Maulana Hasrat Mohani

Maulana Hasrat Mohani got his surname as Mohani probably because he lived long time in a place called Mohan in Unnao district. Mohan is a town area in Unnao district and situated just 20 KM from Lucknow.

NO one in the realm of poetry and politics was as practical as Maulana Hasrat Mohani. Throughout his life, he worked and struggled hard for the cause of the independence of the country.
A man of simplicity and sincerity, he stood undaunted against the onslaught of the British rulers and ultimately scarified his everything for the sake of his mission. During the freedom movement, a major part of his life was spent in the prison.
When Pakistan came into existence, the Maulana was advised by the Quaid-i-Azam to stay in India in his attempt to extend protection to the Indian Muslims. Hasrat sincerely obeyed the command of the Quaid, since self-interest for him was the worst form of bigotry. The Maulana never migrated to Pakistan to reap benefit from the newly-established country.
Maulana Syed Fazlul Hasan Hasrat Mohani was born in 1878 in Unnao, a renowned city of the United Provinces. His forefathers had migrated from Neshapur to India and took shelter at Mohan. In his early days, Arabic and Persian used to be the main pillars of education and naturally Hasrat received his education on the same pattern. Later on, he was admitted to Mohan Middle School, from where he passed his Middle Class Examination in 1894 and stood first in the whole province. He then proceeded to Fatehpur and took admission in Government High School in 1899. He passed his matriculation examination with distinction and was awarded scholarship.
In those days, Aligarh was regarded as the major centre of learning for the Muslims of undivided India. Young students from all over the country were joining M.A.O. College. The noted educationist, Dr Ziauddin was then the head of the college. He was much impressed by the outstanding position of young Hasrat in the matric examination. He immediately invited Maulana Hasrat for further education in Sir Syed's institution. The Maulana graduated in 1903. Among his classmates were the well-known leader Maulana Shaukat Ali and the literary figure, Sajjad Haider Yalderam (father of Qurrat-ul-Aain Haider).
Urdu-i-Moalla:It was in Aligarh that Hasrat took interest in literature and politics, and gradually created a niche for himself in both the realms. In 1903 he started publishing a journal Urdu-i-Moalla which was devoted to the cause of Urdu literature on the one hand and supported the political views of emerging nationalism on the other. The renowned historian, Maulana Shibli Nomani was so impressed by his penetrating articles on political situation of the country, that he commented: "Hasrat Mohani is bold and brave enough in initiating freedom fighting."
During the publication of Hasrat's magazine, an incident took place which not only revealed his strong principles but also brought into light the practical steps he had taken in political fields. In 1908, a leading article was published in an Egyptian journal criticising the so-called policy adopted by the British Empire against the Islamic state. Hasrat Mohani managed to publish its Urdu translation in Urdu-i-Moalla. Translator's name was intentionally not printed. (According to Maulana Sulaiman Nadvi's investigation, he was Iqbal Ahmad Sohail, a brilliant student of Aligarh University who later emerged as a noted poet). The Indian Government wanted to know who had translated the said article and pressurized Hasrat to disclose the name of the translator. The Maulana bluntly refused to violate the confidence of the contributor. He took the whole responsibility of the translated article on his own shoulders.
Jail term:As a result, he was prosecuted and had to spend two-years in jail. During this first imprisonment, he had to undergo a wide range of unbearable tortures.
Maulana Hasrat was a great patriot and a freedom fighter. He played a leading role in politics and associated himself with the Swadeshi movement. He had also been active in Khelafat Tehrik. He wholeheartedly participated in the activities of the All-India Muslim League. He presided over the Fourteenth Annual Session of All India Muslim League held at Ahmedabad on December 30, 1921. While delivering his presidential address he boldly declared:
"It was the All-India Muslim League which actually realized the first and most essential condition of Indian independence."
In 1936, the Mualana fully devoted himself towards the uplift of the League. He was then elected as a member of Muslim League Parliamentary Board, United Provinces. He also served as a permanent member of UP Muslim League Working Committee.
Critical day:In those critical days, when Congress was endeavouring hard to belittle the Muslim League, Hasrat Mohani along with Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, took effective steps in popularizing All-India Muslim League among the Muslim masses. Hasrat Mohani even took active part in 25th Annual Session of Muslim League held at Lalbagh, Lucknow, in October, 1937 under the presidentship of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. It was in this session that Maulana Hasrat Mohani moved the following resolution:
"The object of the All-India Muslim League shall be the establishment in India of full independence in the form of a federation of free democratic states in which the rights and interests of Musalmans and other minorities are adequately and effectively safeguarded in the constitution."
Seconding this significant resolution, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan said that the Muslims always thought in terms of independence. India did not comprise a single nation. If that were so, then according to the best principles of democracy, the Muslims would always be at the mercy of the majority community.
Among those who supported this resolution were Abdur Rahman Siddiqi, Hussain Imam, I.I. Chundrigar, Chaudhry Khaliquz Zaman and Begum Mohammad Ali Jauhar. The resolution was passed unanimously by all amidst the slogans of Hindustan Azad, Islam Zindabad and Allah-o-Akbar.
Urdu poetry:As far as Urdu poetry is concerned, Hasrat Mohani ranks high. He possessed a perfect command over the language. He could easily elaborate and expound in his ghazal all that he had to say on all the subjects. With a masterly touch, he brought the freshness of emotional response in Urdu ghazal and used the simplest vocabulary with telling effect. His idiom was spontaneous and romanticised, bringing unique sense of lyricism which evoked down-to-earth images for poetic communication. His ghazal soon gained unprecedented popularity.
Hasrat Mohani is undoubtedly the first Urdu poet who widened the horizon of ghazal - a genre regarded as the symbol of love affairs. Being a revolutionary man, he changed the so-called tradition of poetry through the imposition of political views and observations. In his Kulyat (collection of his ghazals), we could easily find a number of verses embodied with the political issues.In 1918, the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms were announced, according to which the government of India must remain wholly responsible to parliament, and the control of provincial administration should be partly made over to the provincial legislature. Maulana Hasrat, being unafraid of any possible conviction, severely criticised this reform.
Throughout his life, Hasrat came into violent clash with the British. His only mission was to get rid of the foreign rulers, and to wrest complete freedom from their hands.
Hasrat, an inveterate enemy of foreign bureaucracy, always came to be looked upon with suspicion. To crush and kill his enthusiasm, the Indian government put him behind bars many a time. The Maulana was often kept in solitary confinement, forced to work for hours. He had always to live in a jail within a jail, not allowed to see or talk to any one. Despite all these tortures and troubles, his ambitions always remained high.
The war of independence was not to be fought single-handed. The entire nation was required to come into violent clash with the British Empire. For this very purpose, Mualana Hasrat inspired the Muslims and called upon them to take Direct Action:
This man of fearless soul passed away on May 13, 1951 and was buried in Lucknow - far away from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for which he sacrificed his all. While commenting on the literary achievements of Maulana Hasrat, a noted critic, Dr Mohammad Sadiq, writes in his voluminous book A History of Urdu Literature."
"As I see it, his importance is more historical than literary. To him goes the credit of having first broken away from the excessive artificiality of the Lucknow poets of his day and of bringing poetry into touch with life as he knew it."