Muslim League and the Question of ‘Reforms’ in the North West Frontier Province (1909-1932)


  • Abdul Rauf


Pakistan came into being through a dialectic process. Failure in getting safety measures from the sister community i.e. Hindus, the Hindu-Muslim question finally culminated in the division of India and establishment of Pakistan for the Muslims of the subcontinent. Both Muslims and Hindus played a part in this process. The fear of annihilation on the part of Muslims sometimes forced them to give too much weight to the separatism between Hindus and Muslims in India. On the other hand certain actions of Hindus, who were in majority, accentuated the process of communal separatism in India. From 1857 the British Indian government took certain constitutional and administrative steps which the two communities i.e. Muslims and Hindus perceived differently. The reaction of Indians to these steps strengthened the divisiveness among Muslims and Hindus. The decision of the partition of Bengal (1905), the introduction of separate electorate (1909), the annulment of the partition of Bengal (1911), etc were some of the occasions on which Hindus reacted differently from the Muslims. The Muslims interpreted the reaction of Hindus as a threat to their broader interests. In the same manner when certain demands or proposals were put forward to the British, which could benefit the Muslims, these were opposed by the Hindus such as separation of Sindh from Bombay etc. The question of ‘reforms’ in NWFP was another issue which increased Hindu-Muslim divergence views on a purely constitutional problem, adding to the concept of Muslim separatism in Indo-Pak subcontinent.