Research & Review: “History of Khaksar Movement in India”
Thoroughly research and written by Prof. Amalendu De.
While in Government service Allama Inayatullah Khan AL-Mashriqi carefully observed and studied the post-war world situation of India and of the Muslim world. However, he did not take any part in the Indian Nationalist and Khilafat movements nor in the Hijrat movement growing out of the latter. At the same time he was not willing to help the British to oppose them.’ The dismemberment of the Turkish Empire after the First World War caused great disappointment and agitation in the Muslim World. Analysing the psychological make-up of the Indian Muslims M. Mujeeb observes that during the period 1875 to 1912-13 there was “an upsurge of Islamic and Pan-Islamic Sentiment”. This was clearly revealed in the form of a protest against the injustice of the Treaty of Sevres to Turkey, the leading Muslim power. Early in 1920 the Indian Muslims started a vigorous agitation in India for the restoration of the position of the Kha4fah. The Congress, under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi, supported the Khilafat movement.
In May 1920, the All India Khilafat Committee adopted Gandhiji’s non-cooperation programme. By that time the Muslim theologians extended their support to the anti-British movement. In September 1920, the Congress adopted the non-cooperation plan in which the two objectives namely Swaraj or self government for India and the Khilafat demands, were clearly mentioned. Thus “nationalism and khilafatism were now organically related, as the avowed twin objects of the entire country It gathered such a momentum that even the Muslim League gladly joined the movement.
One important episode developing out of the main Khilafat agitation was the Hijrat movement. The sponsors of it called upon the Indian Muslims to leave this country which has become Dar-ul or land of enemy and to migrate to Darul-Islam or land of Islam. They selected Afghanistan for this purpose. It was seriously taken up when “Maulana Abdul Ban issued a fatwa recommending such h It was suggested that the Muslims might escape from the ‘Satanic’ British Government by emigrating to Afghanistan.
Accordingly a Hijrat Committee was set up in Peshawar and all facilities were given to Muhajirin (those who performed h (migration) by this Committee. The mullahs in their fatwa stated: ‘Any man does not go on hijrat will have to divorce his wife”. The Muhajirin were told that the Afghan King Amanullah Khan was waiting to welcome them in his country. He wanted to give them land, employment and a share in trade. King Amanullah had formed an idea that those who would perform hijrat would include many an intelligent Muslim who would prove serviceable to Afghanistan. Naturally, this propaganda had a great appeal to the poverty-stricken peasants. Very soon the movement had spread to Sind and N.W.F.P Thus a mass migration of Muslims from India to Afghanistan started. A large number of women also joined their husbands. It was officially calculated that in August 1920, 18,000 Muslims moved to Kabul after selling their lands, homes and shops. According to estimates made by different other observers between 5,00,000 and 2,000,000 people went on h rat to Afghanistan.
As an eye-witness Inayatullah Khan gave a vivid description of the h to Kabul in his book Isharat. He wrote that during the Khilafat movement some Muslims who were quite ignorant of consequences gave a call that India has become Dar They had no idea that the disputes of a Dar-ul-harb and a Dar-ul-Islam only suited strong and armed nations But these people were pressing that India is a Dar-ul-harb and as the Muslims are helpless here it is compulsory for them by the religious point of view to migrate to Afghanistan from India. A mad man is likely to raise a hue and cry at the slightest hit. So, there was an insane craze for the hijrat among the Indian Muslims from one corner to another and the result was that within a few months one lakh Muslims, men, women and children — gathered in Peshawar. In a moment thousands of Muslims had sold their properties—movable and immovable—at a very small price. Inayatullah wrote:
I have personal knowledge that a buffalo had been sold at Rs. 2/- and a jarib of land at Rs. 5/- only. It was a pathetic scene that the people were lying down on the bullock carts under the sheds made by Khatias (cots) in the intensely hot months of June and July. The Muslim emigrants, pardanashin women, young girls, small children, cows, hens, etc, all were huddled together. It was a shocking and tearful scene. Caravans of bullock- carts were moving daily and everywhere was heard Allaho Akbar’ solgan
Inayatullah bitterly criticised “the cruel and short-sighted leaders” who were completely ignorant of these consequences. Mentioning the sad plight of Muhajirin he requested a great leader of the h “Please come to your senses”. He also asked him “On whose order and on whose certificate are you pushing these people to cross the Khyber?” Inayatullah exhorted him to go to Kabul, arrange and settle everything before he sent them to Afghanistan. He advised him to “work systematically like God”. He also stated that the emigrants “should have the royal order from Kabul as well as the entry-permit. Only the sincere and useful people should go but the miscreants and spies never.” At that time in the streets of Peshawar children used to sing “Oh Muslims, let us go to Kabul as the Amir of Kabul is calling us.” Quoting this song Inayatullah said that this was not a sufficient guarantee for the safety of the emigrants.
Because the ways from the Khyber to Kabul and from Kabul’ to its Government are inhospitable and difficult. He lamented that there were thousands of old men, women and children in this march “but no one listened to me”. Quoting the Quranic verses on hijrat they told him that “Our duty is to feed and lead them’ upto the Khyber. What will happen afterwards is in the hands of God”. Inayatullah was very much surprised to hear it from the leaders of the movement and commented:“Oh God, what a great misunderstanding they have about y and what kind of joke they are playing with the Quran.” Anyway, the Muhajirin showed great courage and sacrificed much in the hijrat movement. Inayatullah wrote that the streets of Khyber became studded with heaps of corpses. And yet, without stopping even at Kabul, they proceeded on and on till they reached Caucasia and Angora (Ankara)
Thus this movement complicated the socio-political atmosphere of North-Western regions of India. Just in the beginning the British Government was bent on halting this h and sought Inayatullah’s help in this regard. In expectation of help from him they even promised to honour him with a knighthood. Convinced though he was that the unorganized Muslim community would profit little by the movement, Inayatullah did not think it desirable that he should interfere with their activities and declined the proferred knighthood. This drew on him the wrath of the British Government and for this, Dr. Islam wrote, he was demoted to the post of Head Master. Anyway, the British Government at a later period changed their policy on h They encouraged the people to go in large numbers. They wanted to serve two purposes by it: to overburden the Afghan Government with the emigrants and to “get rid of political workers from India”. They also sent spies with the emigrants. It was reported that King Amanullah was agreeable “to give the emigrants cultivable land, employment and a share in trade”. But the spies misled him by reporting that the Muhajirin had come to Afghanistan to wage a holy war against the British and not really for work. The Afghan king replied that he had no power to wage war against the British. He was, of course, willing to help them because “the British are like a black cobra” that did not allow him to rest in peace.
Nevertheless, the Afghan king was “inspired more by national than by Pan-Islamic sentiment” and after some time he forbade the admission of emigrants to his country; as this mass migration of Muslims turned out to be an embarrassing problem to him. They were not merely discouraged but also driven out from “that unproductive country by its officials”. In bitter disappointment they retraced homeward with great loss and suffering. Thus the hijrat movement ended in total failure.