Mohammad Ali Jouhar

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Not to be confused with Muhammad Ali (writer), also known as Maulana Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali Jauhar
Born 10 December 1878[1]
Rampur,[1] Rampur State, British India, now Uttar Pradesh, India
Died 4 January 1931 (aged 52)[1]
Jerusalem, Palestine[2]
Occupation Journalist, Scholar, Political activist
Known for Khilafat movement, Pakistan movement
Parent(s) father-Abdul-Ali Khan
mother-Abadi Begum
(affectionately known as Bi Amman) (1852- 13 November 1924)[3]

Muhammad Ali Jauhar (10 December 1878 – 4 January 1931), also known as Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar (Arabic: مَولانا مُحمّد علی جَوہر), was an Indian Muslim leader, activist, scholar, journalist and a poet, and was among the leading figures of the Khilafat Movement. He played a very important role during the Non co-operation movement against the British government and the Khilafat movement.[2]

Mohammad Ali Jauhar was a product of the Aligarh Movement and a principal figure in the historical processes that resulted in the emergence of Pakistan.[4]

He was elected to become the President of Indian National Congress party in 1923 and it lasted only for a few months. He was also one of the founders and presidents of the All-India Muslim League.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Mohammad Ali was born in 1878 in Rampur, India.[1] His father, Abdul Ali Khan, died when he was five years old.[3] He was the brother of Shaukat Ali (politician) and Zulfiqar Ali. "His mother Abadi Begum, affectionately known as Bi Amma, inspired her sons to take up the mantle of the struggle for freedom from Colonial rule. To this end, she was adamant that her sons were properly educated."[3]

Despite the early death of his father, Jouhar attended the Darul Uloom Deoband, Aligarh Muslim University and, in 1898, Lincoln College, Oxford, studying modern history.[5]

Upon his return to India, he served as education director for the Rampur state, and later joined the Baroda civil service. He became a writer and an orator of the first magnitude and a farsighted political leader, writing articles in major British and Indian newspapers like The Times, London, The Manchester Guardian and The Observer.[5] He launched the English weekly The Comrade in 1911 in Calcutta. 'The Comrade' quickly gained circulation and influence. He moved to Delhi in 1912 and there he launched an Urdu-language daily newspaper 'Hamdard' in 1913.[2]

Jouhar worked hard to expand the Aligarh Muslim University, then known as the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College, and was one of the co-founders of the Jamia Millia Islamia in 1920, which was later moved to Delhi.[6]

Khilafat movement and political activities[edit]

Jouhar had attended the founding meeting of the All India Muslim League in Dhaka in 1906, and served as its president in 1918. He remained active in the League till 1928. Mohammad Ali Jouhar "had the unique distinction of having directed the affairs of the three most important political parties in the country- The Indian National Congress, the All India Muslim League and the Khilafat movement."[1]

He represented the Muslim delegation that travelled to England in 1919 to convince the British government to influence the Turkish nationalist Mustafa Kemal not to depose the Sultan of Turkey, who was the Caliph of Islam and the presumed leader of all Islamic nations of that time. British government's rejection of their demands resulted in the formation of the Khilafat committee which directed Muslims all over India to protest and boycott the British government.

Now accorded the respectful title of Maulana, Ali formed, in 1921, a broad coalition with Muslim nationalists like Shaukat Ali (politician), Maulana Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari and Indian nationalist leader Mahatma Gandhi, who then enlisted the support of the Indian National Congress and many thousands of Hindus, who joined the Muslims in a demonstration of unity against the British government. Jouhar also wholeheartedly supported Gandhi's call for a national civil resistance movement, and inspired many hundreds of protests and strikes all over India. He was arrested by British authorities and imprisoned for two years for what was termed as a seditious speech at the meeting of the Khilafat Conference.

