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The Khilafat movement (1919–1924) was an agitation on the part of some Indian Muslims, allied with the Indian nationalist movement, during the years following World War I . Its purpose was to pressure the British government to preserve the authority of the Ottoman sultan as caliph of Islam. Integral to this was the Muslims' desire to influence the treaty-making process following the war in such a way as to restore the 1914 boundaries of the Ottoman empire. The British government treated the Indian Khilafat delegation of 1920, headed by Muhammad ˓Ali, as quixotic pan-Islamists, and did not change its policy toward Turkey. The Indian Muslims' attempt to influence the treaty provisions failed, as the European powers went ahead with territorial adjustments, including the institution of mandates over formerly Ottoman Arab territories.
The significance of the Khilafat movement, however, lies less in its supposed pan-Islamism than in its impact upon the Indian nationalist movement. The leaders of the Khilafat movement forged the first political alliance among Western-educated Indian Muslims and ulema over the religious symbol of the khilafat (caliphate). This leadership included the ˓Ali brothers—Muhammad ˓Ali and Shaukat ˓Ali—newspaper editors from Delhi, their spiritual guide Maulana Abdul Bari of Lucknow, the Calcutta journalist and Islamic scholar Maulana Abu˒l Kalam Azad, and Maulana Mahmud al-Hasan, head of the Deoband madrasa. These publicist-politicians and ulema viewed European attacks upon the authority of the caliph as an attack upon Islam, and thus as a threat to the religious freedom of Muslims under British rule.
The Khilafat issue crystallized anti-British sentiments among Indian Muslims that had been increasing since the British declaration of war against the Ottomans in 1914. The Khilafat leaders, most of whom had been imprisoned during the war, were already politically active in the nationalist movement. Upon their release in 1919, the issue of the khilafat provided a means to achieve pan-Indian Muslim political solidarity in the anti-British cause and a source of communication between the leaders and their potential mass following. The Khilafat movement also benefited from Hindu-Muslim cooperation in the nationalist cause that had grown during the war, beginning with the Lucknow Pact of 1916 between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League , and culminating in the protest against the Rowlatt anti-sedition bills in 1919. The Congress, now led by Mahatma Gandhi, called for nonviolent noncooperation against the British. Gandhi espoused the Khilafat cause, as he saw in it the opportunity to rally Muslim support for the Congress. The ˓Ali brothers and their allies, in turn, provided the noncooperation movement with some of its most enthusiastic troops.
The combined Khilafat-noncooperation movement was the first all-India agitation against British rule. It saw an unprecedented degree of Hindu-Muslim cooperation and it established Gandhi and his technique of nonviolent protest ( satyagraha ) at the center of the Indian nationalist movement. Mass mobilization using religious symbols was remarkably successful, and the British Indian government was shaken. In late 1921 the government moved to suppress the movement. The Ali brothers were arrested for incitement to violence, tried, and imprisoned. Gandhi suspended the noncooperation movement in early 1922, following a riot in the village of Chauri Chaura that resulted in the deaths of the local police. He was arrested, tried, and imprisoned soon thereafter. The Turks dealt the final blow by abolishing the Ottoman sultanate in 1922 and the caliphate in 1924.
See also South Asia , Islam in .
Bamford, P. C. Histories of the Non-Cooperation and Khilafat Movements (1925). Reprint. Delhi: Deep Publications, 1974.
Hasan, Mushirul. Nationalism and Communal Politics in India. New Delhi : Manohar Publications, 1991.
Minault, Gail. The Khilafat Movement: Religious Symbolism and Political Mobilization in India. New York : Columbia University Press, 1982.
Qureshi, M. Naeem. Pan-Islam in British Indian Politics: A Study of the Khilafat Movement. Leiden: Brill, 1999.
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Home » Modern Indian History » National Movement (1919 – 1939) » Khilafat Movement
- The main objective of the Khilafat movement was to force the British government change its attitude towards Turkey and restore the Khalifa to his former position.
- Turkey was defeated in the First World War and the harsh terms of the Treaty of Sevres (1920) was felt by the Muslims as a great insult to them.
