Khudai Khidmatgar Movement Khudai-Khidmatgar was basically a social movement that was initiated by Badshah Khan in Pakhtun dominated areas. The purpose of this movement was to bring reform in the Pakhtun society. Due to some unchangeable principles of Pushtunwali, the Pakhtun society was entangled in endless tribal feuds. The reason was obvious that the Pakhtuns were following the already made stereotypes, so in this struggle the Khudai-Khidmatgar tried there best to eliminate the concept of deep rooted stereotypes from the Pashtoon society on the bases of social-cultural reforms and educational network.
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We are an educational organization dedicated to developing and sharing knowledge related to nonviolent civil resistance movements for human rights, freedom, and justice around the world. Ghaffar Khan and the Khudai Khidmatgar movement inspired thousands of Pashtuns also called Pathans , who were known as fierce warriors, and others to lay down their arms and use civil resistance to challenge British rule. I promise to forgive those who oppress me or treat me with cruelty.
Initially they set to work organizing village projects and opening schools, but soon they became part of the broader Indian Independence movement, accepting without retaliation some of the most fierce British repression—mass firings on unarmed crowds, torture, personal humiliation, setting homes and fields on fire, and even the destruction of entire villages. Inspired by the dissidence of the INC and the charismatic spiritual-political leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the Red Shirts blossomed in during the civil disobedience movement.
Although the INC leadership stopped promoting civil disobedience in , Ghaffar Khan was arrested for allegedly making a seditious and provocative speech in December of that year and was sentenced to two years imprisonment. In , a new Government of India Act, which was a British response to the Independence Movement, created limited local powers and allowed for elections to a legislative body that remained ultimately under British control.
Ghaffar Khan, banned from the province at the time of the election did not wish to campaign because he was concerned about the potential moral effect of political office on the movement. Major reforms at that time included the release of political prisoners, land reform, and the use of Pashto as a language of instruction in the schools. In , a plebiscite resulted in the Frontier Province becoming part of the newly independent Pakistan.
The movement waned after its involvement in electoral politics but has become a benchmark for contemporary Muslims organizing nonviolent resistance rooted in the Islamic tradition. Recognizing its value to their empire, the British were tenacious in attempting to control the province, and civil resistance there was met with severe repression and multiple punitive military expeditions.
Troops engaged in brutality against the Pashtun residents of the region, including those not active in the resistance, such as personal humiliations, homoerotic punishments, torture, and other acts directed at the Pashtun sense of honor. Efforts by Pashtuns to obtain independence from Britain were part of a tradition of struggle against various occupiers over the centuries.
By the dawn of the twentieth century, the British East India Company was completing three centuries of involvement in the region. The Khudai Khidmatgar movement led by Ghaffar Khan was part of a complex pattern of resistance. Ghaffar Khan sometimes operated uneasily between the two, as a devout Muslim working with the Hindu-dominated Congress in a predominantly Muslim territory. As critic M.
Korejo correctly observes, the Khudai Khidmatgar embraced a number of contradictions that complicated its development. Although based on a universalistic understanding of Islam and with an open membership, the movement was also founded on the unity of the Pashtuns as a distinct identity group; moreover, it was a nonviolent movement created in the wake of violent resistance to British rule with some of the same participants.
Badshah Khan observed that there were two freedom movements in the region, one violent and the other nonviolent. When Gandhi made his first visit to the Frontier in , his assessment was that the movement there was devoted not to nonviolence as a principle, but to Ghaffar Khan as a leader. Although the Khudai Khidmatgar oath emphasized nonviolence, the use of nonviolent means was a strategy rather than a creed for many involved the movement.
The movement began by founding schools and creating village improvement programs e. The British viewed the creation of schools as an act of civil disobedience and individuals involved were punished or imprisoned.
In Ghaffar Khan began mobilizing to support the INC civil disobedience campaign with public demonstrations, pickets, and the creation of a parallel movement structure with democratic civilian and hierarchical nonviolent military-style branches.
The British responded with severe repression which, at great sacrifice, often resulted in increased membership for the movement. Eventually, the movement was weakened by cooptation into a limited power-sharing agreement until the British recognized complete independence in Ensuing Events Despite independence from the British Empire, resulting in the creation of a formally democratic Pakistan in , the people of the region have seen little improvement in their economic status or civil liberties.
The tumultuous border between the two countries was temporarily opened up for his funeral, which was attended by crowds from both countries, but an explosion of bombs marred the occasion during the ceremony.
For Further Reading Ahmad, Aijaz. Attar Chand. New Delhi, India: Commonwealth Publishers, Banerjee, Mukulika. Santa Fe, N.
Bright, Jagat S. Frontier and its Gandhi. Lahore, Allied Indian publishers, Cerrina, Jean Akhtar. Philadelphia: Xlibris, Cole, Juan. Easwaran, Eknath. Nonviolent soldier of Islam: Badshah Khan, a man to match his mountains.
Afterword by Timothy Flinders. Tomales, Calif. Ghaffar Khan, nonviolent badshah of the Pakhtuns. Johansen, Robert C. Khan Abdul Ghaffar, Khan: a centennial tribute. Khudai Khidmatgar and national movement: momentous speeches of Badshah Khan, edited by P. My life and struggle; autobiography of Badshah Khan as narrated to K. Bouman] Foreword by Jayaprakash Narayan. Delhi, Hind Pocket Books, Korejo, Muhammad Soaleh. The Frontier Gandhi, his place in history.
Karachi: Oxford University Press, Nair, Pyarelal. Thrown to the wolves: Abdul Ghaffar. Calcutta, Eastlight Book House, Pyarelal. A pilgrimage for peace; Gandhi and Frontier Gandhi among N. Ahmedabad, Navajivan Pub. House, Radhakrishnan, N. Khan, Abdul Ghaffar Khan: the apostle of nonviolence. Tendulkar, Dinanath Gopal. Abdul Ghaffar Khan: faith is a battle. Delhi: Anmol Publications, Yunus, Mohammad. Frontier speaks.
Bombay, Hind Kitabs, Zutshi, G. Delhi, National [Pub. House] Endnotes 1. Estimates on the number of members of the movement vary widely, with , being a common one. Learn more about our work here. Hundreds of past and present cases of nonviolent civil resistance exist.
To make these cases more accessible, ICNC compiled summaries of some of them between the years You can find these summaries here.
Each summary aims to provide a clear perspective on the role that nonviolent civil resistance has played or is playing in a particular case. To support scholars and educators who are designing curricula and teaching this subject, we also offer an Academic Online Curriculum AOC , which is a free, extensive, and regularly updated online resource with over 40 different modules on civil resistance topics and case studies.
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For the glory of God By cannon or gun undismayed Soldiers and horsemen, Our work and our duty. But nothing can conquer nonviolence. You cannot kill it. It keeps standing up. The British sent their horses and cars to run over us, but I took my shawl in my mouth to keep from screaming.
Khudai Khidmatgar Movement
The province due to its unique geographical location was treated by the British administration different from the rest of India. This brought social, political and economic backwardness in the Pushtoon society. P and its people in close collaboration with their brethren from rest of India. Ghaffar Khan had realized that migration is not the solution of the multifarious problems they faced.