The Lead

Four legendary Muslims RSS chief sees as role models for India

JAMMU: From the situation in Kashmir to crypto-currency and video streaming platforms, the Rashtriya Sweyamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat touched upon almost all contemporary issues in his annual Dussehra –or Vijayadashmi –address Friday morning.

Bhagwat’s speech also emphasized on religion in the same sequence as he has been talking about Islam and Muslims in recent months. He claimed that Islam and Christianity entered India with invaders and grew along with them, while Zoroastrianism and Judaism came seeking refuge.

“That is history”, he said. No one has relations with the invaders. All are descendants of Hindus, who believed this diversity is unity and accepted all and lived in peace and harmony, he said. History is that Islam came as an aggressor. We have no relation with them (aggressors). Today, one can live as Muslim. Our country is generous. Our role models will be the Muslims who sacrificed their lives for the country, he said. History should not be seen through the prism of animosity. We have to learn to ensure how animosity does not rise, Bhagwat added.

The RSS Chief mentioned the names of four legendary Muslims from Indian history and said “people like them could be our role models”. The country had seen martyrs like Hasankhan Mewati, Hakimkhan Suri, Khudabaksh, and Gaus Khan and a revolutionary like Ashfaqullah Khan, Bhagwat said. Here is a brief introduction of the four legendary Muslims the RSS chief described as role models:

Hasan Khan Mewati

Raja Hasan Khan Mewai. Image Courtesy: Wikipeadia

Raja Hasan Khan Mewati, son of the previous ruler Khanzada Alawal Khan, was a Muslim Rajput ruler of Mewat State. He died on 17 March 1527. His dynasty had ruled Mewat State for nearly 200 years. He was a descendant of Raja Nahar Khan Mewati, who was the Wali of Mewat in 14th century.

He re-constructed the Alwar fort in 15th century. He joined the Rajput Confederation with 12,000 allies in the Battle of Khanwa, where he was killed in the battle by Mughal forces led by Babur

Hakim Khan Suri

Hakim Khan Sur An ethnic Pathan, (also known as Hakim Khan Sur Pathan) was a descendant of Sher Shah Suri and a general in Rana Pratap’s army. He fought with him in the Battle of Haldighati and died in 1576. In Haldighati Battle, he commanded an army of Afghans who were against the rising power of Mughal Empire.

The Battle of Haldighati is widely but wrongly perceived as a Hindu-Muslim conflict, but this is not the case. Both armies had a mix of Hindus and Muslims. This was a struggle between the Mughal imperialism and Mewar. Whereas Hakim Khan Suri led the vanguard for Rana Pratap, Akbar’s army was commanded by the Rajput chief of Jaipur, Man Singh I and half the Mughal army was composed of Rajput soldiers.

Hakim Khan was part of the battle to exact revenge from the Mughals for the defeat of Sikandar Shah Suri, his forefather. He also served as the treasurer of Maharana Pratap. Hakim Khan Suri occupies a high place in the annals of Mewar and an award of the Maharana Mewar Foundation bears his name. Hakim Khan Sur Award goes is given by the foundation to people for outstanding achievement and service to the nation. Every year a commemorative festival is held at Haldighati where his memorial is located




Khan Bahadur Khuda Bakhsh Khan  

There have been more than two persons with the name of Khuda Bakhsh in the Indian history. It is not fully clear who the RSS chief was talking about. However, the legendary Khuda Bakhsh who is remembered better for the library in his name was born in Chapra on in 1842. He was brought up under the guidance of his father who dedicated his life for the betterment of humanity. Educated at Patna and Calcutta he started his professional career as Peshkar. In 1880 he was appointed the Government Pleader of Patna and in 1881 the title of Khan Bahadur was conferred upon him for his social service. He was elevated to the post of Chief Justice of Nizam’s Court Hyderabad for a period of three years in 1895.

