In 1915 the leaders of the All-India Muslim League and the Indian National Congress met for the first time in history out of a desire to end British rule, and together they drafted a reform memorandum, which was sent to the British and subsequently ignored. The Montagu-Chemsford reforms of 1918, which established the basis of democratic principles in the British executive branch as a reward for Indian military support in World War I, were supported by both the Muslim League and Congress. Unfortunately, this cooperation was short lived, and other issues would soon lead to a divide between the two parties.
In late 1918, the Ottoman Empire seemed to face imminent dissolution, and with its dissolution, the disbandment of the caliphate, the office that had been the supreme leader of the Muslim faith for many years. In protest of this, the Muslim League passed a resolution to work to preserve the caliphate, and what came to be known as the Khilafat movement was born. The emotional appeal was immense, and its interests overlapped with those of the Indian subcontinent.
One year later, the British passed the Rowlett Acts, which allowed the British preventative detention with charges or a trial. In protest, demonstrators gathered in Jallianwala Bagh gardens and were open fired on by the British, killing nearly four hundred and wounding three times as many. In response to what came to be known as the Jallianwala Bagh Tragedy, the leaders of the Khilafat movement and the Indian National Congress issued the first of many statements calling for a noncooperation movement, boycotting British goods and institutions, a movement headed by Mohandas Gandhi himself.
Despite the best efforts of the Khilafat movement, the Ottoman Empire was dissolved in 1920 with the signing of the Treaty of Sevres, and the caliphate was abolished in 1922 when the sultan of a much-reduced Turkey was removed. However, the Khilafat movement represented a legitimate unification of the Muslim people and was a step towards the establishment of a seperate Muslim state.
|Mehmed IV, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, 1918|