It was not until 1930 that Muhammad Iqbal, the clearest and ultimately
the most influential exponent of the two-nation theory, publicly took up the
position. Even then, he was somewhat ambiguous. Muhammad Iqbal was the
President of the Muslim League 1930, and probably India’s most popular and
influential Muslim poet. In his address, Iqbal maintained that the religious
ideal of Islam was organically related to the social order. To reject one meant
rejecting the other. In India where each group, each religion and each
community was jealous of the others existence, a future Indian nation should
aim not at integrating or assimilating these values but rather of harmonising
them. At the same time, provided that the separate rights of Muslims were
permitted and they were allowed to develop freely along their own lines,
Iqbal supported the battle for the freedom of India. He also accepted the
resolution of the All-Parties Muslim Conference held in Delhi the previous
year that the future shape of an independent India should be based on a
federal model, with the provinces possessing autonomous and residuary
powers. So far in his address there had been nothing new or startling. But he
went on to add: “Personally, I would go further than the demands embodied
in it (i.e. the Muslim Conference resolution). I would like to see the Punjab,
North West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a
single State. Self-government within the British Empire or without the British
Empire, the formation of a consolidated North West Indian Muslim State
appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims at least of north west
    Precisely what he envisaged is somewhat unclear-subsequent
commentators have maintained that he foreshadowed a separate, free, Muslim
nation. This seems somewhat doubtful; more likely he was advocating a
virtually autonomous united Muslim north western India within a weak
federation. Whatever their precise meaning, the views remained his own and
were not formalised in any League Resolution nor did they become popular
even among Muslim intellectuals for some time. By the mid-thirties,
however, Iqbal’s position was clearer. By then he considered Muslims ‘a
nation’ and ‘a distinct political unit’ and was attempting to bring Jinnah
around to his viewpoint—ultimately with considerable success.
    In the meantime, the debates surrounding the Government of India Act of
1935 had reinforced Muslim