Muhammad Ali Jauhar
Autochrome portrait by Auguste Léon, 1920
10th President of All-India Muslim League
In office
30 December 1917 – 1 January 1918
Preceded byMuhammad Ali Jinnah
Succeeded byMohammad Ali Mohammad Khan
41st President of Indian National Congress
In office
Preceded byChittaranjan Das
Succeeded byAbul Kalam Azad
Personal details
Born(1878-12-10)10 December 1878
Rampur, Rampur State, British India
Died4 January 1931(1931-01-04) (aged 52)
London, England
Resting placeJerusalem
Political partyAll India Muslim League
Other political
Indian National Congress
Amjadi Bano Begum
(m. 1902⁠–⁠1931)
RelationsShaukat Ali (brother)
Parent(s)Abdul Ali Khan (father)
Abadi Bano Begum (mother)
OccupationJournalist, scholar, political activist, poet
Known forKhilafat movement
Founder ofJamia Millia Islamia

Mohammad Ali Jauhar (10 December 1878 – 4 January 1931) was an Indian Muslim freedom activist, a preeminent member of Indian National Congress, journalist and a poet, a leading figure of the Khilafat Movement and one of the founders of Jamia Millia Islamia.[1][2][3]

Jauhar was a member of the Aligarh Movement.[4] He was elected to become the President of Indian National Congress party in 1923 and it lasted only for a few months owing to the differences with the organization, especially Gandhi, on the haphazard ending of Non-cooperation movement. In the following years, he ended up being antithetical to it and accused Gandhi and Motilal Nehru of succumbing to the appeasement of Hindus as they regarded Muslims “the minorities” in India and refused to accommodate Muslim demands in the political representation. Being one of the founders, esteemed member and 10th president of the All-India Muslim League, he represented the party in the first round-table conference held in London.[5][6][7]

Early life and career

Mohammad Ali was born in 1878 at Rampur in North-Western Provinces, British India.[1][8][9] He was born to a wealthy Rohilla family with ancestry from the Yusufzai clan of Pathans. His father, Abdul Ali Khan, died when he was five years old.[10] His brothers were Shaukat Ali, who became a leader of the Khilafat Movement, and Zulfiqar. His mother Abadi Begum (1852 – 1924), affectionately known as 'Bi Amman', inspired her sons to take up the mantle of the struggle for freedom from the British colonial rule. To this end, she was adamant that her sons were properly educated. Due to the efforts, determination and sacrifice of their mother, he and his brothers were able to get a good quality education.[10][1]

Despite the early death of his father, Jauhar attended Aligarh Muslim University and the Allahabad University, eventually moving to England in 1898, attending the Lincoln College, Oxford, studying modern history.[1][3][11]

Upon his return to India, he served as education director for the Rampur state, and later joined the Baroda civil service.[1] He became a writer and an orator of the first magnitude and a farsighted political leader, writing articles in major British and Indian newspapers like The Times, London, The Manchester Guardian and The Observer.[1] He launched the English weekly The Comrade in 1911 in Calcutta. It quickly gained circulation and influence internationally. He moved to Delhi in 1912 and there he launched an Urdu-language daily newspaper Hamdard in 1913.[6] He married Amjadi Bano Begum (c. 1886–1947) in 1902. Amjadi Begum was actively involved in the national and Khilafat movement.[12][13]

Jauhar worked hard to expand the Aligarh Muslim University, then known as the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College, and was one of the co-founders of the Jamia Millia Islamia in 1920, which was later moved to Delhi.[1]

Khilafat movement in India

Jauhar had attended the founding meeting of the All India Muslim League in Dacca in 1906, and served as its president in 1918.[1] He remained active in the League till 1928. Jauhar "had the unique distinction of having directed the affairs of the three most important political parties/movements in the country — The Indian National Congress, the All India Muslim League and the Khilafat movement."[8]

He represented the Muslim League delegation that travelled to England in 1919 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 and the presumed leader of all the Islamic nations of that time.[14] British government's rejection of their demands resulted in the formation of the Khilafat committee which directed Muslims all over India to protest and boycott the British government.[14]

In 1921, Jauhar formed a broad coalition with the nationalist leaders like Shaukat Ali, Abul Kalam Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari as well as Mahatma Gandhi, who then enlisted the support of the Indian National Congress and many thousands of Hindus, who joined the Muslims in a demonstration of unity against the British government. Jauhar 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.[3][1]

Alienation from Congress

Jauhar was disillusioned by the end of Khilafat movement and Gandhi's suspension of non-cooperation movement in 1922, owing to the Chauri Chaura incident. This incident, on 4 February 1922, when a large group of protesters, participating in Gandhi's non-cooperation movement clashed with police, who opened fire and killed three protesters. In retaliation, the demonstrators attacked and set fire to a police station, killing 22 policemen. The Indian National Congress suspended the non-cooperation movement on the national level as a direct result of this incident.[15]

He restarted his daily 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 having no local Indian member nor making any effort to listen to the Indians' voices and aspirations. Mohammad Ali was put in jail.[14] So All Parties Conference on Nehru report was represented by Shaukat Ali, Begum Mohammad Ali and 30 other members of the Central Khilafat Committee which included Abdul Majid Daryabadi, Azad Subhani, Maghfoor Ahmad Ajazi, Abul Muhasin Muhammad Sajjad and others. Mohammad Ali opposed the part of the Nehru Report's 'acception' of separate electorates for Muslims, and supported the Fourteen Points of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League.[1][16] He became a critic of Gandhi, breaking with fellow Muslim leaders like Abul Kalam Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan and Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, who continued to support Gandhi and the Indian National Congress.[14]

