Rasia Nayeem Hashmi
Today Indian Muslims are demonised, their patriotism is being questioned. Communal elements try to rewrite history deliberately excluding Muslims. Anti-Muslim sentiments are spread through social media making false propaganda against Indian Muslims. The sacrifices of Muslims for Indian freedom struggle are purposely kept hidden.
However, even a cursory glance at history would reveal that Indian Muslims not only played an important role in the freedom struggle but sacrificed their lives at the altar of the anti-colonial national struggle.
According to a report of Milli Chronicle, ‘There are 95300 freedom fighters’ names written on India Gate, Delhi out of that 61945 are Muslim names which means 65% of freedom fighters were Muslims.’
The report further quoted famous Writer Mr. Kushwant Singh as saying: “Indian Freedom is written on Muslims’ blood, their participation in freedom struggle was much more, in proportion to their small percentage of population.”
Here are a few of the many Muslim freedom fighters who made great sacrifices for the cause of India’s freedom from British rule.
Sultan Haidar Ali Salabat Jung
Sultan Haidar Ali, the father of Tipu Sultan, was the first freedom fighter of India who waged all out war against Britishers. He was a secular man and unified Hindus and Muslims. He made Khande Rao his assistant. But the latter betrayed him and helped the British.
Son of India’s first freedom fighter Haider Ali, Tipu Sultan pioneered iron-cased rockets and used them to defeat Britishers in various historic battles for 20 years.
Shaheed Ashfaqullah Khan
Shaheed Ashfaqullah Khan, a member of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), gave up his life for the cause of India’s freedom. He was known for attacking British government trains and the viceroy deployed.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was one of the chief Muslim leaders of the anti-colonial nationalist movement. 35-year-old Azad served as the youngest President of the Indian National Congress in 1923. Espousing the cause of Indian Nationalism, he united Hindus and Muslims to oppose the British Raj. He launched Urdu Weekly Al-Hilal to attack Britishers.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani
Hasrat Mohani coined the slogan ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ in 1921. As his furious Urdu speeches motivated Indians to fight against British, he was arrested and jailed.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani was the one who first moved the resolution for complete independence (Poorna Swaraj) at the 1921 Ahmedabad session of the Indian National Congress along with Swami Kumarananda of the Communist Party of India.
According to News Click, in June 1922, a joint session of the Khilafat Committee and Jamiat-ul-Ulema, held at Lucknow, passed a radical resolution that stated, “The best interests of India and the Muslims demand that in the Congress creed the term ‘Swaraj’ be substituted by the term ‘Complete Independence’’.
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a great freedom fighter was known as ‘The Frontier Gandhi’. He played a great rule in Khilafat movement against British. In September 1926, he established the Khudai Khitmatgars, an overwhelmingly Pashtun corps whose membership was open to Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs. The members, who were also called Red Shirts, spread the message of peace, unity, and non-violence. He was jailed for 13 years by the British government.
Sirajud Daula, the last Nawab of Bengal fought and defeated Britishers in many battles and chased them out of Calcutta for some time. Betrayed by Ali Beg, he lost in the Battle of Plassey to Robert Clive and was executed.
For showing great courage in the Quit India movement in 1942, Vakkom Majeed was jailed repeatedly.
Fazl-e-Huq Khairabadi was sentenced for life in the prison at Kalapani jail on Andaman.
Badruddin Tyabji and his brother Qamruddin Tyabji were deeply involved in laying the founding of the INC and were among the four Muslim delegates elected to the first Congress meeting in 1885.
His wife Suraiya Tayabji had designed the present Indian flag.
Shah Nawaz Khan
Shah Nawaz Khan was the great freedom fighter. Major of Azad Hind Force, he was the first to hoist the tricolor in Red Fort by throwing the British flag.
Barrister Saifuddin Kitchlew
Barrister Saifuddin Kitchlew was jailed by the British for 14 years for protesting against Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the infamous Rowlatt Acts. He opposed two nation theory. He was later awarded Lenin Peace Prize.
Under the last Mughal prince Mirza Zahiruddin, Bakht Khan gallantly fought Britishers in Delhi, Bengal, Shahjahanpur and Lucknow. In a battle against British on May 13 1859, he was mortally wounded and succumbed.
A Bengali rebel, Titu Mir fought against British colonial authorities. He used arms against British and commanded 15000 men to fight Col. Sewart. He succumbed to wounds in a battle. His nephew Ghulam Rasool was captured by the British and hanged with 350 Indians.
Syed Ahmad Barelvi
Syed Ahmad Barelvi united and organised various native armies from Del to Kabul, to fight against British rule. He had a highly developed network in Northern India. He died in a battle against British Army.
Zain-ul-Abideen alias Abid Hasan an officer of the Indian National Army (INA) gave the patriotic slogan of Jai Hind.
Not only men but several Muslim women also dedicated their lives for the cause of India’s freedom.
Begum Hazrat Mahal
Rebelling against the British in 1857, Begum Hazrat Mahal took charge of the affairs in the state of Awadh and seized control of Lucknow from British.
Surayya Tyabji was the wife of freedom fighter Badruddin Tayyabji. She designed national flag which we hoist today. Her design of the flag was approved and adopted by the constituent Assembly in July 1947.
Abadi Bano Begum
Abadi Bano Begum, popularly known as Bi Amma, was one of the first Muslim women to actively take part in politics and was part of the movement to free India from the British Raj. She took active part at par with men in the Indian National Movement. Her two sons Maulana Mohammed Ali and Maulana Showkath Ali were nurtured by her in such a way that they became great leaders of the Indian Independence Movement.
Azizan was a Nawabzadi who organized a battalion of warrior women. Being skilled in the art of war, she taught other women how to use arms. She used to pass information about the British to the freedom fighters including Nana Sahib. She was captured by General Havelock who offered to spare her life if she gave information. However she rejected the offer and preferred martyrdom.
List is endless…
The list is endless. To recount the names of hundreds and thousands of Indian Muslims who fought on the streets against the British empire is an impossible task. However, the very fact that many of them chose to stay in India, shows that they considered India their only home. No matter how much the Hindutva forces try to rewrite history, India continues to remain the home of Muslims and would forever remain so.
Jab gulistan ko khoon ki zarurat padi
Sabse pehle hamari hi gardan kati
Phir bhi kehte hain hum se ye ahle Chaman
Ye watan hai hamara, tumhara nahi