Jinnah’s primary occupation in the year 1938 and 1939 was to build a mass party. He made tours of India and roused the Muslims with stirring speeches in which he exposed the Congress and answered the propaganda directed against him by the Hindu Press. His countrywide tours were superbly successful. Wherever he went, he was received with great love and fervor, especially by the Muslim students and the younger generation who idealized him and saw him as a beautiful mirror that reflected their future.
Arriving at the 26th All-India Muslim League Session at Patna, 1938
A special session of the Muslim League was held in April 1938 in Calcutta in which the Bengal leaders led by Fazlul Haq declared their loyalty to the League. In his presidential address, Jinnah announced that in his extensive tours throughout the country he had come across an insatiable desire among the Muslim masses to unite under the banner of the Muslim League.
The Muslim League had been revolutionized within a very short period and one of the results of this was that members of provincial assemblies gladly joined the Muslim League parliamentary parties.
The twenty-sixth session of the League was held in December 1938 in Patna. Jinnah made another hard-hitting, historical speech to a tumultuous gathering from all over the country. Jinnah made an objective assessment of the development of Muslim consciousness and claimed that the Muslim League had “succeeded in awakening a remarkable national consciousness.” He told the meeting, “you have not yet got to the fringe of acquiring that moral, cultural and political consciousness. You have only reached the stage at which an awakening has come, your political conscience has been stirred You have to develop a national self and a national individuality. It is a big task as I told you, you are yet only on the fringe of it. But I have great hopes for your success.”
By the end of 1938, the Muslim League was recognized as the representative of the Muslims by the British Government and soon the Viceroy was giving the same importance to the views and opinions of Jinnah that he gave to those of the Congress leaders. The Second World War broke out in 1939 and the British government was anxious to win the favor and co-operation of the major political parties and leaders in their war effort. The Viceroy made a declaration in October assuring the people of India that after the war, the constitutional problems of India would be re-examined and modifications made in the Act of 1935, according to the opinion of Indian parties. The Congress reacted to that drastically, condemned the Viceroy’s policy statement and called upon the Congress ministries to resign by October 31, 1939. On the resignation of the Congress ministries, the Muslim League appealed to the Muslims and other minorities to observe December 22, 1939 as the “Day of Deliverance”.
Jinnah and his party were no longer willing to retain the status of a mere “minority”, and the capital of Punjab had been chosen purposely as the place to announce the Muslim League’s new-born resolve.