Are history books telling the truth about Mashriqi, Jinnah & Gandhi?

Are history books telling the truth about Mashriqi, Jinnah & Gandhi?

Part 1

People around the world have been made to believe that M.A. Jinnah created Pakistan, that M.K. Gandhi was the champion of India’s freedom, and that the British crushed Allama Mashriqi’s Khaksar Movement. The reality is that Allama Mashriqi was a uniter working to keep India together, whereas Jinnah and Gandhi’s politics played into the hands of the rulers and ultimately resulted in partition. This piece addresses the falsehoods that have been spread with regards to Mashriqi and the other leaders’ role in India’s history.
Most people don’t realize that the British rulers would only accept an Indian leader who was willing to implement British policies. Anyone with knowledge of the past and how politics work would know that no Indian was allowed to enter the Viceroy’s Lodge or have his photos snapped with the rulers (with news flashed across the British controlled media), without agreeing to serve British interests.
Allama Mashriqi was not someone who was willing to follow the British agenda. He founded the Khaksar Tehrik in 1930 to bring freedom to British India. By the late 1930s, Mashriqi had developed a massive following throughout India and the Tehrik had also formed branches in many other countries. The uniformed membership of the Tehrik in India alone was over “five million.” It had become the most disciplined and well trained private army in India. In 1939, upon Mashriqi’s orders, the Khaksar Tehrik successfully paralyzed the Government of the United Provinces (UP) and Sir Harry Graham Haig (Governor of UP) had to sign an agreement with the Khaksar Tehrik just to normalize the situation. Dr. Shan Muhammad writes in his book Khaksar Movement in India, “It [the Khaksar Tehrik] became a most powerful organisation towards the closing years of the thirties and dominated the field…” At the peak, Mashriqi’s speeches regularly had 50,000 to 100,000+ attendees.
With such power, Mashriqi moved forward and decided to topple British rule in 1940. This created panic in British circles. On March 19, 1940, a large number of Khaksars were murdered and Mashriqi, his sons, and followers were arrested. Khaksar activities and publications, including the Al-Islah journal, were banned / confiscated and thereafter the Government moved swiftly to arrest thousands of Khaksars in different parts of India. Mashriqi was imprisoned without a trial for nearly two years and his movements were then restricted for another year. While in prison, Mashriqi and the Khaksars were tortured. But this suppression and brutality ultimately went against the rulers; Mashriqi’s following only grew larger and the freedom movement escalated to the next level.
In a letter on March 21, 1940, Lord Linlithgow (Viceroy of India) wrote to Lord Zetland (Secretary of State for India) stating “how great a potential danger the [Allama Mashriqi’s] Khaksar Movement has become.” The correspondence of the Viceroy, Provincial Governors and other high officials repeatedly showed that they feared the Khaksars. On June 6, 1941, Lord Linlithgow wrote to Cunningham (Governor of NWFP), “I felt quite clear after an exhaustive discussion in Council that there was no alternative to the action [i.e. ban on the Tehrik all across India] which the Home Department have now asked all Provinces to take. I have always regarded this movement as potentially a very dangerous one. It is well organized; well disciplined; and it works underground.”
On July 19, 1941, Linlithgow (Viceroy of India) again stated in a note to Hallett (Governor of U.P.) that he remained “unshaken” on his perspective that the Tehrik was “a thoroughly dangerous organisation…” Veteran journalist Syed Shabbir Hussain also confirmed in his book (Al-Mashriqi) that “…Mashriqi was considered by the British as the most dreaded person in the sub-continent.” In other words, Mashriqi was not a man who would follow the British policies.
By contrast, the British felt that Muhammad Ali Jinnah was someone who would follow their agenda. Unlike Allama Mashriqi, Jinnah and the All-India Muslim League had no popularity across India in 1940. They did not even have a presence in the Punjab province at the time. In fact, the Muslim League had suffered a crushing defeat in the 1937 elections. Since Jinnah and the Muslim League lacked popularity in 1940, they needed support from the British to gain relevance and would be more cooperative with the British agenda. On May 14, 1940, Viceroy Lord Linlithgow wrote a letter to Secretary of State Lord Zetland stating, “…Indeed, I am sure that Jinnah remains the man to deal with on the Muslim side [Gandhi had already been selected as the man on the Hindu side]. Linlithgow further wrote “…Jinnah is our man and we accept him as a representative of all Muslims” (Khan Wali, Facts Are Facts: The Untold Story of India’s Partition). Linlithgow again would state that the Muslim League “is certainly, I should have said, not disloyal…” The Viceroy’s letters clearly confirm that Jinnah was elevated and recognized as the sole leader of the Muslims (instead of Allama Mashriqi) because he was someone the British felt would be loyal to them. This also explains why Jinnah enjoyed a free hand in India and was not imprisoned.
