Hasrat Mohani as a political activist
by, Meraj Rana
Assistant Professor, CSJM University, Kanpur, India
In 1875,Hasrat Mohani got birth at Mohan,a town of District Unnao,in Central Uttar Pradesh.He got fame his intelligence and intellect since his childhood.Hasrat passed his high school exam in distinct way,attained valuable scholarship,admitted in Anglo Mohammedan College and completed his graduation from there. Aligarh Muslim University played most important role scholarly and intellectual development of Maulana Hasrat Mohani.
Hasrat was highly emotionally and ideologically attached to Maulana Shaukat Ali and Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar during his educational journey in Aligarh Muslim University. Tasleem Lucknawi and Naseem Dehlavi were the teachers of Maulana Hasrat in Aligarh Muslim University. Due to attachment with them, the poetic temperament of Hasrat became polished and got a pace. Hasrat started his poetic journey from his college life. Kulliyat-e-Hasrat Mohani, Sharh-e-Deewan-e-Ghalib and Nukat-e-Sukhan are his books worthy to be noted.
In the second decade of twentieth century, when movement for freedom started in India, Hasrat Mohani became the active member of Kul Hind Muslim League. He became the target of British Government and passed several times through the struggle of imprisonment and punishment. In 1921 as a President of Muslim League he demanded Total Freedom before British Government for the first time. Due to some basic differences Hasrat detached himself from Muslim League later on. When we observe, we realised that despite of being a member of orthodox family, Hasrat made himself compatible with Marxist ideology mentally and intellectually both. In 1925 when Communist Party formed in India, Maulana Hasrat mohani was the fore founder of it. He was the first Muslim who attached with the Communist Party.
Hasrat felt proud calling himself as Sufi Momin(Mystic Muslim)and Communist Muslim at many places in his poetry. He was very much attached with poor labour and workers .So he was of the view that Islam and Russian Communism are very close to each other. Hasrat emphasised it with full intensity that “Soviet” is derived from the Arabic Word “Saviyat” which means equality. And it’s from that equality is one of the basic principle of Islam. If we observe in this way, we may say that communism is started from Quran and Sunnah (Sayings of Prophet Mohammad).
In 1925 Indian National Congress held a meeting in Kanpur where Hasrat and his wife Nishatun Nisa Begum along with the peasants and labours came to attained it, whereas of Congress Seva Dal led by Pandit Nehru tried to stop them by force. When Nehru ordered to the members of Seva Dal for lathi charge on them, wife of Hasrat Mohani became angry on their violent action of Nehru and as a reaction of this she slapped fiercely on Nehru’s face. Asghar Ali Engineer gives detail of this event in the article entitled as “Hasrat Mohani: A Forgotten Freedom Fighter” published in Times of India in 2007 as follows:
When the Indian National Congress held its session in Kanpur
In 1925 .Hasrat and his wife Nishatun Nisa Begum came to the
Congress Pandal with procession of workers and peasants and
wanted to enter into Pandal but where stopped by Sevadal
voulenteers led by Jawahar Lal Nehru. Nehru asked Sevadal
volunteer to Lathi charged them. Begum Hasrat was furious
and slapped Nehru and scolded for such dictatorial order.
At the same time Nehru realised his mistake and he apologised to Begum Hasrat Mohani.This event glorify the dignity of Nehru himself. A few people only have the opportunity to have life partner of same revolutionary mindset as they themselves posses. Hasrat Mohani is one of those lucky people of the world as his wife was of same nature and temperament as Hasrat Mohani was himself.Nishatun Nisa Begum participated whole-heartedly in freedom movement along with her husband. Despite of belonging to a religious and orthodox family she got the field of action that place where existence of Muslim woman was beyond imagination. In the beginning of twentieth century India was passing through a big political dilemma. Many movements and organizations were being established in all sects of society. Promotion of education in Muslim society was a link of the same chain. Nishatun Nisa Begum is being seen as a great advocate of welfare of women in the phase of history.
Please see this: The finest book on the mind of Mirza Ghalib
Hasrat Mohani was great supporter of freedom of India and of its own recognition since days of his childhood. For the same purpose he made himself as flexible politician in the political scenario of India of that time. He liked all those organizations and movements whose main goal was freedom of India. Perhaps this was the reason that he never became bound to any party. In 1904 Hasrat became the part of Indian National Congress and till 1907 the phase of differences he had been the formal member of it. Meanwhile he published the details of the Congress meetings in Calcutta,Mumbai and Banaras in his Urdu-e-Mualla. In 1907, when in the Surat meeting of Congress was divided in Garmdal (extremist group) and Narmdal (liberal group); Hasrat Mohani declared his detachment from Congress and became supporter of the extremist group led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The same situation occurred in case of Muslim League. Hasrat Mohani detached to Muslim League due to the fact that it too became the supporter of Feudal System (zameendarana nizam) and became loyal to British Government.
After being attached to extremist group continuously he emphasized in speech and writing both on complete independence of India by British Government. He was totally against to the tolerance of British supremacy. Not only was this but Maulana against the liberal approach towards British Government also. In Urdu-e-Mualla Maulana Hasrat bitterly criticised and wrote many articles on this approach of League. In 1921 Maulana Hasrat proposed the concept of Complete Independence of India in Ahmedabad meeting of Congress. Gandhiji was also there who advocated the Home Rule under British Government.Maulana Hasrat Mohani was failed in breaking the influence of Gandhiji and his proposal was rejected. This event in of much importance to understand the political insight of Maulana Hasrat Mohani.
The life of Hasrat is like a shining star in the political scenario of twentieth century. Apart from support of others ideology he is observed as the advocate and advertise of his own individual insight. Social and political equality are basic factors of his own ideology. Hasrat was not of the view to detach the religion from politics because it is of the mentality that religion strong them the moral values of human being. In the light of Quran and Sunnah the duality in between religion and politics is nowhere. Allama Iqbal was the same view:
Jalal-e-paadshahi ho ke jamhuri tamasha ho
Juda ho deen siyasat se tu rah jati hai changeezi
It is the matter of great honour for Hasrat Mohani that he was never neglected in religious responsibilities despite of being highly active in politics. Though he was highly influenced by Marxist even then Islamic teachings were always resembled from his activities. He was a true Muslim who didn’t maintain duality in between religion and communism unified it which was not possible before him. Hasrat is distinguished for this fact also that he performed Hajj many times more than his religious and political contemporaries. His many couplets (sher) are quoted in praise of Lord Krishna which also resembles his religious harmony.
After the partition of India, Maulana Hasrat became active for minorities generally and for Muslim specially. At last, this stalwart freedom fighter, renowned journalist and great Urdu poet died in 1951. Though a long time has passed after the demised Hasrat, even then in the hearts of each conscious and sensual person, the political insight of Hasrat is enlightened and encourages to be followed till date.
The Maulana who Loved Krishna,C.M. Naim, Outlook, January 2012
Profile: Maulana Hasrat Mohani, The Milli Gazette, September 2012
Hindu Culture During and After Muslim Rule: Survival and Subsequent Challenges, Ram Gopal, M.D.Publication,New Delhi. 1994
Facets of Indian History, A. K. Sinha, Anamica Publishers,New Delhi. 1993.