Khilafat Movement 1919-24: Goals, Activities and Failure

Khilafat Movement 1919-24: Goals, Activities and Failure

. Introduction:

The Khilafat Movement of 1919 is a poignant chapter in the annals of Indian history. Characterized by the convergence of religious fervor, political activism, and a quest for independence. In this exploration, we delve into the multifaceted layers of the Khilafat Movement, deciphering its significance, influential leaders, the intertwining with the Non-Cooperation Movement, and its lasting impact on the road to Indian independence.

Dive into the heart of post-World War I India as we unravel the complexities and historical significance of the Khilafat Movement of 1919. This exploration traverses the landscapes of religious unity, political activism and the profound impact on India’s struggle for independence.

. Political and Historical Background:

The Khilafat Movement was indeed a significant political and religious campaign in early 20th-century India, closely tied to the aftermath of World War I and the implications of British policies on The Ottoman Empire. Here’s a breakdown:

. Main Goals:

. Protect holy Islamic sites from non-Muslim control:

The protection of holy Islamic sites from non-Muslim control has been a significant concern for Muslims around the world. These sites hold immense religious and historical importance, and their preservation is of utmost importance to the Muslim community.

One of the most prominent examples is the city of Jerusalem, which is home to several sacred sites, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Muslims believe that these sites are deeply connected to their faith and heritage.

Throughout history, there have been various efforts to safeguard these holy sites. Diplomatic negotiations, international agreements, and local initiatives have been undertaken to ensure that these sites remain under Muslim control or are accessible to Muslims for worship and pilgrimage.

Organizations such as the Islamic Waqf have played a crucial role in managing and protecting these sites, working closely with local authorities and international bodies to uphold their sanctity and significance.

It is important to note that the political landscape and conflicts in the region have posed challenges. Ongoing tensions and disputes have sometimes resulted in restrictions on access or attempts to assert control over these holy places.

Muslims worldwide continue to advocate for the preservation and protection of these sites, emphasizing their cultural, religious, and historical significance. Efforts are made to raise awareness, engage in dialogue, and seek peaceful resolutions to ensure the continued access and control of these holy Islamic sites.

  • Restore Ottoman territories, especially Anatolia, Thrace, and Syria

The Khilafat Movement aimed to restore Ottoman territories, including Anatolia, Thrace, and Syria, which were lost after World War I. The movement believed that the Caliphate, as the spiritual and political leader of Muslims, should have control over these regions.

Anatolia, located in present-day Turkey, held historical significance for the Ottoman Empire. The movement sought to reclaim this region and establish it as a stronghold for the Caliphate. Thrace, also part of present-day Turkey, was seen as another crucial territory to be reclaimed.

Syria, which included present-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine, was an area of great importance to the Khilafat Movement. It was seen as a key region to restore the influence and power of the Caliphate.

The movement aimed to achieve these goals through various means, including protests, strikes, and boycotts. They sought international support and advocated for the rights of Muslims in these territories.

However, it is important to note that the Khilafat Movement did not succeed in fully restoring these territories. The geopolitical landscape, the outcomes of World War I, and the subsequent events shaped the fate of these regions differently.

. Secondary Goals:

Promote Hindu-Muslim unity against British colonialism.

  • Gain support from the Indian National Congress and Mahatma Gandhi.
    • Mobilize Indian Muslims politically and religiously.
    • Protecting holy Islamic sites from non-Muslim control involves diplomatic, legal, and advocacy efforts.
    • One crucial aspect is engaging in international diplomacy to ensure that the sovereignty and management of these sites remain in the hands of the Muslim community. This may involve negotiations with relevant governments and international organizations to establish legal frameworks that safeguard the sanctity and control of these sites.
    • Additionally, promoting awareness and garnering support on a global scale can be achieved through diplomatic channels, public relations campaigns, and collaborations with international Muslim organizations. Legal measures can also be pursued to establish and reinforce the rights of Muslims to control and manage these sacred sites, ensuring that any disputes are resolved through fair and just legal processes.
    • In the context of Mahatma Gandhi’s approach towards Muslims during the Indian independence movement, he advocated for communal harmony and unity among Hindus and Muslims. Gandhi strongly believed in a secular and inclusive India where people of all religions coexisted peacefully. His efforts included campaigns for religious tolerance, non-violence, and understanding between different religious communities. Gandhi worked towards fostering a spirit of unity and mutual respect among Hindus and Muslims, promoting the idea that both communities could live together harmoniously in an independent India. His emphasis on non-violence and communal harmony played a significant role in shaping the ethos of the Indian independence movement and continues to inspire movements for peace and coexistence worldwide.


