Khaksar Tehrik

Symbol of the Khaksar Tehrik

A Movement that believed in love for humanity
A Movement of devoted and selfless people
A Movement that mobilized the nation to rise for freedom
A Movement that laid the foundation for independence

A Brief Introduction to the Khaksar Tehrik:

The Khaksar Tehrik, based in Lahore, Pakistan, was established by Allama Mashriqi in 1930, keeping in mind the plight and poor condition of the masses in India. The Tehrik was created to free India from foreign rule, to uplift the masses, and to revive the lost glory of the Muslims, who had previously ruled India for almost one thousand years. Although Mashriqi firmly believed that the right to rule India belonged to the Muslims, at the same time, he wanted to create an environment of fairness, justice, and equal rights for non-Muslims as well. For this reason, non-Muslims were allowed to join the Tehrik and the Tehrik was kept free of prejudice against any people, regardless of caste, color, creed, or religion.

The Khaksar Tehrik itself was a very well organized movement comprised of dedicated and selfless people. The movement worked under a charter that everyone was to follow, with no exceptions. The charter ensured fairness to all; even Allama Mashriqi, founder and leader of the Tehrik, was held accountable for his actions. The Tehrik was also kept free of any membership fee. All Khaksars were required to bear their own expenses and devote time to the cause. This helped to develop the spirit of self-reliance and encouraged the Khaksars to spend their own money and time for the national cause.

Khaki Attire and Spade:

The Khaksars all wore the same khaki attire with the word "Akhuwat" (brotherhood) written on the sleeve of their shirts. In their hands, they carried a belcha (spade). There was a very specific reason for their choice of attire. The Khaki color of their clothing was chosen because it is closest to the color of the Earth. Also, Khaksar means "a humble person." The spade represents humility, which is a part of every Khaksar. In the same way that a spade is used to level the ground, the Khaksars used it as a symbol of the "leveling" of society. Most importantly, the Khaki attire and spade helped to remove the barrier between the rich and the poor. This dress code was created to bring equality among all the people regardless of their economic or social background.

Some Functions of the Khaksar Tehrik:

  1. Reform the nation by laying emphasis on character building.
  2. Remove sectarianism and prejudices and bring brotherhood and unity to the people.
  3. Impart the spirit of sacrifice for the national cause.
  4. Make community service an integral part of every Khaksar. Every Khaksar was required to perform community service for Muslims as well as non-Muslims. The community service included helping the poor, elderly, sick, needy, etc. Khaksars were also required to help keep their respective neighborhoods clean. In the event of a national calamity or disaster, Khaksars were required to render all services to help the affected people. Social service created brotherhood and a spirit of nation building among the Khaksars and set an example for others to follow. The gathering of Khaksars every evening brought them together and gave them a sense of achievement and pride because they were performing a collective duty towards the national cause.
  5. Remove distinction between the rich and the poor. Every Khaksar was required to wear Khaki clothes in order to bring equality and a sense of belonging to the Tehrik.
  6. Impart discipline in every Khaksar.
  7. Impart soldierly and disciplined training in order to ensure the physical and mental health
  8. Produce leaders. To achieve this, a system of ranks was introduced to the Tehrik.
  9. Achieve freedom.
  10. Finally, bring peace and unite humanity by creating love among the people.

Mashriqi worked tirelessly to achieve the goals that he had set forth for the Khaksar Tehrik. The noble ideals of the Tehrik combined with Mashriqi’s passionate speeches and writings soon attracted large numbers of people, predominantly Muslims. These people came from all walks of life and from every part of the Indian sub-continent. By the late 1930s, the Movement was at its peak and had not only spread to every corner of India, but had established offices in other countries as well. Mashriqi’s followers, supporters, and sympathizers were now well into the millions.

Growth of the Khaksar Tehrik Under Mashriqi’s Leadership:

The Khaksar Tehrik grew by leaps and bounds in India under the leadership of Allama Mashriqi. He was not only a genius but an exceptional visionary and one of the most talented and selfless people the world had ever seen. Allama Mashriqi's sincerity, devotion, and outstanding organizational skills helped the Khaksar Tehrik spread to every corner of the Indian sub-continent.

The Pakistan Resolution (Lahore Resolution) and the Massacre of the Khaksars on March 19, 1940:

Author: Nasim Yousaf
Copyright Nasim Yousaf 2003-2004

By the late 1930s, the Khaksar Tehrik had become the most organized movement in the history of India. The Khaksars’ tremendous popularity became a threat to the Government of India and other opponents. As such the Government decided to eliminate the Khaksar Movement. The Punjab Premier, Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan, supported the Central Government and started imposing restrictions on Khaksar activities.

