Deobandi Loyalists of the British Empire – by Yasser Hamdani



Almost all Deobandi religious leaders — supposedly the most militant of anti-British elements were on the payroll of the empire. This is how they sustained a living and ample proof can be found in their own books.

For example, in Sawanay-e-Qasimi — the biography of Maulana Qasim Nanawatvi — page 103 credits Maulana Fazlur Rahman Muradabadi with having facilitated the English capture of Lucknow. On page 247 of the same book we find that Deobandi religious figures were proud of being pensioners of the British Empire and used it to prove their loyalty to the monarch.

The biography of Maulana Rashid Gangohi, Tazkira-e-Rasheed, on page 80 has the great Deobandi freedom fighter claiming that he was entirely loyal to the British Empire. On page 160 of the Tehreek-e-Shaikh-ul-Hind, we find that another ‘freedom fighter’ and the Dean of Darul Uloom Deoband, Hafiz Maulana Muhammad Ahmad, was given the title of “Shams-ul-Ulema” by the British governor of UP.

His most famous student was Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madni, the great ally of the Congress Party and the leader of Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind — another ‘freedom fighter’. He is considered a great hero of the freedom movement by Pakistani Islamists and Indian nationalists. The entire Deoband edifice was built on official patronage and British pensions.



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