened his death.[14] However, when the matter was raised in the British Parliament, the British Government denied any role in Rai's death.[16] Although Bhagat Singh did not witness the event,[17] he vowed to take revenge as it was a murder of a very tall leader in the freedom movement,[16] and joined other revolutionaries, Shivaram Rajguru, Sukhdev Thapar and Chandrashekhar Azad, in a plot to kill Scott to send a message to British Raj.[18] However, in a case of mistaken identity, Bhagat Singh was signalled to shoot on the appearance of John P. Saunders, an Assistant Superintendent of Police. He was shot by Rajguru and Bhagat Singh while leaving the District Police Headquarters in Lahore on 17 December 1928.[19] Chanan Singh, a Head Constable who was chasing them, was fatally injured by Azad's covering fire.[20]

This case did not stop Bhagat Singh and his fellow-members of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association from claiming that retribution had been exacted.[18]


The statue of Rai at Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

Movements and institutes founded by Lala Lajpat Rai

Lajpat Rai was a heavyweight veteran leader of the Indian Nationalist Movement, Indian independence movement led by the Indian National Congress, Hindu reform movements and Arya Samaj, who inspired young men of his generation and kindled latent spirit of patriotism in their hearts with journalistic writings and lead-by-example activism. Young men, such as Chandrasekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh, were driven to sacrifice their lives for the freedom of their Motherland following Rai's example.

In late 19th and early 20th century Lala Lajpat Rai himself was founder of many organisations, including Arya Gazaette are Lahore, Hisar congress, Hisar Arya Samaj, Hisar Bar Council, national DAV managing Committee. Lala Lajpat Rai was also head of the "Lakshmi Insurance Company," and commissioned the Lakshmi Building in Karachi, which still bears a plaque in remembrance of him. Lakhsmi Insurance Company was merged with Life Insurance Corporation of India when en masse nationalisation of Life Insurance business happened during 1956.

In 1927, Lajpat Rai established a trust in her mother's memory to build and run a tuberculosis hospital for women, reportedly at the location where his mother, Gulab Devi, had died of tuberculosis in Lahore.[21] This became known as the Gulab Devi Chest Hospital and opened on 17 July 1934. Now the Gulab Devi Memorial hospital is one of the biggest hospital of present Pakistan which services over 2000 patients at a time as its patients.

Monuments and institutes founded in memory of Lala Lajpat Rai

Erected in the early 20th century, a statue of Lajpat Rai at Lahore, was later moved central square in Shimla after the partition of India. In 1959, the Lala Lajpat Rai trust was formed on the eve of his Centenary Birth Celebration by a group of Punjabi philanthropists (including R.P Gupta and B.M Grover) who have settled and prospered in the Indian State of Maharashtra, which runs the Lala Lajpatrai College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai. Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College, Meerut is named after him.[22] In 1998, Lala Lajpat Rai Institute of Engineering and Technology, Moga was named after him. In 2010, the Government of Haryana set up the Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences in Hisar in his memory.

Lajpat Nagar and Lala Lajpat Rai square with his statue in Hisar;[23] Lajpat Nagar and Lajpat Nagar Central Market in New Delhi,Lala Lajpat Rai memorial park in Lajpat Nagar, Lajpat Rai Market in Chandani Chowk, Delhi; Lala Lajpat Rai Hall of Residence at Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur; Lala Lajpat Rai Hospital in Kanpur; the bus terminus, several institutes, schools and libraries in his hometown of Jagraon are named in his honor. Further, there are several roads named after him in numerous metropolis and other towns of India.


Along with founding Arya Gazaette as its editor, he regularly contributed to several major Hindi, Punjabi, English and Urdu newspapers and magazines. He also authored the following published books.

• The Story of My Deportation, 1908.
• Arya Samaj, 1915.
• The United States of America: A Hindu’s Impression, 1916.
• The problem of National Education in India, 1920
• Unhappy India, 1928.
• England's Debt to India, 1917.
• Autobiographical Writings
• Young India: An Interpretation and a History of the Nationalist Movement from Within. New York: B.W. Huebsch, 1916. This book was written shortly after World War I broke out in Europe. Lajpat Rai was traveling in the United States at the time of Franz Ferdinand's assassination.[24] Rai wrote the book to exclaim his people's desire to help the British, who had been ruling in India since the mid-1700s, fight against the Germans. While the book makes the Indian people sound good, saying that they were rushing in masses to volunteer for war, one must take what Rai says with a grain of salt.[24] Rai is trying to gain American support in India against British colonialism, and the Indian people would look bad in the American public's, as well as government's, eyes if they were not willing to fight for the greater good, even on the side of Britain. Rai also makes the point to emphasize that the Indian people do not want to engage in a military conflict with Britain.[25] In Young India, Rai makes many parallels to the American fight for independence against the British, such as their common enemy (the British), their wish for self-sovereignty, and the right to bear arms as an independent nation. Rai uses Young India to convey his idea of an independent India, free from the viceroys and rule of the English Parliament. Rai wishes to have complete sovereignty from all foreign rule, but he needs to gain the support of America, his only true hope for an ally against Britain. Young India gives a first-hand account of one of the primary freedom fighters in India in the early 1900s. Rai was one of the most well-known leaders of the Nationalist, as well as Independence, Movement in India. By writing an account outlining the history of India, showing that the Indian people are better than the stereotype given by the West, willing and able to govern themselves, and attempting to gain American support against the Colonial British, Rai allows his readers to understand what is actually happening in India and why India should become an independent nation.
• The Collected Works of Lala Lajpat Rai, Volume 1 to Volume 15, edited by B.R. Nanda.


1. Ashalatha, A.; Koropath, Pradeep; Nambarathil, Saritha (2009). "Chapter 6 – Indian National Movement" (PDF). Social Science: Standard VIII Part 1. Government of Kerala • Department of Education. State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT). p. 7. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
2. Ganda Singh, ed. (1978). Deportation of Lala Lajpat Rai and Sardar Ajit Singh. Punjabi University. p. iii. OCLC 641497600.
3. Tidrick, Kathryn (2006) Gandhi: a political and spiritual life I.B.Tauris ISBN 978-1-84511-166-3 pp. 113–114
4. Jones, Kenneth W. (1976) Arya dharm: Hindu consciousness in 19th-century Punjab University of California Press ISBN 9788173047091 p. 52
5. Nagar, Purushottam (1977) Lala Lajpat Rai: the man and his ideas Manohar Book Service p. 161
6. Lala Lajpat Rai. Encyclopædia Britannica.
7. Ahluwalia, Kewal (February 2010). "Lala Lajpat Rai".
8. Mittal, S. K.; Habib, Irfan (1979). "Towards Independence and Socialist Republic: Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Part Two". Social Scientist. 8 (3): 31–40. doi:10.2307/3520389. JSTOR 3520389.
9. Jugal Kishore Gupta (1991). History of Sirsa Town. Atlantic Publishers & Distri. pp. 182–. GGKEY:63QY4LRCK9L.
10. "Bradlaugh Hall's demise". Pakistan Today. 17 April 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
11. Lala Lajpat Rai.
12. "Head Office". Servants of the People Society. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
13. Raghunath Rai. History. VK Publications. p. 187. ISBN 978-81-87139-69-0.
14. Rai, Raghunath (2006). History For Class 12: Cbse. India. VK Publications. p. 187. ISBN 978-81-87139-69-0.
15. Friend, Corinne (Fall 1977). "Yashpal: Fighter for Freedom – Writer for Justice". Journal of South Asian Literature. 13 (1): 65–90. JSTOR 40873491. (subscription required)
16. Rana, Bhawan Singh (2005). Bhagat Singh. Diamond Pocket Books. p. 36. ISBN 978-81-288-0827-2.
17. Singh, Bhagat; Hooja, Bhupendra (2007). The Jail Notebook and Other Writings. LeftWord Books. p. 16. ISBN 978-81-87496-72-4.
18. Gupta, Amit Kumar (September–October 1997). "Defying Death: Nationalist Revolutionism in India, 1897–1938". Social Scientist. 25 (9/10): 3–27. doi:10.2307/3517678. JSTOR 3517678.
19. Nayar, Kuldip (2000). The martyr: Bhagat Singh experiments in revolution. Har-Anand Publications. p. 39. ISBN 978-81-241-0700-3.
20. Rana, Bhawan Singh (2005). Chandra Shekhar Azad (An Immortal Revolutionary of India). Diamond Pocket Books. p. 65. ISBN 978-81-288-0816-6.
21. "Gulab Devi Chest Hospital". Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
22. "Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College’s maladies: Meagre budget, vacant posts ", Hindustan Times, 8 September 2017.
23. Tributes paid at Lala Lajpat Rai Square and Statute at Hisar, DNA News.
24. Rai, Lala Lajpat (1916). Young India. GoogleBooks. Huebsch. Retrieved 22 April 2015. Lajpat Young India.
25. Hope, Ashley Guy (1968). America and Swaraj: The U.S. Role in Indian Independence. Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press.
• Lala Lajpat Rai's books at Hindustan Books
• Lala Lajpat Rai's "Young India" in the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)
• Satish K. Kapoor, He gave a fillip to freedom struggle, Tribune
• Works by Lajpat Rai at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Lala Lajpat Rai at Internet Archive
• Newspaper clippings about Lala Lajpat Rai in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Jun 02, 2020 10:39 am

Part 1 of 2

Radcliffe Line
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/2/20

The regions affected by the extended Partition of India: green regions were all part of Pakistan by 1948, and orange part of India. The darker-shaded regions represent the Punjab and Bengal provinces partitioned by the Radcliffe Line. The grey areas represent some of the key princely states that were eventually integrated into India or Pakistan, but others which initially became independent are not shown.

The Radcliffe Line was the boundary demarcation line between the Indian and Pakistani portions of the Punjab and Bengal provinces of British India. It was named after its architect, Sir Cyril Radcliffe, who, as the joint chairman of the two boundary commissions for the two provinces, received the responsibility to equitably divide 175,000 square miles (450,000 km2) of territory with 88 million people.[1]

The demarcation line was published on 17 August 1947 upon the Partition of India. Today its western side still serves as the Indo-Pakistani border and the eastern side serves as the India-Bangladesh border.


Events leading up to the Radcliffe Boundary Commissions

On 15 July 1947, the Indian Independence Act 1947 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom stipulated that British rule in India would come to an end just one month later, on 15 August 1947. The Act also stipulated the partition of the Presidencies and provinces of British India into two new sovereign dominions: India and Pakistan.

The Indian Independence Act, passed by the British parliament, abandoned the suzerainty of the British Crown over the princely states and dissolved the Indian Empire, and the rulers of the states were advised to accede to one of the new dominions.[2]

Pakistan was intended as a Muslim homeland, while India remained secular. Muslim-majority British provinces in the north were to become the foundation of Pakistan. The provinces of Baluchistan (91.8% Muslim before partition) and Sindh (72.7%) were granted entirely to Pakistan. However, two provinces did not have an overwhelming majority—Bengal in the north-east (54.4% Muslim) and the Punjab in the north-west (55.7% Muslim).[3] The western part of the Punjab became part of West Pakistan and the eastern part became the Indian state of East Punjab, which was later divided between a smaller Punjab State and two other states. Bengal was also partitioned, into East Bengal (in Pakistan) and West Bengal (in India). Before independence, the North-West Frontier Province (whose borders with Afghanistan had earlier been demarcated by the Durand Line) voted in a referendum to join Pakistan.[4] This controversial referendum was boycotted by Khudai Khidmatgars, the most popular Pashtun movement in the province at that time. The area is now a province in Pakistan called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Punjab's population distribution was such that there was no line that could neatly divide Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. Likewise, no line could appease the Muslim League, headed by Jinnah, and the Indian National Congress led by Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel, and by the British. Moreover, any division based on religious communities was sure to entail "cutting through road and rail communications, irrigation schemes, electric power systems and even individual landholdings."[5] However, a well-drawn line could minimize the separation of farmers from their fields, and also minimize the numbers of people who might feel forced to relocate.

As it turned out, on "the sub-continent as a whole, some 14 million people left their homes and set out by every means possible—by air, train, and road, in cars and lorries, in buses and bullock carts, but most of all on foot—to seek refuge with their own kind."[6] Many of them were slaughtered by an opposing side, some starved or died of exhaustion, while others were afflicted with "cholera, dysentery, and all those other diseases that afflict undernourished refugees everywhere".[7] Estimates of the number of people who died range between 200,000 (official British estimate at the time) and two million, with the consensus being around one million dead.[7]

Prior ideas of partition

The idea of partitioning the provinces of Bengal and Punjab had been present since the beginning of the 20th century. Bengal had in fact been partitioned by the then viceroy Lord Curzon in 1905, along with its adjoining regions. The resulting 'Eastern Bengal and Assam' province, with its capital at Dhaka, had a Muslim majority and the 'West Bengal' province, with its capital at Calcutta, had a Hindu majority. However, this partition of Bengal was reversed in 1911 in an effort to mollify Bengali nationalism.[8]

Proposals for partitioning Punjab had been made starting from 1908. Its proponents included the Hindu leader Bhai Parmanand, Congress leader Lala Lajpat Rai, industrialist G. D. Birla, and various Sikh leaders. After the Lahore resolution (1940) of the Muslim League demanding Pakistan, B. R. Ambedkar wrote a 400-page tract titled Thoughts on Pakistan,[9] wherein he discussed the boundaries of the Muslim and non-Muslim regions of Punjab and Bengal. His calculations showed a Muslim majority in 16 western districts of Punjab and non-Muslim majority in 13 eastern districts. In Bengal, he showed non-Muslim majority in 15 districts. He thought the Muslims could have no objection to redrawing provincial boundaries. If they did, "they [did] not understand the nature of their own demand".[10][11]

Districts of Punjab with Muslim (green) and non-Muslim (pink) majorities, as per 1941 census

After the breakdown of the 1945 Simla Conference of viceroy Lord Wavell, the idea of Pakistan began to be contemplated seriously. Sir Evan Jenkins, the private secretary of the viceroy (later the governor of Punjab), wrote a memorandum titled "Pakistan and the Punjab", where he discussed the issues surrounding the partition of Punjab. K. M. Panikkar, then prime minister of the Bikaner State, sent a memorandum to the viceroy titled "Next Step in India", wherein he recommended that the British government concede the principle of 'Muslim homeland' but carry out territorial adjustments to the Punjab and Bengal to meet the claims of the Hindus and Sikhs. Based on these discussions, the viceroy sent a note on "Pakistan theory" to the Secretary of State.[12] The viceroy informed the Secretary of State that Jinnah envisaged full provinces of Bengal and Punjab going to Pakistan with only minor adjustments, whereas Congress was expecting almost half of these provinces to remain in India. This essentially framed the problem of partition.[13]

The Secretary of State responded by directing Lord Wavell to send 'actual proposals for defining genuine Muslim areas'. The task fell on V. P. Menon, the Reforms Commissioner, and his colleague Sir B. N. Rau in the Reforms Office. They prepared a note called "Demarcation of Pakistan Areas", where they defined the western zone of Pakistan as consisting of Sindh, N.W.F.P., British Baluchistan and three western divisions of Punjab (Rawalpindi, Multan and Lahore). However, they noted that this allocation would leave 2.2 million Sikhs in the Pakistan area and about 1.5 million in India. Excluding the Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts of the Lahore Division from Pakistan would put a majority of Sikhs in India. (Amritsar had a non-Muslim majority and Gurdaspur a marginal Muslim majority.) To compensate for the exclusion of the Gurdaspur district, they included the entire Dinajpur district in the eastern zone of Pakistan, which similarly had a marginal Muslim majority. After receiving comments from John Thorne, member of the Executive Council in charge of Home affairs, Wavell forwarded the proposal to the Secretary of State. He justified the exclusion of the Amritsar district because of its sacredness to the Sikhs and that of Gurdaspur district because it had to go with Amritsar for 'geographical reasons'.[14][15][a] The Secretary of State commended the proposal and forwarded it to the India and Burma Committee, saying, "I do not think that any better division than the one the Viceroy proposes is likely to be found".[16]

Sikh concerns

While Master Tara Singh confused Rajagopalchari's offer with the Muslim League demand he could see that any division of Punjab would leave the Sikhs divided between Pakistan and Hindustan. He espoused the doctrine of self-reliance, opposed partition and called for independence on the grounds that no single religious community should control Punjab. Other Sikhs argued that just as Muslims feared Hindu domination the Sikhs also feared Muslim domination. Sikhs warned the British government that the morale of Sikh troops in the British Army would be affected if Pakistan was forced on them. Since Hindus seemed more concerned about the rest of India than Punjab, Master Tara Singh refused to ally with them and preferred to approach the British directly. Giani Kartar Singh drafted the scheme of a separate Sikh state if India was divided.[17]

During the Partition developments Jinnah offered Sikhs to live in Pakistan with safeguards for their rights. Sikhs refused because they opposed the concept of Pakistan and also because they were opposed to being a small minority within a Muslim majority. There are various reasons for the Sikh refusal to join Pakistan but one clear fact was that the Partition of Punjab left a deep impact on the Sikh psyche with many Sikh holy sites ending up in Pakistan.[18]

While the Congress had insisted for an India which was united and the Muslim League asked for a separate country, Dr. Vir Singh Bhatti distributed pamphlets for the creation of a separate Sikh state "Khalistan".[19] Sikh leaders who were unanimous in their opposition to Pakistan wanted a Sikh state to be created. Master Tara Singh wanted the right for an independent Khalistan to federate with either Hindustan or Pakistan. However, the Sikh state being proposed was for an area where no religion was in absolute majority.[20] Negotiations for the independent Sikh state had commenced at the end of World War II and the British initially agreed but the Sikhs withdrew this demand after pressure from Indian nationalists.[21] The proposals of the Cabinet Mission Plan had seriously jolted the Sikhs because while both the Congress and League could be satisfied the Sikhs saw nothing in it for themselves. as they would be subjected to a Muslim majority. Master Tara Singh protested this to Pethic-Lawrence on 5 May. By early September the Sikh leaders accepted both the long term and interim proposals despite their earlier rejection.[20] The Sikhs attached themselves to the Indian state with the promise of religious and cultural autonomy.[21]

Final negotiations

Pre-partition Punjab province

In March 1946, the British government sent a Cabinet Mission to India to find a solution to resolve the conflicting demands of Congress and the Muslim League. Congress agreed to allow Pakistan to be formed with 'genuine Muslim areas'. The Sikh leaders asked for a Sikh state with Ambala, Jalandher, Lahore Divisions with some districts from the Multan Division, which, however, did not meet the Cabinet delegates' agreement. In discussions with Jinnah, the Cabinet Mission offered either a 'smaller Pakistan' with all the Muslim-majority districts except Gurdaspur or a 'larger Pakistan' under the sovereignty of the Indian Union.[22] The Cabinet Mission came close to success with its proposal for an Indian Union under a federal scheme, but it fell apart in the end because of Nehru's opposition to a heavily decentralised India.[23][24]

Hindus and Sikhs in Punjab and Bengal clamoured for the division of these two provinces, arguing that if India could be divided along religious lines then so should these provinces because the Muslim majorities in both provinces were small.[25] The British agreed.[26][27] Scholar Akbar Ahmed says that the basic unit of administration in India was the province and not the district and that the district level division reduced the principle of partition to absurdity. According to Ahmed, such a division should have meant that Muslim estates in the United Provinces be separated and given to Pakistan.[28]

Sir Cripps remarked ″the Pakistan they are likely to get would be very different from what they wanted and it may not be worth their while.″[29] On 8 March the Congress passed a resolution to divide Punjab.[30]

In March 1947, Lord Mountbatten arrived in India as the next viceroy, with an explicit mandate to achieve transfer of power before June 1948. Within ten days, Mountbatten's staff had categorically stated that Congress had conceded the Pakistan demand except for the 13 eastern districts of Punjab (including Amritsar and Gurdaspur).[31]

However, Jinnah held out. Through a series of six meetings with Mountbatten, he continued to maintain that his demand was for six full provinces. He "bitterly complained" that the Viceroy was ruining his Pakistan by cutting Punjab and Bengal in half as this would mean a 'moth-eaten Pakistan'.[32][33][34]

The Gurdaspur district remained a key contentious issue for the non-Muslims. Their members of the Punjab legislature made representations to Mountbatten's chief of staff Lord Ismay as well as the Governor telling them that Gurdaspur was a "non-Muslim district". They contended that even if it had a marginal Muslim majority of 51%, which they believed to be erroneous, the Muslims paid only 35% of the land revenue in the district.[35]

In April, Governor Evan Jenkins wrote a note to Mountbatten proposing that Punjab be divided along Muslim and non-Muslim majority districts, but "adjustments could be made by agreement" regarding the tehsils (subdistricts) contiguous to these districts. He proposed that a Boundary Commission be set up consisting of two Muslim and two non-Muslim members recommended by the Punjab Legislative Assembly. He also proposed that a British judge of the High Court be appointed as the chairman of the Commission.[36] Jinnah and the Muslim League continued to oppose the idea of partitioning the provinces, and the Sikhs were disturbed about the possibility of getting only 12 districts (without Gurdaspur). In this context the Partition Plan of 3 June was announced with a notional partition showing 17 districts of Punjab in Pakistan and 12 districts in India, along with the establishment of a Boundary Commission to decide the final boundary. In Sialkoti's view, this was done mainly to placate the Sikhs.[37]

Mountbatten decided to threaten Jinnah by drawing a line less favourable to Muslims and more favourable to Sikhs if he did not agree to partitioning Punjab and Bengal.[38] However, Lord Ismay prevailed that he should use 'hurt feelings' rather than threats to persuade Jinnah for partition. They ultimately succeeded.[39] On 2 June Jinnah once again approached Mountbatten to plead for the unity of Punjab and Bengal but Mountbatten threatened that ' 'You will lose Pakistan probably for good.' '[28]

Process and key people

A crude border had already been drawn up by Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India prior to his replacement as Viceroy, in February 1947, by Lord Louis Mountbatten. In order to determine exactly which territories to assign to each country, in June 1947, Britain appointed Sir Cyril Radcliffe to chair two Boundary Commissions—one for Bengal and one for Punjab.[40]

The Commission was instructed to "demarcate the boundaries of the two parts of the Punjab on the basis of ascertaining the contiguous majority areas of Muslims and non-Muslims. In doing so, it will also take into account other factors."[41] Other factors were undefined, giving Radcliffe leeway, but included decisions regarding "natural boundaries, communications, watercourses and irrigation systems", as well as socio-political consideration.[42] Each commission also had 4 representatives—2 from the Indian National Congress and 2 from the Muslim League. Given the deadlock between the interests of the two sides and their rancorous relationship, the final decision was essentially Radcliffe's.