Imprisonment in Karachi

In 1921, the British government established a court in Khaliqdina Hall in Karachi[17][8] and punished him with two-and-a-half years' imprisonment in Karachi central jail. Besides this jail sentence, he had served many and frequent jail sentences due to his anti-government activities. However, he kept fighting for the Muslim League.[10]

1930 Round Table Conference in London

Ultimately Mohammad Ali's frequent jail sentences, his diabetes and lack of proper nutrition while jailed, made him very sick. Despite his failing health, he wanted to attend the first Round Table Conference held in London in 1930.[10][1][8] Ali attended the 'Conference' in London (the chairman being Sir Agha Khan of the Muslim delegation) to show that only the Muslim League spoke for India's Muslims. Reportedly his words to the British government were that he would not return to India alive unless the country was set free, "I would prefer to die in a foreign country so long as it is a free country, and if you do not give us freedom in India, you will have to give me a grave here."[6][8]

Death and legacy

Main article: List of institutions and places named after Mohammad Ali Jauhar

Grave of Mohammad Ali Jauhar in Jerusalem

He died of a stroke in London on 4 January 1931 and was buried in Jerusalem by the choice of his relatives, friends and admirers.[1][8] The inscription on his grave in the Khātūniyya Madrasa,[18] which is near the Dome of the Rock, says: "Here lies al-Sayyid Muhammad Ali al-Hindi."[6]

Commemorative postage stamp

Pakistan Postal Services issued a commemorative postage stamp for Mohammad Ali Jauhar in its 'Pioneers of Freedom' series on his birth anniversary in 1978.[8] A number of educational intuitions like Mohammad Ali Jauhar University in Rampur, India, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Academy of International Studies in Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, India, Maulana Mohammad Ali College in Bangladesh and places including Johar Town, Jauharabad, Gulistan-e-Jauhar in Pakistan are named after Jauhar.

In popular culture

Maulana Mohammad Ali 'Jauhar' is a 1984 documentary film directed by Saiyed Ahmad and produced by the Government of India's Films Division, it covers his political career and life as an Indian freedom fighter.[19]


"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 Jauhar; from the Presidential Address, I.N.C. Session, 1923, Cocanada (now Kakinada).[20]

However later, he started supporting the concept of Pakistan and the Pakistan Movement.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Mohammad Ali Jauhar profile". website. Archived from the original on 30 October 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  2. ^ Rahmat Farrukhabadi. "Muhammad Ali Jauhar and the Mutiny Trial". Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  3. ^ a b c Jafri, Raees Ahmed. Biography of Muhammad Ali Jauhar: seerat E Maulana M Ali Jauhar (in Arabic). Urdu Movies.
  4. ^ "Syed Ahmad Khan, Aligarh Movement: Consequences & Objectives". 12 October 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  5. ^ Pirzada, Syed Sharifuddin (1970). Foundations of Pakistan: All-India Muslim League Documents, 1906-1947. National Publishing House.
  6. ^ a b c d "Profile of Mohammad Ali Jauhar". Muslims of India website. Archived from the original on 8 October 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  7. ^ Chronology of Pakistan Movement: December 29, 1930-August 14, 1947. National Archives of Pakistan. 1985.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar - profile and commemorative postage stamp". website. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  9. ^ Asir Adrawi. Tazkirah Mashāhīr-e-Hind: Karwān-e-Rafta (in Urdu) (2 April 2016 ed.). Deoband: Darul Muallifeen. p. 234.
  10. ^ a b c d "Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar- a man who chose the pen above the sword". Dawn (newspaper). 4 January 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  11. ^ "Mohammad Ali Jauhar - Profile & Biography". website. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  12. ^ Masooma, Syed (3 June 2013). "Amjadi Begum". Archived from the original on 28 June 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  13. ^ "Begum Mohammed Ali Passes Away". The Indian Express. 29 March 1947. p. 5. Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  14. ^ a b c d Muhammad Ali Johar (1938). Kalam Johar.
  15. ^ Shefalee Vasudev (20 October 2003) Chauri Chaura village that became metaphor for Gandhism gets entangled in criminal violence India Today newspaper. Retrieved on 2023-09-08
  16. ^ Wasti, Syed Tanvir (2002). "The Circles of Maulana Mohamed Ali". Middle Eastern Studies. 38 (4): 51–62. doi:10.1080/714004494. ISSN 0026-3206. JSTOR 4284258. S2CID 145545924.
  17. ^ "Muhammad Ali Jauhar and the Mutiny Trial". Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  18. ^ "دليل" (PDF) (in Arabic). The Hashemite Fund, Amman; Dept. of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs & PASSIA, Jerusalem. 2020. المدرسة الخاتونية (مدفن مجموعة من الأعلام، منهم آل الحسيني)[…] وفيها قبر موقفتها أغل خاتون إلى جانب قبور كل من الأمير محمد علي الهندي وهو أمير هندي ناضل في سبيل القضية الفلسطينية [structure number 88 on PDF's p. 40 (= p. 79). Text also available here Archived 23 July 2022 at the Wayback Machine. ]
  19. ^ "MAULANA MOHAMMAD ALI 'JAUHAR'"., Government of India website. Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  20. ^ Yumitro, Gonda. "The Roles of Muhammad Ali Jauhar in Indian Politics and Khilafat Movement". website.
Biographical pages