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Maulana Atiqur Rahman Arwi- The Flag Bearer of the History of Pasmanda Muslims

O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes that you may recognise one another”

Quran 49:13

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) after the conquest of Mecca asked Bilal (R.A) to give Adhaan (call to prayers) from atop the Mecca despite the fact that Bilal was once a black slave from Africa. Prophet Muhammad did this to show the Muslims that Islam doesn’t differentiate between caste, creed and ethnicity. Given this premises, it will be hard to believe that a highly learned cleric from Bihar was nicknamed “Domwa Maulana” and excommunicated from the Muslim society as he drank from the glass of a scavenger named Gangwa Dom. Fatwa were issued by high caste Muslims against the Maulana and Muslims were asked not to offer Namaz behind him. This person nicknamed Domwa Maulana was none other than Maulana Atiqur Rahman Arwi who represented the Pasmanda Muslims and those protesting against him represented the then Muslim League.

Maulana Atiqur Rahman Arwi was born in 1903 at Baraon Kalan village in present day Dehri on Sone of Bihar in a Mansoori (dhuniya) family. Atiqur Rahman received his primary education in Madarsa Moinul Gurba, higher education from Darul Uloom Deoband. To free the country from British rule, he toured right from small cities and towns of Bihar to Gorakhpur, Banaras, Dehradun, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar. He gave numerous speeches across the country to spread the message of freedom struggle in every household irrespective of religion. He was subsequently arrested by Britishers in Dehradun and sent to Lahore jail. After coming out of prison, Maulana Arvi came back to Bihar and started mobilizing people against the British government. His close companions included Jayprakash Singh, Gudri Singh Yadav and Jagdish Sao.

In 1937, Muslim League passed a resolution for the creation of Pakistan and asked Muslims to celebrate Pakistan Day with pomp and glory. However, true nationalist like Maulana Arwi vehemently opposed it and rip apart the two nation theory of Jinnah. He always emphasized that Islam never allows division of a country on the basis of religion. Being a true believer in Ganga Jamuni Tehjeeb and the concept of Hindustan, Maulana Arwi nicknamed his two sons as Mohanlal and Sohanlal.

Muslim league members representing the Upper Caste Muslims used to detest Maulana Arwi due to his belief in equality. Maulana had firm belief that all are children of God, no matter which country, family or community they belong to. That, Allah has created all, whether they are Julaha-Dhuniya or Syed-Pathan. Despite being a freedom fighter, an advocate of equality and a great preacher, the name and contribution of Maualan Arwi never finds space in history books. Whenever Muslim freedom fighters are mentioned, the name of upper caste Muslims find space but true sons of the soil like Maulan Arwi remain neglected. Unfortunately, Pasmanda Muslim youths (representing more than 80% of India’s Muslims) are unaware of the contribution of their forefathers. Time has come to change the status quo and claim what is rightfully theirs in the first place.

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