Abdul Ghaffar Khan


by Rumbold
29th October, 2008 at 10:47 pm    

Zak sent us this interesting article about Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a figure I had only heard of in passing. A documentary film, The Frontier Gandhi: Badshah Khan, a Torch for Peace, is shortly to be released:

“Little known in the West is a figure named Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who argued that religiously justified violence was “not God’s religion.” Known as Badshah (also spelled Baacha) Khan to his followers, the devoutly Muslim leader was called “The Frontier Gandhi” and built an Islamic parallel to Gandhi’s violence-eschewing ideals of compassion for one’s enemies and peaceful resistance to oppression as a means of overcoming it.

Khan, a Pashtun tribal leader who died at 98 in 1988 in Peshawar, also founded the Awami National Party, which today fights against enormous odds to organize tribal aspirations in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan and nearby areas away from the Taliban…

Khan founded a group called the Khudai Khidmatgar, or servants of God, known as the Red Shirts for the red cotton clothing worn by members, who defied ancient local and religious divisions to join. “The more conservative figure for how many there were at their height is the one I say — more than 100,000,” McLuhan says. “Others have said more than 300,000. There were representatives of many different tribes. Muslims, Hindu, Sikh, Christian and Buddhist.”

He sounds like a fascinating figure, and it would be wonderful if someone else like him would emerge to lead present day Pakistan. A far cry from Mr 10% and the other reprobates currently ruling Pakistan.

(Hat-tip: Zak)


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Filed in: Current affairs,History,Pakistan,South Asia






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  1. Vikrant — on 30th October, 2008 at 4:20 am  

    Umm i believe he is mostly known for being an Indian nationalist who was against the idea of Pakistan. For all his pains to ensure Hindu-Muslim peace he was called Muslim lord Hawhaw. He died in India!

  2. Khalil Sawant — on 30th October, 2008 at 11:31 am  

    It is not surprising, that the immediate benefactors of the creation of Pakistan, namely the politicians of the Muslim league, choose to keep the Khan under house arrest after independence.

  3. fugstar — on 30th October, 2008 at 2:15 pm  

    the unfolding of partition was a multipoled negotiation.

    this chap is basically a cool peaceful type with skill who did what he thought was best. that entire generation were a class above what passes for leadership in those three countries these days. its a generational thing.

  4. Sid — on 30th October, 2008 at 2:51 pm  

    Ghaffar Khan seems like a much more attractive and inclusive a figure than his contemporary, the fascist Maulana Maududi.

  5. Me — on 30th October, 2008 at 7:15 pm  

    Invaders and occupiers love pacifists. As long as they are not on their side.

    Khalil Sawant
    “It is not surprising, that the immediate benefactors of the creation of Pakistan, namely the politicians of the Muslim league, choose to keep the Khan under house arrest after independence.”

    Or that Hinduvata fanatics excoriate and assasinated Mahmata Gandhi

  6. fugstar — on 30th October, 2008 at 7:57 pm  

    we have no input into movements that become popular and those which dont. calling people fascist really does nothing but pleasure yourself and reveal your christocentrism and your eurocentrism.

    wrestling with the nonangelic congress never worked. t played into the hands of nasties based in dhaka and west punjab.

    Islamic left (abul Hashem) never worked.
    Ghaffar Khan never worked, his people got screwed.
    Composite nationalism (madani) never really made it off the table. United bengal and punjab never worked because of the congress.

    theres no linearly coherent reason.

  7. Sid — on 31st October, 2008 at 11:28 am  

    calling people fascist really does nothing but pleasure yourself and reveal your christocentrism and your eurocentrism.

    You can call Maududi a “religious reformer” or even a “saint” if you like but it still does not detract from the fact that he will forever be famous for instigating, engineering and inciting the anti-Ahmadiyya attacks in 1953 and was co-founder and prime mover within the Jamaati Islami party. The latter has been instrumental in any number of pogroms against minorities in its history and worked hand-in-glove with the Pakistani military in the Bangladeshi genocide in 1971.

    Religious supremacism of this sort is fascism pure and simple, which has, as you know, roots in “christocentrism” and “eurocentrism”.

    The more young impressionable muslims know about Maududi the more they can be protected from the kind of poison that has warped others.

  8. kELvi — on 2nd November, 2008 at 5:50 am  

    Badsha Khan, Bacha Khan, Khan Abdul Wali Khan was the uncrowned king of the Frontier and thanks to the short-sightedness of Nehru, he was turned away when he offered to form a union with India in 1948. Khansaheb was much beloved by one and all and was one of the special invitees to the Congress’s centanary celbration in Bomaby in 1985. I saw him ride down P.D’Mello Road in a convertible waving to the crowds that were cheering him all the way. What a great man!

  9. Salman — on 10th November, 2008 at 6:51 pm  

    Vikrant you wrote “Umm i believe he is mostly known for being an Indian nationalist who was against the idea of Pakistan. For all his pains to ensure Hindu-Muslim peace he was called Muslim lord Hawhaw. He died in India!”"

    He died in Peshawar and burried in Jalalabad Afg. He was an indian nationaist like most of the other freedom fighters. He was against the idea of divisions for him dividing India is dividing Muslims. which is true to this day.

  10. umair azam advocate — on 17th January, 2009 at 6:24 am  

    i just wana say that BACHA KHAN was a true muslim and a true and the only leader of Pashtoons. every word he had said about india and pakistan is proving true today. the sayings that he was an indian nationalist is totaly wrong.

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