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.
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: Current affairs,History,Pakistan,South Asia