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Transcript
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The Deendar Anjuman:
Between Dialogue and
Conflict
Blackwell
Oxford,
MUWO
2002
0
1
3
The
92
Original
00 Deendar
Muslim
UK
Article
Publishering
World
Anjuman
•Fall
Volume
2002
Ltd 92 • Autumn 2002
Yoginder Sikand
Institute for the Study of Islam and the Muslim World
Leiden, The Netherlands
B
etween May and July 2000, a series of bombs went off at twelve places
of worship in different towns in south India. Most of these were
churches, but a Hindu temple and a mosque were also targeted and
damaged. Anti-Christian hate literature purported to have been distributed by
Hindu chauvinist groups was found at the sites of many of the blasts. Fingers
of suspicion were initially pointed at Hindu groups who have, in recent years,
been involved in violent attacks on Christians in large parts of India. However,
in July 2000, police and Union Home Ministry sources claimed to have
discovered evidence of a hitherto little-known Muslim group, the Deendar
Anjuman, in masterminding the blasts, accusing it of seeking to provoke
further hostility between Hindus and Christians. The Indian press gave much
publicity to these reports, indeed much more so than it had to confirm evidence
of earlier Hindu attacks on Christian churches and priests. The manner of
reporting about the alleged role of the Deendar Anjuman in the incidents
strongly suggested that the events were given the image of a Muslim–Christian
confrontation or as yet another expression and evidence of Muslim “terrorism”
and Islamic “fundamentalism.” Further, the distinct impression was intentionally
created that Hindu militant groups, whose role in previous attacks on Christians
in India had been clearly proven, had been all along wrongly blamed, and that
behind much of the current anti-Christian wave in India was a hidden “Islamic”
or “Pakistani” hand. For right-wing Hindu organizations, the attacks came as a
blessing in disguise, which they sought to use to absolve themselves of
accusations of violent anti-Christian activity in order to salvage their sagging
public image, which had attracted sharp criticism at home and abroad.
In the wake of the attacks, many Indian papers went so far as to claim that
the alleged involvement of the Deendar Anjuman in the incidents was part of
a larger Pakistani plot engineered by its secret service, the Inter-Services
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Intelligence (ISI) to instigate Hindu–Christian conflict and, thereby, further
destabilize India.1 It was said that the next target of the attackers had been the
famous temple at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, which they had planned to blow
up, thereby triggering large scale communal rioting all over south India.2 The
Home Minister of Andhra Pradesh claimed that these attacks were merely a
prelude to a grand conspiracy planned by Deendar Anjuman leaders based in
Pakistan to launch a jihad against India with a vast army of 900,000 Pathans
from Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, reportedly “planned as per the
dictates of the ISI.”3 A Union Home Ministry source claimed to have discovered
“significant evidence” of the Anjuman’s involvement in the blasts, and declared
that this was part of a sinister campaign to “spread terror among Christians and
hatred between Christians and Hindus.”4 Echoing this view, the influential
English fortnightly India Today commented, “It is clear that the followers of
the sect . . . are now part of a larger game of waging jehad against the Hindus
and Christians in India . . . and [their] long term goal is to make India an
Islamic state.”5 For this purpose, police sources claimed, members of the
Anjuman had from 1992 onward been crossing to Pakistan, ostensibly on
pilgrimage, but actually for receiving armed training at camps set up by the
head of the Anjuman’s Pakistan wing, Zia-ul Hasan, son of the founder of the
sect, based at Mardan in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province.6 Hasan, an
Indian newspaper report alleged, had been “brainwashed” by the ISI into
helping it in its alleged mission of destabilizing India.7 A special report
prepared by the Andhra Pradesh police claimed that in 1995 Zia-ul Hasan had
“hatched a conspiracy to disturb communal harmony and the secular fabric of
Indian society, thereby affecting internal security.” The report accused him of
a plot to “create nifaq (hatred)” between different communities in India, as a
prelude to a grand jihad to invade India and convert the Hindus to Islam. As
the initial stage in this “conspiracy,” Indian Anjuman members are claimed to
have been trained at an Anjuman camp in Pakistan in handling explosives,
after which they returned to India and were reportedly involved in the
destruction of several statues of the Dalit8 hero Ambedkar at several places in
Andhra Pradesh in an effort to instigate conflict between Dalits and the caste
Hindus.9 It was alleged that Hasan had paid a visit to Hyderabad in mid-May,
2000 and at a secret meeting had selected a group of his Indian followers,
taken them to Pakistan to be given armed training, and sent them back to
south India to bomb places of worship, so that, as the director general of
police put it, with the south torn apart with communal rioting, the Anjuman,
leading an army of almost a million Pathans from Pakistan, could invade India
from the north some time in 2001.10 An arrested member of the Anjuman is
said to have revealed to the police during his interrogation that Zia-ul Hasan
had announced to his followers that, “The time had come for attacking
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Hindustan and that everybody should be ready to give up their lives [sic ] and
become a mujahid.” He had allegedly promised them that all of India would
soon turn Muslim.11 In the wake of these allegations, the Indian government
came out with a statement asking its intelligence agencies to expose the “grand
design” of the Anjuman to “foment communal tension in the country” with what
it alleged to be the “active support” of the ISI.12 The Indian Home Minister
L. K. Advani declared that the government of India was contemplating a ban
on the sect.13 It was declared an outlawed organization in early 2001.
Predictably, leaders of the Deendar Anjuman based at the group’s
headquarters in Hyderabad (Deccan) strongly rebutted the allegations levelled
against them. They asserted that the Anjuman had nothing to do with the forty
persons said to be responsible for the attacks, almost all members of the
Anjuman, who were later taken into police custody. The acting president of
the Anjuman, the eighty year old Maulana Muhammad Usman, ‘Ali Mallana,
declared that his organization “strongly condemned any such activity that
would hurt the religious sensibilities of people” and offered to cooperate with
the police in tracking down the attackers.14 He also categorically denied any
association with the ISI,15 and said that allegations of the Anjuman’s links with
it and of its involvement in the attacks were “a conspiracy” to defame the
group. He claimed that it was the CIA that had possibly masterminded the
blasts.16 Some Anjuman members commented that their success in winning
converts to their version of Islam had won them the wrath of the Indian
establishment and that the entire controversy about the blasts was simply a
means to defame them and put a halt to the spread of their faith.17
Just as the various reports of the involvement of the Anjuman in the blasts
presented contradictory images, so too did reports about the nature, history
and identity of the organization. Several Muslim groups denied that the
Deendar Anjuman was Muslim at all, for the sect believes that Allah and the
Hindu Ishwar are one and so are Imam ‘Ali and the Hindu god Ganesh. The
Amir-i-Shari‘at of Karnataka, Mufti Ashraf ‘Ali, reiterated a fifteen year-old
fatwa declaring the founder of the Anjuman as a kafir and well outside the
pale of Islam for having claimed that he was the incarnation (avatar ) of a
Hindu deity, Channabasaveswara.18 Some described it as a strange and in many
ways unique syncretistic cult, drawing upon Islam as well as local religious and
cultural traditions.19 According to one newspaper account, it was “a concoction
of Hinduism and Islam” which was “not acceptable to a large number of
Muslims” because it believed that “Allah and Om were the same.”20 According
to another version, it represented “a strange alchemy of religion and
mysticism,” “propagating the concept of the universal appeal of all religions”
and “giving a new meaning to the principle of showing mutual respect and
peaceful co-existence.” It was portrayed as “a fighting team taming the rising
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communal passions,” preaching “harmony and peace” between followers of
different religions, and “doing yeoman service in bridging the differences
based on religion, race, caste and colour.”21
For their part, the Anjuman authorities based in Hyderabad claimed that
the main focus of the community ever since its founding some three-quarters
of a century ago has been to “propagate peace and harmony” and asserted that
never in its history had the Anjuman ever been involved in controversies.22
They maintained that the organization had “never indulged in activities
detrimental to mankind.” A report prepared by the Andhra Pradesh police
presented quite a different image of the Anjuman, describing it as “a highly
fanatical and shrewd Muslim militant organization,” with its sole objective
being to Islamize India through proselytization and preaching. The Anjuman
was said to have “cleverly masked its hatred towards other religions under the
guise of universal peace and brotherhood,” using this as a cover to carry on
with its agenda of Islamizing India.23 In a similar vein, the Andhra Pradesh
Home Minister, echoing the views of senior police officials, claimed that the
Anjuman’s annual inter-religious dialogue and peace conferences and other
such activities were simply a guise under which, he declared, “the organization
planned to spread terror through violence and incite communal trouble in the
state and in other parts of the country.”24
These widely differing representations of the Anjuman clearly point to the
fact that little seems to be actually known about the group. This article seeks
to unravel several complex issues involved in the present controversy in which
the Anjuman has been implicated. While it is not possible for lack of any firm
evidence to ascertain whether or not the Anjuman has actually been involved
in the recent bomb attacks in south India, a critical analysis of the history of
the group can provide critical insight into how the Anjuman has tended to
perceive other religious groups and how it has sought to relate to them over
time. This could provide valuable clues as to how the group today sees its
place in and engages with the contemporary Indian context of religious
pluralism, which is being increasingly challenged by the rise of ethnic and
religious chauvinist groups. In particular, the Anjuman’s own inter-religious
dialogue project is closely looked at to see what this entails regarding the
group’s relations with members of other religious communities. Is this project
geared to the creation of universal brotherhood and love between people of
all faiths, as Anjuman authorities insist, or is it simply a cover-up for a political
agenda or for religious proselytization, as Indian police and newspaper
accounts allege? Focusing on the Anjuman’s peculiar doctrinal positions, which
mark it as quite distinct from other Muslim groups, this booklet traces the
origins and development of the Anjuman in early twentieth century south India
and, in the process, looks at the ways in which it has sought to position itself
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vis-à-vis other groups, Muslim as well as Hindu. This examination of the
historical development of the Anjuman might help shed some light on the
present controversy.
Siddiq Hussain: The Founder of the Deendar
Anjuman
Sayyed Siddiq Hussain, the founder of the Deendar Anjuman, was born to
Sayyed Amir Hussain and his wife Sayyeda Amina in 1886 at Balampet in the
Gurmatkal taluqa of the Gulbarga district, then part of the Nizam’s Dominions
and now in the Karnataka state in south India. His family traced their descent
to the Prophet Muhammad, and were known for having produced numerous
leading Sufis belonging to the Qadiri order. Siddiq Hussain received his
primary education first at Gulbarga and then at Hyderabad. Later, he enrolled
at the Muhammadan Arts College, Madras, and from there went to the Bursen
College in Lahore for his higher education. In the course of his studies, he is
said to have mastered eleven languages and developed an expertise in
medicine and the martial arts.25
As a young man, hagiographic accounts tell us Siddiq Hussain developed
a great interest in various religions and came into contact with several noted
Sufis and Islamic scholars of his time. These included Shibli Numani, the noted
“alim, Baba Tajuddin of Nagpur, Maulana ‘Abdullah of Tamapur, Hazrat Miskin
Shah Baba, and Zohra Bi and Maulana Mir Muhammad Sa‘id of Hyderabad.