In the early months of 1940, Mashriqi went to Delhi in order to ask the Viceroy of India to remove the restrictions on the Khaksar activities. During his stay in Delhi, Mashriqi also held meetings with Quaid-e-Azam (Muhammad Ali Jinnah) and other Muslim leaders. Mashriqi asked Quaid-e-Azam and the other Muslim leaders to use their influence on the Punjab Premier to remove the restrictions. However, the restrictions remained in place.

While Mashriqi was making these efforts in Delhi, a Khaksar took the initiative to form a jaish (contingent) of 313 Khaksars (on March 19, 1940). The jaish began marching towards the Shahi Masjid (Mosque) in Lahore to offer prayers. Although the Khaksars were marching peacefully, the police intercepted them and asked them to halt their parade. However, the Khaksars kept on marching, ignoring the police who were standing in their way. A senior police officer could not tolerate the defiance of his order and slapped the Salar of the Khaksars. The situation quickly deteriorated. The police, mounted on horses, tried to run over and through the Khaksars. The determined Khaksars remained steadfast and the police resorted to lathi charge and then open-fired ruthlessly on the Khaksars. Many of the Khaksars were brutally killed (Shaheed) or injured. The indiscriminate firing was no less than the notorious massacre at Amritsar by General Dyer on April 13, 1919. The massacre of the Khaksars on March 19 was not only a tragedy for Lahore, but for the entire nation. An official report stated that 32 people died on that fateful day (Source: The Tribune, April 16, 1940). However, K.L. Gauba (Member Legislative Assembly) wrote in his book Friends and Foes that “According to eye witnesses the dead were more than 200” (Source: Friends and Foes by K.L. Gauba, page 204, Publisher: Indian Book Company [New Delhi, India]).

In order to control the situation in Lahore, the military was convened. After the bloody clash, the city of Lahore was essentially under emergency laws; the news media was censored and processions, public speeches, and gatherings were banned. The Khaksars who were killed were not to be addressed as martyrs or heroes in the public media. Any news about the Khaksar incident had to be approved by the Government before it was published. Only the Government’s version of the story was to appear in the news media. Allama Mashriqi was arrested along with thousands of prominent Khaksars. His phone was disconnected and the Khaksar Movement was banned. Mashriqi’s bank account was seized and his property was confiscated. The Khaksar Tehrik’s headquarters (in Lahore) were raided. During the raid, many Khaksars were arrested, literature and other materials were confiscated, and Mashriqi’s son, Ehsan Ullah Khan Aslam, was hurt by the police when they hit him with a tear gas grenade. Ehsan Ullah Khan Aslam later died because of the head injury he received from the grenade. At the time of Ehsan Ullah Khan Aslam’s death, Mashriqi was in jail and was not allowed to attend his funeral (Mashriqi wrote a poem in memory of his son in his book Hareem-e-Ghaib).

Quaid-e-Azam’s Statement after the Massacre on March 19, 1940:

Upon hearing of the news of the killing of the innocent Khaksars, Quaid-e-Azam issued the following statement (on March 20, 1940):

"I am deeply grieved to hear the tragic account of the incident in Lahore last evening regarding the clash between the Police and the Khaksars resulting in terrible loss of life and injury on both the sides. I hope the Khaksars will carry out the instructions issued by their leader, Mr. Inayatullah Mashriqi, published in the newspapers of this morning. As one who has always been so kindly treated by the Khaksars, I appeal to them most earnestly to keep peace and not precipitate matters by defying law and order. It is difficult to say anything till I am in possession of full facts of the situation." Source: The Tribune, Lahore March 21, 1940

The Pakistan Resolution (Lahore Resolution) and the Khaksar resolution:

It is important to note that after the massacre of the Khaksars, the All India Muslim League did not postpone its 27th Annual Session at Minto Park, Lahore. The historic Session started on March 22, 1940 and ended on March 24, 1940.

On March 24,1940, the Pakistan Resolution was passed by the Muslim League. On the same day and at the same Session, Quaid-e-Azam presented a resolution on the Khaksar massacre. This Khaksar resolution, which was unanimously passed with loud cheers, reads as follows:

"This Session of the All India Muslim League places on record its deep sense of sorrow at the unfortunate and tragic occurrence on the 19th of March, 1940, owing to a clash between the Khaksars and the police, resulting in the loss of a large number of lives and injuries to many more, and sincerely sympathizes with those who suffered and with their families and dependents.

