Lucknow Pact

Agreement reached between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League (1916)

The Lukhnow Pact was an agreement that reached between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League at the joint session of both the parties held in Lucknow in December 1916. Through the pact, the two parties agreed to allow overrepresentation to religious minorities in the provincial legislatures. The Muslim League leaders agreed to join the Congress movement demanding Indian autonomy. Scholars cite this as an example of a consociational practice in Indian politics. Lokmanya Tilak led the Congress while framing the deal, and Mohammad Ali Jinnah (who was part of both Congress and Muslim League in 1916) and Mahatma Gandhi also participated in this event.

QuotesEdit

  • Speaking of the weightages granted to the Muslims by the Lucknow Pact, the authors of the Joint Report observed:— "Now a privileged position of this kind is open to the objection, that if any other community here after makes good a claim to separate representation, it can be satisfied only by deducting the non-Muslim seats, or by a rateable deduction from both Muslim and non-Muslim; and Hindu and Muslim opinion are not likely to agree which process should be adopted. While, therefore, for reasons that we explain subsequently we assent to the maintenance of separate representation for Muhammadans, we are bound to reserve our approval of the particular proposals set before us, until we have ascertained what the effect upon other interests will be, and have made fair provision for them."
    • Montagu-Chelmsford Report, 1918, quoted in B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
  • Notwithstanding this grave flaw in the Lucknow Pact, the Government of India, in its despatch referred to above, recommended that the terms of the Pact should be improved in so far as it related to the Muslims of Bengal. Its reasons make a strange reading. It argued that :— "The Muhammadan representation which they [the authors of the Pact] propose for Bengal is manifestly insufficient. It is questionable whether the claims of the Muhammadan population of Eastern Bengal were adequately pressed when the Congress-League compact was in the making. They are conspicuously a backward and impoverished community. The repartition of the presidency in 1912 came as a severe disappointment to them, and we should be very loath to fail in seeing that their interests are now generously secured. In order to give the Bengal Muslims a representation proportionate to their numbers, and no more, we should allot them 44 instead of 34 seats [due to them under the Pact]."
    • Fifth despatch on Indian Constitutional Reform , quoted in B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
  • The negotiations following upon these demands resulted in agreement between the Hindus and the Muslims which is known as the Lucknow Pact. It may be said to contain two clauses. One related to legislation, under which it was agreed that :— "No Bill, nor any clause thereof, nor a resolution introduced by a nonofficial affecting one or other community (which question is to be determined by the members of that community in the Legislative Council concerned) shall be proceeded with, if three-fourths of the members of that community in the particular Council, Imperial and Provincial, oppose the Bill or any clause thereof or the resolution." The other clause related to the proportion of Muslim representation. With regard to the Imperial Legislative Council the Pact provided :— "That one-third of the Indian elected members should be Muhammadans, elected by separate electorates in the several Provinces, in the proportion, as nearly as might be, in which they were represented on the provincial legislative councils by separate Muhammadan electorates."
    • B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)

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