Sunday, July 14, 2024

The True Nature of the Khilafat Movement

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Contrary to popular narratives, the true nature of the khilafat movement was never nationalist, let’s understand its nature

The left wing historians of India painted the Khilafat movement of 1919-1920 in glorious light.

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It was seen to be a part of the non-cooperation movement and was given nationalist colours, firmly in India’s interests.

It was regarded that notwithstanding the outrightly religious nature of the movement, it had furthered the goal of India’s Independence demand.

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At least the ‘Mahatma’ or father of the Indian nation and his acolytes thought so and forwarded that agenda into the psyche of every Indian in our country.

But, let’s very clear about this- the Khilafat movement never was what was taught in our history books.

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Background of the Movement

Background of any important or controversial event is necessary to know.

After the death of Prophet Muhammed in 632 AD, the mantle of political and eccelesiastical power went to the caliph or khalifa.

The first caliph in Islam was Abu Bakr, there have been four caliphates in Islamic history-Rashidun, Ummayad, Abbasid and Ottoman Caliphate.

The last one is interesting, because the Ottoman was an empire first, but under Selim the Grim or Selim the Resolute, the Turks captured a huge chunk of area in the Middle East and Levant in an expansionist campaign stretching 1508-1513.

It was the capture of Arabia that brought the holiest sites in Islam under the control of the Ottomans and hence the Ottoman caliphate.

The Ottoman Sultan, was, henceforth, seen as the religious head of all Muslims of the world.

The Movement

In the First World War, Turkey fought joined the Axis side and fought against the allies.

However, to Turkey’s ‘misfortune’, the Allies won and they became hell bent on ‘revenge’.

The Result?

The Treaty of Sevres (1920) which imposed harsh terms of Turkey in terms of territorial ceding, restriction of the armed forces etc.

One of the terms in the Treaty deprived the Turkish Sultan of his control over the sites in Arabia, this was seen as a threat to Muslims globally.

As a result, a global movement to restore the politico-religious authority of the Turkish Sultan ensued.

The Actual Truth About the Khilafat Movement

The Khilafat movement was orchestrated by the Ali Brothers-Maulana Muhammed Ali and Shaukat Ali, Hasrat Mohani and Abul Kalam Azad.

But, Gandhiji’s insistence on merging it with the non-cooperation movement proved to be a Himalayan blunder.

The movement was an out and out Islamist movement.

J Sai Deepak in India Bharat and Pakistan-The Constitutional Journey of a Sandwiched Civilization that the Khilafat movement was never anchored in India’s civilizational ethos.

It was an anti-Hindu, anti-Indian movement that was simply concerned with partisan Islamist interests.

It was never meant to win India’s independence, it’s goal was to safeguard and restore the position of the Turkish caliph.

Even the first Education minister of India, the ‘great’ Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a Wahabbi.


It is time that the truth about this Islamist movement be brought to the fore and the people of the country know the truth about this anti-Indian anti-Hindu movement.

Hence, the true nature of the Khilafat Movement must be known to every Indian.

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