This Session calls upon the Government forthwith to appoint an independent and impartial committee of inquiry, the personnel of which would command the perfect confidence of the people, with instructions to them to make full and complete investigation and inquiry in the whole affair, and make their report as soon as possible.

This Session authorizes the Working Committee to take such actions in the matter as they may consider proper immediately after publication of the report of the Committee. This Session urges upon the various Governments that the order declaring the Khaksar Organization unlawful should be removed as soon as possible."

Important Note on the Date of the Pakistan Resolution (Lahore Resolution):

It is important to note that the Pakistan Resolution was not passed on March 23, 1940, as is the common misconception. In fact, it was actually passed on March 24, 1940.

Tragedy Unites the Muslims:

Unfortunately the historic Khaksar resolution is mostly unknown to the public because it does not appear in the supplements published by the media each year on March 23. The history of Pakistan is incomplete without discussing the tragedy of March 19, 1940 and the Muslim League's Khaksar resolution, which was passed on the same day as the Pakistan Resolution (Lahore Resolution). History is witness to the fact that behind every freedom movement lies the blood and sacred lives of martyrs. The massacre of the Khaksars became a turning point in the struggle for the independence of Pakistan. Indeed, the foundation of independence was actually laid with the killing of the innocent Khaksars on March 19, 1940. The significance of the Session of the Muslim League in Lahore, which took place only three days after the massacre, was greatly enhanced as a result of the killings of the Khaksars. No Muslim could ignore the incident at that time and the tremendous sympathy and support for the Khaksars was seen at the Session. The crowd at the Session chanted slogans in favor of the Khaksars and denounced the Premier of the Punjab. Various newspapers, including The Hindustan Times (which was in fact an anti-Khaksar newspaper), wrote that during the Session, slogans of "Khaksars Zindabad" were raised and the meeting was "frequently punctuated with Khaksar slogans." Source: The Hindustan Times, March 25,1940

Thus, the massacre of the Khaksars helped unite the Muslims under the Muslim League while Mashriqi and thousands of the Khaksars were in jail and the Khaksar Tehrik was banned. Within seven years of the massacre of the Khaksars, the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent had an independent homeland. The British divided the sub-continent into Pakistan and India and so, two separate homelands, one for the Muslims and the other for the Hindus, came into existence.

The Unforgettable Contributions of Mashriqi and the Khaksars to the Creation of Pakistan:

After the massacre, Allama Mashriqi, who had began the movement to remove the nation from the shackles of foreign rule, was kept in jail for almost two years without a trial. Thousands of Khaksars were sentenced to anywhere from six months to life imprisonment. While Mashriqi was in jail, he was told that if he didn’t disband the Khaksar Tehrik, he wouldn’t be released. But Allama replied that the Movement was not his personal property and refused to succumb to any pressure. Requests made by other political leaders and public outcries for his release were ignored by the government. Mashriqi wrote a letter from jail to Dr. Rafiq Ahmed Khan of Aligarh Muslim University. In his letter he stated, "My last days are nearing. It will be alright if I receive a reply and I am released. Otherwise I am going to die…I am not going to change my decision nor do I repent for it. I am happy because I am going to lay down my life..." At the conclusion of his letter, Mashriqi stated, "Again gird up your loins. Do not let my face be blackened. Save the honour of Islam…"

Ultimately, Mashriqi had to fast to the point of death in order to obtain his release. The Government of India at the time kept Mashriqi’s fasting a secret. However, the news was leaked out and Mashriqi’s release became inevitable. Finally, on February 18, 1942, he was released, but his movements were still kept restricted to Madras. When Mashriqi emerged from jail, he was a skeleton and would have surely died if his release had been delayed any further.

After his release from jail, Mashriqi resumed his activities for the freedom of India, despite the fact that his movements were restricted to Madras. The restriction on his movements and the ban on the Khaksar Tehrik was ultimately removed in December, 1942 and Mashriqi finally arrived in Lahore as a free man in January, 1943. He was given a rousing welcome upon his arrival. He continued his services for freedom and remained dedicated to the cause of uplifting the nation until his death. Everything he said and did was what he thought was right for the nation.

