Moulana Hasrat Mohani, who spoke eloquently on the necessity of ‘Total Independence’ opposing the ‘Self Rule’ concept of Gandhiji and impressed the audience while causing discomfiture to Gandhiji, was born in 1878 in a small town Mohan in Uttar Pradesh. His actual Name was Syed Fazl-ul-Hasan. He was recognized as a talented poet. He started writing ghazals when he was only 17 years of age under pen name ‘Hasrat’. So he became popular as Moulana Hasrat Mohani. He also worked as the Editor of the ‘Urdu-e-Muallah’ magazine. He was attracted to the revolutionary ideas of Aurabindo Ghosh and Bala Gangadhar Tilak.

After completing his education, he did not want to serve in a job and therefore preferred to become a journalist. He opposed slavery in all forms and fought against the British. He joined the Indian National Congress in 1903. He wrote several articles criticizing the British rulers; as a result, he was accused of treason and was sent to jail by the British government in 1909. He was unable to pay the fine imposed on him and consequently the police seized the rare books collected by him.

He spent most of his time in different jails during the National Movement. He started the first ‘Swadeshi Stores’ along with his wife Nishatunnisa Begum to support the cause of the National Movement. He played a vital role in the Khilafat Movement, during which he visited Hyderabad several times to propagate Khilafat and Non Co-operation Movements. Moulana Hasrat Mohani moved the resolution for ‘Total Independence’ at the Congress Session held in 1921 in Ahmadabad.

He criticized the absolute application of Non-Violence saying that it was not suitable for all situations, for which he even received praise from Mahatma Gandhi. Later on, Moulana Hasrat Mohani was attracted towards socialist ideology. In the year 1928, he quit the Indian National Congress, because he differed from certain policies adopted by Mahatma Gandhi. Though he was supporting the Muslim League, he opposed the idea of the Muslim League for the division of the Nation. Moulana Hasrat Mohani got elected in the Assembly elections held in 1946 as a candidate of the Muslim League; but Hasrat Mohani opposed the division of India at every stage.

Even after Independence, his commitment to his Socialist and Secular ideology continued unabated. Moulana Mohani, who got elected as a Member of Parliament several times even after 1947 served the people in his own way. At last on 13 May, 1951 Moulana Hasrat Mohani breathed his last in Lucknow.
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(Source : THE IMMORTALS, Album of 155 pictures of Muslim Freedom Fighters authored by Syed Naseer Ahamed published in 2014)