- The Muslims in India were upset over the British attitude against Turkey and launched the Khilafat Movement which was jointly led by the Khilafat leaders and the Congress.
- Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, M.A. Ansari, Saifuddin Kitchlew and the Ali brothers were the prominent leaders of this movement.
- In November 1919, a joint conference of the Hindus and the Muslims held under the chairmanship of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi was particularly interested in bringing the Hindus and the Muslims together to achieve the country’s independence.
- In February 1920, Gandhiji suggested to Khilafat Committee that it adopt a programme of nonviolent non-cooperation to protest the Government’s behavior.
- On 9 June, 1920 the Khilafat Committee at Allahabad unanimously accepted the suggestion of non-cooperation and asked Gandhiji to lead the movement.
- Four stages of non-cooperation were surrender of titles and honorary positions, resignation from civil services under the Government, resignation from Police and Army services and non-payment of taxes
- Subsequently, the Khilafat Movement merged with the Non-Cooperation Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920.
While Mahatma Gandhi’s mass appeal was undoubtedly genuine – and in the context of Indian politics, without precedent – it must also be stressed that his success in broadening the basis of nationalism was based on careful organisation. During this period Mahatma Gandhi became the undisputed leader of the National Movement.
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Khilafat Movement in India, Causes, Date, Impact, Outcomes
The Khilafat Movement (1919-1924), was a pan-Islamic, political protest campaign launched by Muslims. Check about Khilafat Movement in India, Causes, Date, Impact, Outcomes for UPSC exam
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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 R owlatt 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.
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.
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Khilafat Movement in India FAQs
What is khilafat movement.
The Khilafat Movement (1919-1924), was a pan-Islamic, political protest campaign launched by Muslims in British India to influence the British Government.
Who started Khilafat movement started?
To defend the Khilafa, the Ali brothers Shaukat Ali and Mohammad Ali started the Khilafat movement to unify the muslims .
Who led Khilafat movement in India?
The Khilafat movement was led by the brothers Shaukat and Muḥammad ʿAlī and by Abul Kalam Azad
What were the causes of Khilafat movement?
The causes of the Khilafat movement are the First World War's defeat, the imposition of hypotheses and rumours, and the safeguarding of the Caliph's authority.
What is Khilafat in simple words?
Khilafat in simple words means the chief spiritual authority of Islam as exercised by the Turkish sultans.
What is khilafat movement year?
The Khilafat Movement was started in 1919 and lasted till 1924.
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The Khilafat movement was a very important event in the political history of India. The Muslims of India had a great regard for the Khilafat (Caliphate) which was held by the Ottoman Empire. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) joined the war in favour of Germany. But Turkey and Germany lost the war and a pact commonly known as Istanbul Accord was concluded between the Allied Forces on 3 rd November 1918. According to this Pact the territories of Turkey were to be divided among France, Greece and Britain.
During the war the Indian Muslims were in a very awkward position, because they had a deep-rooted devotion to the caliphate. They had profound respect for this holy institution. Therefore, their support to the British Government was subject to the safeguard and protection of the holy places of Turkey and on the condition that Turkey will not to be deprived of its territories. But the British Government could not fulfill both of these promises. The Treaty of Savers 1920 was imposed on Turkey and its territories like Samarna, Thrace and Anatolia were wrested from it and distributed among European countries. A wave of anger swept across the Muslin World and the Indian Muslims rose against the British Government. Muslim leaders like Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Moulana Muhammad Ali Johar, Moulana Shoukat Ali and others reacted against the British Government policy and were put behind the bars.
Thus, Muslims organized a mass movement, which came to be known as Khilafat Movement. The aims of this movement were
(a) To protect the Holy place of Turkey
(b) To restore the Territories of Turkey
(c) To restore the Ottoman Empire.
In December 1919 both the Khilafat Committee and Congress held their meetings simultaneously at Amritsar and a delegation was prepared which was sent to England under the leadership of Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar to see the British Prime Minister, Cabinet Member and Members of Parliament and to explain the Indian point of view regarding the Khilafat. The delegation visited England in 1920. The leaders of the delegation addressed the House of Commons and saw the British Prime Minister, Lloyd George who paid no heed to the delegations demand. The delegation stayed at London for eight months and won many hearts and sympathies of people in Britain delivering speeches. However, the delegation returned to India unsuccessful in October 1920.