After arriving in India on 8 July 1947, Radcliffe was given just five weeks to decide on a border.[40] He soon met with his fellow college alumnus Mountbatten and travelled to Lahore and Calcutta to meet with commission members, chiefly Nehru from the Congress and Jinnah, president of the Muslim League.[43] He objected to the short time frame, but all parties were insistent that the line be finished by 15 August British withdrawal from India. Mountbatten had accepted the post as Viceroy on the condition of an early deadline.[44] The decision was completed just a couple of days before the withdrawal, but due to political manoeuvring, not published until 17 August 1947, two days after the grant of independence to India and Pakistan.[40]

Members of the Commissions

Each boundary commission consisted of 5 people – a chairman (Radcliffe), 2 members nominated by the Indian National Congress and 2 members nominated by the Muslim League.[45]

The Bengal Boundary Commission consisted of Justices C. C. Biswas, B. K. Mukherji, Abu Saleh Mohamed Akram and S.A.Rahman.[46]

The members of the Punjab Commission were Justices Mehr Chand Mahajan, Teja Singh, Din Mohamed and Muhammad Munir.[46]

Problems in the process

Boundary-making procedures

The Punjabi section of the Radcliffe Line

All lawyers by profession, Radcliffe and the other commissioners had all of the polish and none of the specialized knowledge needed for the task. They had no advisers to inform them of the well-established procedures and information needed to draw a boundary. Nor was there time to gather the survey and regional information. The absence of some experts and advisers, such as the United Nations, was deliberate, to avoid delay.[47] Britain's new Labour government "deep in wartime debt, simply couldn’t afford to hold on to its increasingly unstable empire."[48] "The absence of outside participants—for example, from the United Nations—also satisfied the British Government's urgent desire to save face by avoiding the appearance that it required outside help to govern—or stop governing—its own empire."[49]

Political representation

The equal representation given to politicians from Indian National Congress and the Muslim League appeared to provide balance, but instead created deadlock. The relationships were so tendentious that the judges "could hardly bear to speak to each other", and the agendas so at odds that there seemed to be little point anyway. Even worse, "the wife and two children of the Sikh judge in Lahore had been murdered by Muslims in Rawalpindi a few weeks earlier."[50]

In fact, minimizing the numbers of Hindus and Muslims on the wrong side of the line was not the only concern to balance. The Punjab Border Commission was to draw a border through the middle of an area home to the Sikh community.[51] Lord Islay was rueful for the British not to give more consideration to the community who, in his words, had "provided many thousands of splendid recruits for the Indian Army" in its service for the crown in World War I.[52] However, the Sikhs were militant in their opposition to any solution which would put their community in a Muslim ruled state. Moreover, many insisted on their own sovereign state, something no one else would agree to.[53]

Last of all, were the communities without any representation. The Bengal Border Commission representatives were chiefly concerned with the question of who would get Calcutta. The Buddhist tribes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bengal had no official representation and were left totally without information to prepare for their situation until two days after the partition.[54]

Perceiving the situation as intractable and urgent, Radcliffe went on to make all the difficult decisions himself. This was impossible from inception, but Radcliffe seems to have had no doubt in himself and raised no official complaint or proposal to change the circumstances.[1]

Local knowledge

Before his appointment, Radcliffe had never visited India and knew no one there. To the British and the feuding politicians alike, this neutrality was looked upon as an asset; he was considered to be unbiased toward any of the parties, except of course Britain.[1] Only his private secretary, Christopher Beaumont, was familiar with the administration and life in the Punjab. Wanting to preserve the appearance of impartiality, Radcliffe also kept his distance from Viceroy Mountbatten.[5]

No amount of knowledge could produce a line that would completely avoid conflict; already, "sectarian riots in Punjab and Bengal dimmed hopes for a quick and dignified British withdrawal".[55] "Many of the seeds of postcolonial disorder in South Asia were sown much earlier, in a century and half of direct and indirect British control of large part of the region, but, as book after book has demonstrated, nothing in the complex tragedy of partition was inevitable."[56]

Haste and indifference

Radcliffe justified the casual division with the truism that no matter what he did, people would suffer. The thinking behind this justification may never be known since Radcliffe "destroyed all his papers before he left India".[57] He departed on Independence Day itself, before even the boundary awards were distributed. By his own admission, Radcliffe was heavily influenced by his lack of fitness for the Indian climate and his eagerness to depart India.[58]

The implementation was no less hasty than the process of drawing the border. On 16 August 1947 at 5:00 pm, the Indian and Pakistani representatives were given two hours to study copies, before the Radcliffe award was published on 17 August.[59]


To avoid disputes and delays, the division was done in secret. The final Awards were ready on 9 and 12 August, but not published until two days after the partition.

According to Read and Fisher, there is some circumstantial evidence that Nehru and Patel were secretly informed of the Punjab Award's contents on 9 or 10 August, either through Mountbatten or Radcliffe's Indian assistant secretary.[60] Regardless of how it transpired, the award was changed to put a salient east of the Sutlej canal within India's domain instead of Pakistan's. This area consisted of two Muslim-majority tehsils with a combined population of over half a million. There were two apparent reasons for the switch: the area housed an army arms depot, and contained the headwaters of a canal which irrigated the princely state of Bikaner, which would accede to India.[citation needed]


After the partition, the fledgling governments of India and Pakistan were left with all responsibility to implement the border. After visiting Lahore in August, Viceroy Mountbatten hastily arranged a Punjab Boundary Force to keep the peace around Lahore, but 50,000 men was not enough to prevent thousands of killings, 77% of which were in the rural areas. Given the size of the territory, the force amounted to less than one soldier per square mile. This was not enough to protect the cities much less the caravans of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who were fleeing their homes in what would become Pakistan.[61]

Both India and Pakistan were loath to violate the agreement by supporting the rebellions of villages drawn on the wrong side of the border, as this could prompt a loss of face on the international stage and require the British or the UN to intervene. Border conflicts led to three wars, in 1947, 1965, and 1971, and the Kargil conflict of 1999.

Disputes along the Radcliffe Line

There were disputes regarding the Radcliffe Line's award of the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the Gurdaspur district. Disputes also evolved around the districts of Malda, Khulna, and Murshidabad in Bengal and the sub-division of Karimganj of Assam.

In addition to Gurdaspur's Muslim majority tehsils, Radcliffe also gave the Muslim majority tehsils of Ajnala (Amritsar District), Zira, Ferozpur (in Ferozpur District), Nakodar and Jullander (in Jullander District) to India instead of Pakistan.[62]



Lahore having Muslims in majority with about 64.5% percent but Hindus and Sikhs controlled approximately 80% of city's assets,[63] Radcliffe had originally planned to give Lahore to India.[64][65][66] When speaking with journalist Kuldip Nayar, he stated "I nearly gave you Lahore. ... But then I realised that Pakistan would not have any large city. I had already earmarked Calcutta for India."[64][65] When Sir Cyril Radcliffe was told that “the Muslims in Pakistan have a grievance that [he] favoured India”, he replied, “they should be thankful to me because I went out of the way to give them Lahore which deserved to go to India.”[65] But in actually it's only an argument because according to Independence Act, partition was based on majority of population not on assets.[67][need quotation to verify]

Ferozpur District

Indian historians now accept that Mountbatten probably did influence the Ferozpur award in India's favour.[68]
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Gurdaspur District

Under British control, the Gurdaspur district was the northernmost district of the Punjab Province. The district itself was administratively subdivided into four tehsils: Shakargarh and Pathankot tehsils to the north, and Gurdaspur and Batala tehsils to the south. Of the four, only the Shakargarh tehsil, which was separated from the rest of the district by the Ravi river, was awarded to Pakistan. (It was subsequently merged into the Narowal district of West Punjab.[69]) The Gurdaspur, Batala and Pathankot tehsils became part of India's East Punjab state. The division of the district was followed by a population transfer between the two nations, with Muslims leaving for Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs leaving for India.

The entire district of Gurdaspur had a bare majority of 50.2% Muslims.[70] (In the `notional' award attached to the Indian Independence Act, all of Gurdaspur district was marked as Pakistan with 51.14% Muslim majority.[71] In the 1901 census, the population of Gurdaspur district was 49% Muslim, 40% Hindu, and 10% Sikh.[72]) The Pathankot tehsil was predominantly Hindu while the other three tehsils were Muslim majority.[73] In the event, only Shakargarh was awarded to Pakistan.

Radcliffe explained that the reason for deviating from the notional award in case of Gurdaspur was that the headwaters of the canals that irrigated the Amritsar district lay in the Gurdaspur district and it was important to keep them under one administration.[71] Lord Wavell had stated in February 1946 that Gurdaspur had to go with the Amritsar district, and the latter could not be in Pakistan due to its Sikh religious shrines.[71] In addition, the railway line from Amritsar to Pathankot passed through the Batala and Gurdaspur tehsils.[74]

Pakistanis have alleged that the award of the three tehsils to India was a manipulation of the Award by Lord Mountbatten in an effort to provide a land route for India to Jammu and Kashmir.[70] However, Shereen Ilahi points out that the land route to Kashmir was entirely within the Pathankot tehsil, which had a Hindu majority. The award of the Batala and Gurdaspur tehsils to India did not affect Kashmir.[75]

Pakistani View on the Award of Gurdaspur to India

Pakistan maintains that the Radcliffe Award was altered by Mountbatten; Gurdaspur was handed over to India and thus was manipulated the accession of Kashmir to India.[76][failed verification] In support of this view, some scholars claim the award to India "had little to do with Sikh demands but had much more to do with providing India a road link to Jammu and Kashmir."[77]

As per the `notional' award that had already been put into effect for purposes of administration ad interim, all of Gurdaspur district, owing to its Muslim majority, was assigned to Pakistan.[78] From 14 to 17 August, Mushtaq Ahmed Cheema acted as the Deputy Commissioner of the Gurdaspur District, but when, after a delay of two days, it was announced that the major portion of the district had been awarded to India instead of Pakistan, Cheema left for Pakistan.[79] The major part of Gurdaspur district, i.e. three of the four sub-districts and a small part of the fourth, had been handed over to India giving India practical land access to Kashmir, thus making the Indian intervention in Kashmir possible.[80] It came as a great blow to Pakistan. Jinnah and other leaders of Pakistan, and particularly its officials, criticized the Award as ‘extremely unjust and unfair’.[81][need quotation to verify]

Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, who represented the Muslim League in July 1947 before the Radcliffe Boundary Commission, stated that the Boundary Commission was a farce. A secret deal between Mountbatten and Congress leaders had already been struck.[82] Mehr Chand Mahajan, one of the two Non Muslim members of the Boundary Commission, in his autobiography, has acknowledged that when he was selected for the boundary commission, he was not inclined to accept the invitation as he believed that the commission was just a farce and that decisions were actually to be taken by Mountbatten himself.[83] It was only under British pressure that the charges against Mountbatten of last minute alterations in the Radcliffe Award were not officially brought forward by Pakistani Government in the UN Security Council while presenting its case on Kashmir.[84]

Zafrullah Khan states that, in actual fact, adopting the tehsil as a unit would have given Pakistan the Ferozepur and Zira tehsils of the Ferozpur District, the Jullundur and Rahon tehsils of Jullundur district and the Dasuya tehsil of the Hoshiarpur district. The line so drawn would also give Pakistan the State of Kapurthala (which had a Muslim majority) and would enclose within Pakistan the whole of the Amritsar district of which only one tehsil, Ajnala, had a Muslim majority. It would also give Pakistan the Shakargarh, Batala and Gurdaspur tehsils of the Gurdaspur district. If the boundary went by Doabs, Pakistan could get not only the 16 districts which had already under the notional partition been put into West Punjab, including the Gurdaspur District, but also get the Kangra District in the mountains, to the north and east of Gurdaspur. Or one could go by Commissioners' divisions. Any of these units being adopted would have been more favourable to Pakistan than the present boundary line. The tehsil was the most favourable unit.[78] But all of the aforementioned Muslim majority tehsils, with the exception of Shakargarh, were handed over to India while Pakistan didn't receive any Non-Muslim majority district or tehsil in Punjab.[62] Zafruallh Khan states that Radcliffe used district, tehsil, thana, and even village boundaries to divide Punjab in such a way that the boundary line was drawn much to the prejudice of Pakistan.[78]

According to Zafrullah Khan, the assertion that the award of the Batala and Gurdaspur tehsils to India did not 'affect' Kashmir is far-fetched. If Batala and Gurdaspur had gone to Pakistan, Pathankot tehsil would have been isolated and blocked. Even though it would have been possible for India to get access to Pathankot through the Hoshiarpur district, it would have taken quite long time to construct the roads, bridges and communications that would have been necessary for military movements.[80]

Assessments on the 'Controversial Award of Gurdaspur to India and the Kashmir Dispute'

Stanley Wolpert writes that Radcliffe in his initial maps awarded Gurdaspur district to Pakistan but one of Nehru’s and Mountbatten’s greatest concerns over the new Punjab border was to make sure that Gurdaspur would not go to Pakistan, since that would have deprived India of direct road access to Kashmir.[85] As per "The Different Aspects of Islamic Culture", a part of UNESCO’s Histories flagship project, recently disclosed documents of the history of the partition reveal British complicity with the top Indian leadership to wrest Kashmir from Pakistan. Alastair Lamb, based on the study of recently declassified documents, has convincingly proven that Mountbatten, in league with Nehru, was instrumental in pressurizing Radcliffe to award the Muslim-majority district of Gurdaspur in East Punjab to India which could provide India with the only possible access to Kashmir.[86] Andrew Roberts believes that Mountbatten cheated over India-Pak frontier[87] and states that if gerrymandering took place in the case of Ferozepur, it is not too hard to believe that Mountbatten also pressurized Radcliffe to ensure that Gurdaspur wound up in India to give India road access to Kashmir.[88][89][90]

Perry Anderson states that Mountbatten, who was officially supposed to neither exercise any influence on Radcliffe nor to have any knowledge of his findings, intervened behind the scenes – probably at Nehru’s behest – to alter the award. He had little difficulty in getting Radcliffe to change his boundaries to allot the Muslim-majority district of Gurdaspur to India instead of Pakistan, thus giving India the only road access from Delhi to Kashmir.[91]

However, some British works suggest that the 'Kashmir State was not in anybody's mind'[92] when the Award was being drawn and that even the Pakistanis themselves had not realized the importance of Gurdaspur to Kashmir until the Indian forces actually entered Kashmir.[93] Both Mountbatten and Radcliffe, of course, have strongly denied those charges. It is impossible to accurately quantify the personal responsibility for the tragedy of Kashmir as the Mountbatten papers relating to the issue at the India Office Library and records are closed to scholars for an indefinite period.[94]


Chittagong Hill Tracts

Chittagong Hill Tracts had a majority non-Muslim population of 97% (most of them Buddhists), but was given to Pakistan. The Chittagong Hill Tracts People's Association (CHTPA) petitioned the Bengal Boundary Commission that, since the CHTs were inhabited largely by non-Muslims, they should remain within India. Since they had no official representation, there was no official discussion on the matter, and many on the Indian side assumed the CHT would be awarded to India.

On 15 August 1947, many of the tribes did not know to which side of the border they belonged. On 17 August, the publication of the Radcliffe Award put the CHTs in Pakistan. The rationale of giving the Chittagong Hill Tracts to Pakistan was that they were inaccessible to India and to provide a substantial rural buffer to support Chittagong (now in Bangladesh), a major city and port; advocates for Pakistan forcefully argued to the Bengal Boundary Commission that the only approach was through Chittagong.

Two days later, the CHTPA resolved not to abide by the award and hoisted the Indian flag. The Pakistani army dealt with the protest but its polemic somewhat remains with some of its non-Muslim majority arguing for its secession.[95]

Malda District

Another disputed decision made by Radcliffe was division of the Malda district of Bengal. The district overall had a slight Muslim majority, but was divided and most of it, including Malda town, went to India. The district remained under East Pakistan administration for 3–4 days after 15 August 1947. It was only when the award was made public that the Pakistani flag was replaced by the Indian flag in Malda.

Khulna and Murshidabad Districts

The Khulna District with a marginal Hindu majority of 51% was given to East Pakistan in lieu of the Murshidabad district with a 70% Muslim majority, which went to India. However, Pakistani flag remained hoisted in Murshidabad for three days until it was replaced by Indian flag on the afternoon of 17 August 1947.[96]


Sylhet district of Assam joined Pakistan in accordance with a referendum.[97] However, the Karimganj sub-division with a Muslim majority was severed from Sylhet and given to India which became a district in 1983. As of the 2001 Indian Census, Karimganj district now has a Muslim majority of 52.3%.[98]


The Partition of India is one of the central events in the collective memory in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. As a crucial determiner in the outcomes of the partition, the Radcliffe Line and award process has been referred to in many films, books, and other artistic depictions of the partition of India. Apart from the larger story of the partition, the specific commemoration of the award itself or the recounting of the story of the process and the people involved in it has been comparatively rare.

Legacy and historiography

As a part of a series on borders, the explanatory news site Vox (website) featured an episode looking at "the ways that the Radcliffe line changed Punjab, and its everlasting effects" including disrupting "a centuries-old Sikh pilgrimage" and separating "Punjabi people of all faiths from each other" following from an earlier episode on [99][100]

Artistic depictions of the Radcliffe Line

One notable depiction is Drawing the Line, written by British playwright Howard Brenton. On his motivation to write Drawing the Line, playwright Howard Brenton said he first became interested in the story of the Radcliffe Line while vacationing in India and hearing stories from people whose families had fled across the new line.[101] Defending his portrayal of Cyril Radcliffe as a man who struggled with his conscience, Brenton said, "There were clues that Radcliffe had a dark night of the soul in the bungalow: he refused to accept his fee, he did collect all the papers and draft maps, took them home to England and burnt them. And he refused to say a word, even to his family, about what happened. My playwright's brain went into overdrive when I discovered these details."[101]

Indian filmmaker Ram Madhvani created a nine-minute short film where he explored the plausible scenario of Radcliffe regretting the line he drew. The film was inspired by WH Auden’s poem on the Partition.[102][103]

See also

• Curzon line
• Indo-Bangladesh enclaves
• McMahon Line
• Durand Line
• Rajkahini


1. Schofield, Kashmir in Conflict (2003, p. 35): Wavell, however, had made a more significant political judgement in his plan, submitted to the secretary of state, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, in February 1946: 'Gurdaspur must go with Amritsar for geographical reasons and Amritsar being sacred city of Sikhs must stay out of Pakistan... Fact that much of Lahore district is irrigated from upper Bari Doab canal with headworks in Gurdaspur district is awkward but there is no solution that avoids all such difficulties.'


1. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, p. 482
2. Ishtiaq Ahmed, State, Nation and Ethnicity in Contemporary South Asia (London & New York, 1998), p. 99: "On 15 August 1947 India achieved independence... The several hundred princely states which came within Indian territory could in principle remain independent but were advised by both the British government and the Congress Party to join India."
3. Smitha, Independence section, para. 7.
4. See North-West Frontier Province and "North-West Frontier Province" Archived 4 June 2011 at the Wayback Machinefrom the Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2008, at, accessed 10 September 2009
5. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, p. 483
6. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, p. 497: "Ten million of them were in the central Punjab. In an area measuring about 200 miles (320 km) by 150 miles (240 km), roughly the size of Scotland, with some 17,000 towns and villages, five million Muslims were trekking from east to west, and five million Hindus and Sikhs trekking in the opposite direction. Many of them never made it to their destinations."
7. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, p. 499
8. Tan & Kudaisya 2000, p. 162–163.
9. Ambedkar, Bhimrao Ramji (1941) [first published 1940], Thoughts on Pakistan, Bombay: Thacker and company
10. Sialkoti, Punjab Boundary Line Issue 2014, p. 73–76.
11. Dhulipala, Creating a New Medina 2015, pp. 124, 134, 142–144, 149: "Thoughts on Pakistan 'rocked Indian politics for a decade'."
12. Sialkoti, Punjab Boundary Line Issue 2014, p. 82.
13. Sialkoti, Punjab Boundary Line Issue 2014, p. 84–85.
14. Sialkoti, Punjab Boundary Line Issue 2014, p. 85–86.
15. Datta, The Punjab Boundary Commission Award 1998, p. 858.
16. Sialkoti, Punjab Boundary Line Issue 2014, p. 86.
17. Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam Since 1850, Ayesha Jalal, pages 433-434
18. The Politics if Religion in South and Southeast Asia, Tridivesh Singh Maini, page 70
19. War and Religion: An Encyclopedia of Faith and Conflict [3 Volumes], Jeffrey M Shaw, Timothy J Demmy, page 375
20. The Sikhs of the Punjab, Volumes 2-3 , J S Grewal, page 176
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22. Sialkoti, An Analytical Study of the Punjab Boundary Line Issue 2014, pp. 87–89.
23. Metcalf, Barbara D.; Metcalf, Thomas R. (2012), A Concise History of Modern India (Third ed.), Cambridge University Press, pp. 216–217, ISBN 978-1-139-53705-6, archived from the original on 30 July 2018, retrieved 29 July 2018: "...the Congress leadership, above all Jawaharlal Nehru,... increasingly came to the conclusion that, under the Cabinet mission proposals, the centre would be too weak to achieve the goals of the Congress..."
24. Jalal, Ayesha (1994) [first published 1985], The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan, Cambridge University Press, pp. 209–210, ISBN 978-0-521-45850-4: "Just when Jinnah was beginning to turn in the direction that he both wanted and needed to go, his own followers pressed him to stick rigidly to his earlier unbending stance which he had adopted while he was preparing for the time of bargaining in earnest."
25. Sialkoti, An Analytical Study of the Punjab Boundary Line Issue 2014, pp. 91.
26. Copland, Ian (2002). "he Master and the Maharajas: The Sikh Princes and the East Punjab Massacres of 1947". Modern Asian Studies. 36 (3): 657–704. doi:10.1017/s0026749x02003050. But in accepting the 'logic' of the League's two-nation theory, the British applied it remorselessly. They insisted that partition would have to follow the lines of religious affiliation, not the boundaries of provinces. In 1947 League president Muhammad Ali Jinnah was forced to accept what he had contemptuously dismissed in 1944 as a 'moth eaten' Pakistan, a Pakistan bereft of something like half of Bengal and the Punjab.
27. Liaquat Ali Khan (2004). Roger D. Long (ed.). "Dear Mr. Jinnah": Selected Correspondence and Speeches of Liaquat Ali Khan, 1937-1947. Oxford University Press. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-19-597709-7. Mountbatten, along with the Congress, thought that faced with the partition of these two provinces, Jinnah would back down and accept the union of India. They had, once again, vastly misjudged and underestimated Jinnah and the League. Mountbatten was becoming increasingly aggravated that he could not manipulate Jinnah. After some half a dozen meetings with Jinnah in the space of one week, Mountbatten became totally frustrated with him.
28. Akbar Ahmed (12 August 2005). Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin. Routledge. pp. 203–. ISBN 978-1-134-75022-1.
29. Sialkoti, An Analytical Study of the Punjab Boundary Line Issue 2014, pp. 92.
30. Moore, Robin James. "Mountbatten, India, and the Commonwealth". Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics. 19 (1): 35–36. doi:10.1080/14662048108447372. Though as late as March Cripps and Mountbatten still hoped for the acceptance of Plan Union, Jinnah had already dismissed all alternatives to Pakistan and Congress had acquiesced in the principle of partition.
31. Sialkoti, An Analytical Study of the Punjab Boundary Line Issue 2014, pp. 94–95.
32. Sialkoti, An Analytical Study of the Punjab Boundary Line Issue 2014, pp. 95–96.
33. Fraser, T. G. (1984). Partition In Ireland India And Palestine: Theory And Practice. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 123. ISBN 978-1-349-17610-6. Archived from the original on 30 July 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
34. Moore, Robin James. "Mountbatten, India, and the Commonwealth". Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics. 19 (1): 4–53. Though Mountbatten thought the concept of Pakistan 'sheer madness', he became reconciled to it in the course of six interviews with Jinnah from 5 to 10 April. Jinnah, whom he described as a 'psychopathic case', remained obdurate in the face of his insistence that Pakistan involved the partition of Bengal and the Punjab.
35. Sialkoti, An Analytical Study of the Punjab Boundary Line Issue 2014, pp. 98–99.
36. Sialkoti, An Analytical Study of the Punjab Boundary Line Issue 2014, pp. 97–98.
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38. Moore, Robin James. "Mountbatten, India, and the Commonwealth". Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics. 19 (1): 35–36. doi:10.1080/14662048108447372. The 22 May meeting settled the strategy for dealing with Jinnah if he rejected Plan Partition, for he was now virulent against the partition of Bengal and Punjab and claiming a land corridor to connect the eastern and western arms of his Pakistan. Mountbatten proposed to frighten him by a policy of isolation: power should be transferred to an Indian Dominion and 'an independent Government outside the Commonwealth for the Muslim majority areas'.134 Having used Jinnah's initial request for dominionhood to manoeuvre Congress towards the Commonwealth, he would now use the same strategy against the League. The Committee, however, adopted Listowel's proposal that in any event power should be transferred to a Pakistan Dominion, which might secede at once if it wished. It also accepted that Jinnah might be told that 'the consequence of refusal would be a settlement less favourable . . . than that contained in the announcement', for example a settlement more favourable to the Sikhs.
39. Sialkoti, An Analytical Study of the Punjab Boundary Line Issue 2014, pp. 107.
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43. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, pp. 482–483
44. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, p. 418: "He wrote to then Prime Minister Clement Attlee, "It makes all the difference to me to know that you propose to make a statement in the House, terminating the British 'Raj' on a definite and specified date; or earlier than this date, if the Indian Parties can agree a constitution and form a Government before this.""
45. "Minutes of the award meeting : Held on 16 August 1947". Archived from the original on 22 November 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
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47. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, p. 482: "After the obligatory wrangles, with Jinnah playing for time by suggesting calling in the United Nations, which could have delayed things for months if not years, it was decided to set up two boundary commissions, each with an independent chairman and four High Court judges, two nominated by Congress and two by the League."
48. Mishra, Exit Wounds 2007, para. 19: "Irrevocably enfeebled by the Second World War, the British belatedly realized that they had to leave the subcontinent, which had spiraled out of their control through the nineteen-forties. ... But in the British elections at the end of the war, the reactionaries unexpectedly lost to the Labour Party, and a new era in British politics began. As von Tunzelmann writes, 'By 1946, the subcontinent was a mess, with British civil and military officers desperate to leave, and a growing hostility to their presence among Indians.' ... The British could not now rely on brute force without imperiling their own sense of legitimacy. Besides, however much they 'preferred the illusion of imperial might to the admission of imperial failure,' as von Tunzelmann puts it, the country, deep in wartime debt, simply couldn’t afford to hold on to its increasingly unstable empire. Imperial disengagement appeared not just inevitable but urgent."
49. Chester, The 1947 Partition 2002, "Boundary Commission Format and Procedure section", para. 5.
50. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, 483,&nbsppara. 1
51. population?
52. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, p. 485
53. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, pp. 484–485: "After the 3 June 1947 plan had been announced, the main Sikh organization, the Shiromani Akali Dal, had distributed a circular saying that 'Pakistan means total death to the Sikh Panth [community] and the Sikhs are determined on a free sovereign state with the [rivers] Chenab and the Jamna as its borders, and it calls on all Sikhs to fight for their ideal under the flag of the Dal.'"
54. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, p. 481
55. Mishra, Exit Wounds 2007, para. 4
56. Mishra, Exit Wounds 2007, para. 5
57. Chester, The 1947 Partition 2002, "Methodology", para. 1.
58. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, p. 484: Years later, he told Leonard Mosley, "The heat is so appalling, that at noon it looks like the blackest night and feels like the mouth of hell. After a few days of it, I seriously began to wonder whether I would come out of it alive. I have thought ever since that the greatest achievement which I made as Chairman of the Boundary Commission was a physical one, in surviving."
59. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, p. .494
60. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, p. 490
61. Read & Fisher, The Proudest Day 1998, pp. 487–488
62. Pervaiz I Cheema; Manuel Riemer (22 August 1990). Pakistan's Defence Policy 1947–58. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 27–. ISBN 978-1-349-20942-2. Archived from the original on 30 July 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
63. Ahmed, Ishtiaq. "The battle for Lahore and Amritsar". Retrieved 19 March 2019.
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65. Kuldip Nayar (24 August 2018). "'I nearly gave you Lahore': When Kuldip Nayar asked Cyril Radcliffe about deciding Indo-Pak border".
66. Kaul, Pyarelal (1991). Crisis in Kashmir. Suman Publications. p. 42. Under Radcliffe Award, Lahore was to have gone to India and not to Pakistan. The Arbitrator Radcliffe, announced to the representatives of India and Pakistan that Lahore had fallen to the lot of India.
67. Hoshiar Singh, Pankaj Singh; Singh Hoshiar. Indian Administration. Pearson Education India. ISBN 978-81-317-6119-9. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
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69. Narowal – Punjab Portal
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• Chester, Lucy (February 2002), "The 1947 Partition: Drawing the Indo-Pakistani Boundary", American Diplomacy
• Datta, V. N. (2002), "Lord Mountbatten and the Punjab Boundary Commission Award", in S. Settar; Indira B. Gupta (eds.), Pangs of Partition: The parting of ways, Manohar, pp. 13–39, ISBN 978-81-7304-306-2
o Datta, V. N. (1998), "The Punjab Boundary Commission Award (12 August, 1947)", Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, 59: 850–862, JSTOR 44147058
• Dhulipala, Venkat (2015), Creating a New Medina, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-1-107-05212-3
• Mansergh, Nicholas, ed. The Transfer of Power, 1942-7. (12 volumes)[full citation needed]
• Mishra, Pankaj (13 August 2007). "Exit Wounds". The New Yorker.
• Read, Anthony; Fisher, David (1998), The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, ISBN 9780393045949
• Schofield, Victoria (2003) [First published in 2000], Kashmir in Conflict, London and New York: I. B. Taurus & Co, ISBN 978-1860648984
• Sialkoti, Zulfiqar Ali (2014), "An Analytical Study of the Punjab Boundary Line Issue during the Last Two Decades of the British Raj until the Declaration of 3 June 1947" (PDF), Pakistan Journal of History and Culture, XXXV (2)
• Tan, Tai Yong; Kudaisya, Gyanesh (2000), The Aftermath of Partition in South Asia, Routledge, ISBN 978-1-134-44048-1

Further reading

• India: Volume XI: The Mountbatten Viceroyalty-Announcement and Reception of 3 June Plan, 31 May-7 July 1947. Reviewed by Wood, J.R. "Dividing the Jewel: Mountbatten and the Transfer of Power to India and Pakistan". Pacific Affairs, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Winter, 1985–1986), pp. 653–662. JSTOR
• Berg, E., and van Houtum, H. Routing borders between territories, discourses, and practices (p.128).
• Chester, Lucy P. Borders and Conflict in South Asia: The Radcliffe Boundary Commission and the Partition of Punjab. Manchester UP, 2009.
• Collins, L., and Lapierre, D. (1975) Freedom at Midnight.
• Collins, L., and Lapierre, D. Mountbatten and the Partition of India.
• Heward, E. The Great and the Good: A Life of Lord Radcliffe. Chichester: Barry Rose Publishers, 1994.
• Mishra, Pankaj (13 August 2007). "Exit Wounds". The New Yorker.
• Moon, P. The Transfer of Power, 1942-7: Constitutional Relations Between Britain and India: Volume X: The Mountbatten Viceroyalty-Formulation of a Plan, 22 March-30 May 1947. Review "Dividing the Jewel" at JSTOR
• Moon, Blake, D., and Ashton, S. The Transfer of Power, 1942-7: Constitutional Relations Between Britain and. Review "Dividing the Jewel" at JSTOR
• Smitha, F. The US and Britain in Asia, to 1960. MacroHistory website, 2001.
• Tunzelmann, A. Indian Summer. Henry Holt.
• Wolpert, S. (1989). A New History of India, 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
• Chopra, R. M., "The Punjab And Bengal", Punjabee Bradree, Calcutta, 1999.

Documentary Film and TV

• Johnny Harris and Christina Thornell (26 June 2019). How a border transformed a subcontinent: This line divided India and Pakistan. Vox Media. Retrieved 26 July 2019. A brief history of how the region was split in two.

External links

• Drawing the Indo-Pakistani border
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Anushilan Samiti
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/3/20

Anushilan Samiti
Motto: United India
Formation: 1902
Type: Secret Revolutionary Society
Purpose: Indian Independence
Location: Bengal

Anushilan Samiti (Ônushīlôn sômiti, lit: bodybuilding society) was a Bengali Indian organisation in the first quarter of the 20th century that supported revolutionary violence as the means for ending British rule in India. The organisation arose from a conglomeration of local youth groups and gyms (akhara) in Bengal in 1902. It had two prominent, somewhat independent, arms in East and West Bengal, Dhaka Anushilan Samiti (centred in Dhaka, modern day Bangladesh), and the Jugantar group (centred at Calcutta).

From its foundation to its dissolution during the 1930s, the Samiti challenged British rule in India by engaging in militant nationalism, including bombings, assassinations, and politically-motivated violence. The Samiti collaborated with other revolutionary organisations in India and abroad. It was led by the nationalists Aurobindo Ghosh and his brother Barindra Ghosh, and influenced by philosophies as diverse as Hindu Shakta philosophy, as set forth by Bengali authors Bankim and Vivekananda, Italian Nationalism, and the Pan-Asianism of Kakuzo Okakura. The Samiti was involved in a number of noted incidents of revolutionary attacks against British interests and administration in India, including early attempts to assassinate British Raj officials. These were followed by the 1912 attempt on the life of the Viceroy of India, and the Seditious conspiracy during World War I, led by Rash Behari Bose and Jatindranath Mukherjee respectively.

The organisation moved away from its philosophy of violence in the 1920s due to the influence of the Indian National Congress and the Gandhian non-violent movement. A section of the group, notably those associated with Sachindranath Sanyal, remained active in the revolutionary movement, founding the Hindustan Republican Association in north India. A number of Congress leaders from Bengal, especially Subhash Chandra Bose, were accused by the British Government of having links with the organisation during this time.

The Samiti's violent and radical philosophy revived in the 1930s, when it was involved in the Kakori conspiracy, the Chittagong armoury raid, and other actions against the administration in British-occupied India.

Shortly after its inception, the organisation became the focus of an extensive police and intelligence operation which led to the founding of the Special branch of the Calcutta Police. Notable officers who led the police and intelligence operations against the Samiti at various times included Sir Robert Nathan, Sir Harold Stuart, Sir Charles Stevenson-Moore and Sir Charles Tegart. The threat posed by the activities of the Samiti in Bengal during World War I, along with the threat of a Ghadarite uprising in Punjab, led to the passage of Defence of India Act 1915. These measures enabled the arrest, internment, transportation and execution of a number of revolutionaries linked to the organisation, which crushed the East Bengal Branch. In the aftermath of the war, the Rowlatt committee recommended extending the Defence of India Act (as the Rowlatt Act) to thwart any possible revival of the Samiti in Bengal and the Ghadarite movement in Punjab. After the war, the activities of the party led to the implementation of the Bengal Criminal Law Amendment in the early 1920s, which reinstated the powers of incarceration and detention from the Defence of India Act. However, the Anushilan Samiti gradually disseminated into the Gandhian movement. Some of its members left for the Indian National Congress then led by Subhas Chandra Bose, while others identified more closely with Communism. The Jugantar branch formally dissolved in 1938. In independent India, the party in West Bengal evolved into the Revolutionary Socialist Party, while the Eastern Branch later evolved into the Shramik Krishak Samajbadi Dal (Workers and Peasants Socialist Party) in present-day Bangladesh.


The growth of the Indian middle class during the 19th century led to a growing sense of Indian identity[1] that fed a rising tide of nationalism in India in the last decades of the 1800s.[2] The creation of the Indian National Congress in 1885 by A.O. Hume provided a major platform for the demands of political liberalisation, increased autonomy and social reform.[3] The nationalist movement became particularly strong, radical and violent in Bengal and, later, in Punjab. Notable, if smaller, movements also appeared in Maharashtra, Madras and other areas in the South.[3] The movement in Maharashtra, especially Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and Poona, preceded most revolutionary movements in the country. This movement was supported ideologically by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who may also have offered covert active support. The Indian Association was founded in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) in 1876 under the leadership of Surendranath Banerjea. The Association became the mouthpiece of an informal constituency of students and middle-class gentlemen. It sponsored the Indian National Conference in 1883 and 1885, which later merged with the Indian National Congress.[4] Kolkata - formerly Calcutta was at the time the most prominent centre for organised politics, and some of the students who attended the political meetings began to organise "secret societies" that cultivated a culture of physical strength and nationalist feelings.


Main article: History of the Anushilan Samiti

See also: Jugantar and Dhaka Anushilan Samiti


By 1902, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) had three secret societies working toward the violent overthrow of British rule in India: one founded by Calcutta student Satish Chandra Basu with the patronage of Calcutta barrister Pramatha Mitra,...


Pramathanath Mitra (30 October 1853 – 1910), known widely as P. Mitra, was a Bengali Indian barrister and Indian nationalist who was among the earliest founding members of the Indian revolutionary organisation, Anushilan Samiti in 1902. He established "anushilan samiti" on the theory of "anushilan tattya" which belongs to the book "The Theory Of Religion" written by Rishi Bankim.

-- Pramathanath Mitra, by Wikipedia

another led by Sarala Devi,...


Sarala Devi Chaudhurani, born Sarala Ghosal, (9 September 1872 – 18 August 1945) was the founder of the first women's organisation in India, the Bharat Stree Mahamandal in Allahabad in 1910. One of the primary goals of the organization was to promote female education, which at that time was not well developed. The organization opened several offices in Lahore (then part of undivided India), Allahabad, Delhi, Karachi, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Bankura, Hazaribagh, Midnapur and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) to improve the situation of women all over India.

Sarala was born at Jorasanko, Kolkata on 9 September 1872 to a well known Bengali intellectual family. Her father Janakinath Ghosal was one of the earliest secretaries of the Bengal Congress. Her mother Swarnakumari Devi, a noted author, was the daughter of Debendranath Tagore, a leading Brahmo leader, and elder sister of poet Rabindranath Tagore. Her older sister, Hironmoyee, was an author and founder of a widow's home. Sarla Devi's family was a follower of Brahmoism, a religion founded by Ram Mohan Roy and later developed by Sarala's grandfather Debendranath Tagore....

During anti partition agitation she spread the gospel of nationalism in Punjab and maintained secret revolutionary society....

In 1905, under family pressure, Sarala Devi married Rambhuj Dutt Chaudhary (1866–1923), a lawyer, journalist, nationalist leader and follower of Arya Samaj, the Hindu reform movement founded by Swami Dayananda Saraswati.

After her marriage, she moved to Punjab, where she helped her husband to edit the nationalist Urdu weekly Hindusthan, which later converted in English. When her husband was arrested for his involvement in Non-cooperation movement, Mahatma Gandhi visited her home in Lahore as a guest; which resulted into profound friendship between the two, and she became a follower of Gandhi. Her only son, Dipak, married Gandhi's granddaughter Radha.

-- Sarala Devi Chaudhurani, by Wikipedia

and the third founded by Aurobindo Ghose. Ghose and his brother Barin were among the strongest proponents of militant Indian nationalism at the time.[5][6] Nationalist writings and publications by Aurobindo and Barin, including Bande Mataram and Jugantar, had a widespread influence on Bengal youth and helped Anushilan Samiti to gain popularity in Bengal. The 1905 partition of Bengal stimulated radical nationalist sentiments in Bengal's Bhadralok community, helping the Samiti to acquire the support of educated, politically-conscious and disaffected members of local youth societies. The Samiti's program emphasized physical training, training its recruits with daggers and lathis (bamboo staffs used as weapons). The Dhaka branch was led by Pulin Behari Das, and branches spread throughout East Bengal and Assam.[7] More than 500 branches were opened in eastern Bengal and Assam, linked by "close and detailed organization" to Pulin's headquarters at Dhaka. This branch soon overshadowed its parent organisation in Calcutta. Branches of Dhaka Anushilan Samiti emerged in Jessore, Khulna, Faridpur, Rajnagar, Rajendrapur, Mohanpur, Barvali and Bakarganj, with an estimated membership of 15,000 to 20,000. Within two years, Dhaka Anushilan changed its aims from those of the Swadeshi movement to that of political terrorism.[8][9]

The organisation's political views were expressed in the journal Jugantar, founded in March 1906 by Abhinash Bhattacharya, Barindra, Bhupendranath Dutt and Debabrata Basu.[10] It soon became an organ for the radical views of Aurobindo and other Anushilan leaders, and led to the Calcutta Samiti group being dubbed the "Jugantar party". Early leaders were Rash Behari Bose, Jatindranath Mukherjee and Jadugopal Mukherjee.[5] Aurobindo published similar messages of violent nationalism in journals such as Sandhya, Navashakti and Bande Mataram.

Nationalism and violence

See also: Delhi conspiracy case, Alipore bomb case, and Howrah-Sibpur Conspiracy case

The Dhaka Anushilan Samiti broke with the Jugantar group in West Bengal due to disagreements with Aurobindo's approach of slowly building a mass base for revolution. The Dhaka group instead sought immediate action and results through political terrorism. The two branches of the Samiti engaged in dacoity to raise money, and performed a number of political assassinations.[11] In December 1907, the Bengal branch derailed a train carrying Bengal Lieutenant Governor Andrew Henderson Leith Fraser in a plot led by the Ghosh brothers. In the same month, the Dhaka Anushilan Samiti assassinated former Dhaka district magistrate D. C. Allen. The following year, the Samiti engineered eleven assassinations, seven attempted assassinations and explosions and eight dacoities in West Bengal. Their targets included British police officials and civil servants, Indian police officers, informants, public prosecutors of political crimes, and wealthy families.[12] Under Barin Ghosh's direction, the Samiti's members also attempted to assassinate French colonial officials in Chandernagore who were seen as complicit with the Raj.

