Maulana Muhammad Ali - A Strategic Point in Indo-Muslim Politics
‘A great man’, says Justice Oliver Wendell, Jr., ‘represents a great ganglion in the nerves of society, or to vary the figure, a strategic point in the campaign of history, and part of his greatness consists in being there’. (italic ours). And Maulana Muhammad Ali was one such nerve-centre in Indo-Muslim society during the second and third decades of the twentieth century. Indeed, he was one such strategic point in the onward march of Indo-Muslim politics that eventually found culmination and crystallization in the emergence of Pakistan. Actually no one else represented the tone, tenor and temper of the romanticist, Khilafatist era (in the 1910s and 1920s) as he did in his hectic life, his revolutionary activities his numerous discomfitures, and in his tragic death. Whether he led a hectic life, whether he took recourse to a revolutionary path, or whether he goaded himself to die a tragic death outside the frontiers of his motherland cataclysmically, in whatever he did, he, consciously or unconsciously, carried forward the campaign of Indo-Muslim history: the redemption of Islam in India and abroad. In other words, he stood, above all, for an honourable existence for Muslims in India and in the rest of the troubled Muslim world in the existential crisis that convulsed Muslim India and that world.