From the last mentioned, he took the bai “at or oath of initiation in the Qadiri
Sufi order. In 1914, in his “passion” as he put it, to study the Qur’an, he joined
the Qadiani branch of the heterodox Ahmadiyya community, considered
outside the pale of Islam for its belief that its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad,
was a prophet sent by God and in doing so denying the Islamic belief in the
finality of the prophethood of Muhammad.26 He took the oath of allegiance at
the hands of the then head of the Qadiani jama“at, Miyan Bashiruddin
Mahmud Ahmad, son of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, but 14 days later he renounced
his membership, accusing the Qadianis of being kafirs for considering the
Mirza a prophet. It is likely that at this time he moved closer to the rival Lahori
branch of the Ahmadis, who split off from the main Ahmadi jama“at in 1914
on the question of the status of the Mirza. Unlike the Qadianis, the Lahoris, led
by the well-known Islamic scholar Maulana Muhammad ‘Ali, insisted that the
Mirza was not a prophet but simply a mujaddid (renewer of the faith). He
quoted the well-known tradition attributed to Muhammad that at the end of
every Islamic century, God would send a mujaddid to the world to revive the
faith, and claimed that the Mirza was the mujaddid of the fourteenth century
of the Islamic calendar.27 It is possible that Siddiq Hussain might actually have
formally joined the Lahori jama“at, for in his tract A“ada-i-Islam (Enemies of
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Islam), dating to the mid-1920s, he wrote that he and members of his Anjuman
believed that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had been sent by God as the mujaddid of
the fourteenth century, indicating he continued to hold the Mirza in great
esteem despite having parted ways with the Qadianis.28 In one of his early
writings from the late 1920s, he wrote that after he left the Qadiani jama“at,
he spent some time in the company of Maulana Muhammad ‘Ali and Maulvi
Khwaja Kamaluddin, the leading lights of the Lahori branch of the Ahmadis.29
The Launching of the Mission
In early hagiographic accounts of Siddiq Hussain written by his followers
and even in his own writings, we hear little of his activities until 1924 when
he publicly declared what he claimed was his divine mission and established
the Deendar Anjuman (The Religious Association). The 1920s were a crucial
period for Hindu–Muslim relations in India, witnessing a marked rise of
Hindu–Muslim conflict after a brief spell of inter-communal harmony in the
course of the short-lived Khilafat and Non-Cooperation movements. In early
1923, the Arya Samaj, a militant and openly anti-Muslim Hindu chauvinist
group, launched a massive drive to bring into the Hindu fold hundreds of
thousands of Rajput Muslims in the north Western districts of the United
Provinces. Soon, the campaign spread to other areas of India, and Arya leaders
began issuing calls for converting all the Indian Muslims. Muslim leaders
responded with alarm, launching efforts to counter the Aryas through various
Islamic missionary (tabligh) groups.30 Siddiq Hussain is said to have actively
worked with one of the leading Tablighi activists of this time, the Amristarbased lawyer, Ghulam Bhik Nairang, and his Anjuman Tabligh-ul Islam, in
attempting to prevent the Aryas from making further inroads among the
Muslims and also in spreading Islam among non-Muslim groups, particularly
the lower castes.31 This is the first evidence that we have of the beginning of
what was to become his life-long involvement in missionary work and in
combating the Arya Samaj.
After spending some time in the north with the Lahori Ahmadis with
members of the Ahl-i-Qur’an32 and with Nairang and his Tablighi group, Siddiq
Hussain returned to Hyderabad and established a medical practice there. By
this time, aggressive communal politics, which had become such a
characteristic feature of north Indian life, had made its way into the state.
Ruled by a Muslim Nizam and a small, largely Muslim feudal class, Hyderabad
was a Hindu-majority state with a Muslim population of hardly one in ten. By
the 1920s, resentment against the predominance of Muslims in the upper
echelons of government service increasingly led a rising generation of newlyeducated Hindus to the path of confrontation, which soon assumed the form,
as elsewhere in India, of Hindu-Muslim antagonism.33 In 1933, the Arya Samaj,
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which until then had been limited by its predominantly north Indian base,
turned its attention to Hyderabad, where it had already established a small
presence in the late nineteenth century.34 Beginning in 1931, a series of clashes
took place between the Aryas, who saw themselves as defenders of the
Hindus, and the Nizam’s forces. Several branches of the Samaj were now set
up in the Nizam’s Dominions. In 1938, the Aryas launched a mass struggle,
along with the Hindu Mahasabha, against the Nizam which carried on for
several months, in the course of which some 8000 Aryas and other Hindus
were arrested. The Arya agitators, according to one report, are said to have
exhorted the local Hindus to “rise and fight the Muslims, kill them and
overthrow them, as the country belonged to the Hindus and not the Muslims,”
in addition to appealing to them not to pay their taxes to the Nizam.35 A fierce
communal riot broke out that year, in which scores of Muslims were killed. As
‘Alam puts it, “a warlike atmosphere” between Hindus and Muslims seems to
have taken hold of Hyderabad.36
Deeply involved as he was by this time with various Islamic movements,
Siddiq Hussain seems to have been greatly affected by what he saw as a grave
threat to Islam and Muslim interests at the hands of aggressive Hindu groups.
Launching a large-scale missionary campaign aimed at nothing less than the
conversion of all the Hindus of India to Islam suggested itself to him as the
need of the hour. This was to go on to become his life’s major vocation, in
response, he asserted, to a divine command which he claimed to have received.
Siddiq Hussain’s missionary career may be divided into three phases, each
related to the changing nature of Hindu–Muslim relations and the general
socio-political context of the times. To begin with is what could be called the
phase of “peaceful persuasion,” roughly from 1924 to 1930, in which
preaching, persuasion and distribution of literature were adopted as a means
of spreading his message among, first, the Lingayats, and then the Hindus in
general. This phase corresponded with the emergence of rumblings of
discontent among the Hindus of Hyderabad, but which had yet to take on
violent, aggressive forms. The period from 1930 until 1948 could be termed as
the phase of “violent aggression,” in which among other means, Siddiq
Hussain advocated the declaration of actual war, styled as a jihad, in addition
to being involved in several court cases with his detractors. This corresponds
to the period when the Arya Samaj had grown into a powerful oppositional
force in Hyderabad challenging, like the emerging Communist and the
Congress parties sought to do, the power of the Nizam and the largely Muslim
feudal elite. After his release from prison two months before his death in 1952,
Siddiq Hussain once again seems to have gone back to his earlier mode of
preaching, and this short phase can be termed as one of “pragmatic
accommodation.”
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Missionary Work Among the Lingayats
Siddiq Hussain began his missionary career among the Lingayats, a group
of Shiva-worshippers living mainly in the Kannada-speaking districts of the
Nizam’s Dominions and in neighbouring Mysore. Once, according to Anjuman
sources, while on a trip to the shrine of Kodekkal Basappa37 (a Sufi highly
venerated by the local Lingayats), he reportedly heard that the Sufi had
predicted the arrival of a saviour of the Lingayats in the form of Deendar
Channabasaveswara, who would be born in a Muslim family and would make
the Hindus and Muslims one. This, he was to later claim, was a prophecy
heralding his own arrival.38 By this time, as he writes, he had already dedicated
his life to the cause of the spread of Islam and, noting the “special features”
(khususiyat ) of the Lingayats, decided to work among them. In order to
communicate with them, he married a Kannada-speaking Muslim woman who
taught him their language.39 After his marriage, he visited several Lingayat
temples and monasteries, spending much time with the priests, learning
Sanskrit and their scriptures from them. Then, it is said, he received divine
inspiration in the form of a dream informing him that he had been appointed
by God as an avatar of the Lingayat saint Channabasaveswara, in the form of
Deendar Channabasaveswara, to bring all the Hindus of India to Islam.40
Accordingly, he travelled to Gadag, a small town near Hubli, and on
February 7, 1924, publicly announced that he was the much-awaited messiah
of the Lingayats, the Deendar Channabasaveswara and the saviour of the
Hindus. “Oh Hindus!,” he declared, “I am the guru who has been predicted in
your scriptures.”41 Besides claiming to be the Deendar Channabasaveswara, he
also at this time declared himself to be the kalki avatar, the tenth and last
incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu, who the Hindus believe would arrive
to extirpate misery from the world, put an end to the “evil age” of kali yug and
herald the arrival of the “age of truth” (sat yug). This, he said, had been
revealed to him by God Himself who had told him that he would establish
the sat yug in 1943. As he put it, “Shri Bhagwan has informed me that I
will appear as the kalki avatar. The kali yug is soon to be abolished and
the sat yug inaugurated.” Shortly after that, he said, in the second half of
the fourteenth (Islamic) century, the Day of Judgement (qayamat ) shall
come.42
In his A“ada-i-Islam, a tract penned to convince Muslims of his claims,
Siddiq Hussain wrote that it was as a response to the successes of the Arya
Samaj in bringing to the Hindu fold several thousand Muslims in northern India
that he received a divine inspiration, informing him that “God had willed that
the greatest incarnation (avatar) of the Hindus should emerge to declare to
the Hindus that their only hope for salvation lay in converting to Islam.” 43
Elsewhere, he wrote that in the wake of the shuddhi movement of the Aryas,
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India had witnessed “heinous assaults” on Islam and the person of
Muhammad. “God,” he said, “was watching this, and had decided to take
revenge by making all India Muslim.”44 He now assumed the name of Siddiq
Deendar Channabasaveswara and in doing so, claimed that he was simply
fulfilling the prophecies contained in the holy books of the Lingayats and the
Hindus, which he asserted had predicted his arrival and also indicated the
truth of Islam. In his words:
Allah has appointed their biggest avatar in order to make them Muslim
by pointing out the directions contained in the books of the enemies of
the Muslims (dushmanan-i-islam), and he [this avatar] has announced:
‘Oh Hindus! If you seek salvation then become Muslim because you can
see that till your avatars recited the creed of confession (kalima) of our
Master, Muhammad, peace and Allah’s blessings be upon him, they did
not gain salvation, so how can you be saved if you do not do so?’ 45
Siddiq Hussain’s choice of the Lingayats as the first group to which to
direct his missionary concerns was probably motivated by the fact that the
Lingayat tradition, being in its original form sternly monotheistic and having
emerged from a powerful protest movement against idolatry and caste dating
back to the twelfth century, shared much in common with Islam.46 Aware of
the powerful anti-Brahminical traditions of the Lingayats, Siddiq Hussain
probably believed that his claims would fall on receptive ears and that the
Lingayats would respond warmly to his appeals. Many Lingayats of what is
today northern Karnataka are also followers of the cults of the Sufis, whose
shrines are found scattered all over the countryside. Given this syncretistic
tradition among the Lingayats, Siddiq Hussain probably felt that his appeals to
them to convert to Islam, claiming himself to be the incarnation of
Channabasaveswara, son-in-law of the founder of the Lingayat sect, Basava,
and the one responsible for consolidating and leading the community texts
after Basava’s death, might evoke a positive response.47
In a pamphlet written in the mid-1920s addressed specifically to
the Lingayats, Siddiq Hussain declared that the time had come for the entire
world to be united as one on the basis of Islam. He claimed that if the
Muslims were only to fulfill their religious duties, “all the people of the
world are ready to fall into their lap.” In particular, he said, the Lingayats, were
ripe for conversion to Islam because, in his words, they were “pitiable,
powerless, bereft of friends” and “their source of support has always been the
Muslim community.” He described the Lingayats as an oppressed group,
awaiting a messiah who would deliver them from the persecution of the
Brahmins, and saw himself as having been appointed by God for that purpose.
