Essay on Khilafat Movement

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During the First World War, Turkey joined the central powers against Britain. The symapathy of Indian Muslims, who regarded the Sultan of Turkey as their spiritual leader or Khalifa, was naturally with Turkey. After the war with defeat of Turkey, the Allied powers removed the Khalifa from power in Turkey which aggrieved the Indian Muslims against the British Government.

Hence the Muslims started the Khilafat movement in India for the resumption of Khalifa’s position. A Khilafat Committee was formed under the leadership of Mahammad Ali, Shaukat Ali, Maulana Azad and Hasrat Mohini to organise a country-wide agitation.

The main object of Khilafat Movement was to force the British Government to change its attitude towards Turkey and to restore the Sultan. October 17, 1919 was observed as Khilafat Day, when the Hindus alongwith Muslims in fasting observed hartal on that day. An All India Khilafat Conference was held at Delhi on November 23, 1919 with Gandhi as its president.

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The Conference resolved to withdraw all cooperation from the Government, if the Khalifat demands were not met. Congress leaders, like Lokamanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi, viewed the Khalifat Movement as an opportunity to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity against British. A joint Hindu-Muslim deputation met the Viceroy on the Khalifat issue, but it failed to yeild any result. The central Khalifat Commettee met at Allahabad from 1st to 3rd June, 1920 which was attended by a number of congress leaders.

In this meeting a programme of Non-Cooperation towards the Government was declared. It was to include boycott of titles, can oferred by the Government, boycott of civil services, army and police and non-payment of taxes to the Government. Gandhi insisted that unless the Punjab and Khilafat wrongs were undone, there was to be non-cooperation with the Government.

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