Dawn distorts history of Aga Khan

The Dawn newspaper published on Saturday 3 June 2017, a full page on ‘Genesis Dhakka 1906: the All India Muslim League’ with three rows of photographs and one row of text distorting the history of the All India Muslim League. The actual facts are as follows:

Nawab Khwaja Salimullah, the Nawab of Dhaka, had sponsored the All India Muhammadan Educational Conference from 27 to 29 December, 1906 in Dacca, which was capital of the separate Muslim majority province of East Bengal and Assam created on 16 October 1905, and Hindus were agitating against it. The conference decided to hold a political session on 30 December, 1906.

Nawab Salimullah proposed the name of Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk, who was unanimously elected chairman of the inaugural session on 30 December 1906. Nawab Salimullah proposed a political organization of Muslims, named All India Muslim League. It was seconded by Hakim Ajmal Khan. The stalwarts of the Aligarh movement and the Urdu Defence Association, Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk and Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk, were nominated joint conveners of the All India Muslim League to frame a constitution.

The second meeting of the All India Muslim League was held in Karachi on 29 and 30th December, 1907. Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk had died by then, and Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk proposed that Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy, who had donated Rs. 1,10,000/- to Science College at Aligarh, be elected President. Nawab Ali Chaudhry and Mian Muhammad Shah Din seconded and supported the move and Peerbhoy was elected president of the All India Muslim League.

The third meeting of the All India Muslim League was held at Aligarh on 18 and 19 March, 1908. Mr. Fazl-i-Husain proposed and Mr. Muzamil-ullah Khan seconded the name of Mr. Muhammad Shah Din who was unanimously elected president. Rs. 500 was received from H.H. Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, the Aga Khan, from which Rs. 50 was deducted as his admission and membership fee of the All India Muslim League, and Maulvi Rafiuddin Ahmed proposed and Mian Muhammad Shafi seconded, supported by Haji Muhammad Khan, that His Higness Sir Aga Khan , G.C.I.E., be be elected President of the All India Muslim League. The resolution was unanimously adopted and communicated to His Highness by wire.

The fourth meeting of the All India Muslim League was held at Amritsar on 30 and 31 December 1908 where Syed Ali Imam was elected president.

The fifth meeting of the All India Muslim League was held at Delhi on 29 and 30 January 1910 where H.H. the Aga Khan made an appearance and proposed Sir Ghulam Ali Khan Bahadur, K.C.I.E., the Prince of Ascot, as president.

Now the first requirement of becoming president of an organization is to pay the membership fee and become a member. The second requirement is that the person should be proposed, third is that he should be seconded, fourth is that he should be elected. All this took place in March 1908 at Aligarh. The fifth requirement is that such a person should accept it. However this did not take place therefore Ali Imam was elected president of the All India Muslim League in December 1908  at Amritsar.

The Aga Khan in his autobiography confirms that he was not present at Dacca.

Actually the Aga Khan who wanted harmonious relation between various religious communities, considered Muslim League to be communal, supported ‘the All-India Muslim Conference’, that held its meeting in New Delhi on 1 January 1929 and in Simla on 8 September 1929, to organize a deputation to London under the Aga Khan’s leadership.

The All India Muslim League held its meeting the same year in Delhi on 3 March 1929 and 30 March 1929 with Muhammad Ali Jinnah as president.

In the light of the above facts the two group photos taken at Dacca in 1906 published by Dawn do not represent the meetings of the

All India Muslim League, and H.H. the Aga Khan did not become a member till 1908. Nor did he make an appearance at a meeting of the All India Muslim League till January 1910, yet Dawn includes his photograph in ‘Genesis Dhakka 1906: the All India Muslim League’.

Actually, the first office bearers of the All India Muslim League were joint conveners, Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk and Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk, and the first president was Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy.

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