Swami Shraddhanand

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Swami Shraddhanand (1856 – 1926), also known as Mahatma Munshi Ram Vij, was an Indian education advocate and an Arya Samaj missionary who propagated the teachings of Dayananda Saraswati. This included the establishment of educational institutions, like the Gurukul Kangri University, and played a key role on the Sangathan (consolidation) and the Shuddhi (re-conversion), a Hindu reform movement in the 1920s.


  • The original resolution condemned the Moplas wholesale for the killing of Hindus and burning of Hindu homes and the forcible conversion to Islam. The Hindu members themselves proposed amendments till it was reduced to condemning only certain individuals who had been guilty of the above crimes. But some of the Moslem leaders could not bear this even. Maulana Fakir and other Maulanas, of course, opposed the resolution and there was no wonder. But I was surprised, an out-and-out Nationalist like Maulana Hasrat Mohani opposed the resolution on the ground that the Mopla country no longer remained Dar-ul-Aman but became Dar-ul-Harab and they suspected the Hindus of collusion with the British enemies of the Moplas. Therefore, the Moplas were right in presenting the Quran or sword to the Hindus. And if the Hindus became Mussalmans to save themselves from death, it was a voluntary change of faith and not forcible conversion—Well, even the harmless resolution condemning some of the Moplas was not unanimously passed but had to be accepted by a majority of votes only.
    • Swami Shraddhanand in the Liberator of 26 August 1926. Shraddanand, Swami (26 August 1926). "The Liberator".
  • But when the Muhammedan invaders ... conquered the disorganised Hindu hosts, and Hindu young women began to become a prey to the lust of some of the conquerors, the custom of early marriage and the unnatural purdah were introduced by the degenerate Hindus of northern India as refuge against the inroads of Muslim Ghazis in Hindu homes.
    • Hindu Sangathan p. 95, quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p.377
  • " There was another prominent fact to which I drew the attention of Mahatma Gandhi. Both of us went together one night to the Khilafat Conference at Nagpur. The Ayats (verses) of the Quran recited by the Maulanas on that occasion, contained frequent references to Jihad and killing of the Kaffirs.But when I drew his attention to this phase of the Khilafat movement, Mahatmaji smiled and said, ' They are alluding to the British Bureaucracy '. In reply I said that it was all subversive of the idea of non-violence and when the reversion of feeling came the Mahomedan Maulanas would not refrain from using these verses against the Hindus. "
    • July 1926, The Liberator. Quoted from B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)

About Shraddhanand[edit]

