Lucknow Pact (Hindustani: लखनऊ का मुआहिदा, لکھنؤ کا معاہدہ Lakhnaū kā Mu'āhidā) refers to an agreement between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League. In 1916, Muhammed Ali Jinnah, a member of the Muslim League, negotiated with the Indian National Congress to reach an agreement to pressure the British government to adopt a more liberal approach to India and give Indians more authority to run their country. This was a considerable change of policy for the Muslim League, as its position had been that to preserve Muslim interests in India, it needed to support British rule. After the unpopular partition of Bengal, the Muslim League was confused about its stand and it was at that time that Jinnah approached the League. Jinnah was the mastermind and architect of the pact.
The Lucknow Pact also marked the establishment of cordial relations between the two prominent groups of the Indian National Congress – the bold, fierce leaders or garam dal led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and the moderates or the naram dal led by Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
Reasons for the pactWhen the All-India Muslim League came into existence, it was a moderate organization with its basic aim to establish friendly relations with the Crown. However, due to the decision of the British government to annul the partition of Bengal, the Muslim leadership decided to change its stance. In 1913, a new group of Muslim leaders entered the folds of the Muslim League with the aim of bridging the gulf between Muslims and Hindus. The most prominent among them[according to whom?] was Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was already a member of Indian National Congress. The Muslim League changed its major objective and decided to join hands with the Congress in order to put pressure on the British government. Lord Chelmsford's invitation for suggestions from the Indian politicians for post World War I reforms further helped in the development of the situation.
Muslim League and CongressAs a result of the hard work of Mr. Jinnah, both the Muslim League and the Congress met for their annual sessions at Bombay in December 1915. The principal leaders of the two political parties assembled at one place for the first time in the history of these organizations. The speeches made from the platform of the two groups were similar in tone and theme. Within a few months of the Bombay meetings, 19 Muslim and Hindu elected members of the Imperial Legislative Council addressed a memorandum to the Viceroy on the subject of reforms in October 1916. Their suggestions did not become news in the British circle, but were discussed, amended and accepted at a subsequent meeting of the Congress and Muslim League leaders at Calcutta in November 1916. This meeting settled the details of an agreement about the composition of the legislatures and the quantum of representation to be allowed to the two communities. The agreement was confirmed by the annual sessions of the Congress and the League in their annual sessions held at Lucknow on December 29 and December 31, 1916 respectively. Sarojini Naidu gave Jinnah, the chief architect of the Lucknow Pact, the title of "the Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity".
- The same method should be adopted for the Executive Councils of Governors.
- The India Council must be abolished.
- The salaries of the Secretary of State for Indian Affairs should be paid by the British government and not from Indian funds.
- Of the two Under Secretaries, one should be Indian.
- The executive should be separated from the judiciary.
- The number of Muslims in the provincial legislatures would be laid down province by province.
- Complete approval of separate electorate.
- Security of Muslim rights and interest.
- Muslim League's separate status.
- Increased the fame of Quaid-e-Azam.
- Hindu–Muslim unity first and last time.
- Indian council must be abolished.
Although this Hindu-Muslim unity did not last for more than eight years, and collapsed after the development of differences between the two communities after the Chauri Chara incident of 1924, during the Khilafat Movement; yet it was an important event in the history of the Muslims of South Asia. It was the first time that the Congress recognized the Muslim League as the political party representing the Muslims of the region. The pact brought about a change, temporary although, in the attitude of the Muslims towards the "Hindu - Congress". It also made their relations with the British hostile.