The Khaksar Tehrik and Allama Mashriqi’s services to the cause of freedom are unforgettable. Their sacrifices, struggle, and efforts for independence served an integral part in the appearance of Pakistan on the world map on August 14, 1947. It is unfortunate that the Muslim League that came to power after independence completely denied the Khaksars’ contribution and their struggle towards freedom and took full credit for the creation of Pakistan. The nation must not be kept ignorant of the atrocities that Allama Mashriqi and the Khaksars faced during their struggle and their efforts in mobilizing the nation to rise for freedom. A great injustice to the Khaksars has been done in the history books of Pakistan. It is the duty of the Government of Pakistan to let the nation know about the suffering and contributions of Mashriqi and the Khaksars. Mashriqi was the only prominent Muslim political leader to suffer so greatly at the hands of the rulers. All Mashriqi ever wanted was to rebuild the nation and lead the people to freedom.

The Public Media:

Pakistan’s media, particularly radio and television, has never made a serious effort to convey to the public the contributions of Mashriqi and the Khaksar Tehrik towards the creation of Pakistan. The media has even covered those that looted the country and emptied its exchequer, yet they have failed to let the nation know of the services of noble patriots and heroes such as Allama Mashriqi and the Khaksars. Radio and Television have not conducted any significant programs on the life and times of Mashriqi and his Movement.

Historians and Research Institutes:

It is sad and disheartening that historians are not adequately covering the role that Mashriqi and the Khaksars played. Non-Khaksar historians have done a great injustice to the nation by not highlighting the positive role played by Mashriqi and the Khaksars in Pakistan’s history. While some historians have ignored the crux of the Khaksar Tehrik, many others have even distorted their role and have only given credit to the Muslim League in the creation of Pakistan. Thus, they have wiped out the role of Mashriqi and the Khaksars in Pakistan’s freedom movement.

Government-owned historical research institutes have not collected enough material (from various sources within and outside the country) on the Khaksar Tehrik. It is the duty of such institutions to collect these materials and make them accessible to the public. Furthermore, no research academy or institute has been formed to conduct independent research on Mashriqi and the Khaksar Tehrik. It is suggested to those who are in control in the Government of Pakistan that they make public Mashriqi’s services to the nation. This is not only their moral obligation, but also their national duty. The following steps need to be taken forthwith:

  1. A research academy should be formed to conduct complete research on Mashriqi and his Khaksar Movement.
  2. Mashriqi’s books and speeches need to be translated into English and other languages.
  3. A library exclusively for Khaksar literature should be formed.
  4. All Khaksar materials should be collected from the public, government departments, the India Office (U.K.), and historical resources in India.
  5. Mashriqi and the Khaksars’ role should be made a part of the educational curriculum at all levels.
  6. An official and unbiased biography on Mashriqi should be published depicting his purpose of establishing the Khaksar Tehrik (Movement)
  7. Ichhra, where Mashriqi started his movement in 1930, should be renamed after him and a monument should be built at his grave.
  8. University should be named after Allama Mashriqi.
  9. A monument should be erected in Lahore at the site of the massacre of March 19, 1940.
  10. March 19 should be declared “Martyrs Day” and special seminars should be held in major cities in remembrance of those Khaksars that laid their lives on that day.
  11. Roads should be named after Mashriqi and the Khaksars that were killed.
  12. Official seminars on the Life and Times of Allama Mashriqi should be held on annual basis.
  13. National media should be directed to broadcast/publish special programs on Mashriqi.
  14. A film and television program should be made on Allama Mashriqi and The Khaksar Movement.
  15. A national holiday should be observed on Mashriqi’s birth or death anniversary.

It is very unfortunate that there are those with vested interests who want the nation to forget the contributions of Mashriqi and the Khaksars. We must remember that a nation that forgets its history is one that loses its foundation and direction.

May God bless Pakistan and its people.

This article has also been published in the PakTribune.

News of Mashriqi's Arrest:

Headlines and Tributes to Mashriqi

Articles on the March 19th Tragedy:

Article by Justice A.R. Changaiz

Article in Daily Tameer (Rawalpindi)

Article by Shorish Kashmiri, Editor of Chittan
Continuation of Article by Shorish Kashmiri

Article by Nasim Hijazi, Editor of Kohistan (Rawalpindi)

Article by Ibraheem Jalees, Famous Writer
Continuation of Article by Ibraheem Jalees

Article by Dr. Azmat ullah Bhatti, Author of Al-Mashriqi and Chief Editor of Al-Islah

The Pakistan Times (Published in Lahore, Pakistan)
September 1 1963

© Office of Allama Mashriqi. All rights reserved

Citation Information: The material on this web site has been extracted from Mr. Nasim Yousaf's collections as well as a book he is working on (a book on Allama Mashriqi). If information from this web site is extracted or reproduced, Mr. Nasim Yousaf is to be credited as the source of the information.