PAK301 Pakistan Studies Assignment 1 Solution 2013

How do you see the Khilafat Movement? Why violence increased during this religio-political Movement? 


Khilafat Movement (1919-1924) was a significant Islamic movement in India during the British rule. This was an attempt by the Indian Muslim community to unite together in support of the Turkish Empire ruled by the Khalifa, which was attacked by European powers. The Muslims considered the Khalifa as the custodian of Islam. They simply could not digest his dethronement. Under the leadership of prominent Muslim leaders, notable one being Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, they launched the Khilafat Movement in most parts of North India.
The Khilafat Movement, aimed against the British government, received the support of Mahatma Gandhi, who related hisNon Cooperation Movement with it. The main objective behind this move was to enlist the support of the Muslim community into his movement, which addressed the issue of ‘Swaraj’ (Self-Government). By mid-1920 the Khilafat leaders assured full support to the non-violent methods of Gandhi, which facilitated the establishment of a united front of Hindus and Muslims against the British government. This combined force formed a major threat to the British rule.
The Khilafat Movement however did not last long. Owing to some violent incidents in the country which resulted in the deaths of many Indian and British people, Mahatma Gandhi called off his Non Cooperation Movement. This was a major jolt to the Khilafat Movement. The movement received its final blow in March 1924, when the original Khilafat movement in Turkey was abolished following the Islamic country’s conversion from a Sultanate empire to a Republic


Khilafat in South Asia

Although political activities and popular outcry on behalf of the caliphate emerged across the Muslim world, the most prominent activities took place in India. A prominent Oxford educated Muslim journalist, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jouhar had spent four years in prison for advocating resistance to the British and support for the caliphate. At the onset of theTurkish war of independence, Muslim religious leaders feared for the caliphate, which the European powers were reluctant to protect. To the Muslims of India, the prospect of being conscripted by the British to fight against fellow Muslims in Turkey was anathema. To its founders and followers, the Khilafat was not a religious movement but rather a show of solidarity with their fellow Muslims in Turkey.[1]

Mohammad Ali and his brother Maulana Shaukat Ali joined with other Muslim leaders such as Sheikh Shaukat Ali Siddiqui, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, Raees-Ul-Muhajireen Barrister Jan Muhammad Junejo, Hasrat Mohani, Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Dr. Hakim Ajmal Khan to form the All India Khilafat Committee. The organization was based in Lucknow, India at Hathe Shaukat Ali, the compound of Landlord Shaukat Ali Siddiqui. They aimed to build political unity amongst Muslims and use their influence to protect the caliphate. In 1920, they published the Khilafat Manifesto, which called upon the British to protect the caliphate and for Indian Muslims to unite and hold the British accountable for this purpose.[2]

In 1920 an alliance was made between Khilafat leaders and the Indian National Congress, the largest political party in India and of the nationalist movement. Congress leaderMohandas Gandhi and the Khilafat leaders promised to work and fight together for the causes of Khilafat and Swaraj. Seeking to increase pressure on the British, the Khilafatists became a major part of the Non-cooperation movement — a nationwide campaign of mass, peaceful civil disobedience. The support of the Khilafatists helped Gandhi and the Congress ensure Hindu-Muslim unity during the struggle. Gandhi described his feelings towards Mohammad Ali as “love at first sight” to underscore his feelings of solidarity. Khilafat leaders such as Dr. Ansari, Maulana Azad and Hakim Ajmal Khan also grew personally close to Gandhi. These leaders founded the Jamia Millia Islamia in 1920 to promote independent education and social rejuvenation for Muslims.[3]

The non-cooperation campaign was at first successful. Massive protests, strikes and acts of civil disobedience spread across India. Hindus and Muslims collectively offered resistance, which was largely peaceful. Gandhi, the Ali brothers and others were imprisoned by the British. Under the flag of Tehrik-e-Khilafat, a Punjab Khilafat deputation comprising Moulana Manzoor Ahmed and Moulana Lutfullah Khan Dankauri R.A. took a leading role throughout India, with a particular concentration in the Punjab (Sirsa, Lahore, Hariyana etc.).

However, the Congress-Khilafat alliance began withering soon. The Khilafat campaign had been opposed by other political parties such as the Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha. Many Hindu religious and political leaders identified the Khilafat cause as Islamic fundamentalism based on a pan-Islamic agenda. And many Muslim leaders viewed the Indian National Congress as becoming increasingly dominated by Hindu fundamentalists.