A Short History of Mushawarat


Book: Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat: Ek Mukhtasar Tarikh (Muslim Majlis Mushawarat: A Short History - in Urdu)

Author: Muhammad Alamullah

Publisher: Pharos Media & Publishing Pvt. Ltd, Delhi, India

Year: 2015

Pages: 198                                                   

Price: Rs 200

ISBN: 9788172210663


Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander


The partition of the Indian subcontinent was a tragedy for Indian Muslims who were rendered a vulnerable minority in Hindu-majority India. They were held responsible for the partition and their loyalty to India was suspect. The situation was aggravated by communal riots in which Muslims suffered the most. It took more than a decade for the Indian Muslim leadership after partition to establish a common platform that would represent their grievances and help in articulating their demands. The establishment of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), was one such step. It has completed more than five decades of its existence as an advocacy group and platform articulating their demands, safeguarding rights and making Muslim opinion count.

The book under review details the history of AIMMM in brief. In his Foreword to the book, Ahmad Rashid Shervani, Secretary General AIMMM, states that AIMMM has a long history of marvelous work, its share of trials and tribulations to its credit. However, he acknowledges the fact that AIMMM as a platform could not get many Muslims of varied thought across the spectrum on board and could not achieve substantial goals, particularly in education and politics. The author, in his Introduction has tried to give the reader a glimpse of the history of AIMMM, its successes and setbacks. 

The partition had devastating consequences for Indian Muslims, who were discriminated against by the majority, and Urdu as a language was marginalised. The resolutions that were passed in the first basic meeting of AIMMM held on 9 August, 1964 are still valid about the present condition of Indian Muslims, that include “communal riots, under representation of Muslims in central and state legislative assemblies” (p.51). Communal riots have been a permanent feature of Indian life. Time and again, while reading the book, one finds references to it in Mushawarat resolutions.

The author describes how the Mushawarat was administratively in chaos and the opposing views of its members on its role in electoral politics. The question whether to take part in elections or remain neutral in election process was moot. The feats achieved by Mushawarat are discussed, too, that include its struggle to get permission for Muslims to pray in mosques that are on Archeological Survey of India’s list. The role of Mushawarat during the Babri-Masjid protection movement is also discussed. The regular publication of Mushawarat Bulletin since 2000 and having its own independent office are counted among important achievements.

The problems, setbacks and partial successes of Mushawarat are also critically analysed by the author that include the impact of creation of All India Milli Council as a parallel platform of Indian Muslims hurting their unity as they had already assembled under the banner of the Mushawarat. In 2000, Mushawarat was hit by another crisis that led to its split, but after a few years the Mushawarat united once again. The author has documented many projects and resolutions that the Mushawarat has yet to implement. The Mushawarat also could not attract people to its ranks. The author also describes the working of Mushawarat under its previous presidents Syed Shahabuddin and Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan.

The book is an essential document in the contemporary history of Indian Muslims. It also provides a glimpse into the Indian Muslim leadership, its achievements and failures in providing a decisive and coherent lead. The book is indispensable for any serious researcher working on Indian Muslims. 

M.H.A.Sikander is writer-activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir and can be reached at

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-29 February 2016 on page no. 21

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