Iqbal’s letter to The Times

September 12, 2009 at 12:59am

Allama Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s speech to the conference of the Muslim League in December 1930 at Allahabad is regarded as a great landmark in Muslim history of the Indian subcontinent because it is considered to be the first time that the creation of a Muslim state from Muslim-majority provinces in India was proposed, which later took the form of Pakistan.

However, even after this speech (to say nothing of before it) Iqbal expressed support for continuing British rule over Muslims of India.

Text of Iqbal’s letter to The Times

Sir,— Writing in your issue of October 3 last, Dr. E. Thompson has torn the following passage from its context in my presidential address to the All-India Moslem League of last December, in order to serve as evidence of “Pan-Islamic plotting”:

I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, 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 Moslem State appears to me to be the final destiny of the Moslems, at least of North-West India.

May I tell Dr. Thompson that in this passage I do not put forward a “demand” for a Moslem state outside the British Empire, but only a guess at the possible outcome in the dim future of the mighty forces now shaping the destiny of the Indian sub-continent. No Indian Moslem with any pretence to sanity contemplates a Moslem state or series of States in North-West India outside the British commonwealth of Nations as a plan of practical politics.

Although I would oppose the creation of another cockpit of communal strife in the Central Punjab, as suggested by some enthusiasts, I am all for a redistribution of India into provinces with effective majorities of one community or another on lines advocated both by the Nehru and the Simon Reports. Indeed, my suggestion regarding Moslem provinces merely carries forward this idea. A series of contented and well-organized Moslem provinces on the North-West Frontier of India would be the bulwark of India and of the British Empire against the hungry generations of the Asiatic highlands.

Yours faithfully,
Muhammed Iqbal
St. James’s court, S.W.1, Oct. 10.