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Pre-partition #14 Historical developments 1930-1945

Pakistan's Political History (1930-1945): Struggle for Independence and Beyond


The period from 1930 to 1945 was a critical phase in the political history of what is now Pakistan. This era witnessed significant developments, including the struggle for independence from British colonial rule, the emergence of key leaders, and the partition of India. This article explores the key events and developments during this period, shedding light on the political landscape of the region.


  • Declaration of Purna Swaraj: On January 26, 1930, the Indian National Congress issued the Declaration of Purna Swaraj (Complete Independence). This marked a significant turning point in the demand for Indian self-rule.
  • Civil Disobedience Movement: Mahatma Gandhi launched the Civil Disobedience Movement 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.


  • Round Table Conferences: The British government initiated the Round Table Conferences in London to discuss constitutional reforms in India. Representatives from various Indian political parties, including the Indian National Congress and the All-India Muslim League (AIML), participated.
  • Gandhi-Irwin Pact: The Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed in March 1931, ending the Civil Disobedience Movement. The British government agreed to release political prisoners and allow them to participate in the Round Table Conferences.


  • Government of India Act 1935: The Government of India Act 1935 was passed by the British Parliament. It introduced significant constitutional reforms, including provincial autonomy and the establishment of elected provincial legislatures.


  • Formation of the Pakistan National Congress: The Pakistan National Congress (PNC) was established in 1933 by Choudhary Rahmat Ali and others. It was one of the early expressions of the demand for a separate Muslim state.


  • Allama Iqbal’s Allahabad Address: Allama Muhammad Iqbal, a prominent philosopher, poet, and political thinker, delivered his famous Allahabad Address in which he proposed the idea of an independent Muslim state in northwestern India.


  • Provincial Elections: The provincial elections of 1937 were held under the Government of India Act 1935. The Indian National Congress won a majority of seats in several provinces, while the AIML emerged as the dominant party in Punjab and Bengal.


  • Outbreak of World War II: World War II began in September 1939, and India was again drawn into the conflict due to its colonial status. The war had significant economic and social implications for the region, including the recruitment of Indian soldiers for the British war effort.
  • Resignation of Congress Ministries: In protest against the British government’s decision to involve India in the war without consulting Indian leaders, the Indian National Congress ministries resigned in several provinces in 1939.


  • Lahore Resolution: On March 23, 1940, the AIML passed the Lahore Resolution, which called for the creation of an independent Muslim state in northwestern India, commonly referred to as Pakistan.
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  • Quit India Movement: In August 1942, the Indian National Congress launched the Quit India Movement, demanding an end to British rule. This marked a significant phase of the struggle for independence.


  • Cabinet Mission Plan: The British government sent the Cabinet Mission to India in 1946 to propose a plan for constitutional reforms and the transfer of power. The plan envisioned a united India with significant autonomy for provinces.


  • End of World War II: World War II ended in September 1945, and discussions on India’s future intensified.

Constitutional Developments:

The period saw the Government of India Act 1935, which introduced significant constitutional reforms, including provincial autonomy. The Cabinet Mission Plan of 1944 proposed a plan for constitutional reforms and the transfer of power.

Political Movements:

The Civil Disobedience Movement, the Quit India Movement, and the Lahore Resolution were key political movements during this period. These movements were instrumental in shaping the political discourse and the demand for independence.

Social and Religious Developments:

The period was marked by the growing demand for a separate Muslim state, as reflected in the Lahore Resolution of 1940. This demand had significant religious and cultural implications.

Economic Impact:

World War II had economic repercussions for the region. India’s resources, industries, and manpower were mobilized to support the British war effort. The war disrupted trade patterns and had social and economic consequences.

Leadership and Key Figures:

Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and Allama Iqbal played crucial roles in shaping the political landscape of the Indian subcontinent during this period. Jinnah’s advocacy for a separate Muslim state and Iqbal’s philosophical contributions were particularly significant.


The period from 1930 to 1945 was marked by significant political developments, including the demand for independence, the emergence of key leaders, and the demand for a separate Muslim state. 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. The struggle for independence and the political activism of this era set the stage for the partition of India and the birth of Pakistan as an independent nation.

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