Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

Here we listed out important facts about Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, with his Biography, Profile, Facts, Timeline, Awards, Achievement, etc.,

Born: 6 February 1890
Birth Place: Utmanzai, Charsadda, Pakistan
Died: 20 January 1988, Peshawar, Pakistan
Nationality: Pakistani
Education: Aligarh Muslim University
Awards: Bharat Ratna, Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding
Spouse: Nambata Khan, Meharqanda Khan

  • Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as Badshah Khan, is one of the most inspiring figures in the history of India’s struggle for independence.
  • Badsha Khan belonged to a highly respectable family of Pathan Chiefs in the village of Utmanzai in Hastnagar in the Northwest Frontier Province of British India.
  • The Northwest Frontier Province was a very backward and poor area. Although agriculture was the main source of livelihood, the Government had done little to help the people to make their farms more productive.
  • There were no schools for children and no job opportunities for adults. All this was a deliberate policy of the British to keep the region impoverished, weak and vulnerable.
  • Badshah Khan’s father, Khan Behram Khan, was a kind and noble person and did a lot for the poor and the oppressed.
  • His grandfather, Khan Saifulla Khan, also lived by the same values of service and sacrifice and Badshah Khan was brought up in a household where the manin aim of life was to serve fellow beings.
  • Badshah Khan was a strong, hefty young lad. He applied and was immediately selected to the British Army.  But he was soon disillusioned  he saw a Pathan friend of his being insulted by a British lieutenant.
  • Badshah Khan subscribed to Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad’s newspaper, ‘Al Hilal’, which spread the ideas of freedom, democracy and justice.  It spoke against the British and their acts of cruelty and injustice against the people.
  • Badshah Khan attended several lectures delivered by prominent intellectuals and thought that the Muslim League was also struggling for independence from British Rule and he felt that the Muslim League could help the cause of the Pakhtun people also. But its not worked out.
  • The British authorities constantly interfered with his activities. He and his comrades were arrested and put behind bars.  He suffered great torture in the prison.
  • From time to time the prison authorities would ask him to give up his political activities. Each time Badshah Khan would refuse and his resolve  to continue his fight for freedom would become stronger.
  • In 1928, Badshah Khan went to Lucknow where he met Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.  He held prolonged discussions with Nehru about Afghanistan.
  • He also met other national leaders like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and realized that these people were the ones who were really struggling for the freedom of India and felt that associating with them would be helpful to the cause of the Pakhtun People.
  • Badshah Khan was greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. He was such a staunch follower of Gandhi that people started calling him “Frontier Gandhi”.
  • In 1929, Badshah Khan formed an Orgaization called the ‘Khudai Kitmatgar’ (Servants of God). They wore red robes and were called ‘Lal Dagalewale’.  The group had to take the oath of non-violence.  The Khudai Kidmatgar Movement spread to all parts of the North Western Frontier Province.
  • In December 1929, the annual session of the Indian National Congress was to be held at Lahore. Badshah Khan attended the session alongwith several Pathans from different villages on the Frontier.
  • At this session, the Pathan Khudai Khidmatgars decided that they would work for the complete independence of India. After this  session, Badshah Khan went from village to village expanding  the Khudai Khidmatgar movement.
  • Badshah Khan was arrested for his political activities and was again sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment. He was taken to the Gujart prison in Punjab.  He met a number of political leaders from various parts of the country and discussed several political issues with them.
  • He spent his time in jail studying the ‘Bible’, ‘The Bhagwad Gita’ and the ‘Guru Grantha Sahib; and came to the conclusion that all religious taught only one thing, “love and compassion towards all living beings”.
  • The Indian National Congress had assured its support to the Pathans and in turn the Khudai Khidmatgar pledged itself to struggle for the freedom of India.
  • Immediately the British realized that it would be necessary to detach the Khudai Khidmatgars from the Congress. They tried to create a rift between the two by saying that the Indian National Congress was a Hindu Party and the Khudai Kidmatgars were Muslims therefore the two should not work together.
  • They tried to tell them that the Congress would make use of them for achieving their own freedom and then would not help the Paktuns. The Khudai Khidmatgars did not budge from their stand of helping Indian attain freedom.
  • In 1930 Vithalbhi Patel sent a delegation of Congress leaders to the Frontier Province. The Britishers tried their best to stop the delegation from reaching the Province, but failed.
  • The Congress had secretly sent copies to America and England and the condition of the Frontier Province received international attention.
  • The British now tried a different strategy to break up the liaison between the Khudai Khidmatgars and the Congress, they now approached the Congress leaders and began to pressurize them in giving up their support to the Khudai Khidmatgar saying that the Muslims.
  • The Congress leaders, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Abdul Kalam Azad saw through the British game and continued to give their support to Khudai Khidmatgar.
  • In 1931, the historic Gandhi-Irwin Pact was concluded and several political leaders were released from prison, but not Badshah Khan. A delegation of Muslim League leaders was sent to Badshah Kahn to persuade him  break away from the Congress, Badshah Khan refused to meet the delegation.
  • Gandhiji was informed about Badshah Khan still being in prison. Gandhiji met the Viceroy, Lord Irwin, and told him that Badshah Khan should be released.  Lord Irwin refused  at first but after a lot of persuation from Mahatma Gandhi, Badshah Khan was finally released from prison.
  • Badshah Khan became a member of the Congress Working Committee. His participation  in the national struggle was reported widely in the newspapers.  His name was well-known all over the    The Indian people loved and respected him and he came to be known as ‘Sarhad Gandhi(Frontier Gandhi).
  • Badshah Khan said that it was not just a political movement but also a spiritual movement, which taught people to love and respect each other and instill in them a sense of duty towards their country.
  • In 1934, the annual session of the Indian National Congress was to be held at Bombay. The All India Congress Committee  decided to elect Badshah Khan declined politely, saying that he was a simple soldier and a Khudan Khidmatgar and only wanted to serve.
  • Both Gandhiji and Badshah Khan resigned from the Congress Working Committee when the second World War broke out as they felt that helping the British in the war would mean promoting violence and both of them were against violence.
  • India attained freedom in 1947. The British  did not want the Northwest Frontier Province to be a separate unit  or to be a part of independent India and after partition it was finally merged into Pakistan.
  • Badshah Khan felt betrayed. He continued to fight for the freedom of his people.  He did not entertain any friendly feelings for Pakistan.  Moreover, the Pakistan Government made him pay a fine and confiscated his property.
  • Badshah Khan spent 15 years in jail before independence and after independence the suffered 16 years imprisonment in Pakistani jails.
  • He said, “I cannot understand why and for what crime the Pakistani Government kept me and thousands of Khudai Khidmatgars imprisoned for so many years.
  • The people of India had regard for this gentle leader and Badshah Khan visited India in 1969 on special invitation from the Indian Government.
  • He toured India extensively, meting people and giving lectures, and expressing his happiness at India’s development in industrial and educational fields. Badshah was the main attraction at the Congress Centenary Function held in Bombay in the year 1985.
  • A year before his death, in 1987, the Government of India conferred on him the highest honour of the country, the “Bharat Ratna” his selfless service  to the nation.
  • Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan passed away at the ripe old age of 98 in the year 1988.

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

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