The Lucknow Pact – Reunion of Moderates and Extremists

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The Lucknow Pact of 1916 was memorable in many ways. The partition of Bengal and its subsequent annulment in 1911 drew the Muslims closer to the Hindus. Though the Muslim League was formed in 1906 to give vent to communalism, the educated Muslims now realized that without joining Congress, they would not succeed in their mission.

The Pan-Islamic sentiment of the Muslim leaders like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr. M.N. Ansari, Mohammed Ali and Sauk at AH prompted them to side with the Congress. At this juncture, a change in constitution of the Muslim League in 1912 at Calcutta helped the Muslims to come closer to the Congress, largely dominated by the Hindus. This change prompted the Muslim League to work with other organizations for the protection of the interests of the Muslims.

A further change to that effect took place in 1913 at the Lucknow Session of the Muslim League. It also adopted the principle of self-government what the Extremists in the Congress were demanding. Thus, a close collaboration between Muslim League and Congress seemed inevitable.

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A further-collaboration between the Congress and the Muslim League was affected in 1916 at Lucknow. Now, the Moderates in the Congress had no objections in this matter. The Committees of both these organizations jointly passed the same political measures in their sessions.

Both the Extremists and Moderates of the Indian National Congress agreed to the demand of the Muslim League for separate electorate for the Muslims and their representation in the Legislative Councils. That formed the base of the Lucknow Pact in 1916.

Accordingly, members of both the Congress and League had to demand from the British Government that (a) majority of the members of the Legislative Councils be elected; (b) the Councils be given more power than before; and (c) half of the seats of Viceroys Executive Council be filled up by the Indians.

However, this honeymoon was not a perpetual tie- between the Congress and the League. As soon as the interests of the Muslims were fulfilled, they kicked back Congress and sided with the British authority for fulfillment of their goals.

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The Luck now Pact, on the other hand, was an important landmark in India’s struggle for freedom as it brought the Extremist and Moderate sections of Indian National Congress together under one common interest for obtaining self-rule for the Indians.

The death of the Moderate leaders of the Congress like Goal Krishna Cochlea and Feroz Shah Mehta gave Tikal and Annie Besant to dominate the Congress. Thus, the reunion between the Moderates and Extremists took place in the Lucknow Sessions of Indian National Congress. The gap between the two was abridged in this session which had become apparent in the Surat Session.

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