A Review of the Political Situation in Central Asia


Muhammad ʻAbdulghani Jalalpuri (1864–1943), better known as Dr. Abdul Ghani, was an Indian Muslim reformist and educator who was active at the Afghan court in the early 20th century. He was the English secretary to Amir ‘Abd al-Rahman Khan (reigned 1880–1901) and Amir Habibullah Khan (reigned 1901–19). Abdul Ghani’s A Review of the Political Situation in Central Asia was written after his return to British India from Afghanistan. Published in Lahore in 1921, the book examines the geopolitical developments in Central Asia in the wake of World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, and Afghanistan’s achievement of complete independence in 1919. He argues that Indian leaders need to understand correctly the geopolitical changes in Central Asia in order for them to guide their country safely and successfully to independence. The book is comprised of a preface, an introduction entitled “Why should India have an interest in Central Asia?”, and 12 chapters. The first four chapters deal with Afghanistan and its rulers. Chapter five is entitled “Russian Advance into Central Asia.” It is followed by four chapters that analyze, review, and critique Russian Bolshevism. Chapters 10‒12 deal with “India and the present revolutionary struggle of the world” and the interconnections among developments in Russia, Afghanistan, and India. The book has two appendices and contains six illustrations depicting notable Afghans of the time, including Amir Amanullah Khan (reigned 1919‒29), several ministers, and Sardar Mohammad Nadir Khan, the leading Afghan general in the Third Anglo-Afghan War of 1919, and later King Muhammad Nadir Shah of Afghanistan in 1929‒33. Abdul Ghani criticizes what he considers the mischief brought about by “popular applause” and the readiness of the Indian political class to consider foreign assistance as a means to gain independence. The book ends with suggestions of what Indian nationalists should do to secure independence. “India” as used by Abdul Ghani refers to British India, meaning Pakistan (and Bangladesh) as well as present-day India.

Last updated: August 17, 2016