Similarly, on the Hindu side, M.K. Gandhi was treated like a saint because he too supported the British rulers’ agenda. In reality, Gandhi’s support of non-violence in India and resistance of armed revolt – be it from Mashriqi, Bhagat Singh, or Subhas Chandra Bose – protected British rule. Curiously, Gandhi only seemed to apply the principles of non-violence selectively. For example, he never condemned the rulers when Mashriqi was tortured, his son was killed, and hundreds of Khaksars were brutally murdered at the hands of the rulers. Gandhi (and Jinnah) in fact supported Mashriqi’s arrest and suppression of the Khaksar Tehrik and never demanded Mashriqi’s release.
With the British having their favored leaders in place, all that was left was for each leader to follow the role assigned to him (particularly from 1940 onwards) as part of the British policy of divide and rule; Jinnah would advance the Two-Nation Theory and demand Pakistan, while Gandhi would oppose it. By supporting opposing viewpoints, both leaders furthered communalism, division and rivalry amongst Muslims and Hindus, which enabled them to remain as frontline leaders and the British to maintain their rule; even the body language from photos showing Jinnah and Gandhi with the rulers suggest that they had a partnership. The British were savvy and knew how to play the political game to maintain their rule in India; they used the Indian leaders to fire the shots, while setting the agenda behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, Allama Mashriqi continued fighting for a free and independent India. Recognizing the political games of the British, Mashriqi continued reaching out to Jinnah and Gandhi to form a united front and join hands with him. Mashriqi was opposed to any transfer of power, as he felt it would forever create an inferiority complex for the nation. He had written in his book, Qual-e-Faisal, in 1935 (under the subtitle Khaksar Tehrik Ki Zarurat): “[Translation] You 350 million…if you wanted, you could blow them [with your breath] across Bombay…”
Mashriqi gave Jinnah and Gandhi full assurance that they could topple British rule with the backing of his massive Khaksar army. But Jinnah and Gandhi did not want to stand with Mashriqi because they knew that if Mashriqi toppled British rule, then he would be the one to takeover India’s reign. Unlike Mashriqi, Jinnah and Gandhi did not have street power amongst the masses, so their only choice was to pursue a transfer of power; Jinnah and Gandhi had to work with the rulers or they would have been replaced by others (and there were plenty of others who could have taken over their spots).
As time continued to pass, Jinnah’s constitutional fight and Gandhi’s passive resistance failed to produce any results or bring the country any closer to independence. At the same time, Jinnah and Gandhi’s confrontational politics, which were publicized in the British controlled media, continued to spread hatred and further divide Muslims and Hindus. Mashriqi could see that their politics were delaying freedom and that the British strategy of Divide and Rule was working.
In 1946, Mashriqi decided to move forward with a coup to overturn British rule and to ensure that there would be no further delays in obtaining freedom. Mashriqi distributed a pamphlet in India (on December 1, 1946) proclaiming:
“[Translation] Idara-i-Aliya [Khaksar Headquarters] shall soon issue an order that in the entire India, four million Khaksars [sources quote a range of 4-5 million members], side by side with hundreds of thousands rather millions of supporters shall march simultaneously…This moment shall dawn upon us very soon and that is why it is being ordered that a grand preparation for this historical day should commence immediately…so that British can clearly witness the day of India’s freedom…”
Such a bold proclamation created fear amongst the rulers. Thus, on February 20, 1947, Prime Minister Attlee announced that power would be transferred no later than June 1948. To Mashriqi, this was yet another political game and delaying tactic by the British. In a press statement, Mashriqi mentioned that Attlee’s declaration was a “bugle to start a horrific clash between Hindus and Muslims.” In other words, the rulers would instigate Muslim-Hindu riots and turmoil (by manipulating their favored Muslim and Hindu leaders or through other methods) and then use this as the reason to cancel the transfer of power.

Special Note: This piece is not meant to insult or demean anyone, but rather to share Allama Mashriqi’s perspective and unite Muslims, Hindus, and others. Some people have falsely implied that Allama Mashriqi’s movement was violent. This is not true. While Mashriqi was willing to fight for independence, his ultimate goal was to bring peace to the Indian sub-continent. In fact, community service to Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and others was a core part of the Khaksar Tehrik’s ideology and the Khaksars saved the lives of many people across communities.

(to be concluded)

The writer is the grandson and biographer of Allama Mashriqi. He is a researcher based in the USA. In this piece the author has used information from his research and from family and Khaksars, who were both part of the freedom movement. [email protected]


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