Thursday, 24 December 2015

Julus-E-Muhammadi(Kanpur)-Symbol of Victory Over British Regime

Julus-E-Muhammadi Passing Through a Street in Kanpur-India 

Dr.Mazhar Naqvi
Julus-e-Muhammadi of Kanpur is not only believed to be Asia’s largest religious procession but also symbol of Muslims victory over British imperialism. The 15- km long procession is taken out on Eid-Mild-Un-Nabi day from with active participation of lakhs of devotees under the banners of hundreds of Anjumans. The commencement of the procession is linked with the Mosque riot of Kanpur in 1913.The trouble erupted when the provincial government granted Rs.2.5 Lakhs to widen the roads of the city and the widening of the road from Moolganj to Bara Chauraha became a serious issue, for there lay in its way a Hindu temple just opposite the Mosque of Machli Bazar. Upon coming to know about the scheme, Hindus forced the Government to   turn the road in some other direction to save the temple. As there was not much space between the temple and the mosque, Muslims apprehended demolition of Masjid’s eastern part used for the purpose of ablution and bath. They requested Kanpur Improvement Trust not to demolish any portion of the mosque but their efforts proved to be in vain.   

In April 1913, Islamic scholars and eminent Muslims moved a petition through Barrister Shahid Hussain to Lt. Governor of U.P. Sir James Meston to prove that the targeted portion was the part and parcel of the mosque from religious point of view. On May 6, 1913, Meston in a letter to the petitioners concluded that the place was not the part of the mosque and must be removed. On July 20, 1913, Meston himself visited Kanpur and inspected the mosque. He exhibited complete disregard to the feelings of Muslims and the authorities abolished the Eastern part of the mosque. The action sparked off an outrage among the Muslims and condemned throughout India. On August 3, irate Muslims gathered at Idgah and proceeded to mosque with black flags. They began to place the loose bricks over the dismantle structure as a symbol of reconstruction. As Meston had also instructed Kanpur’s magistrate Taylor “to take effective measures to prevent any breach of peace in connection with the execution of the orders, the police opened fire to disperse the mob. The firing lasted for 15 minutes and left several protestors dead. The tragic incident attracted strong protests against the firing on the Muslims. Anjuman-e-Ziaul Islam, Bombay, Anjuman-e-Islamia, Amritsar, Anjuman-e-Hidaytul Islam, Kohat condemned the perfidious act of Government. All India Muslim League on August 31, and September  19 passed resolutions, demanding appointment of a committee comprising, both officials and civilians to conduct an impartial inquiry and expressing gratitude to Syed Wazir Hasan and M. Ali for going to England to plead the Muslim case. In the meantime, Meston added salt to the wounds of Muslims by distributing merit certificates to those who had taken part in the firing. In protest, Muslims intensified their agitation. Muslim leaders poured in Kanpur from all over India, Muslim League took out the biggest ever procession against the incident. The mounting pressure prompted Lord Harding to visit Kanpur along with Syed Ali Imam on October 13 and 14.He showed blatant anger at the policy and strategy of Meston and  Taylor and called their act as ‘stupid blunder’. He compromised with the Muslims and allowed them to build a new building over the road. Lord also visited the mosque, ordered release of the persons arrested and withdrew cases against them.

Naat-Pak Being Recited in Beconganj-Kanpur 

In 1914, Muslims celebrated anniversary of their victory by taking out Julus-e-Muhammadi after assembling in huge number at Parade ground. The procession passed through Yatimkhana, Beconganj, Chamanganj, Bansmandi, Nai Sarak, Dalel Purwa, Coolie Bazar, Pechbagh, Kanghi Mohal, Nalla Road, Latouche Road Moolganj, Meston Road, Shivala, Ram Narayan Bazar and terminated at historic Phoolbagh ground. While the first procession was brought out by Muslim League, it is now managed and controlled by Jameeat Ulema-Kanpur. Since the mosque incident played a significant role in awakening political consciousness among the Indian Muslims, the procession has been growing in terms of participation and popularity with each successive year. Over 400 Anjumans take part in it and about 200 volunteers are pressed into service to manage it. Throughout the route, Naat- Shareefs are recited either by devotees or played with the help of CDs and speakers fixed on loaders. The serial of Anjumans are arranged through lottery system.  

References:
1-Inputs provided my Mr. Asim Siddiqui, Senior Journalist of Daily Hindustan
2-Facts mentioned by Haji Mohammad Salis, General Secretary, All India Sunni Jameeat-E-Ulema Hind
3-Dainik Jagran Dated December 24, 2015
Photo Courtesy Google Images