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Maulana Barkatullah
--: Biography of Maulana Barkatullah :--


Maulana Barkatullah   was a staunch anti-British Indian revolutionary with sympathy for the Pan-Islamic movement. Barkatullah was born on 7 July 1854 at Itwra Mohalla Bhopal inMadhya Pradesh, India. Barkatullah fought from outside India, with fiery speeches and revolutionary writings in leading newspapers, for the independence of India. Even in the face of adversity and discouragement, Barkatullah rose to a position of pre-eminence in more than one sphere of life by sheer force of merit and hard work. He did not live to see India free but his contribution did bring independence much nearer.
He had educated from primary to college level at Bhopal. Later he went to Bombay and London for his higher education. He was a meritorious scholar and mastered seven languages: Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Turkish, English, German, and Japanese. Born of parents in rather indifferent circumstances he had nothing but his own brilliance and firmness of purpose to help him at school and colleges. Even so, he topped the list of successful candidates in most of the examinations for which he appeared, both in India and England. He became the Quondam Professor of Urdu at the Tokyo University Japan.
Son of Munshi Shaikh Kadaratullah, employed in the service of Bhopal State, Barakatullah lost his father at the age of twelve. Barakatullah “was a very clever youth, (who) left home about 1883 and was employed as a tutor in Khandwa and later in Bombay,” notes J.C. Ker.  In 1887 he came to London, giving private lessons in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, while himself learning German, French, and Japanese. He was invited by the British convert Abdullah Quilliam to work at the Liverpool Muslim Institute. While there he got to know Sirdar Nasrullah Khan of Kabul, brother of the Amir. He reportedly kept the Amir informed about English affairs in India, issuing a weekly news-letter to the Amir’s agent at Karachi from 1896 to 1898. He left for the USA in 1899.
While in England he came in close contact with Lala Hardayal and Raja Mahendra Pratap, son of the Raja of Hathras. He became a friend of Afghan Emir and the editor of the Kabul newspaper Sirejul-ul-Akber'. He was one of the founders of the "Ghadar" (Rebellion) Party in 1913 at San Francisco. Later he became the first prime minister of the Provisional Government of India established on 1 December 1915 in Kabul with Raja Mahendra Pratap as its President. Prof. Barkatullah went to several countries of the world with a mission to rouse politically the Indian community and to seek support for the freedom of India from the famous leaders of the time in those countries. Prominent amongst those were Kaiser Wilhelm II, Amir Habibullah Khan, Mohammed Resched, Ghazi Pasha, Lenin,Hitler.
In England, in 1897, Barakatullah was seen attending meetings of the Muslim Patriotic League. Here, he came across other revolutionary compatriots around Shyamji Krishnavarma. After about a year spent in America, in February 1904 he left for Japan, where he was appointed Professor of Hindustani at the University of Tokyo. In the autumn of 1906, at 1 West 34th Street in New York City, a Pan-Aryan Association was formed by Barakatullah and Samuel Lucas Joshi, a Maratha Christian, son of the late Reverend Lucas Maloba Joshi; it was supported by the Irish revolutionaries of the Clan-na-Gael, the anti-British lawyer Myron H. Phelps and of the equally anti-British Swami Abhedananda who continued the work of Swami Vivekananda. On 21 October 1906, at a meeting of theUnited Irish League held in New York, Barakatullah asked Mr O’Connor, representative of the Irish Parliamentary Party whether, "in the event of the Indian people rising against the oppressive and tyrannical rule of England in India, and in case England should concedeHome Rule to Ireland," would O’Connor "be in favour of the Irish people furnishing soldiers to the British Army to crush the Indian people.” No answer is recorded. According to a report in the Gaelic American, in June 1907, a meeting of Indians, held in New York, passed resolutions “repudiating the right of any foreigner (Mr. Morley) to dictate the future of the Indian people, urging their countrymen to depend upon themselves alone and especially on boycott and swadeshi, condemning the deportation of Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh, and expressing detestation of the action of the British authorities in openly instigating one class of Indians against another at Jamalpurand other places." (Source: Ker, p225).
In August 1907, the New York Sun published Barakatullah’s letter stating how Englishmen were getting nervous “because of the Hindus and the Muslims are drawing together and the success of nationalism seems to be nearer.” More vehement was his letter in Persian, which appeared in the Urdu Mualla of Aligarh, U.P., in May 1907, in which Barakatullah strongly advocated the necessity for unity between Hindus and Muslims, and defined the two chief duties of Muslims as patriotism and friendship with all Muslims outside India. This prophetic argument preceded by four years the publication of Germany and the Coming War, by Bernhardi, warning England to be aware of the extreme danger represented by the unity of Hindu and Muslim extremists in Bengal, as reported by the Rowlatt Commission (Chapter VII). He thought that the performance of both these duties depended entirely upon one rule of conduct, namely concord and unity with the Hindus of India in all political matters. (Ker, p226). In October 1907, Madame Cama reached New York and declared to journalists : “We are in slavery, and I am in America for the sole purpose of giving a thorough exposé of the British oppression (…) and to interest the warm-hearted citizens of this great Republic in our enfranchisement.” On 16 August 1908 arrived from Kolkata Bhupendra Nath Datta, Vivekananda’s hot-blooded brother. Invited by George Freeman to edit the Free Hindustan from theGaelic American newspaper office, Taraknath Das went to New York to join his old colleague Datta. In March 1909 Barakatullah left again for Japan.
In December 1921, when Chatto started an Indian News and Information Bureau in Berlin, Datta refused to accept his old friend’s leadership and formed a rival body called India Independence Party, with Barakatullah as its president. It did manage to be financed by Moscow. According to Sir Cecil Kaye, this support to Barakatullah set-up was provided by the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs Commissariat (Narkomindel), headed by Chicherin who considered it worthwhile to cultivate at the same time the non-communist group of revolutionary nationalists
Barakatullah died in San Francisco on 20 September 1927. His body was taken from San Francisco to Sacramento. Then his coffin was taken to Maryville where he was buried in the Muslim Cemetery with the promise that after the freedom of his country, his body would be transferred to his own motherland, to Bhopal. His remains nonetheless lie buried in Sacramento City Cemetery, California.
With a view to perpetuate the name of a learned scholar and the revolutionary son of the soil amongst the youth of future generations, Bhopal University was rechristened as Barkatullah University   in 1988, after the name of Maulana Barkatullah Bhopali.
Source : Wikipedia
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