As he put it:
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This community is crying out, saying: ‘Oh Mercy of the Worlds (rahmat
al lil “alamin)48! You are most merciful. Take pity on us. We are without
any support and helpers. Save us from the clutches of our oppressors
and take us into your refuge. For thousands of years the worshippers of
Vishnu (hari wale) have oppressed us and our neighbours, the Dravidian
communities, and have reduced us to the status of Shudras. They
snatched away our political power and forced us to flee to the forests,
where, for thousands of years, we roamed the jungles like barbarians.’49
Employing the logic so central to the discourse of the emerging Dravidian and
Dalit movements of his times that saw Brahmin /Aryan hegemony as the source
of the plight of the lower castes, Siddiq Hussain then went on to suggest that
it was Islam that had historically played a crusading role in liberating the
downtrodden castes from the shackles of caste oppression, a role that it could
once again play in mobilizing the Lingayats and other Shiva-worshipping
lower caste groups against the control of the Brahmins, the worshippers of
Vishnu [hari wale]. Thus, he added:
The Lingayats now tell us: ‘Some eight hundred years ago, when the
Muslims arrived in the Deccan and established their political power, they
helped us to rise again and, with their help and in the face of the
opposition of the worshippers of Vishnu, we set up large thrones
(singhasana) in many towns, but, now, unfortunately, our helpers
(Muslims) have been ousted from power.’50
The message then is clear: Lingayats must join hands with Muslims
and work to re-establish Muslim political power if they are to be able to
effectively counter the forces of Brahminical revival which is set to reduce
them, once more, to the status of slaves. Siddiq Hussain claimed that the
Dravidians were being rapidly absorbed into the fold of Vaishnavism as part
of a conspiracy on the part of Vishnu-worshipping high caste Hindus to
enslave them. On the other hand, the Dravidians were, he said, also being
targeted for conversion by Christian missionaries and the Arya Samajists.
The time was not far off, he predicted, when the entire Dravidian race might
finally be extinct. If this happened, the Lingayats would be “forced into free
labour (begar)” by the Brahmins, a form of social slavery that had been
imposed on the Dravidians for centuries. In this context, Siddiq Hussain saw
a glimmer of hope for the Lingayats, and wrote:
[The Lingayats say]: ‘Our only source of hope is the prediction in our
sacred scriptures that one day a saviour will appear who will deliver us
from all our woes and will take us to the pinnacle of glory and will make
us triumph over all our enemies. He will come in the form of Deendar
Channabasaveswara, who, in accordance with the predictions of
Mauneswara51, will make the Hindus and the Turukus (Muslims) one.’52
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Siddiq Hussain then went on to claim that it was he who had been foretold
of in the Lingayat scriptures and by some 70 medieval Puranthanars or saints
of the Lingayat tradition, as the would-be saviour of the Lingayats, the Deendar
Channabsasveswara, and that now the only way for salvation for the
community was by following his instructions and converting to Islam.53 What
is interesting about Siddiq Hussain’s appeals to the Lingayats is that in
appealing to them to convert to Islam, he did not repudiate the legitimacy of
the Lingayat scriptures or deny that they might also be of divine origin. On the
contrary, he accepted that these scriptures were true and had a certain validity,
at least insofar as he claimed that they had foretold his arrival in the form of
Deendar Channabasaveswara. In his writings, he presented the Lingayat
tradition as almost identical with Islam. This entailed a radical revisioning of
Lingayat history, of course. Thus, he claimed that the Lingayats were “actually
Arab by race” and so “are neighbours and, in matters religious, very close to
the Muslims.” In effect, he sought to present the Lingayats as a people Muslim
in origin, whose own real history they had forgotten, and which he saw
himself as resurrecting. He wrote that the founder of the Lingayat community,
Basava, was himself a Muslim and that he actually preached Islam. As evidence
for this he cited the fact that the color of the flag of most Lingayat monasteries
(mutths) is green,54 and claimed that Basava himself recited the Islamic kalima
on his deathbed. He also claimed that Channabasaveswara, nephew and
successor of Basava, had installed a medallion with the kalima inscribed on it,
which he said was still to be found in the sprawling Lingayat mutth at
Chitradurga.55 If the Lingayats were actually Muslim in origin, then, Siddiq
Husain suggested, they must now go back to Islam. He explained their
consequent straying from what he saw as the original teachings of Basava as
a result of the conspiracy of some biased people who had misled them and
created hatred between them and the Muslims. However, he hoped now that
he had appeared as an avatar of Channabasaveswara, the Lingayats would
“realize their real roots.”56
In another booklet titled Deendar Channabasaveswara, Siddiq Hussain
sought to impress upon the Lingayats as well as other Hindu groups the truth
of his claims of being the much-awaited messiah prophesied in their ancient
texts. He wrote the various Hindu scriptures speak of the Deendar
Channabasaveswara being sent by God to unite the world, bearing 56 bodily
signs and coming at a time when 96 evidences would be apparent “in the earth
and the skies.” All these, he argued, had been fulfilled with his arrival.57 He
claimed that the Hindu and Lingayat scriptures predict that through Deendar
Channabasaveswara, “the entire Hindustan will turn Muslim.” This, however,
will not be by gentle persuasion alone. It will be accompanied by much tumult
and conflict. The Deendar Channabasaveswara, along with his army of Pathan
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followers will, so he claimed that the Lingayat scriptures foretell, “empty the
treasuries of the [temples of] Tirupati and Hampi,”58 the latter allegedly
containing the riches that belonged to the legendary Ravana and the monkeyking Vali. They shall ensure that “there is not one idol left standing in any
temple” in the country. The first idol to be destroyed will be that of the temple
at Tirupati. This will be followed by the idols at Hampi and then in the great
temples at Amapur and Pandharpur and, then, “there will be a great
destruction of idols” throughout the country. Deendar Channabasaveswara
would then set about uniting all the 101 castes [zat] by making all Hindus
Muslim. In the process, the power of the Brahmins will be completely
destroyed.59 Finally, Deendar Channabasaveswara will be recognized as the
“king of kings.”60
By this time, Siddiq Hussain appears to have made a small band of
disciples, almost all from Muslim families, attracted to him by his messianic
appeal and charisma. He now set about training them in the Qur’an as well as
in the Lingayat and Hindu scriptures, taking them along with him on his
missionary tours of Lingayat villages, temples and monasteries. Among the
prominent disciples whom he made at this point was Abu Nazir Vitthal, who
was earlier a priest of the Manvi Lingayat monastery at Belgaum.61 He gave
several of his disciples Hindu names in order to make them more acceptable
to the Lingayats and the Hindus among whom he was preaching. He styled
himself as Dharamraja or “the Righteous King.”62 He and his disciples donned
robes which, in many respects, closely resembled those of Lingayat priests
— ochre colored cloaks, green turbans and white lungis.63
Despite these attempts to convey his message in a form he thought would
be acceptable to his audience, Siddiq Hussain’s appeals to the Lingayats to
accept him as Deendar Channabasaveswara and to convert to Islam raised a
storm of protest. “The Hindu world was shaken from its roots” when Siddiq
Hussain declared his divine mission to the Hindus, following which “many
Hindus, including their gurus converted to Islam” says an Anjuman source,
obviously exaggerating the success of Siddiq Hussain’s missionary efforts
among the Lingayats.64 Apparently, while some Lingayats are said to have
heeded his call and accepted Islam at his hand, several attempts were made
on his life by enraged Lingayats egged on, Siddiq Hussain alleged, by enraged
Arya Samajists. According to one account, in 1924 alone he was physically
attacked 25 times in an effort to eliminate him. He was to claim that these
attempts failed because he was under divine protection.65
The Aryas, according to him, rose in furious protest against his efforts to
spread Islam among the Lingayats. In a bid to discredit him among the
Muslims, whose support he had hoped for in his work among the Lingayats,
the Aryas of Lahore are said to have published an Urdu tract titled Naqli
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Channabasaveswara Ya Khanjar-i-Zalim (“The False Channabasaveswara or
the Dagger of the Tyrant”) and distributed thousands of copies among
Muslims, claiming that the Deendar Anjuman was actually a secret branch of
the Ahmadis.66 The alleged Ahmadi link was hardly surprising. After all, Siddiq
Hussain had earlier joined the Qadiani Ahmadis, and although he disassociated
himself from them a fortnight later, he did, as he himself admitted, maintain a
close relationship with the leaders of the Lahori branch of the sect. Moreover,
the fact that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadi community, had
himself made similar claims of being the promised messiah and the kalki
avatar of the Hindus, suggests the possibility of a distinct Ahmadi influence
on Siddiq Hussain’s own missionary strategy among the Lingayats.
In response to the publication of the booklet by the Aryas, Siddiq Hussain
announced a sum of Rs.5000 to anyone who could prove that he was falsely
claiming to be the Deendar Channabasaveswara of the Lingayats. The Aryas
took up the challenge and instituted a case against him in the courts, accusing
him of creating religious disharmony. The case lasted eight days, after which,
so he claimed, the court decided that he had solid proof of being the real
Deendar Channabasaveswara. The Aryas, not to be cowed down, were accused
of having paid some Muslims to argue the case that Siddiq Hussain was an
impostor and that his claims effectively put him outside the pale of Islam.