After the unsuccessful visit to England the leaders of Khilafat Movement realized the fact that British were not in the mood to help them. Therefore, they realized that a new strategy needed to be adopted in order to reinvigorate the zest and zeal for freedom among a general populace. With this aim they decided to launch a movement of Non Co-operation. When the leaders of Khilafat movement announced the Non Co-operation Movement, the Congress extended its full support to the Khilafat Movement. The leaders of the two met at Amritsar and resolved to launch a country wide agitation under the leadership of Mr. Gandhi. The agitation was against the British government. The Jamiat-ul-Ulama Hind issued a Fatwa of Tark-e-Mawalat . The following points were included in it:
1. Renunciation of all Government titles.
2. Boycott of legislature and court.
3. Withdrawal of student’s from educational institutions.
4. Resignation from government posts.
5. General civil disobedience.
As a result of this proclamation of fatwa, hundreds of thousands people returned the titles and stopped sending their children to government schools and colleges. All those highly educated young men who could have rose to high government positions bade farewell to their bright future and accepted ordinary jobs in the private sector. The vacuum created in government offices was joyfully filled in by Hindus, while the Muslim government employees willingly accepted starvation for the sake of the Muslim cause.
Under the hypnotism of Mr. Gandhi, Muslim ulama had issued a verdict and declared India as Dar-ul-Harab and the Muslims therefore needed to migrate to some other country or Dar-ul-Salam . Thousands of families sold out their properties for a tenth of their value and hastily left for Afghanistan, in August 1920. As many as eighteen thousand people marched towards Afghanistan, which was unable to bear the influx of the people. Thus, the Afghan authorities closed their frontiers. Eventually the Muhajarins had to return to their homes. A great number of old man, women and children died on their way during returning to homes and those who luckily reach alive their former places. They found themselves homeless and penniless. In fact they faced great difficulties. Even the preachers of Khilafat Movement realized the fact.
In January 1921, nearly three thousands students of various colleges and schools boycotted their classes and a number of teachers most of them were Muslims tendered their resignation. The Movement became so powerful that the Government was obliged to pay attention to the problem. The British Government invited Seth Jan-Muhammad Chutani, the President of Khilafat conference to visit London to discuss the issue. A delegation under has leadership visited London and discussed the sentiment of Muslims but the delegation also returned unsuccessfully.
The Khilafat Movement came to an end when thousands of Indians were put behind the bar. The leaders in spite of their best efforts could not maintain the Hindu-Muslim Unity. One of the main reasons which caused a death blow to Khilafat Movement was the indirect announcement of Gandhi to discontinue the Non Co-operation Movement. Gandhi used an incident of arson on February 1922, when a violent mob set on fire a police choki at Chora Churi at district Gorakpur, burning twenty one constables to death as an excuse to call off the non-cooperation movement. It adversely affected the Khilafat Movement which thought to be integral part of movement. In 1924, Kamal Ataturk set up a government on democratic basis in Turkey by abolishing Khilafat as a system of government which served a finishing blow to Khilafat Movement in India and people had lost whatever interest that they had in the movement.
Failure of the Movement:
1. The abolition of Khilafat by Kamal Ataturk was a serious blow on Khilafat movement in the sub-continent and he exiled Sultan Abdul Majeed, a helpless Caliph and abolished Khilafat as an institution, due to this all agitational activities came to an end in the Sub-continent.
2. The Hijrat Movement made the Muslims disillusioned with the Khilafat Movement due to the declaration of India as Darul-Harab . A large number of Muslims migrated from Sindh and N.W.F.P to Afghanistan. The Afghan authorities did not allow them to cross the border. After this tragic event those who had advocated the Hijrat movement come to realize their mistake which resulted in failure of movement.
