Khilafat Movement

  • The main objective of the Khilafat movement was to force the British government change its attitude towards Turkey and restore the Khalifa to his former position.
  • Turkey was defeated in the First World War and the harsh terms of the Treaty of Sevres (1920) was felt by the Muslims as a great insult to them.
  • The Muslims in India were upset over the British attitude against Turkey and launched the Khilafat Movement which was jointly led by the Khilafat leaders and the Congress.
  • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, M.A. Ansari, Saifuddin Kitchlew and the Ali brothers were the prominent leaders of this movement.
  • In November 1919, a joint conference of the Hindus and the Muslims held under the chairmanship of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi was particularly interested in bringing the Hindus and the Muslims together to achieve the country’s independence.
  • In February 1920, Gandhiji suggested to Khilafat Committee that it adopt a programme of nonviolent non-cooperation to protest the Government’s behavior.
  • On 9 June, 1920 the Khilafat Committee at Allahabad unanimously accepted the suggestion of non-cooperation and asked Gandhiji to lead the movement.
  • Four stages of non-cooperation were surrender of titles and honorary positions, resignation from civil services under the Government, resignation from Police and Army services and non-payment of taxes
  • Subsequently, the Khilafat Movement merged with the Non-Cooperation Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920.


While Mahatma Gandhi’s mass appeal was undoubtedly genuine – and in the context of Indian politics, without precedent – it must also be stressed that his success in broadening the basis of nationalism was based on careful organisation. During this period Mahatma Gandhi became the undisputed leader of the National Movement.