Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 January 2004
In 1940, Muhammad ‘Ali Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim
League, first suggested that the Muslims of India were not simply a
religious community but a nation. But it was only after the triumph of
the Muslim League in winning the overwhelming majority of Muslim
seats in the 1946 Indian provincial elections, particularly in the two
largest Muslim-majority provinces, Bengal and Punjab, that Jinnah
could argue convincingly to others that he, and the Muslim League,
represented the voice of that nation. In critical ways, the elections
of 1946 thus laid the foundations for the emergence of Pakistan.
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