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Mohammad Ali Jauhar: A Social Reformer or a Radical Islamist who wanted an Islamic Caliphate in India?


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A few days back, the Uttar Pradesh government has reclaimed 170 acres of land of Mohammad Ali Jauhar University, which was run by a trust headed by Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan. This development came after the Allahabad High Court dismissed a plea against proceedings initiated by the Uttar Pradesh government to take over the university land for non-adherence to certain conditions on which it was granted to a trust in 2005.

Picture Credit – Indcareer

UP Government’s local revenue Officers recently went to the university and completed the pending formalities of reclaiming the 170 acres of land. Well, the objective of this article is not this news, but Mohammad Ali Jauhar, who is known as the inspiration behind this university.

Mohammad Ali Jauhar – Public perception

Muhammad Ali Jauhar was born in December 1878 in Rampur. His father’s name was Mohammad Abdul Ali Khan, who unfortunately died when Muhammad was only two and half years old. His mother Abadi Bano Begum raised him and did not let her children feel deprived in any sense of the word.

He studied at Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College, Aligarh established by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. MAO, which later became the Aligarh Muslim University. He completed his graduation (B.A.) in 1896 and then went to England for further studies. He took admission to the prestigious Lincoln College of Oxford University and completed graduation in history.

On return from England, he worked in Rampur as Chief Education Officer and later joined “the service of the Gaekwad of Baroda”, doing at the same time deep study of literature and philosophy. By the end of 1910, he quit his Baroda job and took up journalism as a career. He wrote on contemporary issues in The Times of India, Bombay. He went to Calcutta, then the country’s capital, from where he brought out the Comrade. The first issue of the Comrade weekly was published in 1911. Within a year, the Comrade became popular because of its language and style.

Jauhar too shifted to Delhi in December 1912. In 1913 he published Urdu daily, Hamdard. After 40 hours of continuous work he wrote an article in support of the Turks in response to an article published London Times. The famous article, “Choice of the Turks”, was published in Comrade and its Urdu translation was simultaneously carried out in Hamdard which was not liked by the British government.

British government took action and copies of his papers were seized, and on 15 May 1915, Mohammad Ali was interned. He was imprisoned on the charge of sedition, and he lived under arrest in different places and finally released in 1919 at the end of World War I.

Mohammad Ali Jauhar – What actually he was

Now we will talk about some aspects, which most people are unaware of. Very few people know that Mohammed Ali was indeed a founding member of Muslim League, and he had attended the founding meeting of the All India Muslim League in Dhaka in 1906, and served as its president in 1918. He remained active in the League till 1928. It is the same Muslim League which orchestrated the partition of India.

He went to England in 1919 as a part of a Muslim delegation to convince the British government to influence the Turkish nationalist Mustafa Kemal not to depose the Sultan of Turkey, who was the Caliph of Islam. British rejected his demand, then he formed the Khilafat committee which directed Muslims all over India to protest and boycott the government and support the Caliphate movement.

Picture Credit – Slideshare

Later he became a Maulana, and in 1921 he formed a coalition with Muslim leaders like Maulana Azad, Maulana Shaukat Ali, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari and Mahatma Gandhi, who enlisted the support of the Indian National Congress and many thousands of Hindus, who joined the Muslims in a demonstration of unity.

Ali supported Gandhi’s call for a national civil resistance movement, and inspired many hundreds of protests and strikes all over India. He was elected as President of Indian National Congress in 1923, however, later he was disillusioned by the failure of the Khilafat movement and Gandhi’s suspension of civil disobedience in 1922, owing to the Chauri Chaura incident.

Mohammad Ali was against Nehru Report’s, which rejected the idea of separate electorates for Muslims, and instead supported the Fourteen Points of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League, which became the foundation of division of India. He later became a critic of Gandhi, and broke relations with Maulana Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan and Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, who continued to support Gandhi and the Indian National Congress.

Mohammad Ali once said that “Even the most degraded Muhammadan was better than Mahatma Gandhi.

Ali attended the Round Table Conference and portrayed that only Muslim League had the rights to spoke on behalf of India’s Muslims. He died soon after the conference in London, on January 4, 1931 and was buried in Jerusalem according to his own wish.

He is considered as the seed-sower of Jamia Milia Islamia University of Delhi. famous muslim writer Ghulam Haider once aid that it was Jauhar who was fuelling the spark which had generated the restlessness at MAO College in Aligarh, and foundation of Jamia Milia Islamia was an outcome of his efforts. We know what kind of activities happen in Jamia and what kind of mindset the students and teachers have about India.

Picture Credit – Firstpost

Jamia Milia Islamia was established on 29 October, 1920 and a Foundation Committee decided to made Hakim Ajmal Khan as its first Chancellor, but it was refused by Allama Iqbal, then Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar was made its first Vice Chancellor, and this university is known for producing radical islamist since then.

Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar is remembered as a fiery leader by not only many Indian Muslims, but he is celebrated as a hero by even the Muslims of Pakistan, who claim he inspired the Pakistan movement. Though Ali died before Indian independence and partition, but the way he was supporting Jinnah and quite vocal about Islamic rule (caliphate), there is no doubt he would have supported the idea of a separate nation for Muslims.


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