By: Mohammed kafeel Ahmed
Director ISLAMIC HUBB
The British first arrived in India in 1608 under the name of the East India Company and gradually established their influence. During a span of about 150 years, they transformed their trading company into a form of government. Initially, the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daula, fought wars against the British. He won small battles, but he was assassinated in 1757 due to the betrayal of his minister and advisor, Mir Jafar.
In 1764, Syed Qasim, the loyal son-in-law of the traitor Mir Jafar, fought a war against the British with the help of Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula, ruler of Oudh and Mughal Emperor Shah Alam of Delhi, in which the Muslims were defeated, after which the East India Company moved towards Sultan Tipu’s Mysore with the intention of conquering India from north to south.
In 1799, Tipu, the Lion of Mysore, was martyred due to the treachery of his minister, Mir Sadiq. Upon being given the option to surrender, Tipu uttered the historic phrase that resonates in the heart of every courageous person: “The life of a lion for a day is better than a hundred years of a jackal’s life.”
In 1803, the British hoisted the “Union Jack” on the Red Fort in Delhi, declaring that the people belonged to God, the country belonged to the King, and the order belonged to the Company.After this incident, Chirag Shah Abdul-Aziz Dehlavi of Wali Allahi family declared India (which was Dar al-Islam till now) as Dar al-Harb.He instructed his nephew Shah Ismail to prepare for war under Syed Ahmed Bareilly. They initiated a movement against the British all over India through their followers.This movement sought to challenge British authority and regain independence for India.
In the 19th century, several unsuccessful attempts were made against the British in various parts of India.
Among the people of India, the Muslims were the first to sense the threat of the British.
Then, in 1857, the British deposed the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, and became the rulers of united India, subjecting the people to all sorts of oppression.
The only loss to the non-Muslims from the British control of India was the occupation of their country by foreigners, but the Muslims faced double the problem, as the British were also imposing their Christian ideology and promoting obscenity/immorality and vulgarity. Thus, it was an assault on both the country and the Muslims’ nation and their faith.
Therefore, the Ulamas (muslim scholars) removed the stigma of Madarsas everywhere, and considered the safeguarding of religion and the nation as their foremost duty. They also prepared individuals who played a significant role in India’s freedom struggle. Subhash Chandra Bose’s Azad India Army also had a substantial Muslim representation. Meanwhile, the Congress was ready to run the government under British authority without getting complete independence, but the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind did not agree with this approach. Later, the Congress also came to an agreement.
Then, after almost a century of continuous struggle and the sacrifice of millions of lives, the dark shadow of the British rule over India came to an end, and India was declared as an independent country.
However, the British carried out certain actions during their rule that continue to pose challenges for us even today.
1) The British aimed to weaken the influence of Muslims in India, as this country was ruled by Muslim kings before the British. A conquering nation often seeks to eradicate the governing spirit of the conquered one to solidify its own rule.
Therefore, the British manipulated the Hindus, who were the majority here, by labeling Muslims as outsiders and Hindus as true natives. This deception sparked Hindu-Muslim animosity, which remains a significant issue in the country today. Both the Hindu and Muslim communities coexisted in the past, but such riots did not occur as we witness today.
2) The British instilled their culture in such a way that the Indian people did not come out of mental slavery even after independence. Even today, speaking English is considered an achievement in India, Western ideas and civilization are considered as the standard of progress /development.
3) Religion and the world, which were equally viable in the past, The ideas of the British eliminated the importance of religion by making it a personal matter, and made material development the ultimate purpose of life.
4) The golden bird, India, had its wealth looted and invested in the development of England, leading Indians into a world of poverty; poverty and destitution was sky-high at the time of independence.
5) United India, which extended from Afghanistan to Bangladesh, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, was divided into four countries.
Despite all the efforts of the British, today India is far ahead in the race among developing countries. Apart from some disruptive elements favoured by the British, the people of India still aspire to lead lives of harmony and peace.
An important clarification for all Indians is that Islam does not oppose the existence of other religions; rather, it opposes oppression and injustice, whether it is in the form of an ideology or propagated by an individual. If someone bearing the name of a Muslim or identifying as a Muslim is opposing the presence of an ideology or he is doing terrorism, a true Muslim will never support him. Islam has come for peace, not for oppression.
May Allah Almighty grant us all the opportunity to actively participate in the development of the country while following our religion. Aameen