Remembering Comrade Hasrat Mohani – the person who penned Inquilab Zindabad
‘Gandhi ki tarah baith ke kaateinge kyun charkha,
Lenin ki tarah denge na duniya ko hila hum?’
Socialist India remembers the legendary urdu poet, freedom fighter, and one of the founding members of the Communist Party of India – Comrade Hasrat Mohani on his death anniversary. As a tribute to his sacrifices, Socialist India presents to you a brief of his life, politics, and contributions.
- Comrade Mohani was born in 1875 as Syed Fazl-ul-Hasan at Mohan, a town in the Unnao district of United Provinces in British India. Hasrat was his pen name (takhallus) that he used in his Urdu poetry whereas his last name ‘Mohani’ refers to Mohan, his birthplace.
- He passed the High School Examination with merit with a scholarship and then graduated from Aligarh College in 1903 with distinction. During his college days he began to profess progressive and independent views and openly opposed British domination over India. It is noteworthy that due to his independent views he was expelled thrice from Aligarh College.
- He was a practicing Muslim, but held deep admiration for the Hindu deity Krishna. However, in the political realm he believed that only communism can overthrow the British rule and bring a rule of equality, and fraternity. Therefore, he was among the founders of the Communist Party of India. He was also imprisoned for promoting anti-British ideas, especially for publishing an article against British policies in Egypt, in his magazine ‘Urdu-e-Mualla’.
- He was the first politician, who demanded full independence for India (in 1921). From every platform – be it the Indian National Congress, the All India Muslim League, the Communist Party or the Majlis-i-Ahrar, he was one of the most assertive voices for the case of total freedom.
- Comrade Mohani was the person who coined the Inquilab Zindabad (Long Live the Revolution) in 1921 – a popular revolutionary slogan even in today’s India. This famous slogan inspired the activities of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association particularly Ashfaqulla Khan, Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad.
- Hasrat Mohani was perhaps the first political prisoner in British India convicted under the Press Laws. Instead of being treated as “A” Class Prisoner, he had to undergo rigorous imprisonment with miserable and meager clothes — a shirt, knickers, a cap, a piece of jute cloth and a rough dirty blanket for his bedding.
- Unlike some Urdu poets like Josh Malihabadi and Nasir Kazmi, and many Muslim leaders, he chose to live in India rather than move to Pakistan after independence (1947) to represent left over Indian Muslims on various platforms. In recognition for his efforts, he was made a member of the constituent assembly which drafted the Indian constitution. But unlike other members, he never signed it.
- Comrade Mohani died on 13 May 1951 in Lucknow, India.
Comrade Mohani with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (Dalit icon and the principle architect of the Constitution of Republic of India) at Sardar Patel’s reception.
Indian Postage stamp released in 2014 by former Vice President Hamid Ansari as a tribute to Comrade Mohani’s contributions.
Kulliyat-e-Hasrat Mohani (Collection of Hasrat Mohani’s poetry)