This presidential address was delivered by Iqbal in the annual session of All-India Muslim Conference, held in Lahore in March 1932.
There can be no doubt that if in provinces where the educational progress of the Muhammadan community is impeded by religious difficulties, such arrangements for religious instruction can be made as will induce that community to send its children to ordinary schools, the public system will gain both in economy and efficiency and much will be done to free the community from the handicap and the reproach of educational backwardness.
We are fully aware that such arrangements are not easy to make and that in other countries they have given rise to much controversy…. But in our opinion the time is ripe and more than ripe for a determined effort to devise practical plans (pp. 204-05).
If therefore special arrangements inside the public system were made now, and possibly for some time to come, to enable the Muhammadan community to take its full share in the life and in the advance of the nation, this would not, in our opinion, be inconsistent either with sound democratic or sound educational principles. We wish we could say that no reservations are necessary and we should certainly wish that they should be as small as possible. As complications of an educational system they are undesirable in themselves, but since, in our belief they represent a necessary alternative to leaving the Muhammadan community in its present backward state, and leaving it to take the poor changes afforded by a system of segregate institutions, we have no hesitation in embracing that alternative as justifiable on broad grounds of national policy.