Academic journal article Pakistan Historical Society. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society

Mawlana Barakatullah Bhopali's Role in the Freedom Movement

Academic journal article Pakistan Historical Society. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society

Mawlana Barakatullah Bhopali's Role in the Freedom Movement

Article excerpt

Mawlänä Barakatulläh Bhopäli (1859-1927), an indefatigable freedom fighter, a revolutionary religious scholar and an Indian nationalist through and through, occupies a unique place in the history of Indian Islam in that he had been endowed with an amazing zeal, vim and vigour, that has been rarely seen among contemporary Indian Muslims. Like most of his fellow Indian Muslim compatriots. Barakatulläh started his career as a panIslamist leader. Latter he took upon himself the task of unseating the British power from India by working with, and soliciting help from, the powers hostile to Britain. With this objective in mind, he embarked upon his self-styled political exile lasting for 45 long hectic years, travelling around the globe twice, visiting the world capitals, settling his gaze and pinning his hopes, now on Japan, now on Germany, now on Soviet Russia. He spent 11 years in England, 6 years in the USA, 5 years in Japan, and a considerable part of his life in Central Europe, Central Asia and Soviet Russia. Barakatulläh was the prime minister in the Provisional Government of India in exile at Kabul, a member of the Turkish-German mission, president of the Indian Independence Party at Berlin and one of the founders of the Ghadar Party based in the USA. The special feature of his independence struggle was that he highlighted the economic aspect of the British rule and its attendant evils and miseries. Barakatulläh could not see the freedom of his motherland in his life time; however, he continued his efforts till his last breath. In the midst of such tireless efforts to free the country of his birth from foreign yoke, he died on 27th September 1927 in a hospital at San Francisco and was buried at the Muslim cemetery of Marysville, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

Early life and Education

Towards the end of the abortive War of independence of 1857, Maulv! Muhammad Shujä'atulläh, father of Mawlänä Barakatulläh, driven by the vicissitudes of time, left Badäyun, a town in Rohilkhand (north U.P.), and landed in Bhopal (Madhyapradesh). It was the era of Nawwâb Shäh Jahän Begum, one of the tl .ee ladies who had ruled the princely state of Bhopäl. However, in actual practice, Nawwâb Sikander Begum, mother of Shäh Jahän Begum, ruled on behalf of her daughter. Later, in 1861, Shäh Jahän Begum abdicated in favour of her mother and was appointed as crown princess. Barakatulläh was born in the beginning of 1859.' In accordance with the custom prevalent among Indian Muslims, the first teacher of Barakatullah was his father who, it would appear, apart from being a religious scholar was a policeman by profession. Thus after studying with his father for ten years, he was admitted into the Madrassah-i Sulaimäniyah at Bhopäl. Beside studying at this madrassah, he studied with the various teachers of Bhopäl and completed studies both in the ma'qülät (rational sciences) and manqülät (revealed sciences). These included Tafsir (exegesis of the Qur'än), hadlth, Islamic jurisprudence, logic, philosophy, mathematics, Persian literature and other traditional subjects included in the curriculum in vogue then. In 1877 Bhopäli himself started teaching at Nür Mahal in Bhopäl and received a salary of Rs.10/- per month.2

In 1882, Sayyid Jamäl al-DIn Afghänl (1838-1897), the celebrated pan-Islamist leader reached Bhopäl in the course of his whirlwind tour of India and it is assumed that Bhopäli came into contact with him. Young and precocious Barakatulläh must have been influenced by the oratory and fiery speeches of Afghänl. Perhaps it was due to the spiritual energy and dynamism that Barakatulläh might have imbibed from Afghänl that he suddenly disappeared from Bhopäl never to return.3

According to Muhammad 'Irfan, editor, Shu'lah-i Hayät, Bhopäl, Barakatulläh left Bhopäl towards the close of 1882. He stayed for a few days at Hoshangäbäd, then visited Jabbalpür and studied English there, from there he went to Bombay, stayed there for four years and passed his M. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.