Brief Notes on the The Khilafat Movement (India)


While the whole of India was outraged at the Jallianawala Bagh Tragedy, the Muslim community was seething with discontentment against the British policy towards the sultan of Turkey, who was also the Khalifa. While Turkey was against the Allies in the First World War, the British Prime Minister Lloyd George has assured the Indian Muslims that Turkey would be treated fairly after the war. But in October 1918, Turkey was forced to sign the armistice terms, which aimed at dissolving the Turkish Empire. The Indian Muslims got disillusioned at the treatment meted out to the Khalifa.

Gandhi perceived in the emerging situation an opportunity to cement the bonds of Hindu-Muslim unity. He urged the Hindus to give full support to the movement which the Muslims were planning to lauch and in return win the sympathy of Muslims for the national movement. The AN brothers who had gone to England to plead the Khilafat cause returned empty handed and began to take a leading part in the Khilafat movement on 24 November, 1919 an All India congress committee met in Delhi under Gandhi’s Chairmanship and resolved to withdraw all cooperation with the government until the promises made to the Sultan were redressed. In May 1920, the terms of the peace treaty with Turkey were published.

Under its terms the Sultan was deprived of all his territories in Europe and Asia. Turkey lost the whole of Thrace to Greece and the richest area of Asia Minor was divided between France and England in the guise of Mandates. Thus the Holy places of Islam passed into non-Muslim hands. This infuriated the Indian Muslims who launched a strong movement in support of the Khalifa, the Head of the Islamic world. Gandhi’s proposal of starting a non cooperation movement was readily accepted by the Khilafat committee.


The Hunter committee report which white washed the whole crime and exonerated the culprits of Jallianawala BaghTragedy provoked the congress. The Lt. Governor Michael O’ Dwyer was allowed to go scotfree. General Dyer was simply declared unfit for service in future. But in the House of Lords Dyer was praised as a champion of the British Empire, and was awarded for his services to the nation. Gandhi lost all faith in the British sense of justice and liberalism and decided to lauch a non-cooperation Movement. The Khilafat committee started the non-cooperation movement on 31 August 1920. The demands of the Khilafat committee and the congress were merged and Gandhi was asked to lead the movement.

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