Siddiq Hussain’s Missionary Efforts Among
the Hindus
It is possible that, not finding a warm response to his appeals among the
Lingayats, Siddiq Hussain turned his attention to other Hindu groups. An
interesting shift may be observed here in his missionary strategy. While
addressing the Lingayats, his focus was largely on himself, claiming to be the
avatar of the revered Lingayat figure Channabasaveswara. Turning to other
Hindu groups, for whom the figure of Channabasaveswara held little or no
appeal, the image of the Prophet Muhammad was now given central
prominence. Muhammad, insisted Siddiq Hussain, was the much-awaited kalki
avatar of the Hindus, the promised messiah who would deliver the world from
sin and misery. It is interesting to note in this regard that earlier, as we have
seen, Siddiq Hussain had claimed himself to be the kalki avatar, this status
being attributed to the Prophet only later.67 As in his missionary work
among the Lingayats, here too Islam was presented not as the negation but
rather the fulfilment of Hinduism. Yet, as will be seen presently, despite
accepting the legitimacy of the Hindu scriptures, a strong strain of
opposition and animosity characterized Siddiq Hussain’s attitude towards
the Hindus, which was soon to bring he and his followers into conflict with
the Hindus of Hyderabad.
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What appears to have sparked vehement protest on the part of the Hindus
of Hyderabad against the activities of the Deendar Anjuman was the
publication in 1926 of Siddiq Hussain’s two-volume Kannada book, Jagat
Guru Sarwar-i-“Alam, in which he argued that the Prophet Muhammad was
actually the kalki avatar whose arrival had been predicted in the scriptures of
the Hindus and that, therefore, the salvation of the Hindus lay in converting to
Islam. In the book, Siddiq Hussain contended that God had sent him on a
special mission to reveal this truth to the Hindus. According to Deendar
Anjuman sources, in early 1926, 33 gurus of India put forward the claim of
being the jagat guru or “Teacher of the Whole World.” So enraged was Siddiq
Hussain by these claims that he at once set about penning a book countering
these claims and asserting instead that the real jagat guru was none other than
the Prophet Muhammad. The publication of the book is reported to have
raised a storm of protest. On September 9, 1927, a large rally of Hindu nobles
was held at Hyderabad, demanding that the book be banned. A case was
instituted in the Nizam’s court to this effect. Although the court dismissed their
plea, the Hindu opposition to Siddiq Hussain continued and some years later,
in January 1932, another large rally of Hindus held at Hyderabad demanded
that the Nizam curb Siddiq Hussain’s activities, which, they alleged, were
calculated to defame their religion and incite communal strife. Accordingly, the
Nizam issued a decree banning Siddiq Hussain from addressing public
gatherings. The controversial book was confiscated by state authorities but
later was allowed to be circulated without any pictures included.68 According
to Siddiq Hussain, because of his untiring efforts at spreading Islam among the
Hindus, he was sent to jail 84 times, spending a total of almost ten years in
prison.69
In his Jagat Guru, Siddiq Hussain sought to present Islam and his own
personal mission as a fulfilment of the scriptures of the Hindus. He wrote that
God has sent prophets to all peoples, including the Indians, all of whom taught
the same religion (din), al-Islam, and that the last of these was the Prophet
Muhammad. The holy books of other peoples had been distorted over time
and the only scripture that had maintained its purity was the Qur’an. Yet, he
argued, the previous scriptures had predicted the arrival of Muhammad as
God’s last prophet for all mankind, whereas all previous prophets were sent
by God only for their own particular communities. In other words, Muhammad
is the jagat guru, the “Teacher of the Entire World.” His scripture envisages or
comprises the teachings of all the scriptures of the foregone prophets and does
not in any way conflict with them. Rather, as “the World Teacher,” Muhammad
will provide protection to all of these other prophets under his banner on the
Day of Resurrection.70 Therefore, it is the duty of all non-Muslims to accept
Muhammad and his teachings in accordance with what their own prophets and
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scriptures have predicted about him. What Siddiq Hussain sought to advance
was a plea for non-Muslims to convert to Islam in accordance with what he
saw as the teachings of their own holy books. These holy books, insofar as
portions of them have survived corruption and distortion, were accepted as
legitimate and of divine inspiration, but were employed merely as a means to
lead their followers to the Qur’an. As Siddiq Hussain put it, “Islam is like an
ocean and all other religions, in comparison, are rivers which ultimately drain
into the ocean. In other words, other religions are comparable to the branches
of a tree, while Islam is like the seed.”71
Siddiq Hussain argued that all other prophets had predicted the arrival of
Muhammad and that ‘Allah Almighty has taken from them a “covenant
regarding the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him),” “compelling them”
to believe in him as “the World Teacher” and to help him in every possible
way. Since all the prophets before Muhammad had attested to their faith in him
before God, it was the duty of their followers to follow in their path and do
the same. Here, Siddiq Hussain quoted not only from the scriptures of the Jews
and Christians to prove the coming of Muhammad as “the World Teacher,” but
also from the books of ancient Egyptian, Chinese, Zoroastrian, Greek and
Roman scholars. Since his particular concern was to present Islam to the
Hindus, he devoted a large section to showing that the coming of
Muhammad as the universal saviour had been predicted in many Hindu
scriptures.
Quoting liberally from the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Bhagwat, Kalki
and Bhavishyokt Puranas, Siddiq Hussain remarked that the arrival of
Muhammad as “the World Teacher” had been “prophesied so vividly and in
such detail” in the books of the Hindus as “cannot be found in any other
religious texts.” He wrote that “they have not spared any incident of his life
from his birth until his demise, whether of great significance or of no
significance at all” and even claimed that the ancient Hindu seers had prepared
an exact horoscope of Muhammad’s life some three thousand years before his
birth.72 The Vedas [Atharva Veda Ch. 20, v. 3] were claimed to have predicted
Muhammad’s arrival, using the two names of Mamahe (which Siddiq Hussain
interpreted as a corrupted form of the Prophet’s own name) and Narashams,
“the Praised One,” the Sanskrit form of the meaning of the word “Muhammad.”
Narashams was said to have been described in the Atharva Veda as possessing
“one hundred gold coins, ten chaplets, three hundred steeds and ten thousand
cows,” which Siddiq Hussain explained as referring to Muhammad’s ten close
companions, their three hundred horses and the ten thousand Muslims who
accompanied Muhammad in his victorious entry into Makkah.73 The mantra in
the Sama Veda recited by a person on his deathbed when a Brahmin priest
pours water into his mouth, ha ha hu hu hi hi, was, Siddiq Hussain
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maintained, actually an abbreviation of the Islamic creed of confession
(kalima),’ la ilaha ilallahu muhammadur rasulullahi ’.74
According to Siddiq Hussain, the post-Vedic literature of the Hindus also
contains ample references to the arrival of Muhammad as the jagat guru or
kalki avatar. Thus, he wrote, the Bhagwat and the Kalki Puranas both mention
that the father of the kalki avatar/jagat guru would be called “Vishnu Bhagat”
or “servant of God,” which is the meaning of the word “Abdullah,” the name
of Muhammad’s father. They also predict that the kalki avatar’s mother would
be called “Sumati” or “peaceful,” which is the Sanskrit equivalent of “Amina,”
the name of Muhammad’s mother. Both these texts predict that the kalki
avatar/jagat guru would gain divine knowledge from Parasuram, an
incarnation of Vishnu, whom Siddiq Hussain equated with the angel Gabriel
( Jibra’il).75 The Bhavishyokt Purana is said to have predicted the coming of
Muhammad thusly: “A great person would manifest himself among the
Mlecchas, along with his disciples. His most famous name would be
Mahamad.”76
The Ramayana, arguably the most popular post-Vedic text for the Hindus,
is also said to have predicted the arrival of Muhammad. Thus, Siddiq Hussain
wrote, the method of prayer that Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, taught the
monkey Hanuman was identical with the form of worship (salat, namaz) that
Muslims perform. Hindus, therefore, must also pray in the Muslim fashion if
they are truly devoted to Rama.77 He explained that Ayodhya, the legendary
city of Rama, actually referred to Makkah, the word “Ayodhya” translating as
“the place where war is prohibited” or, alternately, “the place which is
unconquerable,” both of which, he argued, held true for the Muhammad’s
Makkah.78 He also claimed that many religious figures whom the Hindus
revere, such as Nanak, Basava and Manik Prabhu, had held the Prophet
Muhammad in great esteem and were actually Muslims themselves, although
this had been forgotten by their followers.79
This appropriation of Hindu figures and reading new meanings into Hindu
religious texts was the means that Siddiq Hussain employed to further his
mission of propagating his version of Islam to the Hindus. For Hindus to
convert to Islam, he suggested, was not to betray their ancestral faith. On the
contrary, a true reading of the prophecies in their scriptures demanded that
Hindus should, in fact, declare their faith in Muhammad as the kalki avatar/
jagat guru/sangamnath and, accordingly, embrace Islam. In this manner, the
Hindu scriptures were not denied, but rather used in order to be superseded
by the Qur’an.80 In line with orthodox Muslim opinion, Siddiq Hussain asserted
that all prophets of God, from Adam to Muhammad, have preached the same
din — al-Islam — although some of them brought new laws (shari “at)
superseding those of their predecessors. Like Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Siddiq
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Hussain identified Rama, Krishna, and the authors of the Vedas and other
Hindu scriptures as prophets or as divinely inspired, arguing that they too
taught the din of Islam. For Hindus to become Muslim, therefore, would not
be to join a completely new religion. Rather, he argued they would be going
back to their original faith, the faith preached by their own prophets. In this
way, an intriguing use was made of Hindu scriptures, being attested to as holy
and divinely revealed and therefore accorded a new significance in the eyes
of not just the Hindus but Muslims as well. Siddiq Hussain claimed that this
method of tabligh was not his own invention. Rather, he says, it is the same
method as that adopted by the Prophet Muhammad who, he says, appealed
to the Christians and Jews to heed the prophecies about his advent
contained in their own scriptures and, accordingly, accept his claims to
prophethood.81
Besides ordinary Hindus, Siddiq Hussain also attempted to win the Hindu
rulers of various native states to his cause. He is said to have “challenged all
the [Hindu] kings of India to put their heads at the feet of Muhammad, peace
be upon him.”82 For this purpose, he penned a special Urdu tract for the Hindu
princes wherein he presented Islam as the only religion that could guarantee
the peace which the rulers of various kingdoms in India so desperately
sought.83 If all the rulers were to become Muslim, he argued, peace would at
once be established as, being fellow Muslims, they would live in harmony,
love and brotherhood with each other and would desist from attacking each
other’s territories.84 On the other hand, he argued, Hinduism “is incapable
of guaranteeing peace,” and that, in fact, it has caused the Hindus to fight
among themselves, dividing them into numerous mutually opposed
castes.85
In 1365 AH (1945/46), Siddiq Hussain is said to have dispatched 20 groups
of his followers to the courts of some 600 Hindu princes and chieftains in
various parts of India, bearing with them the booklet he had specially penned.
