When the First World War broke out, Indian people and Indian resources were used for fighting the war. Indian soldiers were sent to fight in far off lands. British imperialism was inimical to the Turkish Empire which was ruled by the Caliph (khalifa). The defence of the Caliphate (Khilafat) became an important question for Muslims in many countries along with India.

Peasants during this period helped to prepare the ground for a mass movement. Tilak was released in 1914 and in 1916; he formed the Home Rule League. Annie Besant also formed Home Rule League. In 1916 at the Lucknow session of the Congress, the ‘moderates’, the extremists and the Muslim League were united. Many moderate leaders like Moti Lal Nehru and C.R. Das came in support of Home Rule League.