The Kashmir Crisis as a Political Platform for Jama’ at-i Ahmadiyya’s Entrance into South Asian Politics*

Modem Asian Studies 46, 5 (2012) pp. 1398-1428. © Cambridge University Press 2012 doi: 10. 10 17/S0026749X1 2000066 First published online 29 February 2012

The Kashmir Crisis as a Political Platform for Jama’ at-i Ahmadiyya’s entrance into South Asian Politics*

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Email :


This paper looks at Jama’at-i Ahmadiyya’s political involvement in the Kashmir crisis of the 1930s under its second and most influential khalifat al-masïh, Mirza Bashir al-Din Mahmud Ahmad, who took over the movement in 1914, six years after the death of his father, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Communal tensions springing from the Kashmir riots of 1931 provided Mirza Mahmud Ahmad with an opportunity to display the ability of his Jama’at to manage an international crisis and to lead the Muslim mainstream towards independence from Britain. Mahmud Ahmad’s relations with influential Muslim community leaders, such as Iqbal, Fazl-i Husain, Zafrulla Khan, and Sheikh Abdullah (Sher-i Kashmir), enabled him to further both his religious and political objectives in the subcontinent. This paper examines Jamaťat-i Ahmadiyya’s role in establishing a major political lobby, the All-India Kashmir Committee. It also shows how the political involvement of Jama’at-i Ahmadiyya in Kashmir during the 1930s left Ahmadis susceptible to criticism from opposition groups, like the Majlis-i Ahrar, amongst others, in later years. Ultimately, this paper will demonstrate how Mahmud Ahmad’s skilful use of religion, publicity, and political activism during the Kashmir crisis instantly legitimized a political platform for Jama’at-i Ahmadiyya’s entrance into the mainstream political framework of modern South Asia, which thereby has facilitated the development of the Ahmadi controversy since India’

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Categories: Ahmadiyyat: True Islam, Asia, Islam, Pakistan

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