Simla Deputation

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When Lord Minto was appointed as the Viceroy on India in 1905, new reforms were indicated in which the elected principle would be extended. The anti-partition agitation had convinced the Muslims of the futility of expecting any fair-play from the Hindu majority. Therefore, to safeguard their interests, the Muslim leaders drew up a plan for separate electorates for their community, and presented it to the Viceroy Lord Minto at Simla, on October 1, 1906.

Mr. Bilgrami wrote the text of the plan. The Simla Deputation consisted of 70 representatives, representing all opinions of the Muslim community, and headed by Sir Aga Khan who read the address. The long address said, among other things, that the position of the Muslim community should not be estimated by its numerical strength alone, but in terms of its political importance and services rendered to the Empire. He also pointed out that the representative institutions of the West were inappropriate for India and that their application was raising difficult problems. He stressed the need of utmost care while introducing or extending the electoral system in whatever sphere, be it municipal or provincial. He stated that the Muslims should be represented as a community.

The Viceroy in his reply to the Simla Deputation address reassured the Muslims that their political rights and interests as a community would be safeguarded by any administrative reorganization under him.

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