The Case of Darul Uloom Deoband, Pashtuns and Jihad — II


The Jihadi movements in the frontier area made the British intelligence believe that the militancy is slowly coming down to a fine art. At that time the British intelligence was unsure about the hand-in-glove cooperation between the frontier tribes and Darul Uloom Deoband,  but they did believe that the fanatics from the sub-continent were actively supporting the militancy in the frontier region against the British power.

Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madni writes again in his book  Tehreek Reshmi Rumal that we (Daruloom Deoband) would assist the frontier tribes and supply them with all the crucial information to keep them at advantage and step ahead of British. Madni further writes that the Pashtun mullas were the best men upon whom the spirit of nationalism and religion was easy to be invoked.

Interestingly, those people who did not agree with the Jihad of the frontier tribes in the frontier region saw their houses burnt down at the hands of Jihadist on account of rejecting the holy insurgency. Maulana Barkatullah, a known anti-colonialist  would ardently support such practices. While the proclamation of Jihad against the British was obtained from the Ottoman commander commander in-chief in Hejaz (present day KSA), it was noted that Obaidullah Sindhi himself wanted to become the Home Minister of India whereas Maulana Barkatullah wanted Premiership once the British were gone from the sub-continent.

At that moment, Maulana Mehmud ul Hasan sent a letter addressing all his students in frontier region, ordering them to pledge their support to Haji Turangzai in the Jihad against the British. On the otherside, Haji Turangazi went on to consult with the Afghan emir about when the final attack should be made on British. The notable Mullahs from different tribes involved in the Jihad against the British at that time were Mullah Mehmud Akhunzada, Mullah Abdul Halim and Mullah Sayed Akbar from Afridi tribe; Mullah Babra in Bajur; Mullah Sandaki in Swat; and Mullah Chaknawar and Haji Turangzai in Mohmand. All these Mullahs were fearsome and resolute against the British colonials. They, and other Mullahs, were responsible for mobilising and organising the Mujahids in Mehsud, Mohmand and other upper Kohisatni tribes of Pashtuns.

Thousands of Rupees, tens of horses and hundreds of rifles were provided to the frontiner Mujahideens from the Darul Uloom Deoband to fight against the British; on the other hands, thousnads of Kabuli Rupees and other material support were provided to the Mujahideen from Afghanistan. At every moment the Darul Uloom Deoband kept on providing motivational support to the Mujahjideen in frontiner region who were now almost up in arms against the British and ready to wage a massive Jihad against them any moment.

In the meanwhile, when the frontier tribes gained material strength against the British, Obaidullah Sindhi, including other Ulemas from Darul Uloom Deoband, travelled to Afghanistan with the objective of securing more financial and material support from Afghanistan Emir and mobilise the Afghan youth to fight for Turkey against the British.

During the year 1916, the top echelon of Mujahideen devised a plan against the British — both in sub-continent and Turkey — which was supposed to be presented to the Ottoman vizir. All hell broke loose on the Jihadi movement when the letters that contained all the plans against the British and were sent to Ottomans were intercepted by the CID. Those letters were written on silk in order to avoid the eyes of British intelligence. This was how this whole moment later came to be known as “Tehreek-e-Reshmi Rumal”.

After the letters on silk were caught by the British, many of the people were charged by the British for treason. They included Mullahs from Darul Uloom Deoband; Maulana Madhni, Mehmud and Maulana Mohammad were transported to prison camp in Malta by the orders of British colonialist on account of high treason.

Despite after that, the frontier tribes maintained strong links with the Darul Uloom Deoband and kept sending their kids to study there. This connection between the frontier tribes and the Deobands can still be found today, and which seems to be as strong today as it was then; or perhaps have grown more stronger with the passage of time.

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