  • Sent delegations and petitions to voice demands to the British government and League of Nations.
  • Organized public events to raise awareness.
  • Published materials to spread the Khilafat message.
  • Established funds and committees for local, provincial, and national coordination.
  • Participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement, boycotting British goods and services.
  • Launched the Hijrat Movement in 1920, urging Muslims to migrate to Afghanistan in protest.

Reasons for Failure and Results:

  • Lack of support from British and European powers determined to dismantle the Ottoman Empire.
  • Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s Turkish nationalist movement abolished the caliphate in 1924.
  • Communal riots and violence weakened Hindu-Muslim unity.
  • Gandhi’s suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1922 demoralized Khilafat supporters.
  • The emergence of new political and religious movements among Indian Muslims challenged the Khilafat.


Despite the failure, the Khilafat Movement:

  • Marked a crucial political and religious awakening for Indian Muslims in the 20th century.
    • Contributed to the growth of the Indian nationalist movement.
    • Fostered a positive relationship between Indian Muslims and the Turkish people.
    • Influenced Muslim leaders who played key roles in the history and politics of India and Pakistan.

In My Opinion, The Multifaceted Impact and Consequences of the Khilafat Movement 1919 are these”:

The movement had various effects across different domains:

  1. Biological Effects:
    • The movement itself did not have direct biological effects, but it influenced the lives of individuals who participated in it or were affected by its consequences. The movement was marked by mass protests and demonstrations, and instances of violence occurred in some areas.
  2. Historical Effects:
    • The Khilafat Movement is historically significant as it represented a convergence of political and religious interests in colonial India. It was a response to the perceived injustices of the Treaty of Sèvres, which threatened the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire.
  3. Social Effects:
    • The movement brought together Hindus and Muslims in a common cause, fostering a sense of unity against colonial rule. It demonstrated the potential for joint action based on shared concerns, laying the groundwork for future collaboration between religious communities.
  4. Religious Effects:
    • The Khilafat Movement was rooted in Islamic sentiments, with the aim of protecting the Caliphate, which held religious significance for Muslims. The movement, however, did not achieve its primary goal as the Caliphate was eventually abolished by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1924. This led to disillusionment among some participants and marked a decline in the political influence of religious leaders in Indian politics.
  5. Emotional Effects:
    • The movement evoked strong emotions among its participants, fueled by a sense of religious duty and a desire to protect Islamic interests. The disappointment resulting from the failure to achieve its objectives had emotional repercussions, impacting the psyche of those who had invested hope and passion in the movement.

Consequences of the Failure:

  1. Political Consequences:
    • The failure of the Khilafat Movement contributed to the realization that religious appeals alone were not sufficient to achieve political goals. This realization played a role in shaping the subsequent political landscape in India, leading to the emergence of more secular and inclusive movements.
  2. Communal Relations:
    • While the movement initially fostered Hindu-Muslim unity, its failure, coupled with subsequent events, contributed to growing communal tensions. The disappointment among Muslims may have influenced their political choices in the years that followed, leading to the demand for a separate Muslim state, eventually resulting in the partition of India in 1947.
  3. Shift in Political Strategies:
    • The failure of the Khilafat Movement prompted a reassessment of political strategies among Indian Muslims. It paved the way for the emergence of leaders like Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who advocated for a separate Muslim state.
  4. Legacy:
    • The Khilafat Movement left a lasting impact on the collective memory of Indian Muslims. It remains a historical episode that is remembered for the unity it briefly fostered and the subsequent challenges it posed to the political aspirations of the Muslim community in India