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The All India Azad Muslim Conference (Urdu: آل انڈیا آزاد مسلم کانفرنس ‎), commonly called the Azad Muslim Conference (literally, "Independent Muslim Conference"), was an organisation of nationalist Muslims in India.[1] Its purpose was advocacy for a united India, opposing the partition of India as well as its underlying two-nation theory put forward by the All India Muslim League.[2] The conference included representatives from various political parties and organizations such as Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, Majlis-e-Ahrar-ul-Islam, All India Momin Conference, All India Shia Political Conference, Khudai Khidmatgar, Krishak Praja Party, Anjuman-i-Watan Baluchistan, All India Muslim Majlis, and Jamiat Ahl-i-Hadis.[2] The Canadian orientalist Wilfred Cantwell Smith felt that the attendees at the Delhi session in 1940 represented the "majority of India's Muslims".[3] The Bombay Chronicle documented on 18 April 1946 that "The attendance at the Nationalist meeting was about five times than the attendance at the League meeting."[4]

HistoryEdit

The Azad Muslim Conference was established in 1929[1] by Allah Bakhsh Soomro, a later Chief Minister of Sindh, who had founded the Sind Ittehad Party (Sind United Party) a few years before.[5][3] In the 20th century, many Muslims in British India "ferociously opposed the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan".[6] Allah Bakhsh Soomro stated:[3]

Whatever our faiths we must live together in our country in an atmosphere of perfect amity and our relations should be the relations of the several brothers of a joint family, various members of which are free to profess their faith as they like without any let or hindrance and of whom enjoy equal benefits of their joint property.[3]

In the session of the Azad Muslim Conference held in Delhi, from April 27 to April 30, over 1400 nationalist Muslim delegates participated.[3][7] Allah Baksh Soomro, the leader of the conference, stated "No power on earth can rob anyone of his faith and convictions, and no power on earth shall be permitted to rob Indian Muslims of their just rights as Indian nationals."[4] The participants primarily belonged to the working class of Muslims in British India, unlike the All India Muslim League, whose membership was largely composed of the elite.[3] The Bombay Chronicle documented on 18 April 1946 that "The attendance at the Nationalist meeting was about five times than the attendance at the League meeting."[4] The Canadian orientalist Wilfred Cantwell Smith likewise stated that he felt the attendees represented the "majority of India's Muslims",[3] as did the British press.[8]

Meetings of the Azad Muslim Conference were frequent in the 1940s, especially in 1942, and continued in several cities, which worried the rival Muslim League.[9] From 27 December 1947 to 28 December 1947, the Azad Muslim Conference was convened in Lucknow by Hafiz Mohamad Ibrahim and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.[10]

The Azad Muslim Conference concluded that the creation of Pakistan would be "impracticable and harmful to the country’s interest generally, and of Muslims in particular."[11] It called on Indian Muslims to work with Indians of other faiths to liberate India from British rule.[11] Jawaharlal Nehru praised the Azad Muslim Conference as "very representative and very successful".[12] The Azad Muslim Conference had support from the Deobandi school of Islam and their Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind.[13]

The All India Azad Muslim Conference, despite its political strength, was sidelined by British officials, who referred to the organisation as "so-called" in their correspondences.[14] Victor Hope, 2nd Marquess of Linlithgow, had referred to the organisation as "stage managed" in 1942 and eventually, the British were only willing to recognize the pro-separatist All India Muslim League as being the sole representative of Indian Muslims—a development that led to the partition of India.[14]

Member partiesEdit

Slogans and eventsEdit

The Azad Muslim Conference used several slogans, among them being: "Inquilab Zindabad", "Hindustan Azad", "Pakistan Murdabad", "Freedom through National Unity", and "We are Indian and India is our Home".[4]

On 19 April 1940, the Azad Muslim Conference celebrated "Hindustan Day", in contrast to the pro-separatist Muslim League's "Pakistan Day".[9]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b The Indian Year Book. Bennett, Coleman & Company. 1942. p. 866. The Azad Muslims' Federation was started in 1940 just as the All India Muslim Conference was started in 1929 to distinguish the bulk of the Indian Muslims from the attenuated League of those days.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 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.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h 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.
  4. ^ a b c d Ali, Afsar (17 July 2017). "Partition of India and Patriotism of Indian Muslims". The Milli Gazette.
  5. ^ Grover, Verinder (1992). Political Thinkers of Modern India: Abul Kalam Azad. Deep & Deep Publications. p. 503. ISBN 9788171004324. Within five weeks of the passage of the Pak resolution, an assembly of nationalist Muslims under the name of the Azad Muslim Conference was convened in Delhi. The Conference met under the presidentship of Khan Bahadur Allah Bakhsh, the then Chief Minister of Sind.
  6. ^ Ashraf, Ajaz (17 August 2017). "India's Muslims and the Price of Partition". The New York Times. Many Indian Muslims, including religious scholars, ferociously opposed the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan.
  7. ^ Haq, Mushir U. (1970). Muslim politics in modern India, 1857–1947. Meenakshi Prakashan. p. 114. 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.
  8. ^ "Saying No to Partition: Muslim leaders from 1940–1947". Sabrang. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 1 March 2019. It held its session in Delhi from April 27–30, 1940 with 1400 delegates from almost all parts of India attending it. The then British press which was mainly pro-Muslim League had to admit that it was the most representative gathering of Indian Muslims.
  9. ^ a b Sajjad, Mohammad (13 August 2014). Muslim Politics in Bihar: Changing Contours. Routledge. p. 29. ISBN 9781317559825.
  10. ^ Pakistan Journal of History and Culture, Volume 20. National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research. 1999. p. 41.
  11. ^ a b "Saying No to Partition: Muslim leaders from 1940–1947". Sabrang. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  12. ^ Nauriya, Anil (14 May 2003). "Allah Baksh versus Savarkar". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  13. ^ Moj, Muhammad (2015). The Deoband Madrassah Movement: Countercultural Trends and Tendencies. Anthem Press. p. 84. ISBN 9781783084463.
  14. ^ a b Qaiser, Rizwan (2005), "Towards United and Federate India: 1940-47", Maulana Abul Kalam Azad a study of his role in Indian Nationalist Movement 1919–47, Jawaharlal Nehru University/Shodhganga, Chapter 5, pp. 193, 198

External linksEdit