Anushilan Samiti established early links with foreign movements and Indian nationalists abroad. In 1907, Barin Ghosh sent Hem Chandra Kanungo (Hem Chandra Das) to Paris to learn bomb-making from Nicholas Safranski, a Russian revolutionary in exile.[7] Madam Cama, a leading figure of the Paris Indian Society and India House, a revolutionary organisation in London, also lived in Paris and was associated with V.D. Savarkar, who later published a bomb-making manual through India House. In 1908, young recruits Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki were sent on a mission to Muzaffarpur to assassinate chief presidency magistrate D. H. Kingsford. They bombed a carriage they mistook for Kingsford's,[11] killing two Englishwomen. Bose was arrested while attempting to flee and Chaki committed suicide. Police investigation of the killers connected them with Barin's country house in Manicktala (a suburb of Calcutta) and led to a number of arrests, including Aurobindo and Barin.[11] The ensuing trial, held under tight security, led to a death sentence for Barin (later commuted to life imprisonment). The case against Aurobindo Ghosh collapsed after Naren Gosain, who had turned crown witness, was shot in Alipore jail by Satyendranath Basu and Kanailal Dutta, who were also being tried. Aurobindo retired from active politics after being acquitted.[13] This was followed by a 1909 Dhaka conspiracy case, which brought 44 members of the Dhaka Anushilan Samiti to trial.[14][15] Nandalal Bannerjee (the officer who arrested Khudiram) was shot and killed in 1908, followed by the assassinations of the prosecutor and informant for the Alipore case in 1909.

After Aurobindo's retirement, the western Anushilan Samiti found a more prominent leader in Bagha Jatin and emerged as the Jugantar. Jatin revitalised links between the central organisation in Calcutta and its branches in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh, establishing hideouts in the Sunderbans for members who had gone underground.[16] The group slowly reorganised, aided by Amarendra Chatterjee, Naren Bhattacharya and other younger leaders. Some of its younger members, including Taraknath Das, left India. Over the next two years, the organisation operated under the cover of two apparently-separate groups: Sramajeebi Samabaya (the Labourer's Cooperative) and S.D. Harry and Sons.[13] Around this time Jatin attempted to establish contacts with the 10th Jat Regiment, garrisoned at Fort William in Calcutta, and Narendra Nath committed a number of robberies to raise money. Shamsul Alam, a Bengal police officer preparing a conspiracy case against the group, was assassinated by Jatin associate Biren Dutta Gupta. His assassination led to the arrests which precipitated the Howrah-Sibpur Conspiracy case.[17]

In 1911, Dhaka Anushilan members shot dead Sub-inspector Raj Kumar and Inspector Man Mohan Ghosh, two Bengali police officers investigating unrest linked to the group, in Mymensingh and Barisal. This was followed by the assassination of CID head constable Shrish Chandra Dey in Calcutta. In February 1911, Jugantar bombed a car in Calcutta, mistaking an Englishman for police officer Godfrey Denham. Rash Behari Bose (described as "the most dangerous revolutionary in India")[18] extended the group's reach into north India, where he found work in the Indian Forest Institute in Dehra Dun. Bose forged links with radical nationalists in Punjab and the United Provinces, including those later connected to Har Dayal.[19] During the 1912 transfer of the imperial capital to New Delhi, Viceroy Charles Hardinge's howdah was bombed; his mahout was killed, and Lady Hardinge was injured.[20]

World War I

See also: Hindu–German Conspiracy, Ghadar Mutiny, Christmas Day Plot, and Rodda company arms heist

Bagha Jatin, wounded after his final battle on the banks of Burha Balang off Balasore.

As war between Germany and Britain began to seem likely, Indian nationalists at home and abroad decided to use the war for the nationalist cause. Through Kishen Singh, the Bengal Samiti cell was introduced to Har Dayal when Dayal visited India in 1908.[21] Dayal was associated with India House, then headed by V. D. Savarkar. By 1910, Dayal was working closely with Rash Behari Bose.[22] After the decline of India House, Dayal moved to San Francisco after working briefly with the Paris Indian Society. Nationalism among Indian immigrants (particularly students and the working class) was gaining ground in the United States. Taraknath Das, who left Bengal for the United States in 1907, was among the Indian students who engaged in political work. In California, Dayal became a leading organiser of Indian nationalism amongst predominantly-Punjabi immigrant workers and was a key member of the Ghadar Party.

With Naren Bhattacharya, Jatin met the crown prince of Germany during the latter's 1912 visit to Calcutta and obtained an assurance that arms and ammunition would be supplied to them.[23] Jatin learned about Bose's work from Niralamba Swami on a pilgrimage to Brindavan. Returning to Bengal, he began reorganising the group. Bose went into hiding in Benares after the 1912 attempt on Hardinge but he met Jatin towards the end of 1913, outlining prospects for a pan-Indian revolution. In 1914 Bose, the Maharashtrian Vishnu Ganesh Pingle and Sikh militants planned simultaneous troop uprisings for February 1915. In Bengal, Anushilan and Jugantar launched what has been described by historians as "a reign of terror in both the cities and the countryside ... [which] ... came close to achieving their key goal of paralysing the administration". An atmosphere of fear severely affected morale in both the police and courts.[24] In August 1914, Jugantar seized a large amount of arms and ammunition from the Rodda company, a Calcutta arms dealer, and used them in robberies in Calcutta for the next two years. In 1915, only six revolutionaries were successfully tried.

Both the February 1915 plot and a December 1915 plot were thwarted by British intelligence. Jatin and a number of fellow revolutionaries were killed in a firefight with police at Balasore, in present-day Orissa, which brought Jugantar to a temporary end. The Defence of India Act 1915 led to widespread arrests, internments, deportations and executions of members of the revolutionary movement. By March 1916, widespread arrests helped Bengal police crush the Dacca Anushilan Samiti in Calcutta.[25] Regulation III and the Defence of India Act were enforced throughout Bengal in August 1916. By June 1917, 705 people were under house arrest under the Act and 99 were imprisoned under Regulation III.[25] In Bengal, revolutionary violence fell to 10 incidents in 1917.[26] According to official lists, 186 revolutionaries were killed or convicted by 1918.[27] After the war, the Defence of India Act was extended by the Rowlatt Act, the passage of which was a prime target of the protests of M. K. Gandhi's non-cooperation movement. Many revolutionaries released after the war escaped to Burma to avoid repeated incarceration.[28]

After the war

See also: Kakori conspiracy and Hindustan Socialist Republican Association

The first non-cooperation movement, the Rowlatt Satyagrahas led by Gandhi, was active from 1919 to 1922. It received widespread support from prominent members of the Indian independence movement. In Bengal, Jugantar agreed to a request by Chittaranjan Das (a respected leader of the Indian National Congress) to refrain from violence. Although Anushilan Samiti did not adhere to the agreement, it sponsored no major actions between 1920 and 1922. During the next few years, Jugantar and the Samiti became active again. The resurgence of radical nationalism linked to the Samiti during the 1920s led to the passage of the Bengal Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance in 1924. The act restored extraordinary powers of detention to the police; by 1927 more than 200 suspects were imprisoned under the act, including Subhas Chandra Bose, curtailing the resurgence of nationalist violence in Bengal.[29] Branches of Jugantar formed in Chittagong and Dhaka, in present-day Bangladesh. The Chittagong branch, led by Surya Sen, robbed the Chittagong office of the Assam-Bengal Railway in December 1923. In January 1924 a young Bengali, Gopi Mohan Saha, shot dead a European he mistook for Calcutta police commissioner Charles Tegart. The assassin was praised by the Bengali press and, to Gandhi's chagrin, proclaimed a martyr by the Bengal branch of the Congress. Around this time, Jugantar became closely associated with the Calcutta Corporation, headed by Das and Subhas Chandra Bose, and terrorists (and ex-terrorists) became significant factors in local Bengali government.

In 1923 another group linked to Anushilan Samiti, the Hindustan Republican Association, was founded in Benares by Sachindranath Sanyal and Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee, helping to radicalise north India. It soon had branches from Calcutta to Lahore. A series of successful dacoities in Uttar Pradesh were followed by a train robbery in Kakori, and subsequent investigations and two trials broke the organization. Several years later, it was reborn as the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).

In 1927, the Indian National Congress came out in favour of independence from Britain. Bengal had quietened over a four-year period, and the government released most of those interned under the Act of 1925 despite an unsuccessful attempt to forge an alliance between Jugantar and Anushilan Samiti. Some younger radicals struck out in new directions, and many (young and old) took part in Congress activities such as the 1928 anti-Simon Commission protests. Congress leader Lala Lajpat Rai died of injuries received when police broke up a Lahore protest march in October, and Bhagat Singh and other members of the HSRA avenged his death in December; Singh also later bombed the legislative assembly. He and other HSRA members were arrested, and three went on a hunger strike in jail; Bengali bomb-maker Jatindra Nath Das persisted in his strike until his death in September 1929. The Calcutta Corporation passed a condolence resolution after his death, as did Congress when Bhagat Singh was executed.

Final phase

See also: Chittagong armoury raid, Benoy Basu, Dinesh Gupta, and Badal Gupta

Surya Sen, Jugantar leader and mastermind of the Chittagong raid.

As the Congress-led movement picked up its pace during the early 1930s, some former revolutionaries identified with the Gandhian political movement and became influential Congressmen (notably Surendra Mohan Ghose). Many Bengali Congressmen also maintained links with the Samiti. Simultaneously with the nonviolent protests of the Gandhi-led Salt March, in April 1930, a group led by Surya Sen raided the Chittagong Armoury. In 1930 eleven British officials were killed, notably during the Writer's Building raid of December 1930 by Benoy Basu, Dinesh Gupta and Badal Gupta. Three successive district magistrates in Midnapore were assassinated, and dozens of other actions were carried out during the first half of the decade. By 1931 a record 92 violent incidents were recorded, including the murders of the British magistrates of Tippera and Midnapore.[30] However, soon afterwards, in 1934, the revolutionary movement in Bengal ended.

Benoy Basu

Badal Gupta

and Dinesh Gupta were noted for launching an attack on the Secretariat Building - the Writers' Building in the Dalhousie square in Kolkata.

A large portion of the Samiti movement was attracted to left-wing politics during the 1930s, and those who did not join left-wing parties identified with Congress and the Congress Socialist Party. During the mass detentions of the 1930s surrounding the civil-disobedience movement, many members joined Congress. Jugantar was formally dissolved in 1938; many former members continued to act together under Surendra Mohan Ghose, who was a liaison between other Congress politicians and Aurobindo Ghose in Pondicherry. During the late 1930s, Marxist-leaning members of the Samiti in the CSP announced the formation of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).



Anushilan Samiti and Jugantar were organised on different lines, reflecting their divergence. The Samiti was centrally organised, with a rigid discipline and vertical hierarchy. Jugantar was more loosely organised as an alliance of groups under local leaders that occasionally coordinated their actions. The prototype of Jugantar's organisation was Barin Ghosh's organisation set up in 1907, in the run-up to the Manicktala conspiracy. It sought to emulate the model of Russian revolutionaries described by Frost. The regulations of the central Dhaka organization of the Samiti were written down, and reproduced and summarised in government reports.

According to one estimate, the Dacca Anushilan Samiti at one point had 500 branches, mostly in the eastern districts of Bengal, and 20,000 members. Branches were opened later in the western districts, Bihar, and the United Provinces. Shelters for absconders were established in Assam and in two farms in Tripura. Organisational documents show a primary division between the two active leaders, Barin Ghosh and Upendranath Bannerjee, and the rank-and-file. Higher leaders such as Aurobindo were supposed to be known only to the active leaders. Past members of the Samiti asserted that the groups were interconnected with a vast web of secret societies throughout British India. However, historian Peter Heehs concluded that the links between provinces were limited to contacts between a few individuals like Aurobindo who was familiar with leaders and movements in Western India, and that relationships among the different revolutionary groups were more often competitive than co-operative. An internal document of circa 1908 written by Pulin Behari Das describes the division of the organisation in Bengal, which largely followed British administrative divisions.


Samiti membership was predominantly made up of Hindus, at least initially, which was ascribed to the religious oath of initiation being unacceptable to Muslims. Each member was assigned to one or more of three roles: collection of funds, implementation of planned actions and propaganda. In practice, however, the fundamental division was between "military’’ work and ‘‘civil’’ work. Dals (teams) consisting of five or ten members led by a dalpati (team leader) were grouped together in local Samiti led by adhyakshas (executive officers) and other officers. These reported to district officers appointed by and responsible to the central Dhaka organization, commanded by Pulin Das and those who deputised for him during his periods of imprisonment. Samitis were divided into four functional groups: violence, organisation, keepers of arms, and householders. Communications were carried by special couriers and written in secret code. These practices and others were inspired by literary sources and were partly a concession to the desire of young men to act out romantic drama. Less is known about the Jugantar network, which took the place of the Manicktala society after the Alipore bomb case. It faced divisions similar to the Samiti. Historian Leonard Gordon notes that at least in the period between 1910 and 1915, the dals in the Jugantar network were separate units, led by a dada (lit: elder brother). The dada was also guru, teaching those under his command practical skills, revolutionary ideology, and strategy. Gordon suggests that the dada system developed out of pre-existing social structures in rural Bengal. Dadas both co-operated and competed with each other for men, money, and material.

Many members of the Samiti came from upper castes. By 1918, nearly 90% of the revolutionaries killed or convicted were Brahmins, Kayasthas or Vaishyas.[27] As the Samiti spread its influence to other parts of the country, particularly north India, it began to draw in people of other religions and of varying religious commitments. For example, many who joined the Hindustan Republican Socialist Association were Marxists and many were militant atheists.[30] By the late 1930s, members with a more secular outlook were beginning to participate. Some components of the Samiti also included prominent participation from women, including Pritilata Waddedar who led a Jugantar attack during the Chittagong Armoury raid, and Kalpana Dutta who manufactured bombs at Chittagong.[31]


Indian philosophies

The Samiti was influenced by the writings of the Bengali nationalist author Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. The name of the organisation, Anushilan, is derived from Bankim's works espousing hard work and spartan life. Bankim's cultural and martial nationalism, exemplified in Anandamath, along with his reinterpretation of the Bhagavat Gita, were strong influences on the strain of nationalism that inspired the early societies that later became Anushilan Samiti.[32] A search of the Dacca Anushilan Samiti library in 1908 showed that Bankim's Bhagavat Gita was the most widely read book in the library.[33]

The philosophies and teachings of Swami Vivekananda were later added to this philosophy. The "Rules of Membership" in the Dacca library strongly recommended reading his books.[33] These books emphasised "Strong muscles and nerves of steel", which some historians consider to be strongly influenced by the Hindu Shakta Philosophy. This interest in physical improvement and proto-national spirit among young Bengalis was driven by an effort to break away from the stereotype of effeminacy that the British had imposed on the Bengalis. Physical fitness was symbolic of the recovery of masculinity, and part of a larger moral and spiritual training to cultivate control over the body, and develop national pride and a sense of social responsibility and service.[34][35] Peter Heehs, writing in 2010, notes the Samiti had three pillars in their ideologies: "cultural independence", "political independence", and "economic independence". In terms of economic independence, the Samiti diverged from the Swadeshi movement, which they decried as a "trader's movement".[36]

European influences

See also: Carbonari

When the Samiti first came into prominence following the Muzaffarpur killings, its ideology was felt to be influenced by European anarchism. Lord Minto resisted the notion that its action might be the manifestation of political grievance by concluding that:

Murderous methods hitherto unknown in India ... have been imported from the West, ... which the imitative Bengali has childishly accepted.[37]

However others disagreed. John Morley was of the opinion that the political violence exemplified by the Samiti was a manifestation of Indian antagonism to the government,[37] although there were also influences of European nationalism and philosophies of liberalism.[38] In the 1860s and 1870s, large numbers of akhras (gymnasiums) arose in Bengal that were consciously designed along the lines of the Italian Carbonari.[39] These were influenced by the works of Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini and his Young Italy movement. Aurobindo himself studied the revolutionary nationalism of Ireland, France and America.[38] Hem Chandra Das, during his stay in Paris, is also noted to have interacted with European radical nationalists in the city,[38] returning to India an atheist with Marxist leanings.[27]

Okakura and Nivedita

See also: Sister Nivedita, Kakuzo Okakura, and Pan-Asianism

Foreign influences on the Samiti included the Japanese artist Kakuzo Okakura and Margaret Noble, an Irish woman known as Sister Nivedita. Okakura was a proponent of Pan-Asianism. He visited Swami Vivekananda in Calcutta in 1902, and inspired Pramathanath Mitra in the early days of the Samiti.[38][40] However the extent of his involvement or influence is debated.[41] Nivedita was a disciple of Swami Vivekananda. She had contacts with Aurobindo, with Satish Bose and with Jugantar sub-editor Bhupendranath Bose. Nivedita is believed to have influenced members of the Samiti by talking about their duties to the motherland and providing literature on revolutionary nationalism. She was a correspondent of Peter Kropotkin, a noted anarchist.[38]

Later influences

See also: Communist Party of India and M.N. Roy

A major section of the Anushilan movement had been attracted to Marxism during the 1930s, many of them studying Marxist–Leninist literature whilst serving long jail sentences. A minority broke away from the Samiti and joined the Communist Consolidation, and later the Communist Party of India (CPI). The majority of the Anushilan Marxists were hesitant to join the Communist Party, however, since they distrusted the political lines formulated by the Communist International.[42] They also did not embrace Trotskyism, although they shared some Trotskyite critiques of the leadership of Joseph Stalin.


Police reaction and reforms

See also: Sir Harold Stuart and Charles Tegart

Shortly after its inception, the Samiti became the focus of extensive police and intelligence operation. Notable officers who led the police and intelligence operations against them at various times included Sir Robert Nathan, Sir Harold Stuart, Sir Charles Stevenson-Moore and Sir Charles Tegart.

The CIDs of Bengal and the provinces of Eastern Bengal and Assam were founded in response to the revolutionary movement led by the Samiti.[7] By 1908, political crime duties took the services of one deputy Superintendent of Police, 52 Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors, and nearly 720 constables. Foreseeing a rise in the strength of the revolutionary movement, Sir Harold Stuart (then Secretary of State for India) implemented plans for secret service to fight the menace posed by the Samiti.[43] A Political Crime branch of the C.I.D. (known as the "Special Department") was developed in September 1909, staffed by 23 officers and 45 men. The government of India allocated Rs 2,227,000 for the Bengal Police alone in the reforms of 1909-1910.[43]

By 1908 a Special Officer for Political Crime was appointed from the Bengal Police, with the Special Branch of Police working under him. This post was first occupied by C.W.C. Plowden and later by F.C. Daly.[43] Godfrey Denham, then Assistant Superintendent of Police, served under the Special Officer.[43] Denham was credited with uncovering the Manicktala safe house of the Samiti, raiding it in May 1908, which ultimately led to the Manicktala conspiracy case. This case led to further expansion of the Special Branch in Bengal. The CID in Eastern Bengal and Assam (EBA) were founded in 1906 and expanded from 1909 onwards. However, the EBA police's access to informers and secret agents remained difficult.[44] In EBA, a civil servant, H.L. Salkeld, uncovered the eastern branch of Anushilan Samiti, producing a four-volume report and placing 68 suspects under surveillance.[12] However the Samiti evaded detailed intrusion by adopting the model of Russian revolutionaries. Until 1909, the police were unclear whether they were dealing with a single organisation or with a conglomeration of independent groups.[12]

The visit of King George V to India in 1911 catalyzed improvements in police equipment and staffing in Bengal and EBA. In 1912, the political branch of the Bengal CID was renamed the Intelligence Branch, staffed with 50 officers and 127 men. The branch had separate sections dealing with explosives, assassinations, and robberies.[20] It was headed by Charles Tegart, who built up a network of agents and informers to infiltrate the Samiti.[20] Tegart would meet his agents under cover of darkness, at times disguising himself as a pathan or kabuliwallah.[20] Assisting Denham and Petrie, Tegart led the investigation in the aftermath of the Dalhi-Lahore Conspiracy and identified Chandernagore as the main hub for the Samiti.[20] Tegart remained in the Bengal police until at least the 1930s, earning notoriety amongst the Samiti for his work, and was subjected to a number of assassination attempts. In 1924, Ernest Day, an Englishman, was shot dead by Gopinath Saha at Chowringhee Road in Calcutta, due to being mistaken for Tegart. In 1930, a bomb was thrown into Tegart's car at Dalhousie Square but Tegart managed to shoot the revolutionary and escaped unhurt. His efficient curbing of the revolutionary movement earned praise from Lord Lytton and he was awarded the King's medal. In 1937 Tegart was sent to the British Mandate of Palestine, then in the throes of the Arab Revolt, to advise the Inspector General on security.[45]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 2 of 2

Criminal Law Amendment 1908

In its fight against the Raj, the Samiti's members who turned approvers (i.e. gave evidence against their colleagues) and the Bengal Police staff who were investigating the Samiti were consistently targeted. A number of assassinations were carried out of approvers who had agreed to act as crown witnesses. In 1909 Naren Gossain, crown witness for the prosecution in Alipore bomb case, was shot dead within Alipore Jail by Satyendranath Boseu and Kanai Lal Dutt. Ashutosh Biswas, an advocate of Calcutta High Court in charge of prosecution of Gossain murder case, was shot dead within Calcutta High Court in 1909. In 1910, Shamsul Alam, Deputy Superintendent of Bengal Police responsible for investigating the Alipore bomb case, was shot dead on the steps of Calcutta High Court. The failures of a number of prosecutions of violence linked to the Samiti under the Criminal Procedures Act of 1898 led to a special act that provided for crimes of nationalist violence to be tried by a special tribunal composed of three high-court judges. In December 1908 the Criminal Law amendments were passed under the terms of Regulation III of 1818, with the goal of suppressing associations formed for seditious conspiracies.[46] The act was first applied to deport nine Bengali revolutionaries to Mandalay prison in 1908. Despite these measures however, the high standards of evidence demanded by the Calcutta High Court, insufficient investigations by police, and at times outright fabrication of evidence, led to persistent failures to tame nationalist violence.[47] The police forces felt unable to deal with the operations of secretive nationalist organisations, leading to demands for special powers. The Indian press opposed these demands strenuously, arguing against any extension of the already wide powers enjoyed by the police forces in India, which they claimed were already being used to oppress the Indian people.[48]

Defence of India Act

See also: Defence of India Act 1915

The threat posed by the activities of the Samiti in Bengal during World War I, along with the threat of a Ghadarite uprising in Punjab, led to the passage of Defence of India Act 1915. The act received universal support from Indian non-officiating members in the Governor General's council and from moderate leaders within the Indian political movement. The British war effort had received popular support within India and the act received support on the understanding that the measures enacted were necessary in the war situation. These measures enabled the arrest, internment, transportation, and execution of a number of revolutionaries linked to the organisation, which crushed the East Bengal branch of the Samiti. Its application led to 46 executions, as well as 64 life sentences given to revolutionaries in Bengal and Punjab in the Lahore Conspiracy Trial and Benares Conspiracy Trial, and in tribunals in Bengal,[26] effectively crushing the revolutionary movement. By March 1916, widespread arrests had helped Bengal Police crush the Dhaka Anushilan Samiti in Calcutta.[25] The power of preventive detention was used extensively in Bengal, and revolutionary violence in Bengal plummeted to 10 incidents in 1917.[26] By the end of the war there were over 800 detainees under the act in Bengal under the act. However, indiscriminate application of the act made it increasingly unpopular with the Indian public.

