The Frontier Gandhi
Affectionately known as 'Bacha' Khan or 'Badshah' Khan amongst his people, Khan Abdul Ghaffar's life was dedicated to the social reform of the Pukhtuns, who traditionally adhere to a strict code of life called 'Pukhtunwali', which is governed by rather rigid tribal norms. Bacha Khan is an acknowledged leader in the hearts of the Pukhtuns across the world, due to his life long struggle to modernise Pukhtun society and his teachings of non-violence, adopted by his Khudai Khidmatgar (Servants of God) party, during the struggle for independence against the British. He stands tall in the pantheon of leaders of the movement for independence. A close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, his success in mobilising the Pukhtuns of the North-West Frontier Province and the Tribal Areas through a non-violent struggle, had significant bearing on this movement, in which the Khudai Khidmatgar allied with the Indian National Congress. The Pushto edition of Bacha Khan's autobiography was first published in 1983 in Afghanistan, when he was 93 years old. Nearly four decades later the book has been translated and published for the first time in English. This translation was painstakingly done by Sahibzada at the request of Shandana Humayun Khan, to whom he has dedicated the book. Shandana's maternal great-grandfather was Qazi Ataullah, a close lieutenant of Bacha Khan's and a key figure in the Khudai Khidmatgar movement. Before the translation process started, Sahibzada and Shandana visited several members of Bacha Khan's family including his grandsons Nasir Ali Khan, Asfandayar Wali Khan and Saleem Jan. The translator shared a close friendship with Bacha Khan's son, Abdul Ghani Khan, the greatest Pukhtun poet of the century. The book is a result of the participation of several members of his family and those who have spent their lives studying Bacha Khan's philosophy. For the first time Bacha Khan's thoughts on Pukhtun society, his vision for a more equitable world achieved along the lines of non-violence have been researched, translated and made available for the world in his own words.
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