Allahabad Address

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The Allahabad Address refers to the presidential address by Muhammad Iqbal to the 25th session of the All-India Muslim League on 29 December 1930, at Allahabad, British India. In his address, Iqbal called for the creation of "a Muslim India within India", especially in North-western India.[1] Iqbal demanded the right of self-government for the Muslims.[2] as he said:

India is a continent of human groups belonging to different races, speaking different languages, and professing different religions [...] Personally, I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sindh 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.

Within his address, Iqbal also touched on his fear that Islam may have a similar fate as Christianity. "To Islam, matter is spirit realising itself in space and time" whereas Europe had "accepted the separation of Church and State and disliked the fact that their leaders were "indirectly forcing the world to accept it as unquestionable dogma [...] I do not know what will be the final fate of the national idea in the world of Islam. Whether Islam will assimilate and transform it as it has before assimilated and transformed many ideas expressive of a different spirit, or allow a radical transformation of its own structure by the force of this idea, is hard to preditct. Professor Wensinck of Leiden (Holland) wrote to me the other day: "It seems to me that Islam is entering upon a crisis through which Christianity has been passing for more than a century. The great difficulty is how to save the foundations of religion when many antiquated notions have to be given up.

Iqbal spoke of:

The unity of an Indian nation, therefore, must be sought not in the negation, but in the mutual harmony and cooperation, of the many. True statesmanship cannot ignore facts, however unpleasant they may be [...] And it is on the discovery of Indian unity in this direction that the fate of India as well as of Asia really depends [...] If an effective principle of cooperation is discovered in India it will bring peace and mutual goodwill to this ancient land which has suffered so long [...] And it will at the same time solve the entire political problem of Asia.

In regards to the army, Iqbal stated:

The Punjab with 56 percent Muslim population supplies 54 percent of the total combatant troops to the Indian Army, and if the 19,000 Gurkhas recruited from the independent State of Nepal are excluded , the Punjab contingent amounts to 62 percent of the whole Indian Army. This percentage does not take into account nearly 6,000 combatants supplied to the Indian Army by the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan. From this you can easily calculate the possibilities of North-West Indian Muslims in regards to the defence of India against foreign aggression. Thus processing full opportunity of development within the body politic of India, the North-West Indian Muslims will prove the best defenders of India against a foreign invasion.

Iqbal also address how it was "painful to observe" the failed attempts to "discover such a principle of internal harmony". However, he still felt "hopeful". He expressed great concerns that the British politicians were "cleverly exploiting Hindu-Muslim differences regarding the ultimate form of Central Government" through Princes of the Princely States. He was also critical of the Simon Repord that it did great "injustice to Muslims" to not be given a statutory majority for Punjab and Bengal. Furthermore, he demanded for Sindh to be united with Baluchistan and turned into a separate province as it did not have anything in common with Bombay Presidency.

Comparing the European democracy to Indian democracy, he justified the Muslim demand for a "Muslim India within India", saying:[1][3]

The principle of European democracy cannot be applied to India without recognizing the fact of communal groups. The Muslim demand for the creation of a Muslim India within India is, therefore, perfectly justified. The resolution of the All-Parties Muslim Conference at Delhi is, to my mind, wholly inspired by this noble ideal of a harmonious whole which, instead of stifling the respective individualities of its component wholes, affords them chances of fully working out the possibilities that may be latent in them. And I have no doubt that this House will emphatically endorse the Muslim demands embodied in this resolution.

Commenting on the Hindu fears of religious rule in the Muslim autonomous states, Iqbal said:

Muslim demand is not actuated by the kind of motive he imputes to us; it is actuated by a genuine desire for free development which is practically impossible under the type of unitary government contemplated by the nationalist Hindu politicians with a view to secure permanent command dominance in the whole of India. Nor should the Hindus fear that the creation of autonomous Muslim states will mean the introduction of a kind of religious rule in such states. I have already indicated to you the meaning of the word religion, as applied to Islam. The truth is that Islam is not a Church [...] I therefore demand the formation of a consolidated Muslim State in the best interests of India and Islam. For India, it means security and peace resulting from an internal balance of power; for Islam, an opportunity to rid itself of the stamp that Arabian Imperialism was forced to give it, to mobilize its law, its education, its culture, and to bring them into closer contact with its own original spirit and with the spirit of modern times.

In his concluding remarks, Iqbal said:

India demands complete organization and unity of will and purpose in the Muslim community, both in your own interest as a community, and in the interest of India as a whole [...] We have a duty toward India where we are destined to live and die. We have a duty towards Asia, especially Muslim Asia. And asince 70 millions of Muslims in single country constitute a far more valuable asset to Islam than all the countries of Muslim Asia put together, we must look at the Indian problem not only from the Muslim point of view, but also from the standpoint of the Indian Muslim as such.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s 1930 Presidential Address, from Columbia University site
  2. ^ Iqbal Singh Sevea (29 June 2012). The Political Philosophy of Muhammad Iqbal: Islam and Nationalism in Late Colonial India. Cambridge University Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-107-00886-1. 
  3. ^ "Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s 1930 Presidential Address". Scribd. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 

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