Born and initially educated in Bhopal, the Maulana lit the fire of India’s freedom across the world.
He was a staunch anti-colonialist, Vice-President of the Ghadar movement, a strident defender of Hindu-Muslim unity and the Prime Minister of the Government of India in exile, set up in Afghanistan. Its President was Raja Mahendra Pratap.
The trailblazer Maulana was an “NRI” but one whose life was committed to India. In his revolutionary lifetime, he would visit London (1895) United States (1903), Japan (1909), Germany (1914), Turkey, Afghanistan (1915), Soviet Union (1919), France, Rome (1924) & Belgium (1927)
In Japan, he took a university job in Tokyo and started a journal ‘Islamic Fraternity’ which was banned by the British. In Germany, he started the Indian Council for Independence. He met Anwar Pasha, President of Turkey and Lenin, the leader of the newly formed Soviet Union.
Throughout his life, he was constantly under British surveillance, which forced him to be on the move frequently. Here’s the fiery Maulana & Mahendra Pratap with the Indo-Turko-German Mission to Afghanistan in 1915. They’d formed the Govt of India in exile
In his travels, his goal was always the same: building an alliance to oust British from India & Asia. He delivered a powerful speech at the Anti-Imperialism Conference held in Belgium He knew Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Turkish, German, French & Japanese
He was a powerful orator, an informed Islamic scholar & author of several books. In 1927, he returned to Yugantar Ashram (San Francisco) the HQ of Ghadar movement. He was accompanied by his “President” Mahendra Pratap during his US tour
In “Violent Fraternity”, Shruti Kapila writes: “Barkatullah’s trajectory points to an individual life as both weapon and object of a new kind of politics that Ghadar signified” The untiring Maulana passed away on 20.9.1927 in US. Mahendra Pratap said his last words were:
Ghadar’s “United States of India” remembered Barkatullah sb with these words “To the revolutionaries of Bharat, Maulvi Barkatullah will be a perpetual source of inspiration. He lived for India; he died for India”
Thanks to Anas from Bhopal, who wrote to me requesting that I tweet about Maulana Barkatullah Bhopali. Also thanks to Ayub sb for this brief biography of Maulana