Ep 4: In Lucknow, a moment of unity

1947: Road to Indian Independence

Aug 9 2022 • 36 mins

Just a decade after the Partition of Bengal, and the sharpening of the Hindu-Muslim divide, there was a moment of unity — a unity made possible by a pact between the Congress and the Muslim League in Lucknow in 1916. The Congress agreed to the idea of separate electorates and demanded that one-third of the seats in the imperial and provincial legislative councils should be for Muslims. In turn, Muslim League agreed with Congress’s demand for an increase in the number of elected seats in the Council and greater autonomy for provinces. For the first time in the 20th century, Hindus and Muslims presented a common front, a common set of demands to the British. But was the Lucknow pact an exhilarating moment of unity? Or did it sow the seeds for further division? What led to the pact and what were its implications? In this episode, historian Mridula Mukherjee joins HT to take us through the history of the British strategy to deepen religious divisions and how Indian nationalists formed a common front.