Khan Bahadur Khuda Bakhsh is better remembered for a library in his name in Patina. Khuda Bakhsh Library emerged out of a collection of Maulvi Mohammad Bakhsh, who hailed from Chapra, a district of Bihar. He was a man of letters and law and had a great passion for books. He collected about 1,400 manuscripts including some rare printed books. When he was on his death-bed in 1876 he entrusted the whole lot to his son and wished him to open a library for the public whenever he should find himself in a position to do so. Khuda Bakhsh, thus, inherited from his father love for books and dedication to public service. He made it a mission of life to establish a public library so as to fulfil his father’s dream. He made all possible efforts to acquire rare books and manuscripts. He also borrowed services of a book-hunter to collect manuscripts from the learning centres in the Arab world. He devoted himself to this noble cause.

Khan Bahadur Khuda Bakhsh Khan. Image courtesy: Khuda Baksh Oriental Library

With the acquisition of books he laid foundation of a two-storied building for the library. It was ready in 1888 at the cost of Rs. 80,000 and the books were shifted to this newly-constructed beautiful building. To fulfil the long-cherished desire of his father, Khuda Bakhsh opened it for the people of Patna on 29th October, 1891 with 4,000 rare manuscripts in Arabic, Persian and Turkish, apart from the printed books in Arabic, Persian and English.

The library was donated to the public and the Govt. of Bengal was made its trustee. It was modestly named as Oriental Public Library according to the Trust Deed. The people, however, prefixed his name in view of his great service to the public. Since then it is officially known as Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library. But popularly it is called Khuda Bakhsh Library.


Mohammad Ghaus Khan

Ghaus Khan was the son of Captain Boota Khan of Rawalpindi and studied at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. Rawalpindi was then part of the undivided India. He was commissioned as an officer in the British Indian Army. He joined Indian National Army (INA) with the several British Indian soldiers and took command of Rangoon (Burma). Later, he became the Brigadier and then the Commander Administrator of Rangoon.


Ashfaqullah Khan

The legendary revolutionary Ashfaqulla Khan (1900-1927) was a celebrated activist of the Indian Independence Movement. Ashfaqullah was born in Shahjahanpur to a Muslim Pathan family of Khyber tribe.

After Mahatma Gandhi Mahatma Gandhi decided to withdraw the Non-cooperation movement following Chaura Chauri incident, many young people including Khan felt depressed. That is when Khan decided to form an organization with like-minded freedom fighters which resulted in the formation of Hindustan Republican Association in 1924. This association’s purpose was to organize armed revolutions to achieve a free India.

To give a boost to their movement and buy arms and ammunition to carry out their activities, Khan and other revolutionaries, namely Ram Prasad Bismil, Rajendra Lahiri, Thakur Roshan Singh, Sachindra Bakshi, Chandrashekar Azad, Keshab Chakravarty, Banwari Lal, Murari Lal Gupta, Mukundi Lal, and Manmathnath Gupta looted the train carrying Indian money by British in Kakori near Lucknow.

Ashfaq Ulla Khan. Image courtesy: Wikipedia

A month passed after the train action, and yet none of the train robbers were arrested. Although the British government had spread a large investigative net. On the morning of 26 October 1925, Ram Prasad Bismil was caught by the police and Khan was the only one untraced by the police. He went into hiding and moved to Banaras from Bihar, where he worked in an engineering company for ten months. He wanted to move abroad to learn engineering to further help the freedom struggle and so he went to Delhi to find ways to move out of the country. He took the help of one of his Pathan friends who was also his classmate in the past. This friend, in turn, betrayed him by informing the police about his whereabouts and on the morning of 17 July 1926 police came to his house and arrested him.

Khan was detained in the Faizabad jail and a case was filed against him. His brother Riyasatullah Khan was his legal counsel. While in jail, Ashfaqulla Khan recited the Quran and started saying his prayers regularly and during the Islamic month of Ramadan strictly fasted. The case for the Kakori dacoity was concluded by awarding death sentence to Bismil, Khan, Rajendra Lahiri and Thakur Roshan Singh. The others were given life sentences

Khan was put to death by hanging on 19 December 1927 at Faizabad Jail. This revolutionary man became a martyr and a legend among his people due to his love for the motherland, his clear thinking, unshakeable courage, firmness, and loyalty


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