Lucknow Session 1916

President: Ambica Charan Majumdar

Players:

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Annie Besant

Ambica Charan Mazumdar

Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Importance: 

  1. The Union of Moderates and Extremists, who were separated in 1907 Surat Session.
  2. Lucknow Pact was signed between Congress and Muslim League.
  3. Home-Rule Movement





Everyone Moderates, Extremists and the Muslim Leage realised that things will work in staying united. So in the joint session of Muslim League and Congress came to an agreement which was know as Lucknow Pact.

Tilak and his men were welcomed back into the Congress by the Moderate president, Ambika Charan Mazumdar: “After nearly 10 years of painful separation and wanderings through the wilderness of misunderstandings and the mazes of unpleasant controversies. . . both the wings of the Indian Nationalist party have come to realize the fact that united they stand, but divided they fall, and brothers have at last met brothers . .”

Both Tilak and Annie Besant had played a leading role in bringing about an agreement between the Congress and the League, much against the wishes of many important leaders, including Madan Mohan Malaviya.

Answering to the criticism on the pact Lokamanya Tilak said: “It has been said, gentlemen, by some that we Hindus have yielded too much to our Mohammedan brethern. I am sure I represent the sense of the Hindu community all over India when I say that we could not have yielded too much. I would not care if the rights of self-government are granted to the Mohammedan community only. I would not care if they are granted to the Rajputs. I would not care if they are granted to the lower and the lowest classes of the Hindu population provided the British Government consider them more fit than the educated classes of India for exercising those rights. I would not care if those rights are granted to any section of the Indian community . . . When we have to fight against a third party — it is a very important thing that we stand on this platform united, united in race, united in religion, united as regards all different shades of political creed.”

The Lucknow Congress also demanded a further dose of constitutional reforms as a step towards self-government.



Congress and Muslim League negotiated an agreement whose main clauses are as follows:

  1. There shall be self-government in India.
  2. Muslims should be given one-third representation in the central government.
  3. There should be separate electorates for all the communities until a community demanded joint electorates.
  4. A system of weightage to minority political representation(giving minorities more representation in the government then is proportional to their share of the population) should be adopted.
  5. The salaries of the Secretary of State for Indian Affairs should be paid by the British government and not from Indian funds.
  6. Of the two Under Secretaries, one should be Indian.
  7. The Executive should be separated from the Judiciary.
  8. The number of the members of Central Legislative Council should be increased to 150.
  9. At the provincial level, four-fifth of the members of the Legislative Councils should be elected and one-fifth should be nominated.
  10. The size of provincial legislatures should not be less than 125 in the major provinces and from 50 to 75 in the minor provinces.
  11. The term of the Legislative Council should be five years.
  12. All members, except those nominated, should be elected directly on the basis of adult franchise.
  13. Members of Legislative Council should themselves elect their president.
  14. Half of the members of Imperial Legislative Council should be Indians.
  15. No bill concerning a community should be passed if the bill is opposed by three-fourth of the members of that community in the Legislative Council.

 

Another very significant proposal made by Tilak — that the Congress should appoint a small and cohesive Working Committee that would carry on the day to day affairs of the Congress and be responsible for implementing the resolutions passed at the annual sessions, a proposal by which he hoped to transform the Congress from a deliberative body into one capable of leading a sustained movement — was unfortunately quashed by Moderate opposition. Four years later, in 1920, when Mahatma Gandhi prepared a reformed constitution for the Congress, this was one of the major changes considered.

The new Secretary of State, Montagu, made a historic declaration in the House of Commons, on 20 August, 1917 in which he stated: ‘The policy of His Majesty’s Government . . . is that of the increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration, and the gradual development of self-governing institutions, with a view to the progressive realization of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British Empire.’ 



This statement was in marked contrast to that of Lord Morley who, while introducing the Constitutional Reforms in 1909, had stated categorically that these reforms were in no way intended to lead to self-government. The importance of Montagu’s Declaration was that after this the demand for Home Rule or self-government could no longer be treated as seditious.

This did not, however, mean that the British Government was about to grant self-government. The accompanying clause in the statement which clarified that the nature and the timing of the advance towards responsible government would be decided by the Government alone gave it enough leeway to prevent any real transfer of power to Indian hands for a long enough time.

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