They were instructed to warn these rulers that if they accepted Islam “they
would gain the wealth of religion (din) and the world (duniya),” but that if
they refused, their power would be snatched away from them. According to
Deendar accounts, none of the Hindu princes whom the delegations met
heeded their advice and, because of this, all of them lost their thrones a few
years later.86
Siddiq Hussain had hoped that his novel method of presenting Islam
would win an enthusiastic reception among the Hindus. “Lakhs of Hindus,” he
wrote in his Jami “a al-Bahrain “were overjoyed that, in accordance with the
predictions of their elders, their avatar Channabasaveswara had appeared at
the appointed hour, bearing all the signs that had been predicted regarding
him.” What was particularly a matter of great joy for these Hindus, he claimed,
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was that this avatar of theirs was “addressing rallies of Muslims at their holy
places and from the pulpits of their mosques, and thousands of Muslims were
taking the oath of allegiance at his hands, among whom were several leading
‘ulama and Sufi shaykhs .’ ”87 As early as 1922, even prior to the formal
establishment of the Deendar Anjuman, Siddiq Hussain had presented this
vision of Hindu–Muslim unity through the mass conversion of all Hindus to
Islam to Gandhi, whom he met at the annual session of the Congress, held that
year at Belgaum.88 “True Hindu–Muslim unity,” he told him, was “only possible
on the basis of [all Indians joining] one religion [din ] (Islam) and one
community [qaum] (the Muslim ummat).”89 We are not, however, told how
Gandhi reacted to this suggestion.
From the declaration of his “divine” mission in 1924 until his migration to
Yaghestan in 1932, Siddiq Hussain focused his energies on missionary work,
through public lectures and publishing of tracts and books, deliberately
selecting, it is said, economically and socially backward areas of the Nizam’s
Dominions for his preaching activities.90 Gradually, he formed a circle of
devoted followers around him, almost all from Muslim backgrounds, who
were attracted to him by his charismatic appeal and messianic fervor. In
the context of the growing challenge posed by the Aryas in Hyderabad and in
northern India, the increasing resentment of the Hindu middle classes against
the Nizam, as well as the emergence of militant communist activities in the
Nizam’s Dominions, it must have appeared to them that Hyderabad, as the last
remaining bastion of Muslim power and authority, was now faced with the
dangerous possibility of being engulfed by an increasingly menacing Hindu
challenge. The messianic claims of Siddiq Hussain, with his promises of
converting all of India to Islam, of “conquering the lands of the kafirs,” of
“establishing the satyug (era of truth),” enforcing the rule of Islam in the
country and “establishing heaven on earth”91 must have readily appealed to an
increasingly insecure minority.92 As the number of his followers grew, the need
was felt for a center for the Anjuman from where to coordinate its activities. In
1929, one of his closest disciples, Maulvi Dastgir Khan, donated a piece of land
to him at Asif Nagar in the heart of Hyderabad, where Siddiq Hussain
established his khanqah or Sufi center. This was christened as the Khanqah-iSarwar-i-‘Alam Jagat Guru Ashram, the name clearly indicating the nature of
the Anjuman’s mission.93 Here, Siddiq Hussain would give daily lectures on the
Qur’an and the scriptures of the Hindus and train his little band of missionaries
(muballighin), teaching them among other subjects various languages,
including Kannada, Telugu, Hindi, English, Farsi, Punjabi, Pashto and
Gujarati.94 Although Siddiq Hussain was to claim that many Hindus had
converted to Islam in response to his call,95 it appears that the number of such
conversions were actually relatively few.
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Siddiq Hussain and the Muslims
The Muslims, to whom Siddiq Hussain had looked for support in his
mission, seem by and large to have either ignored him or else to have come
out in open opposition.96 We thus hear of numerous “ulama issuing fatawa of
kufr (infidelity) against him on account of his claims of being an avatar of
Channabasaveswara, declaring him to be a crypto-Qadiani, an allegation that
he strove hard to refute.97 In the course of his initial work among the Lingayats,
several Muslims are said to have joined the Arya Samajists in protesting against
the activities of the Anjuman.98 Apparently, an enraged Muslim even went so
far as to attempt to kill him; he alleged that he was paid a hefty sum of money
to do so by the Aryas. Hussain claimed that the mission proved abortive
because God rushed to his rescue.99
Despite this stiff opposition from many Muslims, Siddiq Hussain persisted
in trying to convince Muslims of the legitimacy of his claims and the
importance of his mission, presenting his work as in line with orthodox Islam
and rebutting suggestions that he was either a Qadiani or was attempting to
set up a new sect of his own. Thus, he wrote, membership of the Anjuman
was open to all Muslims who had recited the Islamic creed of confession,
attesting to their faith in Allah and Muhammad. The Anjuman, he said, was
“free from the stain of sectarianism.” It respected the founders of all Muslim
sects and was an identical replica of the community that Muhammad had
founded.100 He claimed that the work of the Anjuman was “limited only to
[missionary activity among] the Hindus” and that he made no claims of being
a prophet or messiah as his detractors, accusing him of having Qadiani
connections, had alleged.101
In an effort to convince the Muslims of his orthodoxy, Siddiq Hussain
insisted that he held firmly the belief in the finality of the prophethood of
Muhammad, in contrast to the Qadiainis, who considered Mirza Ghulam
Muhammad as a prophet. He presented his mission as transcending all
sectarian barriers, a pan-Islamic front geared essentially to missionary work
among the Hindus and not aimed at establishing a separate community.
Interestingly, he stressed that he did hold Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in great
regard, addressing him as hazrat (Presence) and sahib (Master) and adding
the suffix generally reserved for Muslim saints, rahmatullah aleih (God’s
mercy be upon him), after taking his name. He, however, denied being a
Qadiani, saying that unlike he and his followers, the Qadianis had their own
mosques, refused to pray behind non-Qadiani imams, considered all other
Muslims as kafirs and believed in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the “prophet of the
last days.” He admitted that he considered Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be the
mahdi of the fourteenth [Islamic] century, in line with the Lahori position on
the matter, and explained away the Qadiani belief in his having been a
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prophet by arguing that they had taken some of the Mirza’s statements, meant
to be understood figuratively, in a literal sense, just as the early Christians
had when they wrongly interpreted Jesus’ claims of being the son of God
literally.102 As for himself, he claimed that he had been sent on a divine
mission, declaring that the Prophet Muhammad himself had appointed him as
the “imam ul-nas” (imam of the people) and the imam-i-aqwam-i-“alam
(imam of all peoples of the world), and, in that capacity, as the “brother [bhai ]
of all Muslims.”103 God, he said, had selected him to carry on the mission of
spreading Islam and hence, instead of opposing him, the Muslims should be
glad that Allah had “bestowed this honour on one of their brethren,” this being
“a proof of the truth and life of Islam.”104
It was not by his own will, he insisted, that he had taken upon himself this
arduous task. Rather, he claimed, God Himself had willed that he should
undertake this mission of spreading Islam and extirpating kufr (disbelief).
“This jama“at,” he declared, referring to his Anjuman, “has been made by the
hands of Allah Himself,” and that is why “because of its efforts earthquakes are
shaking the cities of knowledge of the kuffar, who are now trembling with
fear.”105 Explaining the reason for setting up the Anjuman, he claimed that the
Prophet Muhammad had himself ordered him to stand up to counter the
kuffar”, who had exceeded all bounds in opposing and reviling Islam, and to
spread Islam among them.106 For Muslims to ignore his claims then would be
to oppose what God and His Prophet had willed.
Denying that he was attempting to set up a separate community of his
own, Siddiq Hussain argued that “just as the denizens of heaven cannot be
taken out from there, so, too, the missionaries of Islam cannot be divided into
sects.” He had come, he declared, to “unite the 72 Muslim sects into one.” Just
as the Companions of the Prophet had accepted all the prophets before
Muhammad, so too did he hold the leaders of all the various Muslim sects in
deep reverence, and his mission, he insisted, was to bring Muslims of all sects
together, to make them “one sect,” identifying themselves simply as Muslims,
dedicated to the cause of spreading Islam.107 He earnestly entreated the
Muslims to rally behind his missionary crusade, saying, “I request you to
remember that your greatest favour to the world would be to convert the
peoples of the world to Islam as soon as possible.”108 He claimed that it had
been revealed to him by a divine source that he would be put in charge of a
large army, leading the forces of Islam in a worldwide war against Christianity
in 1980, in which all countries will participate. At the end of the war, he
predicted, almost all the world would convert to Islam and then he, in the form
of Deendar Channabasaveswara, would establish the “era of truth (satyug ) . . .
purifying the world from sin, uniting all the 101 castes into one” by bringing
them all into the Muslim fold. He would set about “establishing Islam,
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uprooting infidelity, innovation (bida“at) and popular custom (rivaj ) and the
antagonisms of casteism (zat-pat).” He would herald, he declared, a new era,
“establishing heaven on earth.”109
In an effort to mobilize Muslim support for his cause, Siddiq Hussain made
vain attempts to win the favor of the ruling Muslim elite of Hyderabad. In his
A“ada-i-Islam, he wrote that in response to his earnest pleas to God to
“appoint a king to assist him,” he received divine signals suggesting that the
Nizam, Mir Usman ‘Ali Khan Bahadur, had been appointed for this task by
God.110 The Nizam, for his part, seems not to have taken too kindly to Siddiq
Hussain’s activities, for, as we have seen, he sentenced him to several long
spells in jail for allegedly disturbing the peace and inflaming communal
passions. Clearly, Siddiq Hussain seems to have been disillusioned with the
lukewarm support he received from the Muslims of Hyderabad, which may
have been the major reason for his subsequent decision in 1932 to leave the
state and head northwards to Yaghestan, in the Pathan borderlands.
Hijrat and Jihad
In their writings, Anjuman sources describe Siddiq Hussain’s migration
along with several of his close followers to Yaghestan as an emulation of the
Prophet’s hijrat from Makkah to Madinah and present this as further proof of
his supposed divine mission, for in this manner as in so many others it is
suggested God had willed that he should follow the Prophet’s example. In
heading for the Pathan borderlands, Siddiq Hussain was following in the path
of other charismatic Islamic heroes before him, most notably the eighteenth
century Sayyed Ahmad of Bareilly, who sought to use his base among the
war-like Pathans to launch a jihad against the Sikhs in the Punjab. Like
Sayyed Ahmad, Siddiq Hussain also intended to stir up the Pathans and,
at the head of a grand Pathan army, descend to the Indian plains,
presumably to fight the British and other non-Muslim powers and establish
Islamic rule in the country, with himself as the imam.
