Moulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar
By Prof B. Sheik Ali
Islam has produced mighty souls, but not in recent times the like of Muhammad Ali Jauhar
It is difficult to come across in history men of the calibre of Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar. Maulana Jauhar was unique in many respects: A lover of the land, lover of liberty, lover of Islam, and lover of highest absolute values, who would stake his life to gain his cherished objectives. Well-versed in the learnings of both east and west, Maulana rose to be a political leader of high repute, a poet of great eminence, a journalist par excellence, an orator of captivating impact, and more than all a humanist, whose sensitive heart would react emotionally to the sorrows and sufferings of man. Maulana Jauhar was the finest flower of the Islamic renaissance. His thought process was pregnant with the basic Islamic values; steadfastness in faith (Iman), equilibrium (Islam) and benevolence (Ihsan). The concept of certainty (yaqin-e-kamil) invites the thought to ultimate reality, which is eternal Beauty, its nature being self-expression, got reflected in the mirror of the universe because of love, Love is appreciation of beauty, and beauty is perfection. Thus a single concept of certainty leads to the basic absolute values of truth, beauty, love and perfection. Likewise, the equilibrium (Shariah) fixes the laws or code of conduct, which the Islamic creed preaches, such as salat, saum, zakat and haj. But faith and belief, the code and the creed alone do not complete the message of Islam, which expects the faithful to serve a cause, which is to exist for others (Ihsan). It calls for immense sacrifice, (sidq-e-khaleel), intense love (Ishq-e-Rasool), indomitable courage (Zor-e-Haidar) and limitless patience (Sabr-e-Hussain). Maulana Jauhar was an embodiment of this essence of Islam, which he both preached and practised. Maulana's life can be summarised in four phases; the first phase is his youthful life until 1912; the second phase is from 1912 to 1919 when the Balkan and the world war set his tone against the colonials; the third phase is from 1919 to 1924, when he was at the summit of national movement; and the last phase is from 1924 to 1930, when dejected and disappointed at the trends of events both within the country and abroad, he vowed never to return to a slave country like India but to seek a resting place from where the Prophet of Islam had ascended the heavens. In the first phase his bubbling energy and fertility of mind witnessed a prodigy shaping himself into that fascinating figure, where he would become a lover of all good things of life, a poet to open the inner recesses of heart; an orator of golden tongue; a graduate of reputed Aligarh College; an Honours from Oxford University; a master of English language; a critique of Shakespeare; an impeccable youth of western style; an admirer of western learning and culture; a good friend of British Civil Servants, catching the eye even of the Viceroy; in short a fine product of what Mill and Macaulay had envisioned. It is in this phase that he became a journalist to edit the legendary paper, Comrade, which would make King George V restless, if it did not reach him on time. It is strange that God had injected into this Muslim that potential which would shake the whole world. Then the Maulana came out with its Urdu equivalent, Hamdard, which too moved multitudes. How fortunate was the Millat that if Maulana Azad was igniting fire through his Al-Hilal and Al-Balagh from Calcutta, Maulana Jauhar was crossing swords through Hamdard in Delhi with the empire which had a stranglehold over the Islamic World. Both Azad and Jauhar had been struck with that passionate zeal and zest of the Islamic creed; with that profound depth of Islamic learning and culture; and with that crusading urge to liberate the land from the foreign clutches so that both seemed to redeem the dream of Tipu Sultan. In the second phase this resolve of resistance to foreign hold was concretised when the Balkan and the World War I broke out. What little love for the West was still there in Jauhar's hearts was all changed to a bitter fight against the English when they set their eyes on the Ottoman Empire. Like a fierce tiger Maulana pounced on the English in the columns of Comrade, never to compromise again with the colonials, who were out to dismember the Turkish Empire, and to keep India under their thumb. Maulana Jauhar or Maulana Azad, both of them were put behind bars for five years from 1914 to 1919. Those who doubt the Muslim loyalty to the land and the degree of their patriotism and nationalism should read the pages of Comrade, Hamdard, Al-Hilal and Al-Balagh. Maulana Jauhar's five years in jail (1914-19) made him an inveterate foe of the colonials. His mind revived the memory of the crusades of Salahuddin Ayubi. The severe contest between the Crescent and the Cross was again on, in which the Cross had all the guns and the Crescent had all the pens. The Maulana joined the prestigious club of Islamic thinkers and writers such as Muhammad Abdul Wahab of Najad, Jamalud Afghani, Sheikh Muhammad Abduhu, Rasheed Raza, Shakeeb Arsalan, Abdul Qadir Maghribi and Mustafa Kamal Pasha. Maulana enters into the third phase of his life (1919-1924) when his fight against the west was intensified. This is the golden period of his life when he was at the peak of his glory. He joined hands with Gandhiji and initiated the Khilafat movement of epic importance. India witnessed a new upsurge of nationalism when the distinction between the Mahatma and the Maulana was wiped off. The two went about the country setting fire to the foreign goods and exciting people to join the non-violent non-cooperation movement. The satyagraha was a unique event of history. Never had the Muslims come so close to Hindus, and never had the Hindus supported so whole-heartedly a Muslim cause such as Khilafat. The excitement of the period was something like the days of the French Revolution which had unchained the tigers of emotion and had harnessed the horses of reason. The imperial throne seemed tottering in India. The Hindu-Muslim unity, the main architect of which was Maulana Jauhar, was about to snatch the brightest jewel from the British crown, when suddenly Mustafa Kamal of Turkey turned the table against the Khilafat movement. That single act changed the course of world history. The British stabilised their position in India, sent all leaders to jail, fanned the fire of Hindu-Muslim disunity and got the lease of life to stay in India for two more decades. The only solid gain the Muslims got in this phase was the establishment of Jamia Millia Islamia, of which Maulana Jauhar was its first chancellor. He would teach Islamic History to the students in such a manner as though Hazrat Umar had appeared again in his second birth. This phase did not last long. The Hindus and the Muslims reverted to their old game of fighting each other. The Maulana was disappointed at these events. The Indian National Congress itself fell into factions of pro-changers and non-changers. The Shuddhi movement was all in its fury, only to excite Tabligh among the Muslims. The drama of Hindu-Muslim riots was taking its toll, solving bitter seeds of discord only to reap the fruits of the holocaust of 1947. Maulana's last phase (1924-30) is extremely tragic. The rise of Swaraj Party, the revival of Hindu Mahasabha, Urdu-Hindi conflict, Shuddhi Sanghattan, Tanzim-o-Thabligh, Nehru report, Jinnah's fourteen points, retreat of Gandhiji into constructive programme away from politics, subtle game of the English and disunity and rudderless drift of the Muslims, all shattered the dreams of Maulana Jauhar, who was itching for a Finale, which would make him ever live in history. That opportunity came in the form of the Round Table Conference in London, whither he went with the avowed object of either to bring home freedom or never to return empty-handed. The conference Halls reverberated with the thunder of his speeches. Perhaps since the days of Haidar and Tipu whose invasion of Carnatic had made Edmund Burke electrify the British audience by his fiery oratory, they had not known the thunder and the glow of a passionate soul which could rise to sublime heights even to excel Edmund Burke. Islam has produced mighty souls, but not in recent times the like of Muhammed Ali Jauhar. His last wish never to return home without freedom was fulfilled, for he went to that celestial world of peace and joy, which is beyond the flight of time, and beyond the realm of death. While going he carried the casket of his soul in its pristine purity only to report to the Almighty, "Oh God! You are a witness, that I did my duty, while in mortal frame, to uphold the banner of your Majesty, your grace, your mercy, and your graciousness."