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Khaksar Movement Weekly “Al-Islah’s” Role Toward Freedom By Nasim Yousaf
In-depth study and analysis of the Khaksar Tehrik’s (Khaksar Movement) weekly paper Al-Islah (started in 1934) is imperative from the perspective of British India’s independence — the emergence of Pakistan and India in 1947. It is not conceivable to record a balanced and uncontaminated account of the freedom movement of the Indian sub-continent without examining the role of Al-Islah in the 1930s and 1940s.
This paper, Khaksar Movement Weekly “Al-Islah’s” Role Toward Freedom, discusses the paramount and pre-eminent role that the said weekly (newspaper) played in spreading the Khaksar Movement’s ideology, the goal of which was to inculcate character and discipline amongst the masses and ultimately lead to freedom of India from the British. Al-Islah indeed served to spread the Movement, which rose to become a Private Army (as referred to by Lord Linlithgow, Viceroy of India) of 5 million, and generated following in other countries. In addition, the Al-Islah inspired others who copied the Khaksars and formed similar organizations. The weekly also helped to achieve Allama Mashriqi’s (founder of the Khaksar Tehrik) mission of instilling unity, strict discipline, equality, and self-less community service (regardless of religion) amongst millions of Khaksars.
The spread of the Khaksar Movement in British India and other countries and the emergence of analogous organizations provide clear evidence that Al-Islah’s motivational, instigating, and morale-raising contents brought about an awakening amongst the people of pre-partition India. The Government of British India was alarmed and banned the Al-Islah. Yet they could neither suppress the Khaksar Movement nor the spirit of freedom which Al-Islah had infused throughout the nation.
This piece argues that the British would not even have spoken to Indian leaders or thought of transferring power, and the emergence of Pakistan and India could not have been envisioned, unless the rulers understood the grave threat posed to their rule by this awakening brought on by Al-Islah and the Khaksar Movement.
“World History Encyclopedia” (USA) includes scholar and historian Nasim Yousaf’s articles on Allama Mashriqi and the Khaksar Movement (Khaksar Tehrik). The 21 volume encyclopedia is published by globally renowned publisher ABC-CLIO (California, USA). Publisher's web site: http://www.abc-clio.com/product.aspx?id=2147489185
India’s Partition in the Face of Opposition: An Unveiled Perspective
The partition of British India has come to be viewed as inevitable. It is widely believed today that there was no other practical option for the nation of Muslims and Hindus, but to divide the country. Over time, this view has been endorsed by many writers, including those in the West, and indeed become virtually synonymous with a universal truth.
A closer re-examination of the facts, however, reveals a complex picture of the partition episode. While the two-nation theory certainly had its share of supporters, what seems to have been overlooked by many is that there was a tremendous amount of opposition to the division of India. Moreover, evidence substantiates that there was an intriguing alliance which was one of the key forces that ultimately led to partition.
As the traditional view on British India’s partition has been explored at length, this article examines the latter elements, analyzing the opposing view — with a focus on Allama Mashriqi as a case study — as well as some of the reasons behind the division of the nation in the face of such opposition.
Note on Academic Significance
This piece challenges the traditionally held belief that the partition of British India was inevitable and exposes a complex picture of the partition episode. It presents the idea that there was in fact much resistance to dividing India and uncovers this perspective through the lens of Allama Mashriqi and his Khaksar Movement. Further, it analyzes the reasons behind division in the face of such opposition and substantiates that an intriguing alliance was one of the key forces which ultimately led to partition.
The significance of this article is multifold. It discloses facts surrounding the partition episode that are largely unknown to the general public as well as academics both in the East and West. In doing so, it brings to light a new dimension previously hidden from existing literature and debate. The aim of this is to educate those with an interest in South Asian affairs, including the public, academics, politicians, and so on. It is also to better inform and fill gaps in India and Pakistan’s historical records, in the effort that going forward a more comprehensive picture of the region’s history, beyond the conventional stance, will be portrayed in classrooms, publications, and speeches.
A key intention of this piece is to incite thought-provoking debate, not only to educate on crucial aspects of the past but, importantly, to offer lessons learned for the future. Though the analysis presented may generate controversy, it is important to understand that the purpose is not to disparage, but rather to share results of research that offer a previously unexplored perspective on the partition episode. It is commonly understood that progress often results from examination and inquiry of the past. Such an approach applied to India and Pakistan’s case can perhaps assist in securing advances in cross-border relations as well as internal development ― thereby improving the future outlook of the region. To order Harvard Asia Quarterly (Spring 2009, Vol XII, No. 2), send payment to:
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