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Khilafat Movement in India
In order to challenge British control in India, large-scale movements such as the Khilafat Movement (1919-1924) and Non-Cooperation Movement were started between 1919 and 1922. The movements established a cohesive strategy based on nonviolence and non-cooperation despite their divergent problems. The Muslim League and Congress merged during this time. The activities of both of these parties led to the holding of several political protests. The Khilafat Movement (1919–1924) will be covered in this article, which will be useful for UPSC Exam preparation.
What is Khilafat Movement?
The Khilafat and Non-Cooperation movement was born out of a rising discontent with British authority. Turkey battled the British in the First World War. Turkey was treated unfairly by Britain because it was one of the vanquished nations.
In order to put pressure on the British government to address these injustices, a movement was established in 1919 under the leadership of Mohammad Ali and Shaukat Ali (often referred to as the Ali brothers), Abul Kalam Azad, Hasrat Mohani, and others. The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, the Rowlatt Act, and martial law in Punjab all exposed the ruthless and barbaric side of foreign control.
It was discovered that the Hunter Commission’s report on the horrors in Punjab was a fraud. General Dyer’s action was really endorsed by the House of Lords (the British Parliament), and the British people stood by him by helping The Morning Post raise 30,000 pounds for him.
With their poorly thought-out Dyarchy plan, the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms were unable to satisfy the Indians’ rising yearning for self-government. In the years following the war, the economy of the nation had worsened due to factors including increased commodity prices, a decline in the output of Indian industries, an increase in the cost of taxes and rent, etc. Economic suffering brought on by the war affected practically every aspect of society, which increased anti-British sentiment.
Read about: Dandi March
Khilafat Movement Founder
The Khilafat Movement was founded by Maulana Muhammad Ali and his brother Shaukat Ali in 1919. They were supported by other prominent Muslim leaders, including Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan, and Hasrat Mohani. The movement was also supported by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress.
Peak of the Khilafat Movement
In December 1919, the Khilafat Committee and the Congress collaborated to have their meetings in Amritsar. A commission led by Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar travelled to England to hold talks with Lloyd George, the British prime minister. Its primary goal was to express India’s perspective on the Khilafat.
However, Lloyd George refused to accede to the requests of the delegation. The Khilafat Movement’s leaders came to the conclusion that the British were not likely to back them after their unproductive visit. As a result, they were prepared to implement a fresh approach to revive public enthusiasm for independence. The Non-Cooperation Movement was born out of this insight. Congress gave the leaders of the Khilafat Movement its full support. The leaders of both parties resolved to start a national agitation after meeting in Amritsar. Mahatma Gandhi was the movement’s national leader.
The following ideas were a part of Jamiat-ul-Ulama Hind’s Tark-e-Mawalat Fatwa.
- Every government post being resigned from;
- Court and legislature being prohibited;
- Students being expelled from their schools;
- Prolonged acts of Civil Disobedience Movement
Role of Mahtama Gandhi in Khilafat Movement
Gandhi stated that “the only viable means to defend national honour and to prevent a repetition of the wrongs in the future is the establishment of Swaraj” in response to the oppressive actions of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and the denial of justice. Mahatma Gandhi therefore launched the non-cooperation campaign on August 1st, 1919. The Khilafat Movement was the inspiration for the founding of the Movement.
People’s Response to Khilafat Movement
Numerous students joined the protest when thousands of them quit government-run institutions and colleges.
2. Middle Class People
They were the movement’s founding leaders but later expressed strong opposition to Gandhi’s agenda.
The Indian business community supported the economic boycott because they had profited from the nationalists’ insistence on using swadeshi.
The peasants participated in great numbers. However, it also sparked a conflict between “lower and upper castes.” The movement allowed the labouring masses a platform to express their true sentiments against their oppressors and masters in India as well as the British.
Many women took part, gave up purdah, and donated their jewellery to the Tilak Fund. They actively participated in the picketing in front of the stores that sold foreign clothing and alcohol. After the Non-Cooperation movement had been going for a year, Mahatma Gandhi announced the creation of the Tilak Swaraj Fund. On the first anniversary of Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s passing, a fund was established in his honor with the goal of raising Rs. 1 million to support India’s war for independence and resistance to British rule.
6. Government’s Response
Numerous people were killed when the cops resorted to shooting. The Khilafat Volunteer Organization and the Congress were deemed illegal. Public gatherings were prohibited, and most leaders—aside from Gandhi—were detained.
Khilafat Movement Issue
Indian Muslims also recognised the Sultan of Turkey, Khalifa, as their spiritual leader (Caliph). Turkey sided with Germany and Austria against the British during World War I. Indian Muslims backed the government during the First World War with the assumption that Khalifa would control the holy places of the Ottoman Empire.
The Ottoman Empire was split up, Turkey was broken up, and the Khalifa was overthrown as a result of the conflict. Muslims were outraged because they perceived this as a slight to Khalifa. In opposition to the British government, the Ali brothers Shoukat Ali and Mohammad Ali established the Khilafat Movement.
The period of this movement’s existence was 1919–1924. The All India Khilafat Committee was established in early 1919 by the Ali Brothers, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Ajmal Khan, and Hasrat Mohani in an effort to pressure the British Government to alter its policy toward Turkey. As a result, the foundation for a widespread rebellion was established. At the All India Khilafat Conference convened in Delhi in November 1919, a request for a boycott of British goods was made.
Khilafat Movement in India
In the First World War, Turkey had sided with Germany-led Axis powers that were vanquished by Great Britain-led Allied powers. The British and their allies’ conduct of the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire, which had duly partitioned it and removed Thrace from Turkey, drew criticism among politically aware Muslims.