Rowlatt act

The 1915 act was designed to expire in 1919, and the Rowlatt Committee was appointed to recommend measures to continue to suppress the revolutionary movement. The committee recommended an extension of the provisions of the Defence of India Act for a further three years with the removal of habeas corpus provisions. However this was met with universal opposition by the Indian members of the Viceroy's council, as well as the population in general, and Gandhi called the proposed act "The Black Bills". Mohammed Ali Jinnah left the Viceroy's council in protest, after having warned the council of the danger of enacting such an unpopular bill. Nevertheless, the recommendations were enacted in the Rowlatt Bills. Gandhi then led a protest, the Rowlatt Satyagraha, one of the first civil disobedience movements that would become the Indian independence movement. The protests included hartals in Delhi, public protests in Punjab, and other protest movements across India. In Punjab, the protests culminated in the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre in April 1919. After nearly three years of agitation, the government finally repealed the Rowlatt act and its component sister acts.

Bengal Criminal Law Amendment

Main article: Bengal Criminal Law Amendment

A resurgence of radical nationalism linked to the Samiti after 1922 led to the implementation of the Bengal Criminal Law Amendment in 1924, which reinstated the powers of incarceration and detention from the Defence of India Act. The act re-introduced extraordinary powers of detention to the police, and by 1927 more than 200 suspects had been imprisoned, including Subhas Chandra Bose. The implementation of the act successfully curtailed a resurgence in nationalist violence in Bengal, at a time when the Hindustan Republican Association was rising in the United Provinces.[29]

After the 1920s, the Anushilan Samiti gradually dissolved into the Gandhian movement. Some of its members left for the Indian National Congress, then led by Subhas Chandra Bose, while others identified more closely with Communism. The Jugantar branch formally dissolved in 1938. In independent India, the party in West Bengal evolved into the Revolutionary Socialist Party, while the Eastern Branch later evolved into the Sramik Krishak Samajbadi Dal (Workers and Peasants Socialist Party) in present-day Bangladesh.


Revolutionary nationalism

The nationalist publication Jugantar, which served as the organ of the Samiti, inspired fanatical loyalty among its readers.[49][50] By 1907 it was selling 7,000 copies, which later rose to 20,000. Its message was aimed at elite politically conscious readers and was essentially a critique of British rule in India and justification of political violence.[51] Several young men who joined the Samiti credited Jugantar with influencing their decisions. The editor of the paper, Bhupendranath Datta, was arrested and sentenced to one year's rigorous imprisonment in 1907.[52] The Samiti responded by attempting to assassinate Douglas Kingsford, who presided over the trial, and Jugantar responded with defiant editorials.[52] Jugantar was repeatedly prosecuted, leaving it in financial ruins by 1908. However, the prosecutions brought the paper more publicity and helped disseminate the Samiti's ideology of revolutionary nationalism. Historian Shukla Sanyal has commented that revolutionary terrorism as an ideology began to win at least tacit support amongst a significant populace at this time.[50]

Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, the founder of the Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), was an alumnus of the Anushilan Samiti. He was sent to Calcutta by B. S. Moonje in 1910 to study medicine, and to learn techniques of violent nationalism from secret revolutionary organizations in Bengal.[53] There he lived with independence activist Shyam Sundar Chakravarty,[54] and had contacts with revolutionaries like Ram Prasad Bismil.

Indian independence movement

James Popplewell, writing in 1995, noted that the Raj perceived the Samiti in its early days as a serious threat to its rule.[55] However, historian Sumit Sarkar noted that the Samiti never mustered enough support to offer an urban rebellion or a guerrilla campaign. Both Peter Heehs and Sumit Sarkar have noted that the Samiti called for complete independence over 20 years before the Congress adopted this as its aim. A number of landmark events early in the Indian independence movement, including the revolutionary conspiracies of World War I, involved the Samiti, as noted in the Rowlatt report. Later the ascendant left-wing of the Congress, particularly Subhas Chandra Bose, was suspected of having links with the Samiti. Heehs argued that the actions of the revolutionary nationalists exemplified by the Samiti forced the government to parley more seriously with the leaders of the legitimate movement, and that Gandhi was always aware of this. "At the Round Table Conference of 1931, the apostle of non-violence declared that he held 'no brief for the terrorists', but added that if the government refused to work with him, it would have the terrorists to deal with. The only way to 'say good-bye to terrorism' was 'to work the Congress for all it is worth'".[56]

Social influences

See also: Raja Subodh Mallik and National Council of Education

The founders of the Samiti were among the leading luminaries of Bengal at the time, advocating for social change in ways far removed from the violent nationalist works that identified the Samiti in later years. The young men of Bengal were among the most active in the Swadeshi movement, prompting R.W. Carlyle to prohibit the participation of students in political meetings on the threat of withdrawal of funding and grants.[57] Bengali intellectuals were already calling for indigenous schools and colleges to replace British institutions,[57] and seeking to build indigenous institutions. Surendranath Tagore, of the Tagore family of Calcutta financed the establishment of Indian-owned banks and insurance companies. The 1906 Congress session in Calcutta established the National Council of Education as a nationalist agency to promote Indian institutions with their own independent curriculum designed to provide skills in technical and technological education that its founders felt would be necessary for building indigenous industries. With the financial backing of Subodh Chandra Mallik, the Bengal National College (which later grew to be Jadavpur University) was established with Aurobindo as Principal.[57] Aurobindo participated in the Indian National Congress at the time. He used his platform in the Congress to present the Samiti as a conglomeration of youth clubs, even as the government raised fears that it was a revolutionary nationalist organisation. During his time as Principal, Aurobindo started the nationalist publications Jugantar, Karmayogin and Bande Mataram.[57] The student's mess at the college was frequented by students of East Bengal who belonged to the Dhaka Anushilan Samiti, and was known to be a hotbed of revolutionary nationalism, which was uncontrolled or even encouraged by the college.[58] Students of the college who later rose to prominence in the Indian revolutionary movement include M. N. Roy. The Samiti's ideologies further influenced patriotic nationalism.

Communism in India

Main article: Socialism in India

See also: M. N. Roy, Communist Party of India, and Revolutionary Socialist Party (India)

M. N. Roy, one of the founding fathers of Indian Communism as well as the Mexican Communist Party. He was a member of the Comintern.

Through the 1920s and 1930s, many members of the Samiti began identifying with Communism and leftist ideologies. Many of them studied Marxist–Leninist literature while serving long jail sentences. A minority section broke away from the Anushilan movement and joined the Communist Consolidation, and later the Communist Party of India. Former Jugantar leader Narendranath Bhattacharya, now known as M. N. Roy, became an influential member of the Communist International, helping to found the Communist Party of India. The majority of the Anushilanite Marxists hesitated to join the Communist Party.[42] Instead, they joined the Congress Socialist Party (CSP), but kept a separate identity within the party as the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).[59] The RSP held a strong influence in parts of Bengal. The party sent two parliamentarians to the 1952 Lok Sabha elections, both previously Samiti members. In 1969, RSP sympathizers in East Pakistan formed the Shramik Krishak Samajbadi Dal (SKSD). RSP and SKSD have maintained close ties ever since. The RSP is currently a minor partner in the Left Front, which ruled the Indian state of West Bengal for 34 uninterrupted years. It also holds influence in South India, notably in parts of Kerala. The SUCI, another left-wing party with a presence in Bengal, was founded in 1948 by Anushilan members.

In popular culture

The revolutionaries of the Samiti became household names in Bengal. Many of these educated and youthful men were widely admired and romanticised throughout India.[30] Ekbar biday de Ma ghure ashi (Bid me farewell, mother), a 1908 song written by Bengali folk poet Pitambar Das that describes the execution of Khudiram Bose, was popular in Bengal decades after Bose's death.[27] The railway station where Bose was arrested is now named Khudiram Bose Pusa Railway Station in his honour.

The 1926 nationalist novel Pather Dabi (Right of the way) by Bengali author Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay tells the story of a secret revolutionary nationalist organisation fighting the Raj. The protagonist of the novel, Sabyasachi, is believed to have been modelled after Rash Behari Bose, while the revolutionary organisation is thought to have been influenced by the Bengali Samiti. The novel was banned by The Raj as "seditious", but acquired wild popularity. It formed the basis of a 1977 Bengali language film, Sabyasachi, with Uttam Kumar playing the lead role of the protagonist.

Do and Die is a historical account of the Chittagong armoury raid published in 2000 by Indian author Manini Chatterjee. It was awarded the Rabindra Puraskar, the highest literary award in Bengal. The book formed the basis of Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey (We Play with Our Lives), a 2010 Bollywood film with Abhishek Bachchan playing the role of Surya Sen.

A marble plaque marks the building in Calcutta where the Samiti was founded. A plaque at the site of Barin Ghose's country house (in present-day Ultadanga) marks the site where Ghosh and his group was arrested in the Alipore bomb case. Many of the Samiti's members are known in India and abroad, and are commemorated in different forms. A number of Calcutta suburbs are today named after revolutionaries and nationalists of the Samiti. Grey Street, where Aurobindo Ghosh's press office stood, is today named Aurobido Sarani (Aurobindo Avenue). Dalhousie Square was renamed B.B.D Bag, named after Benoy, Badal, and Dinesh who raided the Writer's Building in 1926. Mononga lane, the site of Rodda & Co. heist, houses the busts of Anukul Mukherjee, Srish Chandra Mitra, Haridas Dutta, and Bipin Bihary Ganguly who participated in the heist. Chashakhand, a location 15 km east of Balasore where Bagha Jatin and his group made their last stand against Tegart's forces, commemorates the battlefield in Jatin's honour. The locality of Baghajatin in Kolkata is named after Jatin. In Bangladesh, the gallows where Surya Sen was executed are preserved as a historical monument.


1. Mitra 2006, p. 63
2. Desai 2005, p. 30
3. Yadav 1992, p. 6
4. Heehs 1992, p. 2
5. Sen 2010, p. 244 The militant nationalists thought of more direct and violent ways of ending British rule in India ... The chief apostle of militant nationalism in Bengal was Aurobindo Ghose. In 1902, there were three secret societies in Calcutta - Anushilan Samiti, founded by Pramatha Mitra, a barrister of the High Court of Calcutta; a society sponsored by Aurobindo Ghose and a society started by Sarala Devi ... the government found it difficult to suppress revolutionary activities in Bengal owing to ... leaders like Jatindranath Mukherjee, Rashbehari Bose and Jadugopal Mukherjee.
6. Mohanta, Sambaru Chandra (2012). "Mitra, Pramathanath". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
7. Popplewell 1995, p. 104
8. Heehs 1992, p. 6
9. Gupta 2006, p. 160
10. Sanyal 2014, p. 30
11. Roy 1997, pp. 5–6 The first such dacoity was committed by Naren ... Around this time, revolutionaries threw a bomb at the carriage of Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy ... in Muzaffarpur, under the mistaken notion that the 'notorious' Magistrate Kingsford was in the carriage. This led to the arrest of Kshudiram Bose and the discovery of the underground conspiratorial centre at Manicktala in eastern Calcutta ... Nandalal Banerjee, an officer in the Intelligence Branch of the Bengal Police was shot dead by Naren ... This was followed by the arrest of Aurobindo, Barin and others.
12. Popplewell 1995, p. 108
13. Roy 1997, p. 6 Aurobihdo's retirement from active politics after his acquittal ... Two centres were established, one was the Sramajibi Samabaya ... and the other in the name of S.D. Harry and Sons.
14. Popplewell 1995, p. 111
15. Roy 2006, p. 105
16. M. N. Roy's Memoirs p3
17. Roy 1997, pp. 6–7 Shamsul Alam, an Intelligence officer who was then preparing to arrest all the revolutionaries ... was murdered by Biren Datta Gupta, one of Jatin Mukherjee's associates. This led to the arrests in the Howrah Conspiracy case.
18. Popplewell 1995, p. 112
19. Popplewell 1995, p. 167
20. Popplewell 1995, p. 114
21. Roy 1997, pp. 7–8 The group foresaw the possibility of a world war and planned to launch a guerrilla war at that time, expecting assistance from Germany. ... Lala Hardayal, on his return to India in 1908, also became interested in the programme of the Bengal revolutionaries through Kissen Singh.
22. Desai 2005, p. 320
23. Samanta 1995, p. 625
24. Popplewell 1995, p. 201
25. Popplewell 1995, p. 210
26. Bates 2007, p. 118
27. Sarkar 2014, p. 107 "Hemchandra Kanungo, to cite the earliest example, came back from Paris as an atheist with some interest in Marxism ... a street-beggar's lament for Kshudiram, for instance, could still be heard in Bengal decades after his execution ... In a 1918 official list of 186 killed or convicted revolutionaries, no less than 165 came from the three upper castes, Brahman, Kayastha, and Vaidya".
28. Morton 2013, p. 80 "Following ... the first two decades of the twentieth century, the Indian government's law enforcement officials had claimed that the detention of alleged Bengali terrorists was a success, a claim that served to justify the Rowlatt Report's recommendation of emergency measures in 1918. In response to this, many leaders of the revolutionary movement went underground in the 1920s and fled Bengal to other British territories, particularly Burma."
29. Heehs 2010, pp. 171–172 "The activity and influence of the Bengal terrorists led to the passage in 1924 of the Bengal Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, extended the next year as an Act. This again gave the police extraordinary powers, and between 1924 and 1927 almost 200 suspects were imprisoned, among them Subhas Bose. Acts of terrorism in Bengal dropped off, but an Anushilan-linked group in the United Provinces [the Hindustan Republican Association] grew to some importance."
30. Chowdhry 2000, p. 138
31. "Bollywood & Revolutionary Bengal: Revisiting the Chittagong Uprising (1930-34)". History Workshop.
32. Ray 1988, p. 83: "To explain the direct reason for the conversions to revolutionary terrorism, one must turn to the intellectual origins of the movement. Perhaps the single most efficient instrument of conversion was the Bhagavad Gita ... An entirely new Gita emerged from the reinterpretation of Bankim."
33. Ray 1988, p. 84: "A sudden search of the Dacca Anushilan Samiti library in November 1908 by the police ... shows the books that were most read by revolutionaries ... the library issue book proved that the Gita was in great demand ... Among the books recommended in rule 7 of the "Rules of Membership" discovered in the library, the works of Vivekananda were given first place."
34. Bandyopadhyaya 2004, p. 260 The physical culture movement became a craze ... this was a psychological attempt to break away from the colonial stereotype of effeminacy imposed on the Bengalees. Their symbolic recovery of masculinity ... remained parts of a larger moral and spiritual training to achieve mastery over body, develop a national pride and a sense of social service.
35. Heehs 1992, p. 3
36. Heehs 2010, p. 161 "The ideology of revolutionary publicists such as Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghose ... had three major components: political independence or swaraj; economic independence as promoted by the swadeshi-boycott movement; and the drive for cultural independence by means of national education ... A circular of the Anushilan Samiti states: "This Samitihas no open relationship with any kind of popular and outward Swadeshi, that is (the boycott of) belati [foreign] articles ... To be mixed up in ... such affairs is entirely against the principles of the Samiti" (Ghosh 1984: 94). Members of Barin Ghose's group likewise stigmatized the swadeshi-boycott movement as bania (shopkeeper) politics."
37. Heehs 2010, p. 160, paras 1–2 "[Morley] wrote to Viceroy Lord Minto, 'that Indian antagonism to Government would run slowly into the usual grooves, including assassination' ... he considered Bengali terrorism to be an almost natural result of political discontent. Minto, on the other hand, considered it entirely imitative. Writing to Morley after the Muzaffarpur attempt, Minto declared that the conspirators aimed 'at the furtherance of murderous methods hitherto unknown in India which have been imported from the West, and which the imitative Bengali has childishly accepted' ... the terrorists were playing at being 'anarchists.'"
38. Heehs 2010, p. 160 para 3 "There were ... some foreign influences on Bengali Terrorism ... Aurobindo Ghose's study of the revolutionary movements of Ireland, France, and America. Members of the early 'secret societies' drew some of their inspiration from Mazzini ... The Japanese critic Kakuzo Okakura inspired Pramathanath Mitra and others with revolutionary and pan-Asiatic ideas just when the samiti movement was getting started. The Irishwoman Margaret Noble, known as Sister Nivedita after she became a disciple of Swami Vivekananda, had some contact with Aurobindo Ghose and with younger men like Satish Bose and Jugantar sub-editor Bhupendranath Bose. Nivedita was in correspondence with the non-terroristic anarchist Peter Kropotkin, and she is known to have had revolutionary beliefs. She gave the young men a collection of books that included titles on revolutionary history and spoke to them about their duty to the motherland ... undoubted connection of Hem Chandra Das with European revolutionaries in Paris in 1907."
39. Heehs 1994, p. 534 "[Around 1881] a number of self-styled 'secret societies' were set up in Calcutta that were consciously modelled on the Carbonari and Mazzini's Young Italy Society ... They were in fact simply undergraduate clubs, long on nebulous ideals but short on action."
40. Samanta 1995, p. 257
41. Heehs 1993, p. 260
42. Saha, Murari Mohan (ed.), Documents of the Revolutionary Socialist Party: Volume One 1938–1947. Agartala: Lokayata Chetana Bikash Society, 2001. pp. 20–21
43. Popplewell 1995, p. 105
44. Popplewell 1995, pp. 105–107
45. "Londonderry born imperial policeman remembered". Retrieved 8 July 2014.
46. Riddick 2006, p. 93
47. Horniman 1984, p. 42 [There are] records of cases during the years from 1908 to 1914 which were abortive ... due to the usual faults of police work in India—the hankering~after approvers and confessions, to be obtained by any means, good or bad; the concoction of a little evidence to make a bad case good- or a good case better; and the suppression of facts which fail to fit the theory.
48. Horniman 1984, p. 43 Police authorities took up the attitude that ... they were helpless in the face of a secret organisation ... Demands were put forward for special powers, the lowering of the standard of evidence, and other devices for the easy success of the police ... the whole Indian Press anticipated with the liveliest apprehension the prospect of any extension of those wide powers which already enabled the police to oppress the people.
49. Sanyal 2014, p. 89 "The Jugantar newspaper served as the propaganda vehicle for a loose congregation of revolutionaries led by individuals like Jain Banerjee and Barin Ghose who drew inspiration from ... Aurobindo Ghose."
50. Sanyal 2014, p. 93 "This attitude cost the paper dearly. It suffered five more prosecutions that, by July 1908, brought about its financial ruin … The trials brought the paper a great deal of publicity and helped greatly in the dissemination of the revolutionary ideology ... testimony to the fanatical loyalty that the paper inspired in its readers and the deep impression that the Jugantar writings made on them ... revolutionary terrorism as an ideology began to win if not overt, then at least the tacit, support of Bengalis."
51. Sanyal 2014, pp. 90–91 "[Sanyal translates from Jugantar:] "In a country where the ruling power relies on brute force to oppress its subjects, it is impossible to bring about Revolution or a change in rulers through moral strength. In such a situation, subjects too must rely on brute force." ... The Jugantar challenged the legitimacy of British rule ... [its] position thus amounted to a fundamental critique of the British government ... By 1907 the paper was selling 7000 copies, a figure that went up to 20,000 soon after. The Jugantar ideology was basically addressed to an elite audience that was young, literate and politically radicalized."
52. Sanyal 2014, pp. 91–92 "Bhupendranath Dutt, the editor and proprietor of the Jugantar was arrested in July 1907 and charged under section 124 A ... Bhupendranath was sentenced to a year's rigorous imprisonment ... The Jugantar's stance was typically defiant ... The paper did nothing to tone down the rhetoric in its future editions."
53. Jaffrelot 1996, p. 33
54. M. L. Verma Swadhinta Sangram Ke Krantikari Sahitya Ka Itihas (Part-2) p.466
55. Popplewell 1995, p. 109
56. Heehs 2010, p. 174
57. Heehs 2008, p. 93
58. Samanta 1995, p. 303
59. Saha, Murari Mohan (ed.), Documents of the Revolutionary Socialist Party: Volume One 1938–1947. Agartala: Lokayata Chetana Bikash Society, 2001. p. 35-37


