Following notes on the Khilafat movement have been taken from A Brief History of Pakistan by James Wynbrandt.
Table of Contents
- 1 Background:
- 2 Aims And Objectives Of The Khilafat Movement:
- 3 Demands Of The Khilafat Movement:
- 4 Dimensions of the Khilafat Movement:
- 5 End of the Movement
- 6 Muslim Demand Safeguards
- 7 Causes Of The Failure Of Khilafat Movement:
- 8 Effects Of Khilafat Movement:
- 9 Conclusion:
After the First World War in 1918, the British and its allied powers decided to divide Turkey among themselves. Turkey supported Germany in the First World War. Germany lost the war and Turkey had to face the music. British and its allies also resolved to dissolve the designation of Khilafat. The designation of Khilafat always remained holy and sacred in Muslim history. Khalifa is considered the vicegerent of Allah on the Earth. Therefore, the Muslims became infuriated by this unholy act of the British government. Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar and Maulana Shaukat Ali Johar along with other Muslim leaders started a movement called the Khilafat movement.
The Khilafat Movement created political consciousness among the Indian Muslims, which inspired them to constitute another movement for then Independence. Thus, they started Pakistan Movement. In the light of this situation, the Muslims revised their constitutional demands. They now wanted preservation of their numerical majorities in the Punjab and Bengal, separation of Sindh from Bombay, the constitution of Balochistan as a separate province, and introduction of constitutional reforms in the North-West Frontier Province. It was partly to press these demands that one section of the All-India Muslim League cooperated with the statutory commission sent by the British Government under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon in 1927.
Although the Movement failed in its objectives, it had a far-reaching impact on the Muslims of South Asia. After a long time, they took united action on a purely Islamic issue which momentarily forged solidarity among them. It also produced a class of Muslim leaders experienced in organizing and mobilizing the public. This experience was of immense value to the Muslims later during the Pakistan Movement The collapse of the Khilafat Movement was followed by a period of bitter Hindu Muslim antagonism. The Hindus organized two highly anti-Muslim movements, the Shudhi and the Sangathan. The former movement was designed to convert Muslims to Hinduism and the latter was meant to create solidarity among the Hindus in the event of communal conflict. In retaliation, the Muslims sponsored the Tabligh and Tanzim organizations to counter the impact of the Shudhi and the Sangathan. In the 1920s, the frequency of communal riots was unprecedented. Several Hindu-Muslim unity conferences were held to remove the causes of conflict, but, it seemed nothing could mitigate the intensity of communalism.
Although many leading Muslims supported Great Britain during the war, some backed the Ottoman Empire.
As the end of World War I approached, the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire became imminent. Muslims of South Asia mounted an effort to save the empire, joining in the Khilafat movement.
In December 1918 the Muslim League passed a resolution to work for the preservation of the caliphate.
Jinnah opposed involvement in international affairs, as Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan had done earlier.
On April 10, 1919, riots erupted in Amritsar in Punjab. In response, a ban was imposed on public meetings. Unaware of the new edict, demonstrators gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh gardens in Amritsar on April 13, 1919. The British opened fire on the crowd, resulting in 379 dead and 1,200 wounded, according to official tallies, though other accounts put the number of casualties considerably higher.
The incident became known as the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, or Tragedy.
Leaders of the Khilafat movement and the Congress Party issued a joint statement in 1920 calling for a boycott of British goods, schools, and institutions.
This non-cooperation movement was led by Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1947), Gandhi supported the Khilafat movement as a way to bring Muslims and Hindus together in the movement for independence.
Jinnah and other Western-educated Muslims, on the other hand, feared that a religious focus would ultimately divide Muslims and Hindus. He favored a secular political leadership, called the movement unconstitutional, and resigned from the Congress Party in protest (1920).
Despite the movement and threats of noncooperation against the British, the Ottoman Empire disappeared with the signing of the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920.
Khilafat Movement ended when the sultan, the figurehead of a much-reduced Turkey, was removed in 1922, and the Turkish government itself abolished the caliphate the same year.
Since the British failed to support the caliphate, Islamic scholars concluded that it was sinful to live in British ruled territory. Hundreds of ulama, or religious leaders, signed a fatwa urging Muslims to immigrate to Islamic lands. In August 1922 thousands of Muslims abandoned their homes and possessions and began trekking to Afghanistan.
Afghanistan, bowing to British pressure, closed its border, leaving the would-be émigrés homeless and destitute.
