The hero of the Indian Medical Mission to Ottoman Turkey in 1912-1813 (watch my documentary on the subject), Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari, first met Halide Edib Hanum in 1913 in Turkey.
Many years later, in 1934, he invited her to deliver a series of lectures in the Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi. These lectures were published in book form, edited by the redoubtable Mushirul Hasan. In the preface to the book, East Faces West, Dr. M.A. Ansari, in 1935, speaking of the pan-Islamic fervour of Indian Muslims and how the dissolution of the Caliphate led to disillusionment among Indian Muslims, says, voicing the grievances of Indian Muslims, “The Turks they say may have some justification for the abolition of the Caliphate. But why should they have renounced their religion, their culture, indeed, everything that was distinctive and unique, and forced upon themselves an alien culture and way of life that can never, perhaps, peculiarly their own.”
Halide Hanum, in Ansari’s words, “could not have had Indian sentiment in mind when planning her lectures, and she has not therefore attempted a direct answer to this question.” He mentions that “Halide treated her subject objectively throughout, and made no exception with religion.” He agrees with Halide Hanum about how “Abdul Hamid’s tyrannical suppression of political thought” led to reformers becoming rebels.
On the sad state of affairs in Turkey during the late 1920s and 1930s, and the way things may play out in future, he states,
“As one privileged to know her personal opinion, I can say that it has caused her [Halide Hanum] the keenest sorrow. She is too dignified to make a futile show of emotion, and besides knows her people too well to be misled by superficialities. The Turkish people, whatever the policy of their state, are as sincere Moslems now as before, and Halide Hanum may even be right in expecting a religious revival of a nature that will have a healthy and stimulating effect on the whole Moslem world.”(East Faces West, Academy of Third World Studies, New Delhi, 2009, pp. 18-19)
Looking at Turkey today, one can certainly discern the contours of “a religious revival of a nature that will have a healthy and stimulating effect on the whole Moslem world.”