  • A new type of wisdom, though within the four walls of Islamic fanaticism and day-dreaming, dawned upon Khwaja Hasan Nizami in the early years of the 20th century. He was no ordinary pen-pusher or paid mullah in some suburban mosque. On the contrary, he was a highly placed ‘divine’ in the hierarchy of Nizamuddin Auliya’s prestigious silsilã, and widely honoured in the Muslim world. He published in 1920 a big book, Fãtami Dãwat-i-Islam, in which he advocated all means, fair and foul, by which Hindus were to be converted to Islam. He advised the mullahs to concentrate on Hindu ‘untouchables’, and convert them en masse so that Muslims could achieve parity of population with the Hindus. He disclosed in the introduction to his book that he had consulted many Muslim leaders including the Agha Khan regarding the soundness of his scheme, and that all of them had agreed with the caution that the scheme should be kept a closely guarded secret. Unfortunately for the Khwaja, the scheme came to the notice of Swami Shraddhananda who exposed it, fought it tooth and nail, and frustrated it completely by means of his Shuddhi Movement.
  • The book Hindu Sangathan, Saviour of the Dying Race (1926) by Swami Shraddhananda... was a true milestone in the development of Hindu revivalism.
    • Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 375
  • The end of that year 1926 was darkened by a great tragedy, which sent a thrill of horror all over India. It showed to what depths communal passion could reduce our people. Swami Shraddhanand was assassinated by a fanatic as he lay in bed. What a death for a man who had bared his chest to the bayonets of the Gurkhas and marclied to meet their fire ! Nearly eight years earlier he, an Arya Samajist leader, had st(X)d in the pulpit of the great Jame Masjid of Delhi and preached to a mighty gathering of Muslims and Hindus of unity and India’s freedom. And that great multitude had greeted him with loud cries of Hindu-Musalman-ki-jai, and outside in the streets they had jointly sealed that cry with their blood. And now he lay dead, killed by a fellow- countryman, who thought, no doubt, that he was doing a meritorious deed, which would lead him to paradise. Always I have admired sheer physical courage, the courage to face physical suffering in a good cause, even unto death. Most of us, I suppose, admire it. Swami Shraddhanand had an amazing amount of that fearless- ness. His tall and stately figure, wrapped in a, sanyasin’s robe, perfectly erect in spite of advanced years, eyes flashing, sometimes a shadow of irritation or anger at the weakness of others passing over his face — how I remember that vivid picture, and how often it has come back to me !
    • Nehru, from Jawaharla Nehru's Autobiography [1]
  • I cannot close the reminiscences of the life of a great reformer without recalling his last visit to the Satya- graha Ashram only a few months ago. Let me assure my Musalman friends that he was no hater of Musalmans,. He undoubtedly distrusted many Musalmans. But he bore them no ill-will. He thought that Hindus were cowed down and he wanted them to be brave and be able to defend themselves and their honour. In this connection he told me that he was much misunderstood and that he was absolutely innocent of many things that were said against him. He told me he had several threatening letters. He was warned by friends not to travel alone. But this man of faith said, '‘What protection shall I seek but of God ? Not a blade: of grass perishes without His will. I know therefore that nothing can happen to me so long He wishes me to serve through this body.”
    • Mahatma Gandhi, Young India — January 6, 1927 [2]
  • In the language of the Gita therefore 'happy the warrior who achieves such a blessed death.' ... I cannot therefore mourn over his death. He and his are to be envied. For though Shraddhanandji is dead, he is yet living. He is living in a truer sense than when he moved in our midst in his giant body ....."I have called Abdul Rashid a brother and I repeat it. I do not even regard him as guilty of Swamiji's murder. Guilty indeed are all those who excited feelings of hatred against one another."
    • Mahatma Gandhi, A Gandhi Anthology - Book 1, [3]
  • The first great achievement of the Tablighi Jamaat was the cold-blooded murder of Swami Shraddhananda. The swami had been lionized by Muslims when he supported the Khilafat agitation during the first Non-Cooperation movement (1921-22). “But as he was closely associated with the šuddhi movement… a section of Muslims cherished bitter hatred against him. On 23 December 1926, when the Swami after a serious attack of pneumonia was lying in his bed, a Muslim entered into his room on false pretext and stabbed him with a dagger.”
    • R. C. Majumdar (ed.), The History And Culture of the Indian People, Volume XI, Struggle For Freedom, Second Edition, Bombay, 1978, pp. 435-36. Quoted in: Sita Ram Goel: Time for Stock Tacking, App. 1