Anjuman sources do not reveal much as to Siddiq Hussain’s activities in
Yaghestan but, as always, grossly exaggerate his successes. Thus, according to
one source, soon after he reached Yaghestan, “many nawabs, badshahs and
sardars accepted him as the imam-ul jihad (imam of the jihad ) and scores of
Pathans took bai“at at his hands.”111 According to another source, some
6,000,000 Pathans are said to have joined his “mission of jihad.”112 He then
reportedly dispatched several delegations of his followers to various free
Pathan tribes113 along with a special order (hukum namah) appealing to them
to prepare themselves to participate in the jihad as “holy warriors” (ghaziyani-islam).114 He also wrote to Zahir Shah, ruler of Afghanistan, as well as several
Pathan chieftains, to join in the proposed jihad.115 On July 11, 1934, he
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announced in front of a large gathering of his followers that he had received
a divine message (ilham) that all of India would shortly convert to Islam.116
“Rejoice! Oh Musalmans!,” he declared, to the obvious delight of his followers,
“The whole of India will soon turn Muslim.”117 Presumably, the time was now
ripe for the jihad. His stirring up the Pathans for war, it is said, was now taken
serious note of by British authorities who, it is claimed in Anjuman sources
with much pride, branded him as “the most dangerous enemy of the British
Empire,” declaring that he was forbidden to enter British India. In 1936, Farid
Khan, the Nawab of Darband, under instructions from the British captured
Siddiq Hussain along with four of his close followers while he was asleep in
a remote village and handed him over to British authorities. In turn, the British
arranged for Siddiq Hussain to be sent to Hyderabad, where they instructed
the Nizam to keep him in solitary confinement at the Thugee Jail. He was
released in 1938 but forbidden to leave the confines of the Nizam’s
Dominions.118
Following his release from jail, Siddiq continued to maintain contacts with
his followers in Yaghestan. In 1939, he set up a military training center at
Hyderabad, which he christened the Tehrik Jami “at-i-Hizbullah (The
Movement of the Party of God), where his followers were trained in the use
of arms. At this time he also penned two tracts, titled The Practical Science of
War and The Principal Armies of Asia and Europe for the benefit of his
disciples, which, however, were soon banned by the government of India.119
Alongside these preparations for war, the Anjuman kept up its missionary
work. In 1938, Siddiq Hussain is said to have been approached by a leading
Muslim noble of Hyderabad, Nawab Bahadur Yar Jung, the then head of the
Majlis-i-Ittihad ul-Muslimin, who requested his assistance in spreading Islam in
the state. Siddiq Hussain willingly offered the services of his Anjuman, and
several of his followers travelled in groups to far-flung villages where it is
claimed they “made several thousand converts from among the Hindus.”120
Further, he dispatched letters to or personally met several Indian and British
leaders, asking them to convert to Islam, including Gandhi (1938),121 the
Viceroy (1939), members of the Cripps Mission (1946)122 and King George V.
To the last-mentioned, he declared that if he relented and accepted Islam, his
empire would prosper. On the other hand, if he refused to do so, his imperial
glory would soon vanish. Anjuman sources claim that the subsequent
disintegration of the British Empire was a consequence of the British monarch
not heeding Siddiq Hussain’s warnings.123
Changing Fortunes: 1947 and After
The departure of the British from India in 1947 proved a major watershed
for the Muslims of India and for members of the Deendar Anjuman, as well.
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In the post-1947 period, one can discern a distinct shift in the missionary
strategies of the Anjuman from aggressive proselytization and unconcealed
anti-Hindu rhetoric to attempts at presenting itself as committed to
interreligious dialogue and harmony between members of different religious
communities. However, underlying this new approach to inter-community
relations remained the Anjuman’s original agenda of propagating the message
of Siddiq Hussain and his interpretation of Islam.
By the end of 1946, fierce rioting between Hindus and Muslims had spread
all over India and Hyderabad, although still under the rule of a Muslim king,
was not left unaffected. Large-scale massacres of Muslims in the Western
Marathi-speaking districts of the Nizam’s Dominions were reported, an area
where Muslims were a small minority and where Hindu chauvinist groups had
managed to secure a firm base for themselves. In response, sections of the
Muslim elite in Hyderabad began sponsoring a militant Muslim organization,
the Razakars (The Volunteers), led by Kasim Rizvi,124 who were responsible for
several attacks on Hindus. They were ordered to commence defensive fighting
against the enemies of Islam.125
With the British having left, almost all Indian native states were
incorporated into the Indian Dominion. The Nizam of Hyderabad, however,
refused, hoping to stay independent or else to join Pakistan. In late 1948, India
reacted by ordering what has come to be known as the “Police Action,” in
which Indian troops over-ran Hyderabad in a short and swift move. The
Nizam’s forces, joined by the Razakars, put up a weak defense but were soon
overpowered by Indian soldiers.126 According to Anjuman sources, Siddiq
Hussain and his followers, who had been arrested by the Nizam earlier that
year and whose organization he had banned,127 fought the Indian forces on 27
different fronts but were soon captured at their headquarters at Asif Nagar.128
When the Khanqah-i-Sarwar-i-‘Alam Jagat Guru Ashram fell into the hands
of Indian troops, Siddiq Hussain ordered all his male followers between the
ages of eight and eighty to accompany him to prison. A special tribunal was
instituted to try a case against him in which he unhesitatingly declared, so
Anjuman sources say, that he had indeed fought the Indian Army “in
accordance with the sunnat of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and Allah’s
blessings be upon him.” The tribunal, it is said, was later declared illegal on
technical grounds and consequently Siddiq Hussain was absolved of all
charges and released in early 1952, as were his followers.129 On his release he
is said to have addressed a large gathering at a mosque attended, among
others, by members of the erstwhile Nizam’s cabinet, where he declared “No
government can arrest me. I shall uproot infidelity and disbelief. Now the only
way for India’s salvation is to turn Muslim. The day is not far off when the
whole of India shall accept Islam.”130
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Siddiq Hussain remained alive for barely two months after his release but
during this period is said to have prepared an ambitious program for
missionary work in India, besides giving lectures on the Qur’an to his followers
and dispatching his missionaries to various places. In response to the changed
political context, when the aggressive proselytization strategy of the past was
no longer feasible with Muslims in post-1947 India a threatened and insecure
minority, Siddiq Hussain prepared a new method of missionary work for his
followers to adopt, meant not just for India but for the entire world. This he
gave the name of the Panch Shanti Marg (The Five Pillars of the Way of
Peace), a Sanskrit name deliberately chosen to commend the Anjuman to the
Hindus, although it appears to have been modelled on the five pillars of Sunni
Islam. This consisted of (i) eko jagadishwar (tauhid, belief in the One God);
(ii) eko jagat guru (belief in Muhammad, the “seal of the prophets” [khatm
al-nabiyyin], as the “World Teacher”); (iii) sarva avatar satya ( belief in all
the prophets as true); (iv) sarva dharma granth satya (belief in all religious
scriptures as true) and (v) sammelan prarthana (collective prayer, in other
words, namaz [the Islamic form of prayer] ).131 Taken together, these beliefs
and practices were also given the Sanskrit term of tattva vichar, a rough
equivalent of the Arabic tasawwuf. Although these Sanskrit terms were meant
to refer to core Islamic beliefs and practices, they seem to have been
deliberately used without much elaboration of their actual import by Anjuman
missionaries communicating with Hindus in order to convey the image that the
Anjuman was committed to a universal faith that incorporated the teachings of
the Hindu scriptures as well. In this manner, the missionary agenda of the
Anjuman was played down and an impression created that the Anjuman was
genuinely committed to a generous ecumenism transcending all religious
barriers.
Siddiq Hussain died in April 1952 and was buried in a mausoleum within
his khanqah complex. He was survived by four wives, five sons and three
daughters. Four of his five sons migrated to Pakistan in the wake of a mass
exodus of Hyderabadi Muslim nobility to the newly created country in the
aftermath of the Indian annexation of the state. One of his sons, Amanat
Hussain, stayed behind in Hyderabad and is presently the supervisor (nazim)
of the Anjuman.132 Siddiq Hussain was succeeded by his chief khalifa, Sayyed
Amir Hussain, as the head of the Indian branch of the Anjuman. Under Sayyed
Amir, the Anjuman continued the missionary activities begun by its founder but
rather than adopting the aggressive mode of preaching that characterized
much of Siddiq Hussain’s life, the Anjuman now sought to project itself as a
peaceful group, committed to communal harmony, universal brotherhood and
reconciliation in accordance with the panch shanti marg that Siddiq Hussain
had laid down in the months before his death. This shift must, of course, be
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seen as a pragmatic response to the vastly changed political context, with the
Muslims having been displaced from political power in Hyderabad, the rapid
depletion of the ranks of the traditional Muslim elite, many of them migrating
to Pakistan, the general insecurity of the Muslim community in India as a
whole and the alarming rise of Hindu chauvinism.