It was a peak period from 1919 to 1922 casting demonstrations, boycotts, and other pressure by the two major communities, the Hindus and the Muslims. Being brothers, the Indian Muslims realized their religious duty to help the Muslim country. It was the extraterritorial attachments based on Islam. Another factor same as the first was that the Indian Muslims considered the Ottoman Caliphate a symbol of unity of the Muslim world as Ummah.
Aims And Objectives Of The Khilafat Movement:
The Khilafat Movement aimed at presenting the Ottoman Empire and the continuity of the temporal power of Khalifa to protect Muslim lands without any mandate. Mohammad Ali put forward the demands of the Khilafat Movement in a speech delivered at Paris on March 21, 1920, by declaring:
“The Khilafat shall not be dismembered but that the Khalifa Shall have sufficient temporal power for the defence of the Faith, that in the Island of Arabia there shall be exclusive, Muslim control without mandate or protection and that the Khalifa shall remain as heretofore the warden of the Holy places.”
The Muslims demanded that:-
“Jazirat-ul-Arab including Mesopotamia, Arabia, Syria, and Palestine with the Holy places situated therein must always remain under the direct suzerainty of the Khilafat.”
Muhammad Ali put forward the demands of the Movement in a speech delivered at Paris on March 21, 1920, by declaring that;-
“The Khilafat shall not be dismembered but that the Khalifah shall have sufficient temporal power for the defense of the Faith, that in the Island of Arabia there shall be exclusive Muslim Control without mandate or protection and that the Khalifah shall remain as heretofore the warden of the Holy places.”
Demands Of The Khilafat Movement:
The demands of the Khilafat committee were as under:
- Ottoman Khilafat should be kept intact.
- The territorial solidarity of Turkey be preserved.
- Control of holy places should not be given to non-Muslims.
Dimensions of the Khilafat Movement:
The writings of the Muslim intellectuals provoked the sentiments for the preservation of Khilafat and retention of the Muslims control of the holy places. Muslim journalists played a vital role to steer the direction of the struggle. Zamindar of Zafar Ali Khan, Comrade, and Hamdard of Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, and Al-Hilal of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, etc. were the prominent newspapers and magazines which performed their duties to express their resentment. The Allies imposed humiliating terms on vanquished Turkey.
Protests in India:
All India Khilafat Committee was formed at Bombay in July 1919. The first Khilafat Conference at Delhi in November 1919 was arranged in which the Congress leaders like Gandhi and Nehru participated. In this way, the major political parties joined hands to assault the injustice with the Muslim community. These steps were announced:
- No participation in victory celebrations.
- Boycott of British goods
- Non Cooperation with the Government
The second Khilafat Conference (Amritsar) was held in Dec. 1919. Maulana Muhammad Ali and Shaukat Ali joined the session after being released from prison. In Jan. 1920, M. A. Ansari led a delegation to Viceroy while Maulana M. A. Jauhar to Europe. The Khilafat Committee decided to start non-cooperation in collaboration with the Congress in May 1920.
Rowlett Act, 1919
Rowlett Act was a black law introduced in India. To the law, the government got authority to persecute any Indian and the arrested had no facility of legal assistance and right to appeal just as the ‘Lettres de Cachet’ in France before the French Revolution. Jinnah resigned from the central legislature as a protest.
Jallianwala Bagh Incident, April 1919
The people gathered in Jallianwala Bagh at Amritsar but General Dyer opened fire to disperse the throng that cast a huge human casualties (379). It is considered one of the great tragedies in India. In 1940, by killing Governor Punjab, Sir Michaal O’ Dayer, ‘Ram Muhammad Singh Azad’ got revenge of the Indian massacre.
The Nagpur Session of the Congress (Dec. 1920) approved non-cooperation with Government but Jinnah opposed and left the Congress because he was against the use of extra-constitutional means of protests.
- Return Titles.
- Boycott of courts and educational institutions.
- Resign from jobs.
- Later resign from police and military jobs.
- Refusal to pay taxes.
Khilafat Conference, Karachi, July 1921
In the session the participants expressed their loyalty to Turkish Sultan. They decided to continue the agitation and supported Attaturk to expel foreign forces from Turkey.
Hijrat Movement 1920-21
The Indian ulama (religious leaders) declared India ‘Darul Harab.’ Darul Harab means the place (country) where Muslims are not allowed to perform their religious practices. In the said situation, the Muslims should migrate to the nearest safe place. The ulama issued verdicts to go to Darul Islam, Afghanistan. There was an impression that King of Afghanistan would welcome them. So the migration took place at large scale. Initially Afghans welcomed them. Later, they closed the border and pushed the migrants back to the Indian territories. It resulted in loss of lives and money. Many died during this mission. Some went to Soviet Union from Afghanistan because they had nothing in India now.
