When was proposal for Pakistan officially made?

It has become fashionable nowadays to say that Pakistan was forced upon us by British or Congress as Muslims never demanded an independent state in clear cut terms. It is said that by asking for “independent states” instead of “an independent state” we were asking for something else and it was non-acceptance of Cripps proposal by Congress that compelled us towards Pakistan.

Below I present an excerpt from Dr. Ambedkar’s book “Pakistan or partition of India” which was published in Dec 1940 (9 months after Lahore resolution) which makes it clear as daylight that what Indian Muslims were asking for was an independent state and nothing else.

In March 1940, Hindu India was startled to attention as it had never been before. On that day, the Muslim League at its Lahore Session passed the following Resolution :—

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3. Resolved that it is the considered view of this Session of the All-India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to the Muslims unless it is designated on the following basic principle, viz. that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North-Western and Eastern Zones of India should be grouped to constitute “Independent States” in which the Constituent Units shall be autonomous and sovereign;

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What does this Resolution contemplate ? A reference to para 3 of the Resolution will show that the Resolution contemplates that the areas in which Muslims predominate shall be incorporated into independent States. In concrete terms, it means that the Punjab, the North-Western Frontier Province, Baluchistan and Sind in the North-West and Bengal in the East instead of remaining as the provinces of British India shall be incorporated as independent States outside of British India. This is the sum and substance of the Resolution of the Muslim League.

Does the Resolution contemplate that these Muslim provinces, after being incorporated into States, will remain each an independent sovereign State or will they be joined together into one constitution as members of a single State, federal or unitary? On this point, the Resolution is rather ambiguous, if not self-contradictory. It speaks of grouping the zones into “Independent States in which the Constituent Units shall be autonomous and sovereign.” The use of the term “Constituent Units” indicates that what is contemplated is a Federation. If that is so, then, the use of the word “sovereign” as an attribute of the Units is out of place. Federation of Units and sovereignty-of Units are contradictions. It may be that what is contemplated is a confederation. It is, however, not very material for the moment whether these Independent States are to form into a federation or a confederation. What is important is the basic demand, namely, that these areas are to be separated from India and formed into Independent States.

The Resolution is so worded as to give the idea that the scheme adumbrated in it is a new one. But, there can be no doubt that the Resolution merely resuscitates a scheme which was put forth by Sir Mahomed Iqbal in his Presidential address to the Muslim League at its Annual Session held at Lucknow in December 1930. The scheme was not then adopted by the League. It was, however, taken up by one Mr. Rehmat Ali who gave it the name, Pakistan, by which it is known. Mr. Rehmat Ali, M. A., LL.B., founded the Pakistan Movement in 1933. He divided India into two, namely, Pakistan and Hindustan. His Pakistan included the Punjab, N. W. F. Province, Kashmir, Sind and Baluchistan. The rest to him was Hindustan. His idea was to have an “independent and separate Pakistan” composed of five Muslim provinces in the North as an independent State. The proposal was circulated to the members of the Round Table Conference but never officially put forth. It seems an attempt was made privately to obtain the assent of the British Government, who, however, declined to consider it because they thought that this was a “revival of the old Muslim Empire.”

The League has only enlarged the original scheme of Pakistan. It has sought to create one more Muslim State in the East to include the Muslims in Bengal and Assam. Barring this, it expresses in its essence and general outline the scheme put forth by Sir Mahomed Iqbal and propagated by Mr. Rehmat Ali. There is no name given to this new Muslim State in the East. This has made no difference in the theory and the issues involved in the ideology of Mr. Rehmat Ali. The only difficulty one feels is that the League, while enlarging the facets, has not christened the two Muslim States with short and sweet names as it might have been expected to do. That it did not do and we are left to carry on the discussion with two long jaw-breaking names of Muslim State in the West and Muslim State in the East. I propose to solve this difficulty by reserving the name Pakistan to express the ideology underlying the two-nation theory and its consequent effect, namely, partition, and by designating the two Muslim States in the North-West and North-East as Western Pakistan and Eastern Pakistan.

— “Pakistan or Partition of India”, Dr. B.R.Ambedkar – 1945 second edition. (First edition published in Dec 1940)

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