Though the freedom struggle of 1857 was started by the sepoys, people from all walks of life took part in the war. Some scholars bade good bye to their pens and wielded swords to participate in the struggle for the independence of India.

Moulvi Liaquth Ali Khan was one of them. He was born on 5 October, 1817 in a weavers family in Mahgaon village of Chayil Tahsil of Allhabad district, Uttar Pradesh. His mother was Aminabi and father was Syed Mehar Ali. He acquired religious knowledge and developed anti-British attitude right from his childhood. He joined British army and started indoctrinating anti-British ideas into the minds of Indian soldiers. East India company officers sensed this and expelled him form the army.

Moulvi Liaquth Ali resumed his activities from his native village Mahagao giving religious guidance to the people on one hand and exhorting them to wage a righteous war against the British to secure our lawful rights and to reinstall native rule on the other. He started uniting anti-British groups in Allhabad. As his efforts yielded some result, he entered with his force Allhabad town, drove away East India Company force and officers and took control of the town.

Moulvi declared himself as the representative of Delhi Emperor Bahadur Shah Jafar and ran the administration of the town from Kouserbagh as his head quarters. His wrote a song ‘Peyam-e-Amal’ exposing the misdeeds of the British rule and seeking Hindu-Muslim-Sikh unity besides inspiring patriotism among countrymen and particularly Indian soldiers in the British army.

It was published in ‘Payam-e-Azadi’ an Urdu periodical edited by another freedom fighter Azeemullah Khan. General Neill of East India Company mobilized necessary forces and attacked Liaquth Ali’s head quarters on 11 June 1857. Moulvi fought the battle valiantly till the end but left the battle field on 17 June under adverse circumstances.

The company officers announced a huge reward on his head. Moulvi evaded capture for a period of 14 years. Later on, on a tip off from a traitor, he was captured by the British forces. In the trial that followed, he categorically declared that he had taken up arms only to emancipate his mother land from the yoke of the British. After the trial, Moulvi Liaquth Ali Khan was sentenced to life imprisonment and was extradited to Andamans, where he breathed his last on 17 May, 1892.

(From : THE IMMORTALS, an album of 155 Muslim Freedom Fighters authored by Syed Naseer Ahamed in 2014.)