Pre-Partition #13 Historical Developments 1915-1930

Pakistan's Political History (1915-1930): An Era of Political Awakening


The period from 1915 to 1930 in what is now Pakistan marked a crucial phase in the political history of the Indian subcontinent. This era was characterized by significant political, social, and economic developments, including the impact of World War I, the non-cooperation movement, and the emergence of key leaders. This article explores the key events and developments during this period, shedding light on the political landscape of the region.


  • World War I: World War I, which began in 1914, had a profound impact on the Indian subcontinent. As part of the British Empire, India was drawn into the war, and Indian soldiers were deployed in various theaters.


  • Lucknow Session of Congress: The Lucknow Session of the Indian National Congress in 1916 marked an important development in Indian politics. It saw the signing of the Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the All-India Muslim League (AIML). This agreement aimed to promote Hindu-Muslim unity and demanded greater political representation for Indians in government.


  • Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms: The Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, also known as the Government of India Act 1919, introduced significant constitutional changes. It expanded legislative councils and allowed for limited self-government at the provincial level.


  • Jallianwala Bagh Massacre: On April 13, 1919, the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre occurred in Amritsar, Punjab, when British troops under General Dyer opened fire on a peaceful gathering, killing hundreds. This event generated outrage and became a symbol of British repression.
  • Non-Cooperation Movement: The Non-Cooperation Movement, initiated by Mahatma Gandhi, called for Indians to refuse to cooperate with British authorities. It began in 1920 and had widespread support, including in the region that is now Pakistan.


  • Formation of the Khilafat Movement: The Khilafat Movement was launched in 1920 to protest the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the treatment of the caliphate. This movement garnered support from Muslims across the Indian subcontinent.


  • Simon Commission: The Simon Commission, appointed by the British government in 1927, was tasked with assessing the progress of constitutional reforms in India. It faced strong opposition, as it did not include any Indian members. Protests and boycotts followed.


  • Nehru Report: The Nehru Report, authored by Jawaharlal Nehru, outlined a vision for India’s future political structure. It proposed a dominion status for India within the British Commonwealth. The report was a significant political document.
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  • Lahore Session of Congress: The Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress in 1929 is famous for the declaration of “Purna Swaraj” or complete independence as the goal of the Indian National Congress. This marked a turning point in the demand for Indian self-rule.


  • Civil Disobedience Movement: The Civil Disobedience Movement was launched by Mahatma Gandhi in March 1930 with the Salt March. Indians were called to break the salt laws, which imposed a tax on salt production and sales. This movement gained momentum and had a significant impact on the political landscape.

Constitutional Developments:

The constitutional developments during this period were marked by the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms of 1917-1919. These reforms expanded legislative councils and allowed for limited self-government at the provincial level. The Nehru Report of 1928 also proposed a vision for India’s future political structure, advocating dominion status.

Political Movements:

The period saw the emergence of significant political movements, including the Non-Cooperation Movement, Khilafat Movement, and Civil Disobedience Movement. These movements aimed at challenging British rule and demanding self-governance for India.

Social and Religious Developments:

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919 had a profound impact on the social and political consciousness of the region. It fueled anti-British sentiments and led to greater unity among Indians. The Khilafat Movement also highlighted the religious and cultural ties between Indian Muslims and the Ottoman caliphate.

Economic Impact:

World War I and its aftermath had economic repercussions for the region. The war disrupted trade and had social and economic consequences. Additionally, the Non-Cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement had economic dimensions as they encouraged boycotts of British goods and taxes.

Leadership and Key Figures:

Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah played crucial roles in shaping the political landscape of the Indian subcontinent during this period. Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence and civil disobedience became central to the freedom struggle.


The period from 1915 to 1930 was a time of political awakening and agitation in the Indian subcontinent. Constitutional reforms, political movements, and the emergence of key leaders set the stage for the later struggle for independence. The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, Non-Cooperation Movement, Khilafat Movement, and Civil Disobedience Movement were pivotal events that reflected the desire for self-rule and the growing discontent with British rule. These developments laid the groundwork for the eventual creation of Pakistan in 1947, as the region continued to be part of British India during this period.

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