In 1905, Liberal Party of England won general elections under the leadership of Llyod George. The Party announced that it would soon introduce constitutional reforms in India and would give adequate safeguards to Indian people. To avail this opportunity, Muslim leaders decided to meet Viceroy of India to apprise him of Muslims demands. For this purpose a delegation was setup under the leadership of his highness Sir Agha Khan, which is called Simla Deputation in Pakistan History.
To apprise Viceroy and ultimately British government of Muslims of India demands before the introduction of new constitutional reforms in Subcontinent a delegation was organized by Muslim leaders particularly Nawab Mohsin ul Mulk under the leadership of Sir Agha Khan. The delegation met Viceroy Lord Minto October 1, 1906 at Simla.
Members Of Simla Deputation
Nawab Mohsin ul Mulk, the Secretary of Aligarh College, arranged a deputation of 35 Muslim leaders under the leadership of his highness Sir Agha Khan. Most of the members of deputation were those connected to Aligarh Movement and they belonged to Delhi, Punjab, Deccan, U.P., Bengal, Sindh, Bombay, C.P. and Madras.
Demands Of Simla Deputation
Simla Deputation put the following demands before the Viceroy of India, Lord Minto.
- Fixed quota for Muslims in government services such as military and judiciary
- Preservation of a fixed number of seats for Muslims in legislatures
- Protection of Muslims interests in case representative form of government was introduced
- Separate electorate for Muslims through which only Muslim members would be elected to municipalities, rural councils and central and provincial councils.
- The establishment of a Muslim university
Causes Of Simla Deputation
Utilizing the platform of All India National Congress (1885), Hindus had gained an adequate attention of British government and were enjoying relative high position as compared to other communities in the society. Muslims on the other hand due to the lack of an organized platform and Congress prejudicial attitude were facing a sharp downturn in every social, political and economic aspect of life. Observing Congress in its struggle for Hindus uplift, Muslims decided to take a joint adventure for the uplift of their community too. This idea of joint effort led to formation of Simla Deputation.
Similarly, John Morley, the Secretary of State for India, on 20th July 1906 while speaking at British Parliament announced that the Government wanted to increase both the number of seats of Indian legislative councils and their power. This announcement created a sense of anxiety among Muslim leaders as it was a clear-cut step towards Muslims suppression under Hindus majority. To secure Muslims interests Simla Deputation was organized to apprise Viceroy and British government of Muslims sentiments and their demands.
Other causes of Simla Deputation were
- To secure seats for Muslims in civil services
- The establishment of a Muslim university
- Separate electorate for Muslims
Importance Of Simla Deputation In Pakistan Movement
During meeting with Simla Deputation, Viceroy Lord Minto patiently herd all demands of the Muslims and promised to give due consideration to them while making any future constitutional reforms. Simla Deputation revealed on Muslims the importance of joint efforts and compelled them to work in group in future for the welfare of Muslims in Subcontinent. History shows that this idea of joint effort in future led to the formation of All India Muslim League, Pakistan Movement and finally the creation of Pakistan.
Success And Achievements Of Simla Deputation
The creation of Simla Deputation and its meeting with Viceroy Lord Minto, in itself was a great achievement of the Muslims of India. Similarly convincing Viceroy of the genuineness of Muslims demands and finally the acceptance of some of the demands, particularly of separate electorate (1909), in later times were greater achievements and success of Simla Deputation.
In history of Pakistan Movement Simla Deputation has played the role of a mile stone. It created and enforced the idea and importance of joint efforts which in later stages became the basis of idea of the formation of All India Muslims League and finally the creation of Pakistan.