• Asiatic Society of Bangladesh (2003), Banglapedia, the national encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka.
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• Bates, Crispin (2007), Subalterns and Raj: South Asia since 1600, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-21483-4.
• Chakrabarti, Panchanan (1995), Revolt.
• Chowdhry, Prem (2000), Colonial India and the Making of Empire Cinema: Image, Ideology and Identity, Manchester University Press, ISBN 978-0-7190-5792-2.
• Desai, A. R. (2005), Social Background of Indian Nationalism, Mumbai: Popular Prakashan, ISBN 978-8171546671.
• Ganguli, Pratul Chandra (1976), Biplabi'r jibandarshan.
• Guha, Arun Chandra, Aurobindo and Jugantar.
• Heehs, Peter (1993), The Bomb in Bengal: The Rise of Revolutionary Terrorism in India, 1900–1910, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-563350-4.
• Heehs, Peter (July 1994), "Foreign Influences on Bengali Revolutionary Terrorism 1902-1908", Modern Asian Studies, 28 (3): 533–536, doi:10.1017/s0026749x00011859, ISSN 0026-749X.
• Heehs, Peter (1992), History of Bangladesh 1704-1971 (Vol I), Dhaka: Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, ISBN 978-9845123372.
• Heehs, Peter (2008), The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, New York: Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0-231-14098-0.
• Heehs, Peter (2010), "Revolutionary Terrorism in British Bengal", in Boehmer, Elleke; Morton, Stephen (eds.), Terror and the Postcolonial, Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 978-1-4051-9154-8.
• Horniman, B. G. (1984), British Administration & The Amritsar Massacre, Delhi: Mittal Publications, OCLC 12553945.
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• Morton, Stephen (2013), States of Emergency: Colonialism, Literature and Law, Liverpool University Press, ISBN 978-1-84631-849-8.
• Mukherjee, Jadugopal (1982), Biplabi jibaner smriti (2nd ed.).
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• Popplewell, Richard James (1995), Intelligence and Imperial Defence: British Intelligence and the Defence of the Indian Empire, 1904-1924, London: Frank Cass, ISBN 978-0-7146-4580-3.
• Ray, Rajat Kanta (1988), "Moderates, Extremists, and Revolutionaries: Bengal, 1900-1908", in Sisson, Richard; Wolpert, Stanley (eds.), Congress and Indian Nationalism, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0-520-06041-8.
• Riddick, John F. (2006), The History of British India: A Chronology, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-313-32280-8.
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Sri Aurobindo [Aurobindo Ghose] [Aurobindo Ghosh]
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Accessed: 6/3/20

Sri Aurobindo
Aurobindo Ghose
Born: Aurobindo Ghose, 15 August 1872, Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British-occupied India (present-day Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
Died: 5 December 1950 (aged 78), Pondicherry, French India (present-day Puducherry City, Puducherry, India)
Religion: Hinduism
Spouse: Mrinalini Devi (m. 1901; died 1918)
Alma mater: University of Cambridge
Relatives: Krishna Dhun Ghose (father), Swarnalata Devi (mother), Benoybhusan Ghose, Manmohan Ghose (both elder brothers), Sarojini Ghose (younger sister), Barindra Kumar Ghose (younger brother)
Founder of: Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Philosophy: Integral Yoga, Involution (Sri Aurobindo), Evolution, Integral psychology, Intermediate zone, Supermind
Religious career
Disciples: Champaklal, N. K. Gupta, Amal Kiran, Nirodbaran, Pavitra, M. P. Pandit, A.B. Purani, D. K. Roy, Satprem, Indra Sen
Influenced: Mirra Alfassa; Auroville
Literary works: The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Savitri
Quotation: The Spirit shall look out through Matter's gaze. And Matter shall reveal the Spirit's face.[1]

Sri Aurobindo (born Aurobindo Ghose; 15 August 1872 – 5 December 1950) was an Indian philosopher, yogi, guru, poet, and nationalist.[2] He joined the Indian movement for independence from British rule, for a while was one of its influential leaders and then became a spiritual reformer, introducing his visions on human progress and spiritual evolution.

Aurobindo studied for the Indian Civil Service at King's College, Cambridge, England. After returning to India he took up various civil service works under the maharaja of the princely state of Baroda and became increasingly involved in nationalist politics in the Indian National Congress and the nascent revolutionary movement in Bengal with the Anushilan Samiti. He was arrested in the aftermath of a number of bomb outrages linked to his organisation, but in a highly public trial where he faced charges of treason, Aurobindo could only be convicted and imprisoned for writing articles against British rule in India. He was released when no evidence could be provided, following the murder of a prosecution witness, Narendranath Goswami [Norendra Nath Gossain] during the trial.

From its foundation to its dissolution during the 1930s, the Samiti challenged British rule in India by engaging in militant nationalism, including bombings, assassinations, and politically-motivated violence. The Samiti collaborated with other revolutionary organisations in India and abroad. It was led by the nationalists Aurobindo Ghosh and his brother Barindra Ghosh, and influenced by philosophies as diverse as Hindu Shakta philosophy, as set forth by Bengali authors Bankim and Vivekananda, Italian Nationalism, and the Pan-Asianism of Kakuzo Okakura. The Samiti was involved in a number of noted incidents of revolutionary attacks against British interests and administration in India, including early attempts to assassinate British Raj officials. These were followed by the 1912 attempt on the life of the Viceroy of India, and the Seditious conspiracy during World War I, led by Rash Behari Bose and Jatindranath Mukherjee respectively....

By 1902, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) had three secret societies working toward the violent overthrow of British rule in India: one founded by Calcutta student Satish Chandra Basu with the patronage of Calcutta barrister Pramatha Mitra, another led by Sarala Devi, and the third founded by Aurobindo Ghose. Ghose and his brother Barin were among the strongest proponents of militant Indian nationalism at the time.[5][6] Nationalist writings and publications by Aurobindo and Barin, including Bande Mataram and Jugantar, had a widespread influence on Bengal youth and helped Anushilan Samiti to gain popularity in Bengal. The 1905 partition of Bengal stimulated radical nationalist sentiments in Bengal's Bhadralok community, helping the Samiti to acquire the support of educated, politically-conscious and disaffected members of local youth societies. The Samiti's program emphasized physical training, training its recruits with daggers and lathis (bamboo staffs used as weapons). The Dhaka branch was led by Pulin Behari Das, and branches spread throughout East Bengal and Assam.[7] More than 500 branches were opened in eastern Bengal and Assam, linked by "close and detailed organization" to Pulin's headquarters at Dhaka. This branch soon overshadowed its parent organisation in Calcutta. Branches of Dhaka Anushilan Samiti emerged in Jessore, Khulna, Faridpur, Rajnagar, Rajendrapur, Mohanpur, Barvali and Bakarganj, with an estimated membership of 15,000 to 20,000. Within two years, Dhaka Anushilan changed its aims from those of the Swadeshi movement to that of political terrorism.[8][9]

The organisation's political views were expressed in the journal Jugantar, founded in March 1906 by Abhinash Bhattacharya, Barindra, Bhupendranath Dutt and Debabrata Basu.[10] It soon became an organ for the radical views of Aurobindo and other Anushilan leaders, and led to the Calcutta Samiti group being dubbed the "Jugantar party".[citation needed] Early leaders were Rash Behari Bose, Jatindranath Mukherjee and Jadugopal Mukherjee.[5] Aurobindo published similar messages of violent nationalism in journals such as Sandhya, Navashakti and Bande Mataram....

Anushilan Samiti established early links with foreign movements and Indian nationalists abroad. In 1907, Barin Ghosh sent Hem Chandra Kanungo (Hem Chandra Das) to Paris to learn bomb-making from Nicholas Safranski, a Russian revolutionary in exile.[7] Madam Cama, a leading figure of the Paris Indian Society and India House, a revolutionary organisation in London, also lived in Paris and was associated with V.D. Savarkar, who later published a bomb-making manual through India House. In 1908, young recruits Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki were sent on a mission to Muzaffarpur to assassinate chief presidency magistrate D. H. Kingsford.[citation needed] They bombed a carriage they mistook for Kingsford's,[11] killing two Englishwomen. Bose was arrested while attempting to flee and Chaki committed suicide. Police investigation of the killers connected them with Barin's country house in Manicktala (a suburb of Calcutta) and led to a number of arrests, including Aurobindo and Barin.[11] The ensuing trial, held under tight security, led to a death sentence for Barin (later commuted to life imprisonment). The case against Aurobindo Ghosh collapsed after Naren Gosain, who had turned crown witness, was shot in Alipore jail by Satyendranath Basu and Kanailal Dutta, who were also being tried.[citation needed] Aurobindo retired from active politics after being acquitted.[13] This was followed by a 1909 Dhaka conspiracy case, which brought 44 members of the Dhaka Anushilan Samiti to trial.[14][15] Nandalal Bannerjee (the officer who arrested Khudiram) was shot and killed in 1908, followed by the assassinations of the prosecutor and informant for the Alipore case in 1909....

A large portion of the Samiti movement was attracted to left-wing politics during the 1930s, and those who did not join left-wing parties identified with Congress and the Congress Socialist Party. During the mass detentions of the 1930s surrounding the civil-disobedience movement, many members joined Congress. Jugantar was formally dissolved in 1938; many former members continued to act together under Surendra Mohan Ghose, who was a liaison between other Congress politicians and Aurobindo Ghose in Pondicherry. During the late 1930s, Marxist-leaning members of the Samiti in the CSP announced the formation of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP)....

According to one estimate, the Dacca Anushilan Samiti at one point had 500 branches, mostly in the eastern districts of Bengal, and 20,000 members. Branches were opened later in the western districts, Bihar, and the United Provinces. Shelters for absconders were established in Assam and in two farms in Tripura. Organisational documents show a primary division between the two active leaders, Barin Ghosh and Upendranath Bannerjee, and the rank-and-file. Higher leaders such as Aurobindo were supposed to be known only to the active leaders. Past members of the Samiti asserted that the groups were interconnected with a vast web of secret societies throughout British India. However, historian Peter Heehs concluded that the links between provinces were limited to contacts between a few individuals like Aurobindo who was familiar with leaders and movements in Western India, and that relationships among the different revolutionary groups were more often competitive than co-operative.[citation needed] An internal document of circa 1908 written by Pulin Behari Das describes the division of the organisation in Bengal, which largely followed British administrative divisions....

In the 1860s and 1870s, large numbers of akhras (gymnasiums) arose in Bengal that were consciously designed along the lines of the Italian Carbonari.[39] These were influenced by the works of Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini and his Young Italy movement. Aurobindo himself studied the revolutionary nationalism of Ireland, France and America.[38] Hem Chandra Das, during his stay in Paris, is also noted to have interacted with European radical nationalists in the city,[38] returning to India an atheist with Marxist leanings.[27]

Foreign influences on the Samiti included the Japanese artist Kakuzo Okakura and Margaret Noble, an Irish woman known as Sister Nivedita. Okakura was a proponent of Pan-Asianism. He visited Swami Vivekananda in Calcutta in 1902, and inspired Pramathanath Mitra in the early days of the Samiti.[38][40] However the extent of his involvement or influence is debated.[41] Nivedita was a disciple of Swami Vivekananda. She had contacts with Aurobindo, with Satish Bose and with Jugantar sub-editor Bhupendranath Bose. Nivedita is believed to have influenced members of the Samiti by talking about their duties to the motherland and providing literature on revolutionary nationalism. She was a correspondent of Peter Kropotkin, a noted anarchist.[38]...

The chief apostle of militant nationalism in Bengal was Aurobindo Ghose. In 1902, there were three secret societies in Calcutta - Anushilan Samiti, founded by Pramatha Mitra, a barrister of the High Court of Calcutta; a society sponsored by Aurobindo Ghose and a society started by Sarala Devi ... the government found it difficult to suppress revolutionary activities in Bengal owing to ... leaders like Jatindranath Mukherjee, Rashbehari Bose and Jadugopal Mukherjee....

"There were ... some foreign influences on Bengali Terrorism ... Aurobindo Ghose's study of the revolutionary movements of Ireland, France, and America. Members of the early 'secret societies' drew some of their inspiration from Mazzini ... The Japanese critic Kakuzo Okakura inspired Pramathanath Mitra and others with revolutionary and pan-Asiatic ideas just when the samiti movement was getting started. The Irishwoman Margaret Noble, known as Sister Nivedita after she became a disciple of Swami Vivekananda, had some contact with Aurobindo Ghose and with younger men like Satish Bose and Jugantar sub-editor Bhupendranath Bose. Nivedita was in correspondence with the non-terroristic anarchist Peter Kropotkin, and she is known to have had revolutionary beliefs. She gave the young men a collection of books that included titles on revolutionary history and spoke to them about their duty to the motherland ... undoubted connection of Hem Chandra Das with European revolutionaries in Paris in 1907."...

"The Jugantar newspaper served as the propaganda vehicle for a loose congregation of revolutionaries led by individuals like Jain Banerjee and Barin Ghose who drew inspiration from ... Aurobindo Ghose."

-- Anushilan Samiti, by Wikipedia

Satyendra Nath Bosu (aka. Satyendranath Bose or Satyen Bose; 30 July 1882 – 21 November 1908) was an Indian nationalist of the Anushilan Samiti. Bosu, while held in Alipore Jial hospital as an under-trial in the Alipore Bomb Case, shot dead, with the help of Kanailal Dutta, the Crown witness, Narendranath Goswami, leading to the collapse of the case against prime accused Aurobindo Ghosh [Sri Aurobindo]. Bosu gave himself up on the jail premises, and was subsequently put on trial, along with Dutta, and found guilty and executed by hanging on 21 November 1908 for the murder of Goswami....

Satyendranath was the maternal uncle of Shri [Sri] Aurobindo, though he was about ten years his junior...

Police raided the premises at 32 Murari Pukur Road at Kolkata on 2 May 1908 and a bomb-factory was discovered, as was a cache of arms, a large quantity of ammunition, bombs, detonators, and other tools. They also confiscated Revolutionary literature. The raids were being conducted at various places throughout Bengal and Bihar, and more detention was on the move. Aurobindo Ghosh [Sri Aurobindo], Barindra Kumar Ghose, Ullaskar Dutt, Indu Bhusan Roy and many others were arrested. During this time one detainee, Narendranath Goswami (aka Norendra Nath Gossain), became approver of the British, and started revealing names of many persons to the police, leading to further arrests.

Goswami was a resident of Srirampur near Chandernagore. He knew all the plans and activities of the revolutionaries. Appearing in the witness box he started implicating many of his former colleagues by mentioning their names. Barin Ghosh, Shanti Ghosh and Ullaskar Dutta's names were mentioned in attempting to blow off the governor's train at Chandernagore station in 1908. Referring to the bomb outrage in the Mayor's house he mentioned the name of Charu Chandra Roy, as being the leader of the revolutionary outfit in Chandernagore; and on 24 June mentioned the names of Aurobindo Ghosh and Subodh Chandra Mullick as being linked to revolutionary activities.

The under-trial prisoners under the leadership of Barin Ghosh hatched a plan to escape from the Alipur Central Jail, and also to get rid of Goswami. B.C. Roy, Barrister-at-law, defending the prisoners, offered to help with men and arms. Barin wrote letters from jail to Sudhangshu Jiban Rai, Preo Shankar Rai, and Basanta Banerjee of Chandernagore to meet B. C. Roy for arrangements of arms. He also wrote to Shrish Chandra Ghosh to send phial, acid for the purpose of throwing at jail wardens, and wax to copy keys. On Sunday, 23 August, one revolver was smuggled into the jail by Shudhangshu Jiban Rai. The next day, Barin asked Hem Das to give it to Satyendranath with instructions to kill Goswami. That time Satyendranath was admitted in the jail Hospital. He expressed his inability to use such a big revolver, and returned it back. On Sunday, 30 August, another revolver reached Barin though Shrish. it was a smaller one. Kanailal took it, and subsequently got admitted to the jail hospital. The Revolvers were received loaded. The stage was set.

It was time for retribution for the traitor inside Presidency Jail. It appears that Narendranath, intentionally kept separated from the other prisoners, was confined in the European Ward in Alipore Central Jail. On 31 August 1908, Narerdranath was brought from that ward to the Jail Hospital by a European Convict Overseer named Highens. Narendranath had apparently previously arranged to meet at that time in the Hospital two fellow prisoners who were already patients in the Jail Hospital, named Kanailal Dutta and Satyendranath Bosu. Kanailal and Satyendra managed to acquire two revolvers secretly. Shrish Chandra Ghosh of Chandernagore smuggled the revolvers into the jail, assisted by Motilal Roy. Narendranath had apparently been approached by the second of these prisoners, who had pretended that he also wished to make a statement, and his visit was really in order to get this statement. Evidently, it was however part of a plot to get Narendranath within striking distance, for it appears that almost immediately on Narendranath’s arrival on the landing, at the head of the staircase leading to the second story of the Hospital, these two prisoners opened fire on him with the two revolvers. Highens, the Convict Overseer, attempted to arrest one of them, and was shot through the wrist. Narendranath, although shot in several places, was not mortally hit, and fled down the stairs out of the Hospital Compound and along an alleyway towards the gate. Kanailal Dutta pursued him and shot him fatally through the back. He was then secured by a Eurasian Prisoner named Linton.

-- Satyendranath Bosu, by Wikipedia

During his stay in the jail, he had mystical and spiritual experiences, after which he moved to Pondicherry, leaving politics for spiritual work.

At Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo developed a spiritual practice he called Integral Yoga. The central theme of his vision was the evolution of human life into a divine life. He believed in a spiritual realisation that not only liberated but transformed human nature, enabling a divine life on earth. In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa (referred to as "The Mother"), he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

His main literary works are The Life Divine, which deals with theoretical aspects of Integral Yoga; Synthesis of Yoga, which deals with practical guidance to Integral Yoga; and Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol, an epic poem.