3. When Khilafat movement became mature and was reaching its climax. A tragic incident took place in the village of Chora Churi in which the police opened fire on the procession of local resident. The agitated mob in counteraction set the police station on fires which in result twenty one police constables were burnt alive. Due to this incident the Ali brother and other Muslim leader were arrested and Mr. Gandhi put off the movement. As a consequence the movement lost its intensity.
The Khilafat movement was started to safeguard the Khilafat in Turkey, an issue which essentially belonged to the Muslims. By the involvement of Hindus the Movement grew forceful and there was possibility of meeting the movement with success. The British Government was the common enemy of the Muslims and Hindus. That is why, both the nations continued united efforts against it. But the difference between the Hindus and Muslims became even more pronounced and many other events showed that the opposition of Hindus to British Government was not lasting. When Khilafat Movement reached at its success, the Hindus especially Mr. Gandhi gave up from movement and leaved the Muslims alone and caused the failure of Movement.
The Khilafat movement proved that Hindus and Muslims were two different nations as they could not continue the unity and could not live together. 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.
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GS-I: Modern History
Prelims : History of India and Indian National Movement.
Mains : Modern Indian History from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
Khilafat Movement: During the post-World War I period, there was growing resentment among Indians due to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the Rowlatt Act and the treatment given out by the British Empire to the Turkish Khalifa. These developments created the ground for a more broad-based mass movement against British rule.
In this backdrop, the Khilafat issue proved to be an opportunity for Gandhi to bring Hindus and Muslims together in fighting against the colossal colonial empire. The Khilafat Movement, together with the Non-cooperation Movement , marked the beginning of a new phase of the Indian national movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.
Background of the Khilafat Movement
The Khilafat Movement was launched against the backdrop of the socio-economic impacts of the First World War, the draconian Rowlatt Act, the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, and the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms.
- An increase in import volumes led to a decline in production and factory closures. This led to a rise in inflation.
- Peasants faced increased rents and taxes, causing alarm in the country's economic situation.
- Nationalists, disillusioned by the British failure to deliver goods and services at appropriate prices, found their anti-British attitude strengthened.
- Rowlatt Act: Fearing the potential revolutionary activities, the British came up with the Rowlatt Act of 1919, which allowed the government to imprison people even without trial.
This led to a significant political awakening and anger in India, with Gandhi opposing it through the Rowlatt Satyagraha , resulting in hartals and demonstrations.
- Despite the fact that thousands were killed, the Hunter Commission gave General Dyer almost a clean chit, which angered Indian nationalists.
- But it further disillusioned nationalists, causing a potential popular uprising against the British Government.
Reasons for the Khilafat Movement
In the years following the First World War, Indian Muslims were supportive of Indian nationalism. The primary reason for the Khilafat Movement was to exert pressure on the British government to keep the Ottoman Sultan in power as the Caliph of Islam after the Ottoman Empire collapsed at the end of the war.
- Following the war, the British dismissed the Turkish Khalifa. As a result, Muslims in India started the Khilafat movement to reestablish the Khalifa's position.
- Khalifa's rule over Muslim holy sites must be maintained.
- The Khalifa should be left with enough territories after the war when it comes to territorial adjustments.
- Anti-imperialism: It also embodied a broader anti-imperialist sentiment. Many Muslims and Hindus in India were disillusioned with British colonial rule and sought to express their discontent by aligning with the cause of the Ottoman Empire.
Course of the Khilafat Movement
In order to put pressure on the British government, to address the injustices of the Punjab wrongs and to defend Khalifa’s temporal powers, the Khilafat movement was established in 1919 under the leadership of Mohammad Ali and Shaukat Ali (commonly referred to as the Ali brothers), Abul Kalam Azad, Hasrat Mohani, and others.
- However, a militant trend within the movement soon started to emerge. A moderate approach did not satisfy the militant trend's leaders. Instead, they advocated for the start of a national movement.
- Hasrat Mohani called for a boycott of British goods during this conference.
- Shaukat Ali alerted the British in April 1920 that if they didn't succeed in appeasing the Indian Muslims, "we would start a joint Hindu-Muslim movement of non-cooperation."
