100 Years Ago… – Shuddhi Movement: Progress report by Ahmadiyya delegation to Agra


Al Fazl, 5 April 1923

Hazrat Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad Sayalra (1887-1960)
Map of the United Provinces from The Imperial Gazetteer of India 1907 1909 1

Meeting with dignitaries

Our first tabligh delegation consisting of 20 men left Qadian for UP [United Provinces, now Uttar Pradesh] on 12 March [1923] to curb the apostasy [of Malkana Rajputs] and reached Achhnera, District Agra, on 14 March [1923]. 

Ahmadi missionary, Maulvi Mahfuz-ul-Haq Sahib, was present at the train station. He met me and informed me about the situation here [in Agra]. After that, Chaudhry Nazir Ahmad Khan Sahib, a lawyer in the state of Jaipur, Niaz Muhammad Khan Sahib of Jaipur and Mahbub Khan Sahib, who are all among the leading Rajputs of their region and have great influence in these parts, heard the news of my arrival and came to meet me. These three friends were very happy to see our delegation and said, “We were waiting for you, friends. This work is very delicate and only you people will be able to perform it adequately with much effort and diligence.”

Representatives of Anjuman and us

We had a disagreement on some important matters with the representatives of Anjuman-e-Tabligh there. Apparently, there was no way to resolve the issue. However, we sent word through the aforementioned three friends that we were ready to work with the said Anjuman in every way, but the disagreement had gone over the edge, so the matter could not be resolved, even though the Anjuman tried their best for about 24 hours. Consequently, we received a message from the Anjuman, saying, “You folks should start your work separately.” A particular area was allotted to us. Since our aim was to work, no matter the circumstances, we accepted their proposal.

Hence, we started working. Apostasy [Movement] is in full swing in the region that has come under our service. That is, a section of the people of this area has become apostate and the rest of them are also on the brink of apostasy. We were glad to hear that the Rajputs of this region and the Maulvis unanimously agreed that, “the danger [of apostasy] in this particular place is very high, so we entrust this work to you.” We are very happy that these friends have placed their trust in us. We pray that Allah the Almighty may grant us success in this work, amin.

Our delegation and sincerity of an old Rajput woman

Without further ado, I spread the missionaries of my delegation throughout the entire region. They were sent to the surrounding villages that are under our jurisdiction and where there has been or was a rumour of the Shuddhi [Movement]. One of these places is a famous village named Akran. To supervise this place, I have arranged for a missionary to settle here permanently. It is proposed that a mosque should also be built here. […] 

We intend to start a Muslim school here. By the time this letter is published in the [Al Fazl] newspaper, we are hopeful that the school will be opened. Generally, the Hindi language is taught in schools in this area. However, it is the desire of the Malkana Rajputs that they be acquainted with the Urdu language. Hopefully, we will pay attention to this as well, insha-Allah.

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Hazrat Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad Sayalra

Response to the struggles of Aryas

During the tabligh tour, it was brought to our knowledge that Shuddhi was about to take place in a village in our constituency. Thus, Chaudhry Abdullah Khan Sahib Bhatti BA BT, Chaudhry Badruddin Khan Sahib and some other friends were ordained to get there immediately and make all possible efforts to prevent apostasy. Consequently, our friends reached there, and Maulvi Muhammad Yusuf Sahib, the missionary of Lahore Jamaat, also arrived at that place after hearing the news. On reaching the village, it was found that the majority of local Malkana Rajputs there were completely against this movement and wanted to uphold their existing identity.

The fact of the matter is that the Aryas have persuaded one of the swindlers [from Malkana Rajputs] and he is trying to ruin the whole village. The wave of apostasy has stopped since our arrival, but the overall situation indicates that this village is still under imminent threat. In order to prevent this impending danger, I have designated Chaudhry Badruddin (formerly Badr Bakhsh) Sahib to keep visiting this village every couple of days and make every effort to reduce the impact of the Aryas. Since Chaudhry Badruddin Sahib is a Rajput, the local people here do not hesitate to meet him. Hopefully, it will lead to a positive outcome, insha-Allah.

