Founded by Allama Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi in the 1930s, the Khaksar Tehreek was a fringe political party with militarist ideals that sought to establish an Islamic state.
Founded in 1930-1931 in the Punjab by the educationist, Nobel Literature Prize nominee and Cambridge graduate Allama Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi, the Khaksar Tehreek was a fringe political party with militarist ideals. The Khaksars, meaning the “humble ones”, were heavily inspired by the Nazi Party and other fascist movements in Europe. The events of the Khilafat Movement worked as the foundation to the ideology of the Khaksars, who sought to improve the social and economic lives of Muslims across the world. Dressed in khaki uniforms and instilled with strict military discipline, each Khaksar was required to carry the symbol of the party, a spade signifying their vow to level society and equalize the status quo.
Though the Khaksars desired to establish an Islamic state throughout India, they were more anti-British than anti-Hindu or Sikh, and in principle non-Muslims were welcomed into the party folds, though few joined. Allama Mashriqi developed the Twenty Four Principles each Khaksar was meant to follow in his or her daily life. The Fourteen Points of the Khaksars elaborated the ideological vows to eliminate sectarian differences within Islam, and to protect the rights of religious minorities within the Islamic order. However, these tenets also blamed the depravation of the Islamic community on the influence of the ulema, and their convoluted ideology and universalist ambitions did not offer them any alliances amongst India’s many other political parties.
The party base was derived from the urban lower middle class, and they were often seen parading in the streets. Members and leaders were frequently jailed for disrupting public peace because of these parades and protests. The Khaksar dream of an Islamic state was supposed to envelope the whole of the subcontinent and indeed spill over to improve conditions for Muslims internationally. For that reason, the party was an opponent of the Pakistan vision of a separate homeland for Muslims. In fact, in 1943 a Khaksar named Rafiq Sabir made an attempt on Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s life in Bombay. Relations between the Khaksars and the Muslim League truly became hostile a few months before Independence, when Mashriqi and the Khaksars disrupted a public meeting in Lahore addressed by Jinnah.
Nevertheless, after the creation of Pakistan, Mashriqi brought his followers to the new nation to establish an Islamic order. The party continued to flounder in existence, with hardly any popular support and no clout, and continues to be marginalized in the political world.