In line with the new strategy of missionary work laid down in the form of
the panch shanti marg by Siddiq Hussain, Anjuman authorities based their
headquarters at Asif Nagar, Hyderabad and focused their energies on training
a band of committed missionaries to spread the teachings of the founder, using
various innovative means. A number of members of the Anjuman settled down
in the vicinity of the Khanqah-i-Sarwar-i-‘Alam Jagat Guru Ashram, where they
set up a small community closely-knit by ties of faith and kinship. Inside the
khanqah, a large mosque was constructed in which in addition to the ritual
prayers provision was made for the religious instruction of children of the
community as well as for the training of missionaries. They were taught the
Qur’an and Hadith, as well as those portions of the Hindu scriptures that they
believed foretold the arrival of Muhammad and Siddiq Hussain as the Deendar
Channabasaveswara. A separate, small mosque was also established for
women of the community, as well as a library and a community kitchen
(langar). It was estimated that by the late 1990s, the Anjuman had some 15,000
members, mainly in Hyderabad133 and in several towns and villages in the
former Nizam’s Dominions, now part of Andhra Pradesh, northern Karnataka
and southern Maharashtra, as well as a small number in Tamil Nadu. Among
these were some one hundred full-time roving missionaries.134 In Pakistan,
where four of Siddiq Hussain’s sons settled, the Anjuman was led by one of
them, Zia-ul Hasan, based at Mardan in the Pathan borderlands, where he is
said to have revived his father’s militant outfit the Jami “at-i-Hizbullah. Little is
known about the community in Pakistan. According to a report in an Indian
Muslim magazine, the community has faced some opposition in Pakistan
because of some of its apparently “Hinduistic” beliefs and practices and there
have reportedly been official and unofficial threats to excommunicate it from
the fold of Islam, as has been done in the case of the Ahmadis in the
country.135
While carrying on with Siddiq Hussain’s missionary work among the
Hindus after his death, the Indian branch of the Anjuman sought to use
peaceful methods of persuasion to appeal to its audience, presenting Islam as
but a fulfilment of the prophecies of the Hindu scriptures. Anjuman
missionaries visited Hindu temples and attended large Hindu religious
congregations, setting up their bookstalls and lecturing wherever allowed on
their beliefs, placing particular focus on their claims to universal brotherhood
and the principles of the panch shanti marga. “We have not left a single
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mutth, temple, church or gurudwara in India untouched,” wrote an Anjuman
activist in obvious exaggeration, “without explaining there the glory of
Muhammad, peace be upon him.”136 Anjuman missionaries attended Lingayat
congregations, where they declared their belief in Basava but claimed that he
was actually a Muslim. In 1977, the Anjuman set up a special booth at the
Kumbh Mela at Allahabad, which several hundred thousand Hindus from
various parts of India had attended, where they sold their literature and
delivered speeches on their version of Islam. Following in the footsteps of their
founder, Anjuman leaders sent off letters to various Indian leaders, inviting
them to convert to Islam.137 In addition, the Anjuman authorities continued to
organize the “international religious conference” (bayn al-aqwami mazhabi
conference) on 2 Rajab every year, marking the date of Siddiq Hussain’s death,
a practice that Siddiq Hussain had himself started in 1929. Speakers from
different religious traditions were invited to speak about particular issues from
their own religious perspectives. This, however, was clearly seen as a means
to put the Anjuman’s version of Islam across to a non-Hindu audience. The
actual aims of the Anjuman remained largely the same as sometimes did its
missionary agenda. Its hostility to other faiths was clearly enunciated when in
1965, at the conclusion of a tour of Anjuman missionaries of Andhra Pradesh,
Karnataka and Maharashtra, a large rally was organized by the Anjuman in
Bombay, where it was forcefully declared that “The Hindu religion is no
religion at all. In the end, all Hindus will have to convert to Islam.” 138
Proselytization is still the real goal of the Anjuman, for as a recent Deendar
source puts it, “God willing, our work shall carry on till all of India becomes
Muslim.”139
Growing Hindu Militancy and the Anjuman’s
Response
From the mid-1980s onward, Hindu chauvinist groups began a massive
mobilizational campaign to destroy the Babri Masjid, a Mughal mosque, at the
town of Ayodhya, which they claimed had been built on the site marking the
birthplace of the legendary god-king Rama. This campaign was accompanied
by fierce attacks on Muslims, abetted by agencies of the state, as a result of
which several thousand Muslims in large parts of the country were killed. The
Anjuman sought to counter the campaign in its own way, printing and
distributing literature in Telugu, Hindi and English calling on the “followers of
Rama” to desist from their attacks on Muslims and their designs on the
mosque, appealing to them instead to “follow the teachings of Ramji, by
praying in the manner that he had taught, the sammelana prarthana,”
referring to Siddiq Hussain’s claim that Rama had taught the Islamic form of
worship — namaz — to the monkey-god Hanuman.140
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According to Indian police reports, Anjuman activists are said to have
begun travelling to Pakistan after 1992 for military training. If one assumes a
degree of truth in this allegation, which can only be speculative at best, the
timing is significant, coming as it does in the wake of the destruction of the
Babri mosque and the subsequent large-scale killing of Muslims all over India,
including Hyderabad. If Deendar activists are alleged to have been lured into
an ISI plot to destabilize India at this time, this must be seen in the context of
the destruction of the mosque, the mass killings of Muslims and the growing
force of the Hindu right, which has now succeeded in capturing control of the
Central and several state governments, resulting in unprecedented fears and
anxieties among Muslims about their future in India.
Conclusion
Tracing the origins and development of the Deendar Anjuman from the
1920s to the present day, we have seen how Siddiq Hussain and his followers
sought to respond to the rapidly changing socio-political conditions of their
times in their missionary work among the Lingayats and Hindus and in their
appeals to Muslims. To the former, Islam was presented not as a completely
new religion by itself but rather as a fulfilment of their own faiths, which were
said to have predicted the arrival of Muhammad as the kalki avatar and jagat
guru and of Siddiq Hussain as the Deendar Channabasaveswara. For Muslims
attracted to the Anjuman by its messianic appeal and its promises of converting
all of India to Islam, thereby restoring the lost glory of their forefathers, this
also meant a form of conversion, changing their own notions of Hindu beliefs,
scriptures, prophets and saints, which were sought to be granted a limited
legitimacy. This ingenious use of local religious traditions in order to convey
the Anjuman’s own expression of Islam was not unique in the history of
Muslim missionary activity in South Asia. Most notably, the Isma‘ilis and many
Sufis too had adopted this technique with varying degrees of success, but what
was unique about the Anjuman’s use of this method was that it was probably
the only significant effort among the various Muslim tablighi initiatives that
emerged in the 1920s in response to the shuddhi challenge that deliberately
sought to present Islam using non-Islamic idioms and motifs.
As in the case of the career of its founder, the missionary strategy of the
Anjuman after Siddiq Hussain’s death in 1952 may be said to have oscillated
between two extremes. On the one hand were its efforts at fostering interreligious dialogue by, for instance, organizing interreligious conferences,
where the commonalities of various religious traditions were stressed.
However, even here the missionary agenda of seeking to spread Siddiq
Hussain’s own version of Islam has never been far from the surface and
Anjuman leaders have, as we have seen, repeatedly spoken of their intention
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to spread the teachings of their founder until all of India accepts them. If there
is any truth at all in the allegations levelled against the Anjuman by large
sections of the Indian press, police and agencies of the state of involvement in
the recent bomb blasts, it would point to the Anjuman having gone back to
Siddiq Hussain’s militant strategy that characterized his agenda in the 1930s.
These allegations have of course been rebutted by Anjuman authorities but,
if proved true, must be seen in the context of post-1992 India, which has
witnessed the alarming rise of the militantly anti-Muslim Hindu right, a striking
parallel to the rise of the Arya Samaj in the 1930s, which also led Siddiq
Hussain to adopt violent means against what he saw as the growing threat of
Hindu chauvinism.
Endnotes
1.
See, for instance, Bharti Jain, “ISI Twin Plan: Attack Christians, Blame Hindus.”
Economic Times, July 15, 2000.
2.
Indian Express, July 14, 2000.
3.
Times of India, August 23, 2000.
4.
Times of India, July 15, 2000.
5.
Amarnath K. Menon and Stephen David, “Explosive Expose.” India Today,
July 31, 2000.
6.
Ibid.
7.
Times of India, August 29, 2000.
8.
The term Dalit refers to the various “untouchable” castes in India.
9.
“Deendar Anjuman.” Communalism Combat, August 2000, 33–34.
10.
India Monitor, July 18, 2000.
11.
Deccan Herald, July 19, 2000.
12.
Deccan Herald, August 22, 2000.
13.
Times of India, August 19, 2000.
14.
Syed Amin Jafri, “Sect Denies Hand in Bomb Blasts” (http://www.rediff.com/
news/2000/jul/15jafri.htm).
15.
Indian Express, July 14, 2000.
16.
Times of India, July 15, 2000.
17.
According to one report (Asian Age, July 27, 2000), some 1000 Dalit and tribal
families are said to have been converted by the Anjuman in the Krishna district in Andhra
Pradesh in the last five years. The report claimed, without supplying any proof whatsoever,
that the Hizb ul-Mujahidin, the Kashmiri militant group allied to the Jama‘at-i-Islami,
supplied money to these families to convert, the funds being routed through illegal means
by the ISI.
18.
S. I. Syed Anwar, “Untying Knots.” Meantime, August 4, 2000.
19.
N. Bhanutej and L. Iyer, “Sufis in Saffron.” The Week, August 6, 2000.
20.
The Hindu, July 14, 2000.
21.
The Hindu, November 17, 1997.
22.
Deccan Herald, July 21, 2000.
23.
“Deendar Anjuman.” Communalism Combat, op. cit., 30.
24.
Times of India, August 23, 2000.
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25.
Deendar Anjuman — Ajmali Ta”aruf, Sadr Markaz Deendar Anjuman,
Hyderabad, n.d., 7.
26.
Siddiq Hussain, Deendar Channabasaveswara (Hyderabad: Deendar Anjuman,
1996) (first published 1353 A. H. [1934/35] ), 9.
27.
Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqi, Muhammad Ali: The Great Missionary of Islam (Lahore:
Ahmadiyya Anjuman-i-Isha‘at-i-Islam, 1966), 46–49.
28.
Siddiq Hussain, A“ada-i-Islam (Hyderabad: Deendar Anjuman, n.d.), 9.
29.
Ibid., 9.
30.
For an overview of Muslim reactions to the Arya campaign and efforts to counter
it, see my “The Fitna of Irtidad: Muslim Missionary Responses to the Shuddhi Movement
of the Arya Samaj in Early Twentieth Century India.” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs,
vol. 17, no. 1, 1997, 65–82.
31.
Deendar Anjuman — Ajmali Ta“aruf, op. cit., 8.
32.
A group of Muslims who insisted that the Qur’an alone sufficed as a source of
religious authority for Muslims.
33.
Javeed Alam, “Communalism Among Muslims: The Majlis-e-Ittehad ul-Muslimeen
in Hyderabad” in T. V. Sathyamurthy (ed.), Region, Religion, Caste, Gender and Culture in
Contemporary India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000), 241.
34.
Kenneth W. Jones, “The Arya Samaj in British India” in Robert D. Baird (ed.),
Religion in Modern India (New Delhi: Manohar, 1995), 45.
35.
Ibid., 46.
36.
Ibid., 243.
37.
Located in the Bijapur district.
38.
It is said that according to an ancient prediction well-known among the
Lingayats, Channabasavseswara would be born again, and Siddiq Hussain claimed that this
was a prophecy that indicated his own advent (Bhanutej and Iyer, op. cit.).
39.
Siddiq Hussain was later to claim that Kodekkal Basappa had predicted that
Deendar Chanabasaveswara would appear in the area seven hundred years after his death
as a bachelor (brahmacharya) and marry a woman at Talikotta.