Modus operandi of Aryas and details of curbing Shuddhi in Sikandra

The aforementioned incidents clearly show that the Aryas pick out some of the rebellious meanders of a village and exert their influence on them, and then bring the rest of the people into their trap through them. They take a couple of men from the Malkana population of the village where they plan to carry out Shuddhi. They then deceitfully further their ideas by presenting chariots and cars to them. I think that on such occasions, if people from the Muslim community reach there [to preach the true teachings of Islam] in sufficient numbers, it will put an end to their deceitful approach once and for all.

For instance, I will narrate an incident. Sikandra is a small village near Agra. There was a rumour about Shuddhi there. I thus ordained some of my associates to go there and stop the apostasy. Consequently, Chaudhry Anwar Khan Sahib Bhatti and Babu Muhammad Iqbal Sahib reached the place. They said that there was a large crowd of Hindus, who surrounded the old Rajput Mahtab Khan. He is the mukhya (head) of the village. In the beginning, they praised him and then they threatened him. In the meantime, by saying that, “Your [Mahtab Khan’s] forefathers were forced to become Muslims”, they tried to persuade him. A couple of teenage boys from the village, who were Aryas and their confederates, kept agreeing with whatever they were saying. The wealthy Hindus of the neighbourhood are trying to make the hard work of their wealthy brothers fruitful by displaying their cars and vehicles. The missionaries sent by us were wondering how to meet this poor, helpless old Rajput. However, Musabbab-ul-Asbab, the God [One Who is the Source of Every Cause] provided the means to meet him in such a way that some of the old Rajput’s close relatives, who had come to find out about his state after hearing the terrible news of his apostasy, happened to meet our missionaries. Through them, our friends got a chance to talk to him. Our associates told Mahtab Khan, “There is a large community of Muslim Rajputs in Punjab who are very anxious about this horrible news. We have come here to inform you about the deceitful tactics of these [Arya] people.” From our conversation, it was learned that Mahtab Khan, who comes from a respectable family of Rajputs, was not at all ready to become an Arya. He strongly rejected them again and again, but the Aryas, insensible to disgrace, kept insisting that he leave his native religion. It was a strange sight that soon after the arrival of our missionaries, the Arya Mahashas fell silent and started looking here and there as if they were regretting their failure. Then, thinking that Chaudhry Anwar Khan Sahib did not know English, they started saying to each other in English, “The whole village was ready for Shuddhi but now, we have lost the opportunity. Henceforth, we will never go to Mahtab Khan when there is a Muslim around him.”

The cruel practice of Hindu landlords

On the second day, I personally went to Sikandra and informed the people there about the gravity of the situation. I told them that, first of all, these people have snatched your ancestral property and destroyed your financial condition. Now, they want to take away your religion and faith. Our national and Islamic compassion compels us to caution you about the schemes of these Aryas. Hearing this, the old Rajput’s eyes lit up and he said, “If you people are really our well-wishers, then you should also try to get the Land Transfer Law passed for us and set a limit on the interest rate.” He also stated that the primary reason for their apostasy was the poverty of those people, which had reached the point of starvation. He said that their property had been encroached upon by usurers and shylocks. He pointed to a Thakur near him and said, “Look, all the wealth of this person has been spent on paying for the interest and now he has gone completely broke.” 

Hence, this was the second time that Allah the Almighty has given us a significant victory over the Aryas.

Appeal to influential Muslims

Now, through this newspaper, I request the Muslims of Punjab and the United Provinces and all the Rajputs of India to take care of these helpless, poor and broke, but noble Rajputs, and liberate them from the clutches of cruel and merciless usurers. The situation is getting more critical by the day. The cruel enemy is not satisfied with grabbing their honour and dignity; rather, they want to snatch their religion and faith as well. Thus, I appeal to all compassionate Muslims with a benevolent spirit to rise up and help their vulnerable brothers. They should put forth their best effort in getting the Land Transfer Act passed. I have also forwarded this issue to Kanwar Abdul Wahab Khan Sahib and appealed to another esteemed friend of mine that they should raise this matter at the annual conference of Anjuman Ittehad-e-Rajputan in Kalanaur and try their best to bring it to their attention so that they should present it before the government as a community. This is not only a service to religion, but humanity also compels us to pay attention to this matter because we must save the poor and helpless Rajputs from the oppression of cruel and heartless usurers.


Fateh Muhammad Sayal (i.e., Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad Sayal Sahib MA), 

Head of Da‘wat-o-Tabligh Delegation,

Qadian (Appointed to Agra).

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 5 April 1923 issue of Al Fazl)

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