Sunday, December 24, 2017

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

Date of Birth: 1890 and Date of Death: 20th January, 1988
            Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who was famous as the ‘Frontier Gandhi’, was born in 1890 in Uttamanzai village of Charsaddah tahsil in Peshawar district of Pakistan.  His father Khan Behram Khan was the Sardar of his village Uttamanzai.  He joined in the British Indian Army after completing his studies.  But, he quit the army because of the misbehaviour of a British Officers towards Indian colleagues, in 1906.  Later, he went to Aligarh to pursue his higher education.  He returned to his native village as desired by his mother without completing his studies.  He made several tours in his area and observed the woes of the people.  He thought that education was only way for the development of the people.  Thus, he started ‘Azad National School’ with the help of his friend Abdul Aziz in 1910 in Uttamanzai.  His efforts led to the qualitative change in the lives of the Pathans.  He entered into the Indian National Movement by participating in the Anti-Rowlatt agitation in 1919.  He met Mahatma Gandhi in 1928 at Calcutta.  Since then he followed the Gandhian ideology.  He started a society named ‘Khuda-i-Khidmatgar’ (Servants of God) in 1929.  His services changed the image of the Pathans.  Prior to his intervention, they were cursed by the British as ‘uncivilized’, ‘beast like’, ‘cruel tigers’, ‘murderers’ etc.  Such a people became ‘the Servants of God’ with the efforts of Ghaffar Khan.  When the British Police turned the Khissa Khani Bazar in Peshawar into a heap of corpses, ‘the Servants of God’ did not even pelt single stone against police, but faced the bullets.  Ghaffar Khan attended the All India Congress meeting at Karachi on 31st March, 1931, along with the volunteers of the ‘Khuda-i-Khidmatgars’.  He spent 15 years in jail for participating in the Indian National Movement.  He opposed the resolution passed by the Congress in May, 1947 for the division of the nation, for which he had to face the ire of the leaders of the Muslim League.  He expressed his anguish to Gandhi and said ‘you left us to the wolves’.  The Government of Pakistan was irked by his comments and declared him a covert and imprisoned him.  As a result, Ghaffar Khan had to spend 15 more years in jail and 6 years in exile.  The Government of India honoured him with the highest civilian award ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 1987.  ‘Frontier Gandhi’ Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who followed the path laid by Gandhiji till his end, passed on 20th January, 1988.

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