From Pan-Islamism to Muslim Nationalism: Indian Muslim Response to Turkish War of Liberation
Paper presented at conference on Turkish War of Liberation, National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad
May 12-13, 2005
While Mustafa Kemal Pasha was struggling against the European attempt to demolish the Ottoman Empire, Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent launched a mass protest movement against the British known as the Khilafat Movement. The Movement was an expression of Indian Muslims’ sentimental attachment to Ottoman Caliphate, which they viewed as the last vestige of Islamic unity and power. The Khilafat Movement was led primarily by Muslims leaders, but later joined by Mahatma Gandhi as well. It included mass rallies and arrests, media campaign, non-cooperation tactics and migration abroad. The Movement gave a boost to the Turkish nationalist struggle and might have influenced British diplomacy at the Lausanne Conference. The Khilafat Movement lost its momentum as soon as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk abolished, but its relevance continued in Indian Muslim politics. The Khilafat Movement mobilized Indian Muslims for mass politics and in so doing contributed to the growth of Muslim nationalism that finally created Pakistan in 1947 under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

This paper begins by placing the Khilafat Movement (1919-24) in historical context and then describes main developments marking its evolution in response to the Turkish nationalist struggle for liberation. These include Khilafat leaders’ successive moves to pressure the British authorities in India through countrywide non-cooperation bid, en masse Muslim migration to Afghanistan, advocacy campaign in London and other European capitals, and engagement with Turkish nationalist leaders. Subsequent discussion covers the dilemma Khilafat leaders faced when the Turkish nationalist leadership itself put an end to the Caliphate, and how they tried to come to terms with this unexpected development. The study concludes by pointing out how a movement rooted in pan-Islamism to preserve the Ottoman Caliphate ended up complementing the already en vogue process of Muslim nationalism in India, thereby playing an important role in the creation of Pakistan.

Only excerpts of this paper are available, as it is in the publishing stage.