Shah Wajihuddin Minhaji became famous in the Quit India Movement of 1942 when he, under the leadership of Shah Muhammad Umair set to fire the Arwal thana.
Born in 1907 in the district of Gaya, he obtained his early education at home with Maulvi Musa Raza. He then went to a Madrasa at Sasaram. In 1920, he was enrolled into the Islamia English High School. With the boycott of colonial education during the Non Cooperation Movement of 1920, he was admitted to the National School also known as Gandhi Qaumi Vidyalaya, founded in 1921. In this school, he got in touch with Baba Khalil Das and Qazi Ahmad Husian. Here he learnt oratory and ghazal recitation.
He was one of the volunteers at the Gaya session of the Congress in 1922. In 1924, he was sent to Calcutta for further education but owing to illness he left it. In 1931, he launched a hand-written
periodical Hindustan. This was taken as a rebellious activity by the colonial regime.
He recited his own poem, ‘Muslim se Khitaab’. This was inside a mosque on the occasion of the last Friday of Ramzan in 1931, in the midst of the Civil Disobedience Movement. He was immediately arrested by the police.
Subsequently, his parents sent him to Muzaffarpur where he could not stay longer and then went to Calcutta. Wandering from various parts of rural Bengal, he reachedupto Assam. In 1932, having come back to Calcutta, he opposed the All India Muslim Conference.
On 15 June 1932, at 4 a.m. in the early mornig, the CID police raided his residence in Calcutta and they claimed to have seized some ‘rebellious’ literature and he was arrested. He remained in police custody for 14 days. The trial began and was sent the Alipore Central jail. When he was set free, many of his comrades appeared at the jail gate to welcome him. Next day the “Bengal Majlis e Ahrar-ul-Islam” felicitated him.
On 29th June 1934, he was married. Subsequently he resumed his hand-written revolutionary periodical, now called, Baaghi, persuading the people to oppose the colonial regime and not to join the colonial services. This was written under the pseudonym, Garm Gayawi.
He was a fierce opponent of the Muslim League and of Jinnah’s Two Nation Theory. He passed away on 15th November 1984.
He has left a diary, Meri Tamanna, containing all these details. On February 1936, he noted in his diary, “meri tamanna hai k maadar e watan ki urban gah par meri jan qurban ho jaaye” I wish I could sacrifice my life for my motherland. It would be great if the diary could be published for wider readership.