Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Abdul Ghaffar Khan: Pioneer of Nonviolence

Nasim Saber writes in Qantara:

He was a contemporary of Indian pacifist Mahatma Gandhi and always preached an Islam of nonviolence: Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the man who was venerated by the Pashtuns as "King of Chiefs" died 20 years ago in Peshawar.

Abdul Ghaffar Khan was born in 1890 in Charsadda near Peshawar in the British-occupied northwest sector of the Indian subcontinent. He was a member of the Mohammadzai family, a respected Pashtun dynasty, to which Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghanistan, also belonged.

Abdul Ghaffar Khan grew up to become a pioneer of nonviolence in a region plagued by wars. The Pashtuns still revere him today as "Badshah Khan" (King of Chiefs).

In 1910, when he was only 20 years old, Abdul Ghaffar Khan already built a school near Utmanzai in the northwest region of what is today Pakistan. He went on to found the "Anjuman-e islah ul Afghana" (Afghan Reform Association) and to publish the magazine "Pashtoon" in order to reach the masses under British domination.

Read more here

Image Credit: Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Gandhi in 1940, Public Domain image via Wikimedia

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