Moslem Chronicle, The

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Moslem Chronicle, The (1895-1905) weekly newspaper, edited by Abdul Hamid BA, and published from Calcutta (Kolkata) from 1895 to 1905. It was the mouthpiece of the rising class of English educated urban Muslims of Bengal who had been steadily coming out of the Calcutta University since 1861, when delawar hosaen (1840-1913), the first Muslim graduate, obtained his degree. The paper had a good circulation and there were subscribers even in the mofussil towns.

In the 19th century the Indian Muslims were a fallen people bereft of their empire and bewildered by the sudden change of their fortune. The condition of the Bengal Muslims was far worse compared with that of the Muslims in the northwest. However, by the end of the 19th century the English educated Bengali Muslims, although yet only a handful, were pondering and giving thoughts to the condition, and were analysing the causes of their social, economic and political backwardness and the possible remedial measures. The two outstanding personalities giving leadership in Bengal were Nawab abdool luteef, the traditionalist and syed ameer ali, the modernist.

The Moslem Chronicle besides being a newspaper catering news was the vehicle of expression of the thought-process of these people - the modernists and the traditionalists, both the groups wishing for progress, prosperity and well-being of the Muslims. However the modernists had the upper hand in the Moslem Chronicle, the editor Abdul Hamid being a follower of the Syed, rather than of the Nawab. The activities of Ameer Ali's central national muhamedan association were regularly reported in Abdul Hamid's paper, the mohammedan literary society being largely ignored. The modernist stand of the Moslem Chronicle was further boosted by the unorthodox and largely non-conformist writings of Meerza Delawar Hosaen Ahmed, who considered himself to be a nutazilite. He had the courage to suggest that reforms in the Shariah law and the introduction of liberalism in Muslim thought were the essential pre-conditions for the advancement of the Muslim society. The Moslem Chronicle provided the haven for his non-conformist writings.

Writers debated upon various other questions of contemporary politics affecting the fortune of the Muslims in its pages, particularly through the editorials, letters to the editor and contributions. Politically the Hindu-Muslim divide had already taken an acute form, and in the end of the 19th century, as reflected in the pages of the Moslem Chronicle, the Muslims were already feeling as being a different entity with its different political, economic and educational interests. Although the Aligarh Movement till then had very little effect in Bengal, the Moslem Chronicle group seems to have been much influenced by the movement, particularly as regards such questions as Congress-Muslim relations, Urdu-Hindi controversy, the introduction of the principle of election, simultaneous examination for the Indian Civil Service in London and Delhi, local self-government, questions about Muslim education, particularly the pro and anti Madrasa education stand respectively of abdool luteef and Ameer Ali.

The Chronicle protested spiritedly about the sneering racial attitude of the British towards the Indians and reported several incidents of cruel treatment of the Indians by Englishmen. The reports of various Hindu-Muslim riots in Calcutta cast a shadow over the pages of the weekly. During the last years of its publication the agitated controversy over the Partition of Bengal (1905) loomed large in its pages. The Moslem Chronicle forms an invaluable source-material for the history of the Bengali Muslims in the 19th century. [Abu Imam]