Early life time

Aurobindo Ghose was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata), Bengal Presidency, India on 15 August 1872 in a Bengali Kayastha family that was associated with the village of Konnagar in the Hoogly district. His father, Krishna Dhun Ghose, was then assistant surgeon of Rangpur in Bengal and later civil surgeon of Khulna, and a former member of the Brahmo Samaj religious reform movement who had become enamoured with the then-new idea of evolution while pursuing medical studies in Edinburgh.[3][a] His mother was Swarnalata Devi, whose father was Shri Rajnarayan Bose, a leading figure in the Samaj. She had been sent to the more salubrious surroundings of Calcutta for Aurobindo's birth. Aurobindo had two elder siblings, Benoybhusan and Manmohan, a younger sister, Sarojini, and a younger brother, Barindrakumar (also referred to as Barin).[4][5]

Young Aurobindo was brought up speaking English but used Hindustani to communicate with servants. Although his family were Bengali, his father believed British culture to be superior. He and his two elder siblings were sent to the English-speaking Loreto House boarding school in Darjeeling, in part to improve their language skills and in part to distance them from their mother, who had developed a mental illness soon after the birth of her first child. Darjeeling was a centre of British life in India and the school was run by Irish nuns, through which the boys would have been exposed to Christian religious teachings and symbolism.[6]

England (1879–1893)

Aurobindo (seated center next to his mother) and his family. In England, ca. 1879.[7]

Krishna Dhun Ghose wanted his sons to enter the Indian Civil Service (ICS), an elite organisation comprising around 1000 people. To achieve this it was necessary that they study in England and so it was there that the entire family moved in 1879.[8][ b] The three brothers were placed in the care of the Reverend W. H. Drewett in Manchester.[8] Drewett was a minister of the Congregational Church whom Krishna Dhun Ghose knew through his British friends at Rangapur.[9][c]

The boys were taught Latin by Drewett and his wife. This was a prerequisite for admission to good English schools and, after two years, in 1881, the elder two siblings were enrolled at Manchester Grammar School. Aurobindo was considered too young for enrolment and he continued his studies with the Drewetts, learning history, Latin, French, geography and arithmetic. Although the Drewetts were told not to teach religion, the boys inevitably were exposed to Christian teachings and events, which generally bored Aurobindo and sometimes repulsed him. There was little contact with his father, who wrote only a few letters to his sons while they were in England, but what communication there was indicated that he was becoming less endeared to the British in India than he had been, on one occasion describing the British Raj as a "heartless government".[10]

Basement of 49 St Stephen's Avenue, London W12 with Sri Aurobindo Blue Plaque

Drewett emigrated to Australia in 1884, causing the boys to be uprooted as they went to live with Drewett's mother in London. In September of that year, Aurobindo and Manmohan joined St Paul's School there.[d] He learned Greek and spent the last three years reading literature and English poetry, while he also acquired some familiarity with the German and Italian languages ; Peter Heehs resumes his linguistic abilities by stating that at "the turn of the century he knew at least twelve languages: English, French, and Bengali to speak, read, and write; Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit to read and write; Gujarati, Marathi, and Hindi to speak and read; and Italian, German, and Spanish to read."[14] Being exposed to the evangelical structures of Drewett's mother developed in him a distaste for religion, and he considered himself at one point to be an atheist but later determined that he was agnostic.[15] A blue plaque unveiled in 2007 commemorates Aurobindo's residence at 49 St Stephen's Avenue in Shepherd's Bush, London, from 1884 to 1887.[16] The three brothers began living in spartan circumstances at the Liberal Club in South Kensington during 1887, their father having experienced some financial difficulties. The Club's secretary was James Cotton, brother of their father's friend in the Bengal ICS, Henry Cotton.[17]

By 1889, Manmohan had determined to pursue a literary career and Benoybhusan had proved himself unequal to the standards necessary for ICS entrance. This meant that only Aurobindo might fulfill his father's aspirations but to do so when his father lacked money required that he studied hard for a scholarship.[13] To become an ICS official, students were required to pass the competitive examination, as well as to study at an English university for two years under probation. Aurobindo secured a scholarship at King's College, Cambridge, under recommendation of Oscar Browning.[18] He passed the written ICS examination after a few months, being ranked 11th out of 250 competitors. He spent the next two years at King's College.[12] Aurobindo had no interest in the ICS and came late to the horse-riding practical exam purposefully to get himself disqualified for the service.[19]

At this time, the Maharaja of Baroda, Sayajirao Gaekwad III, was travelling in England. Cotton secured for him a place in Baroda State Service and arranged for him to meet the prince.[20] He left England for India,[20] arriving there in February 1893.[21] In India, Krishna Dhun Ghose, who was waiting to receive his son, was misinformed by his agents from Bombay (now Mumbai) that the ship on which Aurobindo had been travelling had sunk off the coast of Portugal. His father died upon hearing this news.[22][23]

Baroda and Calcutta (1893–1910)

Main article: Political history of Sri Aurobindo

See also: Anushilan Samiti

In Baroda, Aurobindo joined the state service in 1893, working first in the Survey and Settlements department, later moving to the Department of Revenue and then to the Secretariat, and much miscellaneous work like teaching grammar and assisting in writing speeches for the Maharaja of Gaekwad until 1897.[24] In 1897 during his work in Baroda, he started working as a part-time French teacher at Baroda College (now Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda). He was later promoted to the post of vice-principal.[25] At Baroda, Aurobindo self-studied Sanskrit and Bengali.[26]

Copy of Bande Mataram, September 1907

During his stay at Baroda, he had contributed to many articles to Indu Prakash and had spoken as a chairman of the Baroda college board.[27] He started taking an active interest in the politics of India's independence struggle against British rule, working behind the scenes as his position in the Baroda state administration barred him from an overt political activity. He linked up with resistance groups in Bengal and Madhya Pradesh , while travelling to these states. He established contact with Lokmanya Tilak and Sister Nivedita.

Aurobindo often travelled between Baroda and Bengal, at first in a bid to re-establish links with his parent's families and other Bengali relatives, including his sister Sarojini and brother Barin, and later increased to establish resistance groups across the Presidency. He formally moved to Calcutta in 1906 after the announcement of the Partition of Bengal. In 1901, on a visit to Calcutta, he married 14-year-old Mrinalini, the daughter of Bhupal Chandra Bose, a senior official in government service. Aurobindo was 28 at that time. Mrinalini died seventeen years later in December 1918 during the influenza pandemic.[28]

Aurobindo was influenced by studies on rebellion and revolutions against England in medieval France and the revolts in America and Italy. In his public activities he favoured non-co-operation and passive resistance; in private he took up secret revolutionary activity as a preparation for open revolt, in case that the passive revolt failed.[29]

Sri Aurobindo seated at the table, with Tilak speaking: Surat session of Congress, 1907

In Bengal, with Barin's help, he established contacts with revolutionaries, inspiring radicals such as Bagha Jatin or Jatin Mukherjee and Surendranath Tagore. He helped establish a series of youth clubs, including the Anushilan Samiti of Calcutta in 1902.[30]

Aurobindo attended the 1906 Congress meeting headed by Dadabhai Naoroji and participated as a councillor in forming the fourfold objectives of "Swaraj, Swadesh, Boycott, and national education". In 1907 at the Surat session of Congress where moderates and extremists had a major showdown, he led along with extremists along with Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The Congress split after this session.[31] In 1907–1908 Aurobindo travelled extensively to Pune, Bombay and Baroda to firm up support for the nationalist cause, giving speeches and meeting with groups. He was arrested again in May 1908 in connection with the Alipore Bomb Case. He was acquitted in the ensuing trial, following the murder of chief prosecution witness Naren Goswami within jail premises which subsequently led to the case against him collapsing. Aurobindo was subsequently released after a year of isolated incarceration.

Once out of the prison he started two new publications, Karmayogin in English and Dharma in Bengali. He also delivered the Uttarpara Speech hinting at the transformation of his focus to spiritual matters. The British persecution continued because of his writings in his new journals and in April 1910 Aurobindo moved to Pondicherry, where Britain's secret police monitored his activities.[32][33]

Conversion from politics to spirituality

Photographs of Aurobindo as a prisoner in Alipore Jail, 1908.

In July 1905 then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, partitioned Bengal. This sparked an outburst of public anger against the British, leading to civil unrest and a nationalist campaign by groups of revolutionaries that included Aurobindo. In 1908, Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki attempted to kill Magistrate Kingsford, a judge known for handing down particularly severe sentences against nationalists. However, the bomb thrown at his horse carriage missed its target and instead landed in another carriage and killed two British women, the wife and daughter of barrister Pringle Kennedy. Aurobindo was also arrested on charges of planning and overseeing the attack and imprisoned in solitary confinement in Alipore Jail. The trial of the Alipore Bomb Case lasted for a year, but eventually, he was acquitted on 6 May 1909. His defence counsel was Chittaranjan Das.[34]

During this period in the Jail, his view of life was radically changed due to spiritual experiences and realizations. Consequently, his aim went far beyond the service and liberation of the country. [35]

Aurobindo said he was "visited" by Vivekananda in the Alipore Jail: "It is a fact that I was hearing constantly the voice of Vivekananda speaking to me for a fortnight in the jail in my solitary meditation and felt his presence."[36]

In his autobiographical notes, Aurobindo said he felt a vast sense of calmness when he first came back to India. He could not explain this and continued to have various such experiences from time to time. He knew nothing of yoga at that time and started his practice of it without a teacher, except for some rules that he learned from Ganganath, a friend who was a disciple of Brahmananda.[37] In 1907, Barin introduced Aurobindo to Vishnu Bhaskar Lele, a Maharashtrian yogi. Aurobindo was influenced by the guidance he got from the yogi, who had instructed Aurobindo to depend on an inner guide and any kind of external guru or guidance would not be required.[38]

In 1910 Aurobindo withdrew himself from all political activities and went into hiding at Chandannagar in the house of Motilal Roy, while the British were trying to prosecute him for sedition on the basis of a signed article titled 'To My Countrymen', published in Karmayogin. As Aurobindo disappeared from view, the warrant was held back and the prosecution postponed. Aurobindo manoeuvred the police into open action and a warrant was issued on 4 April 1910, but the warrant could not be executed because on that date he had reached Pondicherry, then a French colony.[39] The warrant against Aurobindo was withdrawn.

Pondicherry (1910–1950)

In Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo dedicated himself to his spiritual and philosophical pursuits. In 1914, after four years of secluded yoga, he started a monthly philosophical magazine called Arya. This ceased publication in 1921. Many years later, he revised some of these works before they were published in book form. Some of the book series derived out of this publication was The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Essays on The Gita, The Secret of The Veda, Hymns to the Mystic Fire, The Upanishads, The Renaissance in India, War and Self-determination, The Human Cycle, The Ideal of Human Unity and The Future Poetry were published in this magazine.[40]

At the beginning of his stay at Pondicherry, there were few followers, but with time their numbers grew, resulting in the formation of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1926.[41] From 1926 he started to sign himself as Sri Aurobindo, Sri (meaning holy in Sanskrit) being commonly used as an honorific.[42]

For some time afterwards, his main literary output was his voluminous correspondence with his disciples. His letters, most of which were written in the 1930s, numbered in the several thousand. Many were brief comments made in the margins of his disciple's notebooks in answer to their questions and reports of their spiritual practice—others extended to several pages of carefully composed explanations of practical aspects of his teachings. These were later collected and published in book form in three volumes of Letters on Yoga. In the late 1930s, he resumed work on a poem he had started earlier—he continued to expand and revise this poem for the rest of his life.[43] It became perhaps his greatest literary achievement, Savitri, an epic spiritual poem in blank verse of approximately 24,000 lines.[44]

Sri Aurobindo died on 5 December 1950. Around 60,000 people attended to see his body resting peacefully. Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and the President Rajendra Prasad praised him for his contribution to Yogic philosophy and the independence movement. National and international newspapers commemorated his death.[41][45]

Mirra Alfassa (The Mother) and the development of the Ashram

Sri Aurobindo's close spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa (b. Alfassa), came to be known as The Mother.[46] She was a French national, born in Paris on 21 February 1878. In her 20s she studied occultism with Max Theon. Along with her husband, Paul Richard, she went to Pondicherry on 29 March 1914,[47] and finally settled there in 1920. Sri Aurobindo considered her his spiritual equal and collaborator. After 24 November 1926, when Sri Aurobindo retired into seclusion, he left it to her to plan, build and run the ashram, the community of disciples which had gathered around them. Sometime later, when families with children joined the ashram, she established and supervised the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education with its experiments in the field of education. When he died in 1950, she continued their spiritual work, directed the ashram, and guided their disciples.[48]

Philosophy and spiritual vision

Main article: Integral yoga

Aurobindo's model of Being and Evolution[49][50]


Sri Aurobindo's concept of the Integral Yoga system is described in his books, The Synthesis of Yoga and The Life Divine. [51] The Life Divine is a compilation of essays published serially in Arya.

Sri Aurobindo argues that divine Brahman manifests as empirical reality through līlā, or divine play. Instead of positing that the world we experience is an illusion (māyā), Aurobindo argues that world can evolve and become a new world with new species, far above the human species just as human species have evolved after the animal species. As such he argued that the end goal of spiritual practice could not merely be a liberation from the world into Samadhi but would also be that of descent of the Divine into the world in order to transform it into a Divine existence. Thus, this constituted the purpose of Integral Yoga.[52] Regarding the involution of consciousness in matter, he wrote that: "This descent, this sacrifice of the Purusha, the Divine Soul submitting itself to Force and Matter so that it may inform and illuminate them is the seed of redemption of this world of Inconscience and Ignorance."[53]

Sri Aurobindo believed that Darwinism merely describes a phenomenon of the evolution of matter into life, but does not explain the reason behind it, while he finds life to be already present in matter, because all of existence is a manifestation of Brahman. He argues that nature (which he interpreted as divine) has evolved life out of matter and the mind out of life. All of existence, he argues, is attempting to manifest to the level of the supermind – that evolution had a purpose.[54] He stated that he found the task of understanding the nature of reality arduous and difficult to justify by immediate tangible results.[55]


Main article: Supermind (Integral yoga)

At the centre of Aurobindo's metaphysical system is the supermind, an intermediary power between the unmanifested Brahman and the manifested world.[56] Aurobindo claims that the supermind is not completely alien to us and can be realized within ourselves as it is always present within mind since the latter is in reality identical with the former and contains it as a potentiality within itself.[57] Aurobindo does not portray supermind as an original invention of his own but believes it can be found in the Vedas and that the Vedic Gods represent powers of the supermind[58] In The Integral Yoga he declares that "By the supermind is meant the full Truth-Consciousness of the Divine Nature in which there can be no place for the principle of division and ignorance; it is always a full light and knowledge superior to all mental substance or mental movement."[59] Supermind is a bridge between Sachchidananda and the lower manifestation and it is only through the supramental that mind, life and body can be spiritually transformed as opposed to through Sachchidananda [60] The descent of supermind will mean the creation of a supramental race [61]

Affinity with Western philosophy

In his writings, talks, and letters Sri Aurobindo has referred to several European philosophers with whose basic concepts he was familiar, commenting on their ideas and discussing the question of affinity to his own line of thought. Thus he wrote a long essay on the Greek philosopher Heraclitus[62] and mentioned especially Plato, Plotinus, Nietzsche and Bergson as thinkers in whom he was interested because of their more intuitive approach.[63] On the other hand, he felt little attraction for the philosophy of Kant or Hegel.[64] Several studies[65] have shown a remarkable closeness to the evolutionary thought of Teilhard de Chardin, whom he did not know, whereas the latter came to know of Sri Aurobindo at a late stage. After reading some chapters of The Life Divine, he is reported to have said that Sri Aurobindo's vision of evolution was basically the same as his own, though stated for Asian readers.[66][67]

Several scholars have discovered significant similarities in the thought of Sri Aurobindo and Hegel. Steve Odin has discussed this subject comprehensively in a comparative study.[68] Odin writes that Sri Aurobindo "has appropriated Hegel’s notion of an Absolute Spirit and employed it to radically restructure the architectonic framework of the ancient Hindu Vedanta system in contemporary terms."[69] In his analysis Odin arrives at the conclusion that "both philosophers similarly envision world creation as the progressive self-manifestation and evolutionary ascent of a universal consciousness in its journey toward Self-realization."[70] He points out that in contrast to the deterministic and continuous dialectal unfolding of Absolute Reason by the mechanism of thesis-antithesis-synthesis or affirmation-negation-integration, "Sri Aurobindo argues for a creative, emergent mode of evolution."[70] In his résumé Odin states that Sri Aurobindo has overcome the ahistorical world-vision of traditional Hinduism and presented a concept which allows for a genuine advance and novelty.[71]

Importance of the Upanishads

Although Sri Aurobindo was familiar with the most important lines of thought in Western philosophy, he did not acknowledge their influence on his own writings.[72] He wrote that his philosophy "was formed first by the study of the Upanishads and the Gita… They were the basis of my first practice of Yoga." With the help of his readings he tried to move on to actual experience, "and it was on this experience that later on I founded my philosophy, not on ideas themselves.”[73]

He assumes that the seers of the Upanishads had basically the same approach and gives some details of his vision of the past in a long passage in The Renaissance of India. "The Upanishads have been the acknowledged source of numerous profound philosophies and religions," he writes. Even Buddhism with all its developments was only a "restatement" from a new standpoint and with fresh terms. And, furthermore, the ideas of the Upanishads "can be rediscovered in much of the thought of Pythagoras and Plato and form the profound part of Neo-platonism and Gnosticism..." Finally, the larger part of German metaphysics "is little more in substance than an intellectual development of great realities more spiritually seen in this ancient teaching."[74] When once he was asked by a disciple whether Plato got some of his ideas from Indian books, he responded that though something of the philosophy of India got through "by means of Pythagoras and others", he assumed that Plato got most of his ideas from intuition.[75]

Sri Aurobindo's indebtedness to the Indian tradition also becomes obvious through his placing a large number of quotations from the Rig Veda, the Upanishads and the Bhagavadgita at the beginning of the chapters in The Life Divine, showing the connection of his own thought to Veda and Vedanta.[76][77]

The Isha Upanishad is considered to be one of the most important and more accessible writings of Sri Aurobindo.[78] Before he published his final translation and analysis, he wrote ten incomplete commentaries.[79] In a key passage he points out that the Brahman or Absolute is both the Stable and the Moving. "We must see it in eternal and immutable Spirit and in all the changing manifestations of universe and relativity."[78][80] Sri Aurobindo's biographer K.R.S. Iyengar quotes R.S. Mugali as stating that Sri Aurobindo might have obtained in this Upanishad the thought-seed which later grew into The Life Divine.[81]
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Synthesis and integration

Sisir Kumar Maitra, who was a leading exponent of Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy,[82] has referred to the issue of external influences and written that Sri Aurobindo does not mention names, but "as one reads his books one cannot fail to notice how thorough is his grasp of the great Western philosophers of the present age..." Although he is Indian one should not "underrate the influence of Western thought upon him. This influence is there, very clearly visible, but Sri Aurobindo... has not allowed himself to be dominated by it. He has made full use of Western thought, but he has made use of it for the purpose of building up his own system..."[83] Thus Maitra, like Steve Odin,[84] sees Sri Aurobindo not only in the tradition and context of Indian, but also Western philosophy and assumes he may have adopted some elements from the latter for his synthesis.

R. Puligandla supports this viewpoint in his book Fundamentals of Indian Philosophy. He describes Sri Aurobindo's philosophy as "an original synthesis of the Indian and Western traditions." "He integrates in a unique fashion the great social, political and scientific achievements of the modern West with the ancient and profound spiritual insights of Hinduism. The vision that powers the life divine of Aurobindo is none other than the Upanishadic vision of the unity of all existence."[85]

Puligandla believes that the Western influence also becomes evident through Sri Aurobindo's critical position vis-à-vis Shankara[86] and his assumption that the latter teaches through his Mayavada or Illusionism that the world is unreal and illusory. Puligandla objects, "nowhere does Shankara say that the world is unreal and illusory. Quite the contrary, through the concept of sublation he teaches that the world is neither real nor unreal. That this is indeed his teaching is further borne out by his distinction between lower and higher truths." Therefore, Puligandla concludes that "Aurobindo's characterization of Shankara's Vedanta as a world-negating philosophy is unfounded." He believes that Sri Aurobindo in his endeavour to synthesize Hindu and Western modes of thought has wrongly identified Shankara's Mayavada with the subjective idealism of George Berkeley, "which undoubtedly stands in sharp contrast to the realism of the Western philosophical tradition in general." Nonetheless, Puligandla believes that Sri Aurobindo was "a great philosopher-mystic" with a significant vision of man and the world.[85]

Sri Aurobindo's critique of Shankara is supported by U. C. Dubey in his paper titled Integralism: The Distinctive Feature of Sri Aurobindo’s Philosophy. He starts by summarizing what he considers to be Sri Aurobindo's most important contributions to philosophy and mentions at first his integral view of Reality. "The creative force or 'cit-śakti' is regarded by him as one with the Absolute. Thus there is no opposition between the Absolute and its creative force in his system." Next Dubey refers to Sri Aurobindo's conception of the supermind as the mediatory principle between the Absolute and the finite world and quotes S.K. Maitra stating that this conception "is the pivot round which the whole of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy moves."[87]

Dubey proceeds to analyse the approach of the Shankarites and believes that they follow an inadequate kind of logic that does not do justice to the challenge of tackling the problem of the Absolute, which cannot be known by finite reason. With the help of the finite reason, he says, "we are bound to determine the nature of reality as one or many, being or becoming. But Sri Aurobindo's Integral Advaitism reconciles all apparently different aspects of Existence in an all-embracing unity of the Absolute." Next, Dubey explains that for Sri Aurobindo there is a higher reason, the "logic of the infinite" in which his integralism is rooted, and expounds this concept by presenting some quotations from The Life Divine. In concluding he notes critically "that Sri Aurobindo does not explain sufficiently the nature of the logic of the infinite." Nevertheless, "the way he proposes this logic is undoubtedly his unique contribution in the field of Absolutism."[87]


Sri Aurobindo on a 1964 stamp of India

Sri Aurobindo was an Indian nationalist but is best known for his philosophy on human evolution and Integral Yoga.[88]


His influence has been wide-ranging. In India, S. K. Maitra, Anilbaran Roy and D. P. Chattopadhyaya commented on Sri Aurobindo's work. Writers on esotericism and traditional wisdom, such as Mircea Eliade, Paul Brunton, and Rene Guenon, all saw him as an authentic representative of the Indian spiritual tradition.[89] Though Rene Guenon thought Sri Aurobindo's thoughts were betrayed by some of his followers and that some works published under his name were not authentic, since not traditional. [90] [91]

Haridas Chaudhuri and Frederic Spiegelberg[92] were among those who were inspired by Aurobindo, who worked on the newly formed American Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco. Soon after, Chaudhuri and his wife Bina established the Cultural Integration Fellowship, from which later emerged the California Institute of Integral Studies.[93]

Sri Aurobindo influenced Subhash Chandra Bose to take an initiative of dedicating to Indian National Movement full-time. Bose writes "The illustrious example of Arabindo Ghosh looms large before my vision. I feel that I am ready to make the sacrifice which that example demands of me."[94]

Karlheinz Stockhausen was heavily inspired by Satprem's writings about Sri Aurobindo during a week in May 1968, a time at which the composer was undergoing a personal crisis and had found Sri Aurobindo's philosophies were relevant to his feelings. After this experience, Stockhausen's music took a completely different turn, focusing on mysticism, that was to continue until the end of his career.[95]

Jean Gebser acknowledged Sri Aurobindo's influence on his work and referred to him several times in his writings. Thus, in The Invisible Origin he quotes a long passage from The Synthesis of Yoga.[96] Gebser believes that he was "in some way brought into the extremely powerful spiritual field of force radiating through Sri Aurobindo."[97][98] In his title Asia Smiles Differently he reports about his visit to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and meeting with the Mother whom he calls an "exceptionally gifted person."[99][100]

After meeting Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry in 1915, the Danish author and artist Johannes Hohlenberg published one of the first Yoga titles in Europe and later on wrote two essays on Sri Aurobindo. He also published extracts from The Life Divine in Danish translation.[101]

