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Gandhi and the Ali Brothers

Gandhi and the Ali Brothers
Biography of a Friendship

First Edition

July 2013 | 242 pages | SAGE India

The campaign of the Khilafat Movement and the Ali brothers’ close collaboration with Gandhi are well acknowledged in the pages of history. It is also well known that after the collapse of the Khilafat–Non-cooperation Movement, the relationship between them became strenuous, and the Ali brothers moved away from Gandhi. But what is not so well known is that the promise of the relationship when it was forged was astounding, and Gandhi saw it as a solution to the problem of Hindu-Muslim unity, which he considered fundamental to India’s independence.

This book is a study of the relationship between Gandhi and the Ali brothers mainly in the context of the Non-cooperation and Khilafat Movements, focusing on the period of 1919–1931. Gandhi’s involvement in the Khilafat agitation was his first direct intervention in an exclusively Muslim question, translating it into a national question. This was his way of bringing the Muslims out of their community cocoons into the mainstream of India’s national politics. However, as his relationship with the brothers broke down, this turned out to be also his last such intervention. Consequently, the issue of Muslim participation remained unsettled till Partition.

Gandhi and the Ali Brothers
narrates the story of the coming together, the joint struggle and the parting of ways of Gandhi and the Ali brothers. It documents a lucid micro-history of the momentous developments in the personal relations of these political figures, with the dynamics of Hindu-Muslim interface as the backdrop.


The Theory: Communitarianism, Multiculturalism and Gandhi

The History

The Characters: The Ali Brothers

'Love at First Sight'

Troubled Alliance

Journey Downhill

End of the Road

Conclusion: Multiculturalism Before Its Time



[The book] offers deep and fresh insights into Gandhi’s multiculturalism and his approach to the Muslim community- is perhaps one of the best books on the Khilafat movement and Ali brothers’ close collaboration with the Gandhi.... the book’s narrative and its milieu are competently reconstructed from ample collection of books, letters and papers, and from the stories of informants.

The Tribune

[The Author] has tried to interpret Mahatma Gandhi’s experiment of bringing about a consensus with the Muslims on the national question by trying to espouse the Khilafat Movement spearheaded by the Ali Brothers.

The Statesman, 14 August, 2016
Indian Newspaper

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ISBN: 9789353880637
ISBN: 9788132111252