Q: ‘The Lucknow Pact of 1916 was the only beacon of hope for Hindu-Muslims unity between 1914 and 1930.’ Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer. 
Answer: Luck now Pact was a beacon of hope for both Congress and Muslim League because it was the first time they both worked together towards a common objective as Quaid e-Azam joined the Muslim League in 1913 after that he started working for Hindu- Muslim unity, understanding and for better cooperation, the Luck now Pact of 1916 was truly the only beacon of hope for Hindu and Muslim unity between 1919 and 1930.
The Luck now Pact was the only agreement on the plan of constitutional reforms which was agreed both by Congress and Muslim League in 1916. The British reforms of 1919 also called Montage-Chelmsford reforms were also established by the British government for legislative council in provinces with the diarchy system which was not accepted by both the Congress and the Muslim League, in 1928 Nehru report was drawn up for dominion status and joint electorates which was not accepted by the Muslim League because the Nehru Report denied acceptance of separate electorates.
In 1913 a new group of Muslim leaders entered the folds of Muslim League. The Muslim
League changed its major objectives and joined hands with congress. As a result of hard work of Muhammad Ali Jinnah both Muslim League and Congress met for the annual session of Bombay in December 1915. The leaders of both parties decided that they should cooperate with each other to bring the British government to accept their demands therefore in 1916 Muslim League and Congress held session at Lucknow and draw a Pact known as Luck now Pact in which they reached to an agreement and it was gauntly forward for Muslim hope. Obviously there had to be compromise on both sides. The most important concession came when Congress agreed with the Muslim League that there should be separate electorate for each group. The All India legislature that they called for it was agreed that Muslim would have 1/3rd of the seats and weight age to the minorities of the provinces were also agreed upon. Jinnah hoped that this agreement would lead to a united Indian nation. Both Congress and Muslim league hoped that the British would their joint call for self-government.
The British simply could not ignore the growing demand for self-government. Even during the war agitation continued. The unity of Muslim League and Congress could not be dismissed. They had to respond to the Luck now Pact, so in 1918 Edwin Montage secretary of state for India and lord Chelmsford Viceroy of India, put forward plans which became the Government of India act 1919 also known as Montage-Chelmsford reforms, in which greater association of Indian in all branches of government were given. Greater provincial power was given along with the responsible government for the induction of Indians in the commission ranks; through these reforms they also introduced the diarchal system in which there was to be a division of power between the governors. The executive and provincial legislatures and the final decision were with the governor general. These reforms disappointed Muslim League and Congress party as they had hoped for more substantial confession. Through these reforms the most infamous Rowlett Act was also passed.
In 1928 a committee was established by All Parties conference to try to define some principals which might govern the Indian future constitution as both League and the Congress rejected the Montage –Chelmsford reforms. The relation between the League and the Congress remain cordial since self-rule was still their aim and could only be achieved through mutual cooperation. However in 1928 the committee was able to produce a report known as Nehru Report in which Jawaharlal Nehru recommended that no separate electorate would be given to Muslims, no one 1/3rd seats for the Muslims in the central legislation, a no reservation for the seats in Punjab and Bengal.
Quaid e-Azam tried his best to amend the Nehru report by introducing four important changes which were 1/3rd elected representatives of the central parliament to be Muslims in the provinces of Punjab and Bengal and seats should be reserved for the Muslims on
population basis, Sind and N.W.F.P must be granted full autonomy. The committee rejected the suggestions and it was a calamity for Jinnah and Nehru report ended the hope of Hindu Muslim unity and this totally alienated the Muslims and marked the end of any future cooperation between League and the Congress. In response to Nehru report Jinnah introduced his 14 points as a one final attempt to preserve the relationship and he added the three amendments to the report which were in Jinnah’s 14 points but these proposals were met with refusal. This is the very moment when Jinnah said it is ‘It is parting of the ways’.
In my opinion, Luck now Pact of 1916 was only seen as the beacon for hope for both Hindus and Muslims unity between the years 1914 to 1930.
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