“The actual spirit of Marx’s thought and Divine religions is the same. The objective of both is to provide a dignified and peaceful life to the oppressed, punished people of God by freeing them from cruelty and oppression.”

–Maulvi Barkatullah, “Bolshevism and Islamic Nations”

 

Born in 1854 in Bhopal, Maulvi Barkatullah was an apostle of the Indian Independence Movement. He left India in 1906 and travelled throughout the world to seek support against the British Imperialism and European Capitalism in Asia. He is considered one of the founding members of Ghaddar Party which was formed in San Francisco in 1913 by the immigrant Indians. Ghaddar was very central in influencing, sparking, shaping the movement for independence of India from the oppressive rule of the British. Barkatullah was also the first Prime Minister of the Free Hindustan government in exile formed in Kabul in 1915. Similarly, Barkatullah also expressed his whole hearted support for the government of Russia which after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 extended its support to the liberation movements of the colonized countries all across the world. For an effective struggle against the British oppressors, Barkatullah also advocated for the unity of the oppressed; the Hindus and Muslims of India. He died in San Francisco in 1927.

Despite such a prominent role he played in our independence, there is no recognition of Barkatullah in our official Pakistani history. Like many other countless Muslim heroes of Independence Movement, Barkatullah has also been erased from our history because his struggles do not fit in with the communal politics of the Muslim League. He should have fought against Hindus instead of the British to be remembered along with Jinnah.