William Irwin Thompson travelled to Auroville in 1972, where he met "The Mother". Thompson has called Sri Aurobindo's teaching on spirituality a "radical anarchism" and a "post-religious approach" and regards their work as having "... reached back into the Goddess culture of prehistory, and, in Marshall McLuhan's terms, 'culturally retrieved' the archetypes of the shaman and la sage femme... " Thompson also writes that he experienced Shakti, or psychic power coming from The Mother on the night of her death in 1973.[102]

Sri Aurobindo's ideas about the further evolution of human capabilities influenced the thinking of Michael Murphy – and indirectly, the human potential movement, through Murphy's writings.[103]

The American philosopher Ken Wilber has called Sri Aurobindo "India's greatest modern philosopher sage"[104] and has integrated some of his ideas into his philosophical vision. Wilber's interpretation of Aurobindo has been criticised by Rod Hemsell.[105] New Age writer Andrew Harvey also looks to Sri Aurobindo as a major inspiration.[106]


The following authors, disciples and organisations trace their intellectual heritage back to, or have in some measure been influenced by, Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

• Nolini Kanta Gupta (1889–1983) was one of Sri Aurobindo's senior disciples, and wrote extensively on philosophy, mysticism, and spiritual evolution based on the teaching of Sri Aurobindo and "The Mother".[107]
• Nirodbaran (1903–2006). A doctor who obtained his medical degree from Edinburgh, his long and voluminous correspondence with Sri Aurobindo elaborate on many aspects of Integral Yoga and fastidious record of conversations bring out Sri Aurobindo's thought on numerous subjects.[108]
• M. P. Pandit (1918–1993). Secretary to "The Mother" and the ashram, his copious writings and lectures cover Yoga, the Vedas, Tantra, Sri Aubindo's epic "Savitri" and others.
• Sri Chinmoy (1931–2007) joined the ashram in 1944. Later, he wrote the play about Sri Aurobindo's life – Sri Aurobindo: Descent of the Blue – and a book, Infinite: Sri Aurobindo.[109] An author, composer, artist and athlete, he was perhaps best known for holding public events on the theme of inner peace and world harmony (such as concerts, meditations, and races).[110][better source needed]
• Pavitra (1894–1969) was one of their early disciples. Born as Philippe Barbier Saint-Hilaire in Paris. Pavitra left some very interesting memoirs of his conversations with them in 1925 and 1926, which were published as Conversations avec Pavitra.[111]
• Dilipkumar Roy (1897–1980) was a Bengali Indian musician, musicologist, novelist, poet and essayist.
• T.V. Kapali Sastry (1886–1953) was an eminent author and Sanskrit scholar. He joined the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1929 and wrote books and articles in four languages, exploring especially Sri Aurobindo's Vedic interpretations.
• Satprem (1923–2007) was a French author and an important disciple of "The Mother" who published Mother's Agenda (1982), Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness (2000), On the Way to Supermanhood (2002) and more.[112]
• Indra Sen (1903–1994) was another disciple of Sri Aurobindo who, although little-known in the West, was the first to articulate integral psychology and integral philosophy, in the 1940s and 1950s. A compilation of his papers came out under the title, Integral Psychology in 1986.[113]
• K. D. Sethna (1904-2011) was an Indian poet, scholar, writer, cultural critic and disciple of Sri Aurobindo. For several decades he was the editor of the Ashram journal Mother India.[114]
• Margaret Woodrow Wilson (Nistha) (1886–1944), daughter of US President Woodrow Wilson, she came to the ashram in 1940 and stayed there until her death.[115]


• Adi Da finds that Sri Aurobindo's contributions were merely literary and cultural and had extended his political motivation into spirituality and human evolution[116]
• N. R. Malkani finds Sri Aurobindo's theory of creation to be false, as the theory talks about experiences and visions which are beyond normal human experiences. He says the theory is an intellectual response to a difficult problem and that Sri Aurobindo uses the trait of unpredictability in theorising and discussing things not based upon the truth of existence. Malkani says that awareness is already a reality and suggests there would be no need to examine the creative activity subjected to awareness.[117]
• Ken Wilber's interpretation of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy differed from the notion of dividing reality as a different level of matter, life, mind, overmind, supermind proposed by Sri Aurobindo in The Life Divine, and terms them as higher- or lower-nested holons and states that there is only a fourfold reality (a system of reality created by himself).[118]
• Rajneesh (Osho) says that Sri Aurobindo was a great scholar but was never realised; that his personal ego had made him indirectly claim that he went beyond Buddha; and that he is said to have believed himself to be enlightened due to increasing number of followers.[119]


Indian editions

• A first edition of collected works was published in 1972 in 30 volumes: Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library (SABCL), Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram.[120]
• A new edition of collected works was started in 1995. Currently, 36 out of 37 volumes have been published: Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo (CWSA). Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram.[121][122]
• Early Cultural Writings.
• Collected Poems.
• Collected Plays and Stories.
• Karmayogin.
• Records of Yoga.
• Vedic and Philological Studies.
• The Secrets of the Veda.
• Hymns to the Mystic Fire.
• Isha Upanishad.
• Kena and Other Upanishads.
• Essays on the Gita.
• The Renaissance of India with a Defence of Indian Culture.
• The Life Divine.
• The Synthesis of Yoga.
• The Human Cycle – The Ideal of Human Unity – War and Self-Determination.
• The Future Poetry.
• Letters on Poetry and Art
• Letters on Yoga.
• The Mother
• Savitri – A Legend and a Symbol.
• Letters on Himself and the Ashram.
• Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest.

American edition

Main Works

• Sri Aurobindo Primary Works Set 12 vol. US Edition, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-93-0
• Sri Aurobindo Selected Writings Software CD ROM, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-88-8
• The Life Divine, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-61-2
• Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-80-9
• The Synthesis of Yoga, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-65-5
• Essays on the Gita, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-18-7
• The Ideal of Human Unity, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-43-8
• The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-44-6
• The Human Cycle, Ideal of Human Unity, War and Self Determination, Lotus Press. ISBN 81-7058-014-5
• The Upanishads, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-23-3
• Secret of the Veda, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-19-5
• Hymns to the Mystic Fire, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-22-5
• The Mother, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-79-5

Compilations and Secondary Literature

• The Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo's Teaching and Method of Practice, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-76-0
• The Future Evolution of Man, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-940985-55-1
• The Essential Aurobindo – Writings of Sri Aurobindo ISBN 978-0-9701097-2-9
• Bhagavad Gita and Its Message, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-78-7
• The Mind of Light, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-940985-70-5
• Rebirth and Karma, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-63-9
• Hour of God by Sri Aurobindo, Lotus Press. ISBN 81-7058-217-2
• Dictionary of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga, (compiled by M.P. Pandit), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-74-4
• Vedic Symbolism, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-30-2
• The Powers Within, Lotus Press. ISBN 978-0-941524-96-4

Comparative studies

• Hemsell, Rod (Oct. 2014). The Philosophy of Evolution. Auro-e-Books, E-Book
• Hemsell, Rod (Dec. 2014). Sri Aurobindo and the Logic of the Infinite: Essays for the New Millennium. Auro-e-Books, E-Book
• Hemsell, Rod (2017). The Philosophy of Consciousness: Hegel and Sri Aurobindo. E-Book
• Huchzermeyer, Wilfried (Oct. 2018). Sri Aurobindo’s Commentaries on Krishna, Buddha, Christ and Ramakrishna. Their Role in the Evolution of Humanity. edition sawitri, E-Book
• Johnston, David T. (Nov. 2016) Jung's Global Vision: Western Psyche, Eastern Mind, With References to Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga, The Mother. Agio Publishing House, ISBN 9781927755211
• Johnston, David T. (Dec. 2016). Prophets in Our Midst: Jung, Tolkien, Gebser, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Universe, E-Book
• Singh, Satya Prakash (2013). Nature of God. A Comparative Study in Sri Aurobindo and Whitehead. Antrik Express Digital, E-Book
• Singh, Satya Prakash (2005). Sri Aurobindo, Jung and Vedic Yoga. Mira Aditi Centre, ISBN 9788187471127
• Eric M. Weiss (2003): The Doctrine of the Subtle Worlds. Sri Aurobindo’s Cosmology, Modern Science and the Metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead, Dissertation (PDF; 1,3 MB), California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco

See also

• Integral movement
• Integral psychology



1. Aurobindo described his father as a "tremendous atheist" but Thakur calls him an agnostic and Heehs believes that he followed his own coda.[4][5]
2. Krishna Dhun Ghose returned to India soon after, leaving his wife in the care of a physician in London. Barindra was born in England in January 1880.[7]
3. While in Manchester, the Ghose brothers lived first at 84 Shakespeare Street and then, by the time of the 1881 census, at 29 York Place, Chorlton-on-Medlock. Aurobindo was recorded in the census as Aravinda Ghose, as he was also by the University of Cambridge.[10][11][12]
4. Benoybhusan's education ended in Manchester.[13]
1. Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol, Book XI: The Book of Everlasting Day, Canto I: The Eternal Day: The Soul's Choice and The Supreme Consummation, p 709
2. McDermott (1994), pp. 11–12, 14
3. Aall, Ingrid (1971). Robert Paul Beech; Mary Jane Beech (eds.). Bengal: change and continuity, Issues 16–20. East Lansing: Asian Studies Center, Michigan State University. p. 32. OCLC 258335. Aurobindo's father, Dr. Krishnadhan Ghose, came from a Kayastha family associated with the village of Konnagar in Hooghly District near Calcutta, Dr. Ghose had his medical training in Edinburgh...
4. Heehs (2008), pp. 3–7, 10
5. Thakur (2004), p. 3
6. Heehs (2008), pp. 8–9
7. Heehs (2008), p. 10
8. Heehs (2008), pp. 9–10
9. Heehs (2008), pp. 10, 13
10. Heehs (2008), p. 14
11. 1881 Census
12. ACAD & GHS890AA.
13. Heehs (2008), p. 19
14. Peter Heehs, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, Columbia University Press (2008), p. 43
15. Heehs (2008), pp. 14–18
16. English Heritage
17. Heehs (2008), p. 18
18. Aurobindo (2006), pp. 29–30
19. Aurobindo (2006), p. 31
20. Thakur (2004), p. 6
21. Aurobindo (2006), p. 34
22. Aurobindo (2006), p. 36
23. Thakur (2004), p. 7
24. Aurobindo (2006), p. 37
25. Aurobindo (2006), p. 42
26. Aurobindo (2006), p. 43
27. Aurobindo (2006), p. 68
28. Heehs (2008), p. 53
29. Aurobindo (2006), p. 71
30. Heehs (2008), p. 67
31. Thorpe (2010), p. 29C
32. Lorenzo (1999), p. 70
33. Heehs (2008), p. 217
34. Aurobindo (2006), p. 86
35. Aurobindo (2006), p. 61
36. Aurobindo (2006), p. 98
37. Aurobindo (2006), p. 110
38. Heehs (2008), pp. 142–143
39. Aurobindo (2006), p. 101
40. Thakur (2004), pp. 31–33
41. Sri Aurobindo: A Life Sketch, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, 30, retrieved 1 January 2013
42. Heehs (2008), p. 347: Sri Aurobindo without the surname seems to have first appeared in print in articles published in Chandernagore in 1920. It did not catch on at that time. He first signed his name Sri Aurobindo in March 1926, but continued to use Sri Aurobindo Ghose for a year or two.
43. Thakur (2004), pp. 20–26
44. Yadav (2007), p. 31: "the fame of Sri Aurobindo mainly rests upon Savitri which is considered as his magnum opus ... [It is] a 24000 line blank verse epic in which he has widened the original legend of the Mahabharata and turned it into a symbol where the soul of man, represented by Satyavan, is delivered from the grip of death and ignorance through the love and power of the Divine Mother, incarnated upon earth as Savitri."
45. Heehs (2008), pp. 411–412: "On the morning of December 6, 1950 all of the major newspapers of the country announced the passing of Sri Aurobindo ... President Rajendra Prasad, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, central and state ministers ... recalled his contribution to the struggle for freedom, his philosophical and other writings, and the example of his yogic discipline. Abroad, his death was noted by newspapers in London, Paris and New York. A writer in the Manchester Guardian called him 'the most massive philosophical thinker that modern India has produced.'"
46. Leap of Perception: The Transforming Power of Your Attention (1 ed.). New York: Atria books. 2013. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-58270-390-9.
47. Aurobindo (2006), p. 102
48. Jones & Ryan (2007), pp. 292–293
49. Wilber 1980, p. 263.
50. Sharma 1991.
51. McDermott (1994), p. 281
52. Aurobindo, Sri. The Synthesis of Yoga. Lotus Press, 1996. P. 7-8
53. Aurobindo, Sri. The Synthesis of Yoga. Lotus Press, 1996. p. 106.
54. Aurobindo (2005), p. 5
55. Aurobindo (2005), p. 7
56. Aurobindo, Sri. The Life Divine Lotus Press, 1990. P. 132.
57. Aurobindo, Sri. The Life Divine Lotus Press, 1990., P. 132-133
58. Aurobindo, Sri. The Life Divine Lotus Press, 1990., P. 134
59. Aurobindo, Sri. The Integral Yoga.Lotus Press, 1993. P. 65.
60. Aurobindo, Sri. The Integral Yoga.Lotus Press, 1993., P. 65-655.
61. Aurobindo, Sri. The Integral Yoga.Lotus Press, 1993., P. 68.
62. Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo (CWSA) vol. 13, Essays in Philosophy and Yoga , Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo Ashram 1995, pp. 215–58
63. Huchzermeyer 2016Ch. 2–4, 7 and 8
64. CWSA vol. 36, Autobiographical Notes, p. 112.
65. One of the more comprehensive titles is: K.D. Sethna. The Spirituality of the Future. A Search apropos of R.C. Zaehner’s Study in Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin. London 1981
66. Huchzermeyer 2016, p. 0127.
67. Sethna, K.D. (1981). The Spirituality of the Future. A Search apropos of R.C. Zaehner’s Study in Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 257. ISBN 978-1611470703.
68. Sri Aurobindo and Hegel on the Involution-Evolution of Absolute Spirit. Philosophy East and West, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Apr. 1981), pp. 179–191
69. Odin, p.179. (Sri Aurobindo himself denied to be influenced by Hegel. See A.B. Purani, Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo.Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo Ashram 2001, p. 106)
70. Odin, p. 186
71. Odin, p. 190
72. Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, p. 106
73. CWSA vol. 36, Autobiographical Writings, p. 113
74. CWSA, vol. 20, p. 330
75. CWSA vol. 27, Letters on Poetry and Art, p. 520.
76. Huchzermeyer 2016, p. 10.
77. Heehs (2008), p. 276.
78. Heehs (2008), p. 267.
79. CWSA vol. 17, Publisher’s Note
80. CWSA 17:30
81. K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar (1972) Sri Aurobindo – A Biography and a history. Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo Ashram. p. 441.
82. Huchzermeyer 2016, p. 85.
83. Maitra, S.K. (1988): The Meeting of the East and the West in Sri Aurobindo’s Philosophy. Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo Ashram. p. 49. ISBN 978-8170580782
84. Huchzermeyer 2016, p. 78.
85. Ramakrishna Puligandla (1997). Fundamentals of Indian Philosophy. D.K. Printworld. pp. 267–268. ISBN 978-81-246-0087-0.
86. For Sri Aurobindo’s critique, see, for instance, CWSA vol. 17, Isha Upanishad, pp. 498–99. There he says that Shankara’s world-negative approach "has overshadowed for centuries the lives and souls of hundreds of millions of human beings." However, he also recognized him as "one of the mightiest of metaphysical intellects." (Isha Upanishad, p. 497)
87. U. C. Dubey (2007) "Integralism the distinctive feature of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy", pp. 25–27, Ch. 2 in Understanding Thoughts of Sri Aurobindo. Indrani Sanyal and Krishna Roy (eds.). D K Printworld. New Delhi. ISBN 9788124604021
88. McDermott (1994), p. 11
89. Heehs (2008), p. 379
90. René Guénon, Etude sur l'hindouisme, Les Éditions traditionnelles, 1989, nouvelle édition, p268
91. ... ouisme.pdf
92. Haridas Chaudhuri and Frederic Spiegelberg (1960) The integral philosophy of Sri Aurobindo: a commemorative symposium, Allen & Unwin.
93. "From the American Academy of Asian Studies to the California Institute of Integral Studies[1]
94. Ratna Ghosh (2006). Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Indian Freedom Struggle: Subhas Chandra Bose : his ideas and vision. Deep & Deep. pp. 42–. ISBN 978-81-7629-843-8.
95. O'Mahony (2001)
96. Sri Aurobindo and European Philosophy, pp. 155–56
97. Huchzermeyer 2016, p. 155.
98. Der unsichtbare Ursprung, Olten 1970, p. 96.
99. Huchzermeyer 2016, p. 157.
100. Asien lächelt anders, Frankfurt 1968, p. 112
101. Bracker, Klaus J. (2018). Veda and Living Logos. Anthroposophy and Integral Yoga. Lindisfarne Books. pp. 227–232. ISBN 978-1-58420-938-6
102. "Thinking otherwise – From Religion to Post-Religious Spirituality: Conclusion". Retrieved 13 April 2014.
103. Kripal (2007), pp. 60–63
104. Ken Wilber, Foreword to A. S. Dalal (ed.), A Greater Psychology – An Introduction to the Psychological Thought of Sri Aurobindo, Tarcher/Putnam, 2000.
105. Rod Hemsell (January 2002). "Ken Wilber and Sri Aurobindo: A Critical Perspective".
106. "Hidden Journey: A Spiritual Awakening". Retrieved 6 February 2014.
107. Sachidananda Mohanty (2008). Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reade (1 ed.). New Delhi: routeledge. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-415-46093-4.
108. Nirodbaran (1973), pp. 1–19
109. Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy's writings on Sri Aurobindo,, retrieved 12 November 2013
110. Dua (2005), pp. 18–22
111. Satprem (1965). Mother's Agenda. 6 (3 ed.). Paris: Inst. de Recherches Évolutives. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-938710-12-7.
112. Satprem (1982), p. 5
113. K. Satchidanandan (1990) Who's who of Indian Writers: supplementary volume. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, p. 134. ISBN 978-8172015145
114. * P. Raja (2018), K.D. Sethna. New Delhi, Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 9788126052837
115. "Woodrow Wilson Daughter Dead". The Milwaukee Sentinel. 14 February 1944. p. 1. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
116. "Bubba Free John in India". The Dawn Horse Magazine. 4 August 1974. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
117. "Sri Aurobindo's theory of evolution – a criticism by Prof. Malkani examined". Retrieved 6 February 2014.
118. "Wilber's Critique of Sri Aurobindo". Retrieved 13 October 2014.
119. "Osho Beyond Enlightenment". Beyond Enlightenment. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
120. G.D. Gupta (1989) Glossary and Index of Proper Names in Sri Aurobindo’s Works, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust. p. xv. ISBN 978-8170581703
121. "SABDA - Collected Works".
122. Huchzermeyer 2016, p. 189.


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• O'Mahony, John (29 September 2001), "The Sound of Discord", The Guardian, London
• Satprem (1982), The Mind of the Cells, New York, NY: Institute for Evolutionary Research, ISBN 978-0-938710-06-6
• Thakur, Bimal Narayan (2004), Poetic Plays of Sri Aurobindo, Northern Book Centre, ISBN 978-81-7211-181-6
• Yadav, Saryug (2007), "Sri Aurobindo's Life, Mind and Art", in Barbuddhe, Satish (ed.), Indian Literature in English: Critical Views, Sarup and Sons
• Wilber, Ken (1980), The Atman project:a transpersonal view of human development, The Theosophical publishing house, ISBN 9780835605328
• Sharma, Ram Nath (1991), Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy of Social Development, Atlantic Publishers
Further reading[edit]
• Iyengar, K. R. Srinivasa (1985) [1945]. Sri Aurobindo: a biography and a history. Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. (2 volumes, 1945) – written in a hagiographical style
• Kallury, Syamala (1989). Symbolism in the Poetry of Sri Aurobindo. Abhinav Publications. ISBN 978-81-7017-257-4.
• Kitaeff, Richard. "Sri Aurobindo". Nouvelles Clés (62): 58–61.
• Mehrotra, Arvind Krishna (2003). A History of Indian Literature in English. Columbia University Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-231-12810-0.
• Mishra, Manoj Kumar (2004). Young Aurobindo's Vision: The Viziers of Bassora. Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot.
• Mukherjee, Prithwindra (2000). Sri Aurobindo. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer.
• Satprem (1968). Sri Aurobindo, or the Adventure of Consciousness. Pondicherry, India: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press.
• K. D. Sethna, Vision and Work of Sri Aurobindo
• Singh, Ramdhari (2008). Sri Aurobindo: Meri Drishti Mein. New Delhi: Lokbharti Prakashan.
• van Vrekhem, Georges (1999). Beyond Man – The Life and Work of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. New Delhi: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-81-7223-327-3.
• Raychaudhuri, Girijashankar.....Sri Aurobindo O Banglar Swadeshi Joog (published 1956)...this book was serially published in the journal Udbodhan and read out to Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry while he was still alive......Sri Aurobindo commented, " he will snatch away smile from my face"
• Ghose, Aurobindo, Nahar, S., & Institut de recherches évolutives. (2000). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches Paris: Institut de recherches évolutives.

External links

• Official website Sri Aurobindo Ashram
• Sri Aurobindo at Curlie
• Works by or about Sri Aurobindo at Internet Archive
• Auroville
• Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo
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