Muslims also viewed the Sultan of Turkey as the Caliph or the leader of the Muslim religion, and they were certain that his authority over Muslim holy sites should not be challenged.
A Khilafat Committee was quickly established thanks to the leadership of the Ali Brothers (Maulana Mohammed Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali), Maulana Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan, and Hasrat Mohani as well as the nationwide Khilafat movement. The All-India Khilafat Conference, which met in Delhi in November 1919, decided to halt all government assistance if its demands were not met.
The Khilafat agitation, according to Mahatma Gandhi, was “a chance not to reconcile Hindus and Muslims in a hundred years time.” The Muslim League also backed the National Congress and its political activities wholeheartedly.
Gandhi stated that the Jallianwala massacre and constitutional changes were eclipsed by the Khilafat dispute in the early 1920s. He also stated that if the Indian Muslims were not satisfied with the conditions of the peace treaty with Turkey, he would lead a non-cooperation movement.
Khilafat Movement Demise
Most Hindu supporters of the Khilafat Movement lacked a thorough understanding of Islam and its philosophy. The movement evoked feelings of dual nationality in Indian Muslims. Supporting this conflict gave the impression that Muslims in Turkey intended to establish an Islamic caliphate and that this was more important than achieving national freedom.
The Khilafat leaders recited lines from the Quran before the Congress’ annual meeting in Nagpur in 1920, encouraging jihad and endorsing the murder of non-believers. However, in Mahatma Gandhi’s opinion, these leaders were referring to British dominance, which lacked direction for the movement.
For many Khilafat leaders, colonial India represented Dar-ul-Harb, the realm of conflict. The Central Khilafat organisation encouraged Indian Muslims to travel to a Muslim nation called Dar-ul-Islam in the 1920s. As a result, a lot of Muslims fled to Afghanistan. Afghanistan closed its borders as a result of the rise in immigration.
The movement’s objectives of nonviolence and intergroup cooperation were set back by this flight, or Hijrat, of Muslims to Afghanistan. The movement became weaker as a result of the Moplah insurrection in Southern India in 1921 and the Chauri-Chaura incident in 1922. The Non-Cooperation campaign was abruptly put on by Mahatma Gandhi, which left the Khilafat leaders feeling deeply betrayed.
The Ottoman Sultanate was overthrown in 1922, which was the last straw that put an end to the movement. After it, on March 3, 1924, the caliphate was itself dissolved.
Khilafat Movement a Critical Event
India’s fight for independence from colonial domination was greatly aided by the Khilafat Movement. Under the direction of the Indian National Congress, it saw the joint efforts of Muslims and Hindus.
Khilafat and the Non-Cooperation Movement were linked by Mahatma Gandhi. This action strengthened the opposition and provided an opportunity to combine the causes of Muslims and Hindus..
The movement placed Mahatma Gandhi’s method of Satyagraha at the forefront of the international conflict. In Bengal, it led to the emergence of Muslim political awareness under the leadership of individuals like Akram Khan, Bipin Chandra Pal, Maulana Azad, and Chittaranjan Das.
Muslims in our nation felt mistreated by the British after World War 1 when it came to Khalifa, their highest leader in Turkey. Under the direction of the Ali Brothers, Shoukat Ali and Mohammad Ali, the Khilafat Committee was established to encourage the Government to right the wrongs by:
- Leaving the Khalifa with enough territory under its authority and preserving the Khalifa’s jurisdiction over Muslim holy sites.
- A radical trend developed when their demands were not granted, and it was determined to halt all collaboration with the British. A committee called the All India Khilafat was formed, with Gandhiji serving as its president.
- A movement to unify the entire country of India was just waiting for a call from its leader, and this committee served as a platform for doing so.
Stand of Congress for Khilafat Movement
Gandhiji brought up the Khilafat issue in an effort to spark an all-India movement. Congress, however, had reservations about this tactic. Particularly Tilak opposed starting a movement for a religious reason. Additionally, he was questioning the effectiveness of Satyagraha as a political tool. He was also against the movement’s demand that the council be boycotted.
Congress nevertheless backed the non-cooperation program for the following reasons:
- They saw that now was the ideal time to enhance the bond between Hindus and Muslims. Furthermore, never before has such a diverse group of people united for a single cause.
- Congress lost hope in the constitutional struggle and sensed popular unrest.
Muslim League gave full support to Congress on the political front. Gandhiji argued that the Punjab wrongs were overshadowed by the Khilafat issue and he would soon initiate a nationwide movement.
Why was the Khilafat movement against British rule?
The Khilafat Movement was a pan-Islamic movement that was launched by Muslims in British India in 1919 to protect the Ottoman Caliphate, which was threatened by the Allied Powers after World War I. The Caliphate was a religious and political institution that united Muslims around the world under the leadership of the Ottoman Sultan.
The British were a major Allied Power during World War I, and they played a key role in the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. After the war, the British and other Allied Powers planned to partition the Ottoman Empire and divide its territories among themselves. This would have meant the end of the Caliphate, which was unacceptable to Muslims around the world.
The Khilafat Movement was launched to oppose the British plan to partition the Ottoman Empire and to protect the Caliphate. The movement was led by Maulana Muhammad Ali and his brother Shaukat Ali. It was supported by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress, and it became a major part of the Indian independence movement.
The Khilafat Movement was against British rule for a number of reasons. First, the British were the main threat to the Caliphate, which was a central institution for Muslims around the world. Second, the British were colonial rulers who were oppressing the people of India. Third, the Khilafat Movement was part of a larger movement for Islamic reform and revival, and the British were seen as an obstacle to this movement.
The Khilafat Movement was ultimately unsuccessful in protecting the Ottoman Caliphate, which was abolished in 1924. However, it played an important role in the Indian independence movement and helped to unite Hindus and Muslims in a common cause.