- In addition, Shaukat Ali placed emphasis on the fact that Mahatma Gandhi, who is respected by both Muslims and Hindus, would serve as the movement's leader.
- Gandhi saw this as a chance to unite Hindus and Muslims in opposition to the British.
- Until May 1920, Gandhi adopted a moderate stance despite his support for the Khilafat issue and his role as the head of the All India Khilafat Committee.
- However, the publication of the terms of the “Treaty of Sevres” and the Publication of the “Hunter Committee Report” on the 'Jallianwala Bagh Massacre' in May 1920 made Indians angry and led Gandhi to openly take the Khilafat issue.
- boycott of titles conferred by the Government,
- boycott of civil services, army and police, that is, all government jobs
- non-payment of taxes to the Government.
- Despite Gandhi’s support on the Khilafat issue, the Congress was divided initially.
- Later, Congress felt that it was an excellent chance to unite Muslims and Hindus and strengthen Muslim involvement in further national movements.
- In turn, the Muslim League decided to fully support the Congress and its political agitation in full potential.
- Merger with Non-cooperation Movement: The Khilafat Movement eventually merged with Gandhi's Non-Cooperation Movement.
Significance of the Khilafat Movement
Though the Khilafat Movement was merged and subsumed under the larger movement, the Non-cooperation Movement and the issue of Khilafat itself were diluted due to the political reforms of Mustafa Kamal Pasha in Turkey. It still holds importance on a number of fronts.
- Urban Muslims were attracted to the Indian national movement.
- Hindu-Muslim unity was strengthened, and this was reflected in the extent of participation in the Non-cooperation Movement.
- Nationalist sentiments politicised every segment of the population, including women, traders, urban poor, students, peasants, artisans, and peasants.
- Congress, especially Gandhi, attracted many liberal Muslim leaders to the secular nature of the Indian freedom movement.
PYQs on Khilafat Movement
Q) Many voices had strengthened and enriched the nationalist movement during the Gandhian phase. Elaborate (UPSC Mains 2019)
FAQs on Khilafat Movement
What was the khilafat movement.
Turkey was defeated in the First World War, and the harsh terms of the Treaty of Sevres (1920) were felt by the Muslims as a great insult to them. Following the war, the British dismissed the Turkish Khalifa. As a result, Muslims in India started the Khilafat movement to reestablish the Khalifa's position.
Which nationalist leader was at the forefront of the Khilafat Movement in India?
Mahatma Gandhi led the Khilafat Movement. In addition to advocating for a larger non-cooperation movement at the same time, Mahatma Gandhi supported the Khilafat Movement as part of his opposition to the British Empire. The movement was also backed by other members of Congress.
Who founded the Khilafat Movement?
The Khilafat Movement was founded under the leadership of Mohammad Ali and Shaukat Ali (commonly referred to as the Ali brothers), Abul Kalam Azad, Hasrat Mohani, and others.
Why was the Khilafat Movement founded?
The Khilafat Movement was founded in order to put pressure on the British government, to address the injustices of the Punjab wrongs and to defend Khalifa’s temporal powers.
What was the significance of the Khilafat Movement?
Urban Muslims were drawn into the Khilafat Movement's support of the country. Nationalist sentiments politicised every segment of the population, including women, traders, the urban poor, students, peasants, artisans, and peasants.
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Khilafat Movement (1919-1924) | Importance | PDF Download
December 14, 2017 by Study Mentor Leave a Comment
From the year 1876 to 1909, Abdul Hamid II was the emperor of the Ottoman Empire. As he was a Caliph, he was supreme from the religious aspect and also was a political leader of the Sunni Muslims all over the world. During the First World War, the Ottoman Empire had advanced over the Central Powers.
Due to this the Central Powers were defeated. The territorial boundaries of the Ottoman Empire were reduced according to the Treaty of Versailles of 1919. At the same time, there was a Pro-western nationalist whose name was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
A national movement came into light under his leadership. He abandoned the Caliph’s position and instead was in support of the western powers. Soon, there was an end to the influence and power of the religious leaders of the Muslims. Thus, the Muslims were anti-British in India.
