First World WarDuring the First World War , the British had wrested large areas in the Middle East from the Ottomans , including the region now known as Saudi Arabia , Iraq , Plalestine and Lebanon. The main fear of Indian Muslims at the end of the war was the fate of the caliphate held by the Ottoman sultan. The Allies hoped to destroy the Ottoman empire by encouraging Turkey to become a nation rather than an empire. During the war , the Muslims in India could not openly declare their allegiance to another monarch but could , and did, claim a religious obligation to follow the orders of the caliph. This had created a problem for the British as they needed Muslim troops to fight in the war against the Ottomans but could not be sure of the dedication of these troops. To ensure the loyalty of Muslim troops, the British had promised during the war that the status of the caliph would be respected . After the war ended, however reports from Europe indicated that the British and French wanted to punish the Turks for their support of the Germans and wished to end the position of the caliph.
Significance and Leadership
Khilafat Conferences and Congress
The Second Khalifa Conference
Khilafat DeputationIn January 1920, a Khilafat deputation of 35 people called on the viceroy. It included the Ali brothers, Jinnah, Gandhi and Abul Kalam Azad. The viceroy was unable to give the delegation any reassurances as to the eventual fate of the khilafat.
Delegation to TurkeyIn February 1920, a delegation was sent to Europe to try to convince the western powers that Turkey should not be treated harshly as it had great symbolic importance for all muslims. The delegation was headed by Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar and included and included Maulana Azad, Syed Sulaiman Nadvi and Syed Hussain. In spite of various meetings and speeches during their stay in Europe, the mission ended in failure. While the delegation was still in Europe, the terms of peace for Turkey were announced. These included the independence of all Arab territory, with various parts in the Mediterranean divided between Britain and France.
APC in June 1920The British prime minister, Lloyd George, felt that if Germany and Austria had been severly punished after the war, Turkey had ni right to escape. The Khilafat delegation sent a message to the Ottoman Sultan in May 1920 urging the Turks to refuse the terms of the treaty and fight on. On 2 June 1920, the All Parties Conference met at Allahabad to discuss the response to the terms imposed, and they decided that a non-cooperation movement should be launched.
Tehrik-i Hijrat or Migration movement
Failure of Tehrik-i HijratThe movement ended in the failure as the journey was difficult and dangerous. Once the refugees had reached Afghanistan, further problems awaited the migrants as the Afghan government was hostile to them. Those who eventually returned found their homes and jobes occupied. The senior figures og Muslim League did not approve of the proposed hijrat and had encouraged Muslims to stay and fight for their cause.
Final Khilafat Conference in July 1921There was a third anf final Khilafat Conference in July 1921. Muslims were instructed not to attend schools and colleges, work in the police and army or to cooperate in any way with the British. Soon after this conference, the main leaders of the movement were arrested .
Imprisonment of M.A JauharMaulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar appeared as the main defendant and was sentenced to two years imprisonment on sedition charges. His statement in his defence made him even more popular with the muslims, although it infuriated the British. He simply stated that " He considered his action in accordance with Islamic principles and that Islamic injunction were superior to British law as far as the muslims were concerned." Abrupt end of Khilafat Movement The Khilafat movement was eventually brought to an abrupt end in the most unexpected and distressing way for the muslims in Inida. In Marc 1924, anew Turkish Government, under Kemal Attaturk, took control of Turkey and abolished the institutions of the caliphate. There was obviously no point in continuing a movement which had been destroyed by the Turks themselves but it was still a devastating blow for million of muslims. This new development was also the final blow to the Hindu Muslim unity.
Final blow to Hindu-Muslim unity
Lessons learnt by Muslims from Khilafat MovementThe lessons which the Muslims learnt from this episode, however, were not wasted as the Khilafat Movement taught them
- How to effectively organize themselves politically. For many Muslims it was their first experience of politics and it showed them how it was possible to mobilize the community for a cause.
- The Muslim League took charge of the Khilafat Movement as the major muslim political body and it was now fully aware that the neither the Hindus nor the British could be relied upon for the protection of muslim rights.
- The Muslims now neede time for consolidation and an agenda to protect their interests, as they were under attack from all sides.
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