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Colonial Reforms, The Khilafat Movement And Muslim Nationalism (Ca. 1900–1947)

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Chapter Summary

In Bengal, the largest province in British India with approximately 80 million people, one third of them being Muslims, homogenising imperatives of nationalism had meanwhile become more radical, especially in Calcutta, nurtured by, among other groups, respectable Bengali upper castes, the bhadralok, who arose during colonial times. In the South East, in Malabar, shortly before the collapse of the Khilafat movement in 1921, agrarian discontent among Muslim peasants was led by descendants of Arab merchants who had settled there from the eighteenth century onwards. The abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924 by Muslims themselves led by Mustafa Kemal (1881-1938), curtailed the vigour of the Khilafat movement. By way of an exclusive Muslim territory, the Muslim League promised religious, social, and political equality, as well as economic benefits to Islamic scholars, young intellectuals, entrepreneurs, the unemployed, and even farmers.

Keywords: Bengal; British India; Calcutta; Khilafat movement; Muslim League; Ottoman Caliphate



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