40.
Siddiq Hussain, Deendar Chanabasaveswara, op. cit., 11. He is said to have
consulted a Lingayat mystic named Lingappa Sadhu who was well-versed in the Tantra
Pada, post-twelfth century Lingayat literature, and master in the art of interpreting dreams,
who announced to him that he indeed was the Deendar Channabasaveswara.
41.
Siddiq Hussain, Deendar Channabasaveswara, op. cit., 11.
42.
Siddiq Hussain, A“ada-i-Islam, op. cit., 33.
43.
Ibid., xiii.
44.
Siddiq Deendar, Deendar Channabasaveswara, op. cit., 3.
45.
A“ada-i-Islam, xii.
46.
For a detailed study of the Lingayats, see J. P. Schouten, Revolution of the Mystics
— On the Social Aspects of Virasaivism (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1995).
47.
Bhanutej and Iyer, op. cit.
48.
A title of respect for the Prophet Muhammad.
49.
Siddiq Hussain, Lingayat (Hyderabad: Deendar Anjuman, n.d.), 3. In the
concluding paragraph of this booklet, Siddiq Hussain suggests that at least 1,000,000 copies
of the booklet should be made and distributed free to the Lingayats so that they might
convert to Islam.
50.
Ibid., 4.
51. Known as Muinuddin to his Muslim followers, he is said to have been a Sufi
particularly popular among the caste of gold-smiths. He is buried at Thinthini, near
Gulbarga.
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52.
Ibid., 4.
53.
Pandit Sayyed Qasim Ganagalu, Hindu–Muslim Unity in the Person of His
Holiness Maulana Siddique Deendar Channabasaveswara (Hyderabad: Deendar Anjuman,
1990), viii–ix.
54.
Siddiq Hussain, World Teacher Jagat Guru Sarwar-i-“Alam (translated by
Muhammad Wajahatullah Khan), (Hyderabad: Deendar Anjuman), 37.
55.
Ibid., 21. Apparently, this medallion is put around the neck of every guru of the
mutth during the appointment ceremony.
56.
Siddiq Hussain, Lingayat, op. cit., 5.
57.
Siddiq Hussain, Deendar Channabasaveswara, op. cit., 4. For a description of
these “signs” and their supposed fulfilment in the person of Siddiq Hussain, see 24–28.
58.
Siddiq Hussain, Deendar Channabasaveswara, op. cit., 5.
59.
Ibid., 34.
60.
Ibid., 6.
61.
Bhanutej and Iyer, op. cit.
62.
Asian Age, July 23, 2000.
63.
Ochre-coloured robes are usually worn by Hindu and Lingayat sadhus, but also
by some Chishti Sufis. According to an Anjuman respondent, this was not an
accommodation to Hindu or Lingayat beliefs, but in accordance with the sunnat of the
Prophet, who would wear an ochre coloured cloak on Fridays while delivering the khutba
in the mosque and also when receiving non-Muslim visitors in Madinah. “This is God’s dress
(yeh ishwar ka libas hai),” he says.
64.
Abul Sami Muhammad Nazirullah, Deendar Anjuman Kya Hai, Deendar
Anjuman, Hyderabad, n.d., 8.
65.
Deendar Anjuman — Ajmali Ta“aruf, op. cit., 9.
66.
Siddiq Hussain, A“ada-i-Islam, op. cit., xiv.
67.
Ibid., 33.
68.
Nazirullah, op. cit., 11.
69.
Deendar Anjuman — Ajmali Ta“aruf, op. cit., 10–11.
70.
Siddiq Hussain, World Teacher Jagad Guru Sarwar-i-“Alam , op. cit., 42. For
more on the Anjuman’s theory of Muhammad having been the kalki avatar of the Hindus,
see Ved Prakash Upadhyaya, Kalki Avatar Hazrat Muhammad Salallahu Aleihi Wasallam
(Hyderabad: Deendar Anjuman, 1991).
71.
Siddiq Hussain, World Teacher . . . , op. cit., 3.
72.
Ibid., 15. The horoscope, along with explanations of events in the Prophet’s life
in connection with the location of various planets and stars, is presented on 15–16, prepared
by one Pandit Tukaram Joshi of Ahmadpur, Bidar.
73.
Ibid., 18.
74.
Ibid., 19.
75.
Ibid., 26.
76.
Ibid., 53.
77.
Ibid., 2.
78.
Ibid., 2. Ayodhya and Makkah being proved to be the same, Wajahatullah Khan,
the translator, insists that the solution to the vexed issue of the Ayodhya mosque controversy
can easily be found.
79.
Ibid., 36.
80.
Significantly, Siddiq Hussain does not refer to the notion of “corruption” of
pre-Muhammadan scriptures (tahrif ) in this context.
81. Siddiq Hussain, Jami“a al-Bahrain, op. cit., 8.
82.
Nazirullah, op. cit., 3.
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83.
Siddiq Hussain, Hidayat Namah Banam Ghayr Muslim Salatin, Deendar
Anjuman, Hyderabad, 1398 AH, 2.
84.
Ibid., 4.
85.
Ibid., 5.
86.
Deendar Anjuman — Ajmali Ta“aruf, op. cit., 19.
87.
Siddiq Hussain, Jami“a al-Bahrain, op. cit., 18.
88.
Nazirullah, op. cit., 7.
89.
Deendar Anjuman — Ajmali Ta“aruf, op. cit., 8.
90.
“Deendar Anjuman”, Communalism Combat, op. cit., 31.
91.
Siddiq Hussain, A“ada-i-Islam, op. cit., 39.
92.
In a manner typical of messianic cults, Siddiq Hussain made several prophecies
that promised to be of earth-shaking import. Thus, writing in the late 1920s, he claimed that
in 1943 Bidar would become part of the Nizam’s Dominions and that the glory of the Nizam
would increase greatly; in 1958 the “kings of the world” would fight a deadly battle over
religion, which would end in 1973 with the triumph of religion over the forces of
materialism; that in 1969, Muslim rule would be restored in Spain and that in 1980, almost
all the world would embrace Islam (Siddiq Hussain, A“ada-i-Islam, op. cit., 33–36).
93.
Nazirullah, op. cit., 9.
94.
Siddiq Hussain, A“ada-i-Islam, op. cit., 9–12.
95.
Ibid., 12.
96.
According to one report, he “faced opposition from the traditional Muslims, who
disliked his liberal teachings” (Bhanutej and Iyer, op. cit.).
97.
Siddiq Hussain, A“ada-i-Islam, op. cit., 4.
98.
Ibid., xv.
99.
Ibid., xviii. The attacker is said to have been arrested and sentenced by the
Nizam to five years of rigorous imprisonment.
100. Siddiq Hussain, Sarwar-i-“Alam Yani Jagat Guru, Deendar Anjuman, Hyderabad,
1970, 57. On taking bai “at to Siddiq Hussain, a person wishing to join the Anjuman was
expected to recite the following oath: “Today, at the hands of Siddiq, I repent for all my sins
and solemnly promise to keep religion [din] above the affairs of the world [duniya]. I shall
observe the ordinances of Islam and shall be ready to sacrifice my life and my wealth to
spread Islam.” A monthly donation of not less than 50 paise was to be paid by every
member.
101. Ibid., 57.
102. Siddiq Hussain, A“ada-i-Islam, op. cit., 6–7.
103. Ibid., 5. Followers of Siddiq Hussain believe him to be the much-awaited Imam
Mahdi whose arrival has been predicted by the Prophet Muhammad in the Hadith.
According to an Anjuman activist, Muhammad was the seed sent by God and Siddiq Hussain
was the fruit of that seed (interview with Naveed Hussain, Hyderabad, January 20, 1999).
104. Ibid., 5.
105. Ibid., 12.
106. Ibid., 13.
107. Ibid., 20.
108. Siddiq Hussain, Hidayat Namah Banam Ghayr Muslim Salatin, op. cit., 15.
109. Siddiq Hussain, A“ada-i-Islam, op. cit., 35–39.
110. Ibid., iii.
111. Nazirullah, op. cit., 13.
112. Deendar Anjuman — Ajmali Ta“aruf, op. cit., 19.
113. These tribes, living in the frontier region between British India and Afghanistan,
were free from direct British control.
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114. Nazirullah, op. cit., 14.
115. Ibid., 17.
116. Deendar Anjuman — Ajmali Ta“aruf, op. cit., 14.
117. Ibid., 32. Apparently, this “prophecy” was printed as a poster and displayed in
towns in various parts of India, which, and this is said to have, “created great consternation”
and even forced a discussion on the matter in the British Parliament (Nazirullah, op. cit., 14).
118. Nazirullah, op. cit., 15.
119. Deendar Anjuman — Ajmali Ta“aruf, op. cit., 17.
120. Ibid., 20.
121. Nazirullah, op. cit., 11. Nazirullah writes that Siddiq Hussain met Gandhi for the
second time in this year, when he was on his way to the Nandi Hills near Bangalore.
122. Ibid., 15–16.
123. Ibid., 16.
124. Rizvi took over as head of the Majlis in 1946.
125. Deendar Anjuman — Ajmali Ta“aruf, op. cit., 21.
126. For details about the Police Action, see V. P. Menon, The Story of the Integration
of the Indian states (Bombay: Orient Longmans, 1956), 314–389.
127. “Deendar Anjuman”, Communalism Combat, op. cit., 32.
128. Deendar Anjuman — Ajmali Ta“aruf, op. cit., 21. Siddiq Hussain is said to have
been “fiercely opposed” by Kasim Rizvi, who is said to have considered him a “potential
rival,” doubting his religious orthodoxy, owing to his claims of being the avatar of a Hindu
saint (Asian Age, July 23, 2000).
129. Ibid., 24.
130. Ibid., 24.
131. Ibid., 24–25. He also prepared 17 life-size human charts for this purpose (details
of which are not supplied in Anjuman literature), finishing the task just one day before he
died.
132. S. K. Hashmi, “Unholy Tangle.” Meantime, August 18, 2000.
133. A visit to the Anjuman headquarters in September, 1999, revealed that almost all
families associated with the Anjuman are fairly poor. Only a small number could be said to
belong to the middle classes, and of these, very few have received modern education.
134. Interview with Ahmad Sahib, Deendar Anjuman member, Hyderabad,
September 20, 1999.
135. M. A. Siraj, “Deendar Anjuman: Earthy People, Unblemished Past.” Islamic Voice,
August 8, 2000.
136. Nazirullah, op. cit., 3.
137. Deendar Anjuman — Ajmali Ta“aruf, op. cit., 28–30.
138. Ibid., 68.
139. Ibid., 32.
140. Ibid., 31.
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