How the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Fought Against the Partition of India

08 March 2015

In the mid 1940s, as the Muslim League began to realise its vision of a separate nation state for the subcontinent's Muslim population under Muhammad Ali Jinnah, it met with resistance not only from the Congress' high command but also from the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH), a political organisation that was founded in 1919. In this excerpt from Venkat Dhulipala's Creating a New Medina, the leader of the JUH, Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani, presents his reasons for his opposition to the Muslim League and the two-nation theory.

The JUH now formed a separate party, the Azad Muslim Parliamentary Board, to fight the elections and ward off the criticism that it was merely a handmaiden of the Congress. Its chief campaigner was Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani, the principal of the Darul Uloom, Deoband, and one of the foremost Islamic scholars in the country. Madani, as his name suggests, had an intimate connection with Medina as he had been a renowned teacher of Hadith in that holy city for nearly fifteen years. Madani remained steadfast in his advocacy of a composite undivided India and emerged as the most prominent alim opposed to the ML and its Pakistan demand. Reacting to the accusation that he had ‘joined the Hindus’, he wrote to a correspondent in Rawalpindi

You write that I have joined the Hindus and you are stunned by that. Why do you get affected by such propaganda?  Muslims have been together with the Hindus since they moved to Hindustan. And I have been with them since I was born. I was born and raised here. If two people live together in the same country, same city, they will share lot of things with each other. Till the time there are Muslims in India, they will be together with the Hindus. In the bazaars, in homes, in railways, trams, in buses, lorries, in stations, colleges, post offices, jails, police stations, courts, councils, assemblies, hotels, etc. You tell me where and when we don’t meet them or are not together with them? You are a zamindar. Are not your tenants Hindus? You are a trader; don’t you buy and sell from Hindus?  You are a lawyer don’t you have Hindu clients? You are in a district or municipal board; won’t you be dealing with Hindus? Who is not with the Hindus? All ten crore Muslims of India are guilty then of being with the Hindus.

Venkat Dhulipala Venkat Dhulipala is Assistant Professor of History at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and teaches courses on the history of modern South Asia, comparative colonial histories and introductory surveys in Global History.