Muslim Freedom Fighters Missing in the Indian History Books

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, probably the only name which comes to our minds if asked about muslims who fought for the freedom of India. Alas, the modern Indian history books/syllabus has NO space for many other brave souls who lived, fought and died to see our country, India, freedom from british rule. On the humble occasion of 70th Independence Day, my humble attempt to pay a tribute to these freedom fighters of Independent State of India, which is Bharat.

Maulana Hasrat Mohani

Inqalab Zindabad (long live revolution), two words coined by maulana which become more famous than his own identity.

Maulana Hasrat Mohani participated in the struggle for Indian Independence and was jailed for many years by British authorities. He was the first person in Indian History who demanded ‘Complete Independence’ in 1921.

Dr. Ambedkar and Maulana Hasrat Mohani (left) at Sardar Patel’s reception

Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi

If asked what is the one most mis-understood word of this century, it will certainly be Jihad. Dare I give any justifications, the stand of Fazl-e-Haq should be lot more helpful in understanding what exactly it referrs to.

Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi (1797– 20 August 1861) was one of the main figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. He was a philosopher, an author, poet, a religious scholar, but is most remembered for issuing a fatwa in favor of Jihad against the ‘English’ in 1857.

Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi died on 12 February 1861 while exiled on Andaman Island.

Silk Letter Movement (Reshmi Rumal Thereek)

Originally, the Reshmi Rumal Tehreek refers to a movement organised by the Deobandi leaders between 1913 to 1920, aimed at freeing India from the British Rule by allying with Ottom Turkey, Imperial Germany, and Afghanistan.

The plot was uncovered by Punjab CID with the capture of letters from Ubaidullah Sindhi, one of the Deobandi leaders then in Afghanistan, to Mahmud al Hasan another leaders then in persia. The letters were written in silk cloth, hence the name.

Muhammad Mian Mansoor Ansari was a another prominent figure in the Silk Letters Movement. He was one of the most active and prominent members of the faction of the Indian Freedom Movement led by Muslim clergy who were chiefly from the Islamic School of Deoband.

In 1946, the Indian National Congress requested him to return to India so the British Raj gave him the permission.

Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah Faizabadi

Best known for his role in the Rebellion of 1857, Awadh and capture of Lucknow.

British historian G.B. Malleson describes Maulvi Ahmedullah Shah of Faizabad a one of the greatest heroes of the first War of Independence (1857). The British considered him a worthy enemy and a great warrior so much so that many a British officer has praised him in flowing words. Thomas Seaton described him as a

“man of great abilities, of undaunted courage, of stern determination, and by far, the best soldier among the rebels.”

Jagannath Singh presented the head of Ahmedullah to the British District Magistrate and claimed 50,000 rupees reward. British writter Malleson describes death of maulvi as follows.

Thus died the Moulvee Ahmed Oolah Shah of Faizabad. If a patriot is a man who plots and fights for the independence, wrongfully destroyed, for his native country, then most certainly, the moulvee was a true patriot.

Yusuf Meherally

The man who gave us terms Quit India Movement and Simon Go Back!

Yusuf Meherally was an Indian freedom fighter and socialist leader. He was elected Mayor of Bombay in 1942 while he was imprisoned in Yerawada Central Prison.

Yusuf Meherally on the bed

Abdul Hafiz Mohamed Barakatullah

Abdul Hafiz Mohamed Barakatullah, known with his honorific as Maulana Barkatullah, was an Indian revolutionary. Barkatullah fought from outside India, with fiery speeches and revolutionary writings in leading newspapers, for the independence of India. He did not live to see India free.

Barkatullah was a first president of India Independence Party.

In 1988, Bhopal University was renamed Barkatullah University in his honour.

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

Famous as ‘Frontier Gandhi’, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was one of the major reasons behind the Britishers leaving India. He pioneered the famous Khudai Khidmatgar (“Servants of God”) movement in 1929 and it successfully guided it to its Destiny. After independence, he opposed the partition of India but failed.

Mohammad Ali and Shaukat Ali (Ali Brothers)

Ali brothers started a famous Khilafat Movement in 1921, with Mahatma Gandhi as it’s cheif, creating a great example of plural society and culture of India.

Ali Brothers published the urdu weekly Hamdard and the weekly Comrade. In 1919, while jailed for publishing what the British charged as seditious materials and organizing protests. Shaukat Ali was re-arrested and imprisoned from 1921 to 1923 for his support to Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress during the Non-Cooperation Movement (1919–1922). His fans accorded him and his brother the title of Maulana.

If asked about sum total of muslims who fought war of independence, the brave-hearts mentioned above will only make a fraction of it. Utterly shameful that they don’t even get a mention, ones also because of whom we celebrate a day like today, 15th August, the Independence day of India.

Jai hind.