End of the Movement
Moplah Revolt Malabar Coast, near Kalicut
Moplahs were the descendents of the Arab Muslims settled in the Sub-Continent even before the arrival of Muhammad Bin Qasim. In August 1921, they revolted against Hindu landlords whose treatment was very brutal with them. Later this clash changed as Moplahs versus the Police and Hindu. This embittered the Hindu-Muslim relations.
There was an increase in violence day by day and the Chorachori Incident (UP) in February 1922 worsened the situation. The Congress volunteers set a police station on fire and 21 policemen were killed. Gandhi suddenly called off the movement.
Developments in Turkey
In 1922 Attaturk emerged as a national leader and restricted powers of Sultan. Next he was appointed Chief of the state by Grand National Assembly. In March 1924, Khilafat was abolished. This caused a widespread resentment among the Indian Muslims. They sent delegations to Turkey but failed to achieve their objectives.
Muslim Demand Safeguards
In the light of this situation, the Muslims revised their constitutional demands. They now wanted preservation of their numerical majorities in the Punjab and Bengal, separation of Sindh from Bombay, the constitution of Balochistan as a separate province, and introduction of constitutional reforms in the North-West Frontier Province. It was partly to press these demands that one section of the All-India Muslim League cooperated with the statutory commission sent by the British Government under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon in 1927.
Causes Of The Failure Of Khilafat Movement:
Gandhi also joined Muslims in their Khilafat Movement. When Khilafat Movement reached its success, the Hindus especially Mr. Gandhi gave up on the movement and left the Muslims alone and caused the failure of the Movement.
In fact, he wants to protect the British government and needed the autonomy of India through this movement. Therefore, he joined the Khilafat Movement for achieving his coveted (desire to obtain sth belonging to another) plan. Apparently, he was showing that he was sincere to the Muslim cause.
Quaid-e-Azam admonished the Muslims that this movement should not be started but Muslims were not listening to him.
The non-cooperation movement, Hijrat movement, Moplah revolt, and the Chauri Chaura tragedy did a great loss to Muslim properties, wealth, and lives.
After the tragedy of Chauri Chaura, Gandhi left the Khilafat movement saying that he did not like violence.
After Hijrat Movement, the Muslims had to come back to the Sub-continent but now they had lost their hearth and home. They had to face the severe circumstances in the Khilafat movement.
In 1924, Mustafa Kamal Ata Turk assumed power in Turkey and abolished the institution of Khilafat himself. This act of him really disappointed Muslims. Thus the Khilafat Movement came to an end without achieving its goals.
Effects Of Khilafat Movement:
The Credit Side Of Khilafat Movement:
- It trained Muslims for political action and agitation. It also produced a class of Muslim leaders experienced in organizing and mobilizing the public. This experience was of immense value to the Muslims later during the Pakistan Movement.
- It united the extremists and modernists on one platform. After a long time, they took united action on a purely Islamic issue which momentarily forged solidarity among them. They learned that Hindus can never be friends of Muslims. Their differences are too deep-rooted to weed out.
- The Khilafat movement proved that Hindus and Muslims were two different nations as they could not continue the unity and could not live together. In the 1920s, the frequency of communal riots was unprecedented. Several Hindu-Muslim unity conferences were held to remove the causes of conflict, but, it seemed nothing could mitigate the intensity of communalism
- It made Muslims politically conscious and got acquainted with their political power.
- It destroyed the myth of Muslims’ loyalty to the British.
- It was a re-affirmation of the reality that religion is a mobilizing force and especially Islam has mobilization capacity to organize masses.
Adverse Side Of Khilafat Movement:
- Muslims became more interested in national affairs than international ones.
- Hijrat movement cost millions of rupees and millions of families.
Muslim emotionalism gave nothing to them. Khilafat was abolished not by the British but by the Turks themselves.
- Religious leaders for the time being vanished from the political arena.
Every movement against British rule left its good as well as bad effects on the people. After the Khilafat Movement Muslims of the Sub-continent become united, strong, and conscious about their separate identity which led them towards their final destination. This was the real credit that Muslims derived from Khilafat Movement.
- It was re-affirmation of the reality that religion is a mobilizing force and especially Islam has mobilization capacity to organize masses.
- It was the movement launched on the basis of extra-territorialism. Later, no such movement but Pan-Islamic sentiments continued.
- It resulted in the sufferings of the Muslims
- Hindu-Muslim unity proved short-lived.
Reactivation of the Muslim League and other Muslim organizations to restart their activities as a separate nation was the great outcome.
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