Friary and revolution are my sect,

I am a Sufi Momin, a communal Muslim

–Maulana Hasrat Mohani


Born in 1878 in United Province, Maulana Hasrat Mohani was a noted Urdu poet, the “Raees-al-Mutaghazzalien (the lord of Ghazal)”, who also contributed significantly to the freedom struggle of India. He joined Indian National Congress in 1904 and was the first Party leader to demand, advocate the complete independence of India from the British Raj in a session held in 1921. He was also a founding member of the Communist Party of India in 1925. He started a journal, “Urdu-e-Mualla” in 1904 which was one of the best literary and political weekly of its time. He was jailed when he refused to remove an article criticizing the British role in the Egypt in his journal. He was also a practicing Muslim who performed Hajj many times in his life. But at the same time, his love for Krishna and Mathura was also known. Despite being a member of the Indian parliament after the partition, he lived a simple, austere life. He died in 1951 in Lucknow.

Mohani is a part of the larger legacy of people like Maulana Bhashani, Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi and Shah Inayat who indicate to us how Islam is much more than offering of prayers and spewing hatred against the Non-Muslims. Islam is also about empathy, care, love for the downtrodden people in our society; Islam is also about standing up against the tyrants; Islam is also about speaking truth to the power.