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Khilafat Movement in India
The Turkish Empire had been divided by the Allied Powers. This made the Muslims upset as they were worried what would happen to their worship places because of the act of the Allied Powers. Meanwhile in India, the two Ali brothers- Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar and Maulana Shaukat Ali created an All India Khilafat Committee in Lucknow.
They joined hands with other Muslim leaders for this formation. Those other leaders included Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, Barrister Jan Muhammad Junejo, Hasrat Mohani, Raees-ul-Muhajireen Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Dr. Hakim Ajmal Khan.
They had two demands which were: First, Jazirat-ul-arab, Arabia, Iraq, Palestine and Syria would still be under the Muslim empire. Second, the Sultan of the Caliphs must have enough territories left with him because that will help him to preserve the Islamic faith. But these two demands never got the acceptance.
After this Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar and Maulana Shaukat Ali were arrested during the war but as soon as the war was over, they were released from the jail. While in the areas of Punjab, Bengal and North-West Frontier, this movement got escalated.
Then 17 th of October, 1919 was observed as Khilafat Day. After this a strike was held when the Hindus and Muslims joined hands with each other. Later on 23 rd of November in the safe year, they organized the All India Khilafat Conference in Delhi. After this, a Khilafat Manifesto was published in order to protect the Caliphate.
At that time Gandhi was going to start his Non-Cooperation Movement . So, the leaders of Khilafat Movement, that is, the Ali brothers joined hands with INC (Indian National Congress) for the Non-Cooperation Movement which was going to start.
Khilafat Day was observed the second time on the 19 th of March, 1920. Three months later another all party conference was organized in Allahabad. Finally, the leaders of the Non-Cooperation Movement decided on the agendas of the movement.
There were three main agendas which were not paying taxes to the government, boycotting the titles given by the government and also boycotting army, police, civil service and every Government offices present.
But the Khilafat movement ended very soon. This happened because Mustafa Kemal Atatlurk abolished the Caliphate and after which the movement was not relevant anymore.
Abdulmecid II was the last Caliphate. He was expelled with his family. After being expelled, they took shelter in Istanbul. It was in Istanbul that he spent the rest half of his life looking and catching butterflies. In the year 1948, he died.
Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Khilafat Movement
It was not Mahatma Gandhi who told the Ali brothers Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar and Maulana Shaukat to start the Khilafat Movement. It was incidents like Jalianwalla Bagh which disturbed the entire country, the Ali brothers and leaders like Maulana Azad. This is how they organized Khilafat movement. This was a mass movement organized for the Muslims present in India.
Gandhi found an opportunity to make his Non-Cooperation go ahead. So, he suggested the Khilatafists that only Non-Cooperation could help them to tackle with the British government if they did not fulfill their demands. Finally, on the 17 th of April, 1920 the leaders of the Khilafat Movement adopted the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi at the Khilafat Conference which was held on the 17 th of April, 1920.
They rejected posts and titles and membership of Councils. They were also against the posts which were given under the Government and also the appointments which were given in the military and police. They supported the non-payment of taxes.
Thus, with the help of Gandhi, the Khilafat Movement helped both the communities, that is, the Hindus and the Muslims. This was a big opportunity for them as with the situation at that time would not let both the community unite not even in the next hundred years.
Gandhi supported the reason for the beginning of Khilafat movement. So, the mutuality between the Hindus and Muslims increased. He gave a direction to the movement which resulted in unity and mutual non-violent non-cooperation movement.
Hindu Muslim Unity and Khilafat Movement
The colonial rule resulted in the unity of the Hindus and the Muslims. During the period of 1919 to 1922 Congress and the Khilafat Movement was in the light. This is why their leadership and their actions overlapped.
At that time Gandhi had a thought that if they had to fight against the British and defeat them, it would be possible only if the Hindus and Muslims were together and remained united. Both the communities stood together, held strikes and demonstrations with a popular slogan- ‘Hindu-Musalman ki Jai’.
But this was only for a short period of time. After 1922, the Non-Cooperation Movement and Khilafat Movement started to have problems. This further resulted in conflicts between the two communities.
