Major Events Pre-1950

Jinnah Fourteen Points: 1929

Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah

Editor's note:In a meeting of the Council of All India Muslim League on March 28, 1929, Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah termed the 1928 Motilal Nehru Report, available here, as a Hindu document, but considered simply rejecting the report as insufficient. He decided to give an alternative Muslim agenda. It was in this meeting that Quaid-i-Azam presented his Fourteen Points.

Lucknow Pact between Congress and Muslim League 1916

Congress and Muslim Laegue

Editor’s Note: The Lucknow Pact was an agreement between the Indian National Congress, led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and the All-India Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The agreement was adopted by the Congress and the League in their separate meeting in Lucknow in December 1916. The pact asked the British to give more authority to Indians.

Images from A. Berriedale Keith, ed. Speeches and Documents on Indian Policy, 1750-1921. Vol. II. London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1922 are reproduced below. The attached pdf file has the full text.


Tagore and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre 1919

Rabndranath Tagore

Editor's Note: This is a public letter written by Rabindranath Tagore to Lord Chelmsford, Viceroy of India. In this letter, Tagore protests the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, Punjab (April 1919), and renounces the knighthood that had been conferred on him in 1915. The letter was published in The Statesman (June 3, 1919), and in the Modern Review (July 1919).

31 May 1919

Your Excellency,

The enormity of the measures taken by the Government in the Punjab for quelling some local disturbances has, with a rude shock, revealed to our minds the helplessness of our position as British subjects in India.

Rationale for banning Sati 1829

William Bentinck
William Beninck

Under the East India Company, Lord William Bentinck was the Governor of Madras 1803-1807, and the Governor-General of India 1828-1835.

Editor's note: This document was written in November 1829.The source is SPEECHES &amp\; DOCUMENTS ON INDIAN POLICY 1750-1921, ed. A. Berriedale Keith, Vol. I

WHETHER the question be to continue or to discontinue the practice of sati, the decision is equally surrounded by an awful responsibility.

Sati Ban Regulation December 1829

East India Company

Editor's note: This regulation was issued by the East India Company. The detailed rationale, available here, for this regulation had been given by the British Governor-General, Lord Bentinck, in November 1829.

A regulation for declaring the practice of suttee, or of burning or burying alive the widows of Hindus, illegal, and punish-able by the criminal courts. Passed by the governor-general in council on the 4th December 1829, corresponding with the 20th Aughun 1936 Bengal era\; the 23rd Aughun 1237 Fasli\; the 21st Aughun 1237 Vilayati\; the 8th Aughun 1886 Samvat\; and the 6th Jamadi-us-Sani 1245 Hegira

Cabinet Mission Plan May 1946

Cabinet Mission

Editor’s note:  A high-powered British parliamentary delegation consisting of three Cabinet Ministers, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and Mr A B Alexander, arrived in India on March 23, 1946. They announced their suggested plan for India’s future on May 16, 1946. Their report, available at, is attached as a pdf file. Key exceprts are reproduced below.

11. We are therefore unable to advise the British Government that the power which at present resides in British hands should be handed over to two entirely separate sovereign states.

12. This decision does not, however, blind us to the very real Muslim apprehensions that their culture and political and social life might become submerged in a purely unitary India, in which the Hindus with their greatly superior numbers must be a dominating element. To meet this the Congress have put forward a scheme under which provinces would have full autonomy subject only to a minimum of central subjects, such as foreign affairs, defence and communications.

Under this scheme provinces, if they wished to take part in economic and administrative planning on a large scale, could cede to the centre optional subjects in addition to the compulsory ones mentioned above.

The Argument against Sati

Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772 - 1833) was a religious, social, and educational reformer. He challenged some aspects of traditional Hindu culture, such as sati.

Editor's note: This is a chapter from a book entitled TRANSLATION OF SEVERAL PRINCIPAL BOOKS, PASSAGES, AND TEXTS of THE VEDS, and SOME CONTROVERSIAL WORKS of BRAHMUNICAL THEOLOGY  written by RAJAH RAMMOHUN ROY, Second edition, 1832. The book has four chapters related to women, all of which are available in the attached pdf file. One of the chapters is reproduced below. Footnotes in the original text have been brought into the main text, written in this manner {original footnote text}.

SEVERAL Essays, Tracts, and Letters, written in defence of or against the practice of burning Hindoo widows alive, have for some years past attracted the attention of the public.

Leaving (?) pre-Partition Ludhiana

Khawaja Nazir Ahmad
Khawaja Nazir Ahmad

I was born in Ludhiana on 19 April, 1943, though my recorded date of birth is 11 July, 1942. After India's Partition, I was raised and educated in Lahore. I studied at Forman Christian College, Lahore and University of the Punjab. In 1964, I was selected to join the Pakistan Air Force's (PAF) College of Aeronautical Engineering. I served in the PAF for 27 years, retiring voluntarily in 1991 as a Group Captain. My services were recognized with a National Award. I was told at the time of my retirement that if I did not retire, I was sure to get promoted to Air Commodore, with the strong possibility of another promotion to the rank of Air Vice Marshal. I cannot say what made me give up my career at its prime. The only reason that comes to my mind is that I was looking for "Fresh air". In my post retirement life I got what I was looking for, and have since lived a satisfied life.

I belong to a Muslim family that migrated from Kashmir to Ludhiana perhaps in the beginning of 19th century.

I cannot say with any surety the reason for this migration but I presume that economic reasons were the cause of this exodus. A young boy named Kamal was the first of us who came to Ludhiana with a caravan from Kashmir. We do not know where or how he got separated from his family.


Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920) was a freedom fighter whose famous call "Swaraj is my birthright" inspired generations of Indians. He was popularly known as Lokmanya Tilak, as shown (in Devanagiri) in the attached postage stamp, which was released in 1956.

Editor's note: This article originally appeared in BAL GANGADHAR TILAK: HIS WRITINGS AND SPEECHES,  Appreciation by BABU AUROBINDO GHOSE, Third Edition, Ganesh &amp\; Co., Madras, 1922. The entire book is attached as three pdf files.

The full speech by Tilak at Ahmednagar on 31 May, 1916 is reproduced below. The editor has broken the speech into many more paragraphs than appear in the original text.

Gentlemen,-Before saying a few words to you it is my first duty to thank you very much. It is my first duty to thank you for the honour you have done me and for the address you have presented to me.

Formation of the Chamber of Princes

King-Emperor George V

Editor's note: The source is SPEECHES &amp\; DOCUMENTS ON INDIAN POLICY 1750-1921, ed. A. Berriedale Keith, Vol. II


One rupee coin with George VProclamation by the King-Emperor on the Government of India Act, 23 December 1919

GEORGE THE FIFTH, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.

To My Viceroy and Governor-General, to the Princes of the Indian States, and to all My subjects in India, of whatsoever race or creed, Greeting.


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