Alienation from Congress[edit]

Jouhar was, however, disillusioned by the failure of the Khilafat movement and Gandhi's suspension of 'non-cooperation movement' in 1922, owing to the Chauri Chaura incident. In this incident, on 4 Feb 1922, when a large group of protesters, participating in Gandhi's Non-cooperation movement clashed with police, who opened fire and killed 3 protesters. In retaliation, the demonstrators attacked and set fire to a police station, killing 23 policemen. The Indian National Congress suspended the non-cooperation movement on the national level as a direct result of this incident.[7]

"Speaking increasingly of Muslim fears and Muslim rights, Mohammad Ali felt that Hindu communalism was gaining ground in Congress. He, therefore, shared the dominant Muslim feeling that Swaraj (independence) would be a Hindu prize and Muslims would need to battle for their rightful share of the spoils of self-government."[1]

He restarted his daily Hamdard, and left the Congress Party. He opposed the Nehru Report, which was a document proposing constitutional reforms and a dominion status of an independent nation within the British Empire, written by a committee of Hindu and Muslim members of the Congress Party headed by President Motilal Nehru. It was a major protest against the Simon Commission which had arrived in India to propose reforms but containing no local Indian nor making any effort to listen to the Indians' voices and aspirations. Mohammad Ali was put in jail. So All Parties Conference on Nehru report was represented by Shaukat Ali, Begum Mohammad Ali and 30 other members of the Central Khilafat Committee which included Abdul Majid Daryabadi, Azad Subhani, Maghfoor Ahmad Ajazi, Abul Mohasin Mohammad Sajjad and others. Mohammad Ali opposed the part of the Nehru Report's 'rejection' of separate electorates for Muslims, and supported[citation needed] the Fourteen Points of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League. He became a critic of Gandhi, breaking with fellow Muslim leaders like Maulana Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan and Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, who continued to support Gandhi and the Indian National Congress.

Jailed in Karachi[edit]

In 1921, British government established a court in Khaliqdina Hall in Karachi and punished him with two and half years imprisonment in Karachi central jail. Besides this jail sentence, he had served many and frequent jail sentences due to his anti-government activities.[3]

1930 Round Table Conference in London[edit]

"Ultimately Mohammadad Ali's frequent jail sentences, his diabetes and lack of proper nutrition while jailed, made him very sick. Despite his failing health, he wanted to attend the first Round Table Conference held in London in 1930."[3] Ali attended the 'Conference' in London, (The chairman being Sir Agha Khan of the Muslim delegation) to show that only the Muslim League spoke for India's Muslims. Reportedly his words to the British government were, "that he would not return to India alive unless the country was set free. I would prefer to die in a foreign country so long as it is a free country, and if you do not give us freedom in India, you will have to give me a grave here."[2]

Death and legacy[edit]

He died of a stroke in London on 4 January 1931 and was buried in Jerusalem by the choice of his relatives, friends and admirers. The inscription written on his grave near the Dome of the Rock says: "Here lies al-Sayyid Muhammad Ali al-Hindi."[2]

Various places have been named after Mohammad Ali Jouhar. These include:

Awards in the name of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar[edit]

  • Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Academy award


"I had long been convinced that here in this Country of hundreds of millions of human beings, intensely attached to religion, and yet infinitely split up into communities, sects and denominations, Providence had created for us the mission of solving a unique problem and working out a new synthesis, which was nothing low than a Federation of Faiths... For more than twenty years I have dreamed the dream of a federation, grander, nobler and infinitely more spiritual than the United States of America, and today when many a political Cassandra prophesies a return to the bad old days of Hindu-Muslim dissensions I still dream that old dream of 'United Faiths of India.'" — Mohammad Ali; from the Presidential Address, I.N.C. Session, 1923, Cocanada (now Kakinada).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g, Profile of Mohammad Ali Jouhar on website, Retrieved 4 Jan 2017
  2. ^ a b c d e f Archived 8 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved 4 Jan 2017
  3. ^ a b c d e 'Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar- a man who chose the pen above the sword', Dawn newspaper, Published 4 Jan 2015, Retrieved 5 Jan 2017
  4. ^, Retrieved 5 Jan 2017
  5. ^ a b, Profile of Mohammad Ali Jouhar on website, Retrieved 4 Jan 2017
  6. ^ a b,+New+Delhi,+Delhi/@28.5612254,77.2800068,17z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x390ce38d74dec5bd:0x3103cd044665df58, Campus of Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, shown on google map, Retrieved 4 Jan 2017
  7. ^, India Today newspaper, Published 20 Oct 2003, Retrieved 5 Jan 2017

External links[edit]

Biographical pages