There were a few sections in the Muslim community which started paying more focus to Swaraj. This brought a fresh and new interest in the Muslim League that was lost since the year of 1918.
There were some loyal and enthusiastic khilafatists. They began to believe that only Non-Cooperation was not enough for them. They needed more help and support from the government.
There were a few Muslim leaders as well who doubted on India and its leaders that they would not be able to get freedom just through the ideas and actions of civil disobedience. Due to all these many old issues again came in the front. Thus, the unity which was present between both the communities for sometime broke which resulted in communalism.
This was a sad period due to the disintegration of the two communities. Due to this, the struggle for freedom became more difficult. Later, the British maintained its relations with the Muslim community like before and thus the community became loyal to them.
Thus, the bond of brotherhood became just a combination of interests. By now, it was understood that India was soon going to be partitioned.
Growth of Hate
Due to commissions on one another made by Government, there were mistrust among and mutual apprehensions because their motive was not significant and declared.
Eve Gandhi was not able to understand his leaders of Khilafat Movement to support their movement. Later, it was found that those leaders took the help of Mahatma Gandhi only for their benefit and so that their purpose is achieved.
Importance of Khilafat Movement
The Khilafat Movement turned out to be an important mass movement due to three reasons. First, it helped the Muslims from the urban areas to come in the national movement. It was good that the movement supported the development of the section of the community.
Second, The Muslims got a opportunity to take part in the national affairs because of the Khilafat Movement. This made them realize that the nation was concerned for them and was doing something in order to solve their problems.
Third, the movement supported anti-imperialism. So, the movement would help all to fight against imperialism which did not support democracy.
End of the Khilafat Movement
In the year 1921 during the month of September, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar and Maulana Shaukat Ali were arrested. After this there was a incident at Chauri Chaura. After this incident even he suspended the Non Cooperation Movement. Then, Gandhi was also arrested in the year 1922.
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The first world war, Khilafat and Non cooperation - Concepts - Chapter 2 Class 10 History - Nationalism in India - History
Last updated at May 29, 2023 by Teachoo
The first world war, Khilafat, and Non-Cooperation
- The war led to the creation of a new economic and political situation .
- It led to a huge increase in defense expenditure which was financed by war loans and increasing taxes.
- Custom duties were raised and income tax was introduced.
- During the war years the prices increased - doubling between 1913 and 1918.
- It led to extreme hardship for the poor people .
- Villages were called upon to supply soldiers.
- Forced recruitment of soldiers in rural areas caused widespread anger.
- In 1918-19 and 1920-21 crops failed in many parts of India, resulting in acute shortages of food .
- Country was also hit by the Influenza epidemic.
- According to the census of 1921 , 12 to 13 million people perished as a result of famines and the epidemic.
The Idea of Satyagraha
- Mahatma Gandhi returned to India in January 1915 .
- He had come from South Africa where he had successfully fought racist regime with a novel method of mass agitation , which he called Satyagraha.
- The idea of Satyagraha emphasised the power of truth and the need to search for truth.
- The idea of satyagraha suggested that if the cause was true , if the struggle was against injustice , then there is no need for physical force to be used to fight the oppressor.
- Without seeking vengeance or being aggressive , a satyagrahi could win the battle through non-violence .
- This could be done by appealing to the conscience of the oppressor.
- People - including the oppressors - had to be persuaded to see the truth, instead of being forced to accept the truth through the violence.
- By this struggle , truth was bound to ultimately triumph.
- Mahatma Gandhi believed that this dharma of non-violence could unite all Indians.
- After arriving in India, Mahatma Gandhi successfully organised satyagraha movements in various places.
- In 1917 he traveled to Champaran in Bihar to inspire the peasants to struggle against the oppressive plantation system.
- In 1917 , he organised a satyagraha to support the peasants of the Kheda district of Gujarat.
- Affected by crop failure and a plague epidemic , the peasants of Kheda could not pay the revenue , and were demanding that revenue collection be relaxed .
- In 1918 , Mahatma Gandhi went to Ahmedabad to organise a satyagraha movement amongst cotton mill workers.
