Mohammad Ali Jouhar (10 December 1878 – 4 January 1931) was an Indian Muslim leader, activist, scholar, journalist and poet, and was among the leading figures of the Khilafat Movement.
He was the sixth Muslim to become the President of Indian National Congress and it lasted only for few months. He was one of the founders of the All India Muslim League and he was also the former president of the All India Muslim League.
Mohammad Ali, also known as Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar (مَولانا مُحمّد علی جَوہر), was born in 1878 in Rampur (UP), India. He was the brother of Maulana Shoukat Ali and Zulfiqar Ali. Despite the early death of his father, Jouhar attended the Darul Uloom Deoband, Aligarh Muslim University and, in 1898, Lincoln College, Oxford University, studying modern history.
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 orator, contributing to major English and Indian newspapers, in both English and Urdu. He launched the Urdu weekly Hamdard and English Comrade in 1911. He moved to Delhi in 1913.
Jouhar worked hard to expand the AMU, then known as the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College, and was one of the co-founders of the Jamia Millia Islamia in 1920, which was later moved to Delhi.
Khilafat and political activities
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.
He represented the Muslim delegation that travelled to England in 1919 in order 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. British rejection of their demands resulted in the formation of the Khilafat committee which directed Muslims all over India to protest and boycott the government.
Now accorded the respectful title of Maulana, Ali formed in 1921, a broad coalition with Muslim nationalists like Shaukat Ali, Maulana Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari and Indian nationalist leader Mahatma Gandhi, who enlisted the support of the Indian National Congress and many thousands of Hindus, who joined the Muslims in a demonstration of unity. 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.
He was elected as President of Indian National Congress in 1923.
Alienation from Congress
Jouhar was however, disillusioned by the failure of the Khilafat movement and Gandhi's suspension of non-cooperation in 1922, owing to the Chauri Chaura incident.
He restarted his weekly 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 Indian nor making any effort to listen to Indian voices. Md.Ali was in jail.so All Parties Conference on Nehru report was represented by Shaukat Ali,Begum Md. Ali and 30 other members of Central Khilafat Committee which included Abdul Majid Daryabadi,Azad Subhani,Dr.Maghfoor Ahmad Ajazi,Abul Mohasin Md. Sajjad and others. Mohammad Ali opposed the Nehru Report's rejection of separate electorates for Muslims, and supported the Fourteen Points of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the 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.
Ali attended the Round Table Conference (The chairman being Sir Agha Khanof the Muslim delegation) to show that only the Muslim League spoke for India's Muslims. In 1921, British Government established the Court in Khalikdina Hall in karachi and punished him with two and half years imprisonment in Karachi Central Jail. Later exile to Kala Paani where he was dead on January 4, 1931 and was buried in Jerusalem according to his own wish. The inscription written on his grave near the Dome of the Rock says: “Here lies al-Sayyid Muhammad Ali al-Hindi.”
Jouhar died at a time when the Pakistan& India movement had not been formed, and it is a matter of continuing debate if he would have ever supported the idea.
Various places have been named after Jouhar. These include:
- Muhammad Ali Road in south Mumbai, India
- The Gulistan-e-Jauhar (Urdu: گلستانِ جوهر) neighborhood of Karachi, Pakistan
- Mohammad Ali Co-operative Housing Society (M.A.C.H.S.) in Karachi
- Johar Town in Lahore, Pakistan
- Jauharabad, a city in Punjab, Pakistan
- The Jauharabad area in Karachi
- Maualana Muhammad Ali mosque in Singapore
- Gandhi Muhammad Ali Memorial Inter College, a Senior Secondary School in Bilthera Road town of Ballia district, Uttar Pradesh, India.
- Mohammad Ali Jauhar University
- TwoCircles.net, a news website, is inspired by a quote of Mohammad Ali Jouhar. TwoCircles.net
"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).