Thursday, June 05, 2008

Love for the Ottoman Khilafah lives on in India

The following is an article from the Website of Zaman newspaper in Turkey, it highlights the love for the Muslims in India for the Khilafah.

Love for the Ottomans and Turkey lives on in Kolkata, India

India has long held a special place in the hearts of Anatolia's people. For this reason, we've decided to visit this country, and in particular, Kolkata's "Caliphate Committee," an organization of particular importance to Turks during the Turkish War of Independence.

The Caliphate Committee was originally established with the intent of helping the Ottomans and the people of Anatolia. Photographs taken in 1920 and 1922 hang on the walls of the Caliphate Committee's office. During those years, members of this committee got together to send financial and spiritual assistance to the Ottomans during the Turkish War of Independence. The goal of this committee was to display the prominence and importance of their ties to the caliphate as well as to help inform and support the extensive Muslim population in India. Women and young girls were also involved to join the campaigns run by the Caliphate Committee, gladly handing over their golden bracelets, earrings and other valuables in support. For Indian Muslims, the existence of the Ottoman state was a matter of pride and honor.

During our visit to this Kolkata center, the members of the Caliphate Committee were convened for a meeting. We asked committee head Javit Ahmet Han why Muslim Indians supported the people of Anatolia during the Turkish War of Independence. He said: "We were answering the efforts of the Ottoman caliphate to remain independent with what assistance we could provide. It was a campaign aimed at supporting all of the Turkish people at the time. There were very strong ties between our people and we were all fighting the same enemy during that period; we were all at war against British hegemony. So we had overlapping interests and, in the name of this struggle, we wished to combine our strength and put together a fortified resistance. During that period, in our nation of India, there was an administration run by the British colonizers and it was around this time that steps and moves against this administration began to rise up in our country, eventually leading to our own struggle for independence. A great wave of emotion swept over our people, with people giving whatever they had -- food, clothing and money -- to help Turks and contribute to their War of Independence. As it was, we already had the strong ties of religion between our peoples. Because of this, we already felt our siblinghood and we already had warm feelings for each other's nationalities. When we were told that our siblings in Turkey needed our help, we immediately did everything we could to start up a campaign of assistance."

Another member of the Caliphate Committee, 84-year-old Hajji Muhammed Faruk, adores the Ottomans and wishes they were back in power. He is just one of thousands of Indian Muslims who love Turkey and who want to see Turkey as a leader in the world. Along with his five sons and two daughters, Faruk loves Turkey and everything about it.

Support of the Caliphate

He spoke about his memories of the past and the Caliphate Committee's activities at the time: "At that time, I was 13 or 14 years old. During the reign of the Ottoman Empire, we used to hear a lot about the Turks from our elders. We gathered together money; but of course, since we were just children, we didn't really understand where exactly our money was going. Nonetheless, we worked as much as we could and did everything we could to support Turkey.

"Our people believed then in the strength of the Turkish people. India, as it was, saw the Turks as one of the greatest sources of support for its own people. Turks were heroes for our people. We respected them very much. During that period, we knew the Turks well. Of course, as I said, I was a child then and didn't understand very much. Whenever any news came from the Turks or whenever a caravan would come carrying information, we would work as much as possible and gather together money for them. We met in mosques and all prayed that they remain strong."

Continuing to follow traces of the Ottomans in India, we headed for Hyderabad next. After two flights, we arrive in Hyderabad from Kolkata. This city's symbol is the famous 16th century Charminar mosque. Hyderabad is the capital of India's Andhra Pradesh state and is often referred to as India's new face. Compared to many other large Indian cities, Hyderabad is more orderly, cleaner and better planned.

With a population of around 8 million, nearly half of Hyderabad is estimated to be Muslim. The last Muslim leader of Hyderabad, Nizam Osman Ali Khan, visited İstanbul during the reign of Abdülhamit II. Osman Ali Khan, who was highly influenced by what he saw in İstanbul, decided to name his palaces in Hyderabad "Çırağan" and "Çamlıca" upon his return. For around 400 years, the "Nizam" administration of India ran large parts of the southern regions of this nation. In order to foster even better relations with the Ottomans, Osman Ali Khan had his son, Moazzam Jah, marry Nilüfer Hanım, the daughter of Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecit II. The Nizam leaders spoke Farsi.

We meet with one of the leaders of Hyderabad's Muslims, Muhammed Ikbal Khan. "During that period, in fact even after its collapse, the Ottoman Empire remained very popular in Muslim countries in particular. For example, I still wear an Ottoman fez. Simply in order to display the influence of the Ottomans, the fez was worn as a sign of the Ottomans in Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Hyderabad and throughout various regions of India and in other Muslim countries. We now have hopes for Turkey to be both an Asian country with great honor as well as a developed European country, God willing."

The Mecca Mosque in Hyderabad is the city's largest and most famous mosque. It stands very close to Charminar. As noon approaches on Friday, great crowds head to this mosque for prayer. The mosque has a wide and open-air courtyard in which up to 10,000 people can pray together at a time. The mosque is named after Mecca because stones that decorate its walls were brought over from Mecca.

Next we took a one-and-a-half-hour flight to western India's city of Mumbai. We found ourselves thinking fondly of the Muslims we met in Kolkata and Hyderabad and about how much love and respect they had for the people of Anatolia -- and can't help but wonder when exactly Turkey will return the favor it owes Ikbal Khan's nation. I wonder, have we forgotten India, which, apart from Indonesia, has the world's largest Muslim population? What if these 150 million or so Muslims are waiting for a voice, for some assistance from Turkey?

05 June 2008, Thursday



1 comment:

Nicole Staley said...

I would like to email the author Mr. Orhan about this article if at all possible