The Rowlatt Act
- Gandhiji in 1919 decided to launch a nationwide satyagraha against the proposed Rowlatt Act (1919).
- This Act had been hurriedly passed through the Imperial Legislative Council despite the united opposition of the Indian members.
- It gave the government enormous powers to repress political activities , and allowed detention of political prisoners without trial for two years.
- Mahatma Gandhi wanted non-violent civil disobedience against such unjust laws , which would start with a hartal on 6 April.
- Rallies were organised in various cities.
- Workers went on strike in railway workshops , and shops closed down.
- Alarmed by the popular upsurge, and scared that the lines of communication such as railways and telegraph would be disrupted , the British administration decided to clamp down on nationalist.
- Local leaders were picked up from Amritsar, and Mahatma Gandhi was barred from entering Delhi.
- On 10 April , the police in Amritsar fired upon a peaceful procession, provoking widespread attacks on banks , post offices and railway stations.
- Martial law was imposed and General Dyer took command.
Jallianwala Bagh Incident
- On 13 April the infamous Jallianwala Bagh incident took place.
- On that day a large crowd gathered in the enclosed ground of Jallianwala Bagh .
- Some people came to protest against the government’s repressive measures and some came to attend the annual Baisakhi fair .
- Many villagers from outside the city were unaware about the imposed martial law.
- General Dyer entered the area, blocked all exit points and opened fire on the crowd, killing hundreds of people.
- His object as he declared after the incident was to ‘produce a moral effect’ , to create a feeling of terror and awe in the minds of satyagrahis.
- Crowds took to the streets in many north Indian towns as the news of Jallianwala Bagh spread.
- Strikes were organised, clashes took place with the police and government buildings were attacked.
- Government responded with brutal repression , seeking to humiliate and terrorise people.
- Satyagrahis were forced to rub their nose on the grounds, crawl on the streets, and do salaam (salute) to all sahibs .
- People were flogged and villagers (around Gujranwala in Punjab, now in Pakistan) were bombed.
- Seeing the magnitude of violence Mahatma Gandhi decided to call off the movement.
- Rowlatt satyagraha had been a widespread movement, it was still limited mostly to cities and towns .
- Mahatma Gandhi felt the need to launch a more broad-based movement in India.
- However, Mahatma Gandhi was certain that no such movement could be organised without bringing the Hindus and Muslims together .
- One way of bringing both the communities together was to take up the Khilafat issue .
- The First world wa r ended with the defeat of Ottoman Turkey .
- Rumours were spread that a harsh peace treaty was going to be imposed on the Ottoman emperor - the spiritua l head of the Islamic world (the khalifa).
- To defend the Khalifa’s temporal powers , a Khilafat Committee was formed in Bombay in March 1919.
- Muhammad Ali and Shaukat Ali began discussing with Mahatma Gandhi about the possibility of a united mass action.
- Gandhiji saw this as an opportunity to bring Muslims under the umbrella of a united national movement.
- In S eptember 1920 , at the Calcutta session of the Congress , Gandhi convinced other leaders of the need to start a non-cooperation movement in support of Khalifa as well as Swaraj.
- In Gandhiji’s famous book Hind Swaraj (1909 ) Mahatma Gandhi declared that British rule was established in India with the c ooperation of Indians, and had survived only because of this cooperation.
- If Indians would have refused to cooperate , British rule in India would have collapsed within a year, and swaraj would come.
- Gandhi proposed that movement should unfold in stages.
- The movement should begin with surrendering of titles that the government has awarded .
- Boycott of civil services , army, police , courts and legislative councils , schools and foreign goods.
- Then, in case the government used repression , a full civil disobedience campaign would be launched.
- Mahatma Gandhi and Shaukat Al i through the summer of 1920, toured extensively, mobilising popular support for the movement.
- Many within congress were reluctant to boycott the council elections scheduled for November 1920 , they feared that movement might lead to popular violence .
- Congress session at Nagpur in December 1920 , a compromise was worked out and the Non-cooperation programme was adopted.
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Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 13 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.
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