Pak Digest

Khilafat Movement: A Historical Perspective and Its Significance

An extremely significant development in India’s political history was the Khilafat movement. The Ottoman Empire possessed the Khilafat (Caliphate), which was highly regarded by Indian Muslims. The Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) joined World War I in support of Germany. However, Turkey and Germany were defeated in the conflict, and on November 3rd, 1918, the Allied Forces reached a settlement known as the Istanbul Accord. The territories of Turkey were to be split between France, Greece, and Britain in accordance with this Pact.

Background of Khilafat Movement

Due to their fervent loyalty to the caliphate, Indian Muslims found themselves in a particularly delicate situation during the battle. They have the utmost respect for this revered organization. As a result, their support for the British government was contingent on the preservation and protection of Turkey’s holy sites as well as the guarantee that Turkey would not lose its territories. However, the British government was unable to keep both of these commitments. Turkey was forced to sign the Treaty of Savers in 1920, and as a result, lands like Samarna, Thrace, and Anatolia were taken from it and divided among the nations of Europe. Muslims all around the world were furious, and the Indian Muslims came up in opposition to the British government. Muslim leaders who protested the British government’s position, including Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Moulana Muhammad Ali Johar, Moulana Shaukat Ali, and others, were imprisoned.

As a result, Muslims put together a large-scale movement that became known as the Khilafat Movement. These movements’ objectives were:

  • To safeguard Turkey’s holiest site
  • Restoring Turkish Territories
  • To revive the Ottoman Empire

Early Stages of Khilafat Movement

The Khilafat Committee and Congress met concurrently in Amritsar in December 1919, and a delegation led by Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar was organized and sent to England to meet with the British Prime Minister, Cabinet members, and Members of Parliament and to explain the Indian point of view regarding the Khilafat. In 1920, the delegation traveled to England. The delegation’s leaders spoke before the House of Commons and observed British Prime Minister Lloyd George ignoring their demands. The delegation spent eight months in London where they delivered speeches that earned the hearts and sympathies of many Britons. But in October 1920, the delegation failed to make it back to India.

New Strategy of Khilafat Movement

The leaders of the Khilafat Movement understood that the British were not willing to assist them after their fruitless visit to England. In order to revive the enthusiasm and zeal for independence among the general public, they therefore concluded that a fresh strategy was required. They made the decision to start a movement of non-cooperation with this end in mind. The Khilafat Movement received the complete backing of the Congress when its leaders launched the Non-Cooperation Movement. The two groups’ leaders met in Amritsar and decided to organize a nationwide movement under Mr. Gandhi’s direction. The protests were directed at the British government.

Tark-e-Mawalat Fatwa

A Tark-e-Mawalat Fatwa was issued by the Jamiat-ul-Ulama Hind. There were the following things in it:

  1. Giving up all titles held by the government.
  2. The boycott of the legislative and the judiciary.
  3. Student withdrawal from institutions of higher learning.
  4. Resignation from positions with the government.
  5. Widespread acts of civil disobedience.

Thousands of people returned the titles and stopped enrolling their kids in government schools and colleges as a result of the fatwa’s proclamation. All of those highly educated young men, who had the potential to advance to high government positions, bid their futures goodbye and took commonplace jobs in the private sector. Hindus gladly filled the void left in government offices, while Muslim government personnel voluntarily endured famine for the benefit of the Muslim cause.

India Declared Dar ul Harb

Muslim ulama had issued a ruling declaring India to be Dar-ul-Harab and ordering the Muslims to leave for another nation or Dar-ul-Salam under Mr. Gandhi’s hypnotism. In August 1920, many of families quickly moved for Afghanistan after selling their homes for a tenth of their value. Up to 18,000 people marched in the direction of Afghanistan, which was unable to handle the surge of people. As a result, the Afghan government shut down its borders. The people who migrated eventually had to go back to their houses. Many elderly people, women, and children lost their lives while traveling back to their homes, and those who were fortunate enough to reach their former locations alive. They discovered they were homeless and without money. In reality, they had a lot of challenges. Even the Khilafat Movement preachers were aware of this.

Boycott of Schools and Colleges

Nearly 30,000 students from various colleges and schools boycotted classes in January 1921. Moreover, a number of teachers, the majority of whom were Muslim, also offered their resignations. The Movement gained so much clout that the Government was forced to take notice of the issue. Seth Jan-Muhammad Chutani, the president of the Khilafat conference, was invited to London by the British government to discuss the matter. Under his direction, a delegation went to London to talk about Muslim sentiment, but they came back empty-handed.

Muslim-Hindu Unity Tested

The imprisonment of hundreds of Indians put an end to the Khilafat Movement. Despite their best efforts, the leaders were unable to keep the Hindu-Muslim Unity. Gandhi’s statement to end the Non-Cooperation Movement was one of the primary factors that dealt the Movement its fatal blow. Gandhi used an arson attack in February 1922 at Chora Churi as justification to end the non-cooperation movement. It had a negative impact on the Khilafat Movement, which was regarded to be a crucial component of the movement. The Khilafat Movement in India suffered its final blow when Kamal Ataturk established a democratically run government in Turkey in 1924. As a result, the movement had lost all of its supporters in India.

Two Nation Theory and Khilafat Movement

The Khilafat movement demonstrated that Muslims and Hindus were two distinct countries since they were unable to coexist peacefully. Muslims in India developed a political consciousness as a result of the Khilafat campaign, which motivated them to form another campaign for subsequent independence. They began the Pakistan Movement as a result.


To protect the Khilafat in Turkey, a matter that ultimately belonged to Muslims, the Khilafat movement was founded. Hindu engagement gave the movement more vigor and increased the likelihood of success in putting it down. Muslims and Hindus have a common enemy in the British government. Because of this, both countries kept up their joint efforts to combat it. But as the divide between Hindus and Muslims widened, numerous other incidents demonstrated the short-lived nature of Hindus’ opposition to the British government.

As we ponder the consequences of the Khilafat Movement, we uncover its intricate intricacies, its impact on interfaith connections, and its contribution to molding India’s struggle for liberty. Despite encountering obstacles and aspirations left unrealized, the movement’s heritage perseveres through the development of political awareness among Muslims and its enduring impact on India’s path to achieving autonomy.

Click here to read about Aligarh Movement.

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