  • The same Abdul Bari spoke in a different tone in September 1923. Professor Francis Robinson reports: “Abdul Bari, the erstwhile apostle of Hindu-Muslim unity, came to the fore again. Now he spoke the language of the zealot. He urged the Muslims to sacrifice cows without regard to Hindu feelings, and declared: ‘If the commandments of the Shariat are to be trampled under foot then it will be the same to us whether the decision is arrived on the plains of Delhi or on the hilltops of Simla. We are determined to non-cooperate with every enemy of Islam, be he in Anatolia or Arabia or at Agra or Benares.” The immediate provocation for Abdul Bari’s outburst was the Shuddhi Movement started by Swami Shraddhananda in the summer of 1923. Swamiji in turn had been led to pursue this path in response to a book, Fãtimî Dãwat-i-Islãm, by Hasan Nizami... Swamiji had written a pamphlet, The Hour of Danger, in which he had warned Hindu society to be on its guard against mischievous Muslim machinations. According to his biographer, J.T.F. Jordens, “In his pamphlet the Swami went on to show how Nizami in his own introduction referred to his consultations with many Muslim leaders, including the Agha Khan, and how all had agreed that the publication of his work should remain a carefully kept secret, within the Muslim community. The single purpose of the pamphlet was to describe all the means, fair and foul, by which Hindus could be induced to become Muslims.... The Swami felt that he had uncovered a giant conspiracy. His pamphlet consisted practically entirely of quotations from Nizami’s work, showing how all Muslims should be involved in the fight for the spread of Islam: how pirs, fakirs, politicians, peasants, zamindars, hakims, etc. could be used and what their allotted task should be. It also stressed the need for secrecy and for an extensive spy network.’
    Abdul Bari clean forgot that Swami Shraddhananda had unconditionally supported the Khilafat agitation under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. It was Swamiji who had bared his breast in Chandni Chowk on March 30, 1919, and dared the British soldiers to try their bullets on him. It was Swamiji whom the Muslims of Delhi had invited to address them from the mimbar of the Jama Masjid on March 31, 1919. Abdul Bari should have denounced Hasan Nizami who had hatched a plot against the Hindus without any provocation whatsoever on the part of the latter. But the self-righteous Mullah and the authoritative interpreter of the Shariat, had done just the opposite. He had joined his voice with that of the other Mullahs in egging upon a Muslim fanatic to murder Swami Shraddhananda. The Mullahs of Deoband had offered special prayers for the soul of the assassin.
    • Sita Ram Goel, Muslim Separitism - Causes and Consequences with reference to J.T.F. Jordens, Swami Shradhananda: His Life and Causes, New Delhi, 1981, and Francis Robinson, Separatism Among Indian Muslims, Delhi, 1975
  • The Urdu pamphlet Daî Islâm by Khwaja Hasan Nizami came into his hands. He immediately wrote in answer a pamphlet, the title of which clearly expressed his violent reaction: ‘The Hour of Danger: Hindus, be on your guard! The order has been given to attack and destroy the fortress of your religion in the hidden dead of night!’ (…) The Swami found out that the pamphlet was in fact only the introduction to a larger volume called Fâtamî Dawat-i-Islâm, which had been published as early as 1920, years before the shuddhi of the Malkanas started. In this the Swami saw proof that the Muslim reaction of the day was not merely against the shuddhi and sangathan movements, but rather was part of a sinister plot hatched years earlier. In his pamphlet the Swami went on to show how Nizami in his own introduction referred to his consultations with many Muslim leaders, including the Aga Khan, and how all had agreed that the publication of his work should remain a carefully kept secret within the Muslim community. The single purpose of the pamphlet was to describe all the means, fair and foul, by which Hindus could be induced to become Muslims. (…) In the conclusion of his own booklet, the Swami suggested some ways in which the Muslim threat could be countered. The openness and ethics of his methods stood in strong contrast with Nizami’s tactics.”
    • Prof. J.T.F. Jordens, "Swami Shraddhananda, His Life and Causes" (OUP, Delhi 1981). (p.140-141)
  • [Asymmetry was the principle as in the case of Islam;] conversion was held to be and acted upon as something that was an essential principle of Christianity; but when a person like Swami Shraddhananda argued in favour of taking back into the Hindu fold the converts who wanted to return, they were condemned as persons who were inventing a practice for which there was no warrant in Hinduism.”
    • Madhya Pradesh (India), Goel, S. R., Niyogi, M. B. (1998). RIFT IN THE LUTE, in Vindicated by time: The Niyogi Committee report on Christian missionary activities. ISBN 9789385485121

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