Khudai Khidmatgar Schools Wikipedia Selection. Conditions prior to the movement At the turn of the last century Pashtun society was colonized, stagnant, violent, worn down by feuds, inequalities, factionalism, poor social cooperation, and plain ignorance. Education opportunities were strictly limited. Pashtuns are Muslims; and religious leaders and Mullahs were known to have told parents that if their children went to school, they would go to hell. He also stated that by the time Islam reached his people centuries earlier, it had lost much of its original spiritual message.
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Khudai Khidmatgar Schools Wikipedia Selection. Conditions prior to the movement At the turn of the last century Pashtun society was colonized, stagnant, violent, worn down by feuds, inequalities, factionalism, poor social cooperation, and plain ignorance.
Education opportunities were strictly limited. Pashtuns are Muslims; and religious leaders and Mullahs were known to have told parents that if their children went to school, they would go to hell. He also stated that by the time Islam reached his people centuries earlier, it had lost much of its original spiritual message. Origins of the Khudai Khidmatgar Formed out of the society for reformation of Pashtuns Anjuman-e-Islah-e-Afghan , it initially targeted social reformation and launched campaigns against prostitution.
Bacha Khan as its founder seemed to be influenced by the realisation that whenever British troops were faced with an armed uprising they eventually always overcame the rebellion. The same could not be said when using non violence against the troops. The movement started prior to the Qissa Khwani bazaar massacre, when a demonstration of hundreds of non violent supporters were fired upon by British soldiers in Peshawar. Its low point and eventual disappaition was after Pakistan's independence in when the Muslim League Chief Minister Abdul Qayyum Khan banned the movement and launched a brutal crackdown on its members which culminated in the massacre at Babra Sharif massacre.
At its peak the KK movement consisted of almost , members. Here nonviolence becomes an ideological system very compatible with Islam and Pakhtunwali, since these are reinterpreted. Ghaffar Khan founded several reform movements prior to the formation of the Khudai Khidmatgar, the Anjumen-e Islah ul-Afghan in , the farmers' organisation Anjuman-e Zamidaran in and the youth movement Pashtun Jirga in Finally in November , almost on the eve of the Qissa Khwani bazaar massacre the Khudai Khidmatgar were formed.
Trained and uniformed, they served behind their officers and filed out into various villages to seek recruits. They began by wearing a simple white overshirt, but the white was soon dirtied. A couple of men had their shirts dyed at the local tannery, and the brick-red colour proved a breakthrough, it was this distinctive colour that earned the Khudai khidmatgar movement activists the name " the Red shirts " or surkh posh. Structure of the Khudai Khidmatgar Volunteers who took the oath formed platoons with commanding officers and learned basic army discipline.
The volunteers had their own flags: red in the beginning, later tri-colour and bands: bagpipe and drums. The men wore red uniforms and the women black. They had drills, badges, a flag, the entire military hierarchy of rank and even a bagpipe corps.
Khan set up a network of committees called jirgas, named and modeled after the traditional tribal councils. Villages were grouped into larger groups, responsible to district-wide committees.
The Provincial Jirgah was the ultimate authority. Officers in the ranks were not elected, since Khan wanted to avoid infighting. He appointed a salar-e-azam or commander-in-chief, who in turn appointed officers to serve under him. Other ranks included Jarnails Generals. The army was completely voluntary; even the officers gave their services free.
Women were recruited too, and played an important role in the struggles to come. Volunteers went to the villages and opened schools, helped on work projects, and maintained order at public gatherings.
From time to time they drilled in work camps and took long military-style marches into the hills. Ideology of the Khudai Khidmatgar Under the influence of Abdul Ghaffar Khan the movement advocated non-violent protests and justified their actions through an Islamic context.
Khan did not find Islam and non-violence as incompatible. Despite that the movement was intrinsically non-sectarian. In more then one occasion when Hindus and Sikhs were attacked in Peshawar, Khidmatgar members helped protect their lives and property. It is not a new creed. It was followed fourteen hundred years ago by the Prophet all the time he was in Mecca. Being a great humanist, he ardently believed that human nature was not so depraved as to hinder it from respecting goodness in others.
It is easy to look down on others but to make an estimate of our failing is difficult. Allah's blessings according to Bacha khan are marked for those, who submit to Allah's will and serve Almighty Allah through selfless activities for the overall good of humanity at large irrespective of caste, colour, race or religions.
British tactics against the Khudai Khidmatgar British troops employed a wide variety of tactics against KK activists. He said 'there is an answer to violence, which is more violence. 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. We were human beings, but we should not cry or express in any way that we were injured or weak.
Another tactic employed against non-violent protesters who were blocking roads was to charge them with cars and horses. In , 5, members of the Khudai Khidmatgar and 2, members of the Congress Party are arrested in the spring of By , the Khudai Khidmatgar movement changed its tactics and involved women in the movement.
This unnerved many Indian officers working in the region as in those days of conservative India it was considered a grave insult to attack women, more so in a conservative Pashtun society. However the brutality increased and in one case five police officers in Benares had to be suspended due to 'horrific reports about violence used against young female volunteers'.
Other tactics ranged from poisoning to the barbaric as castrations were used against some Khudai Khidmatgar actvists. After the anti-war resignation of Dr. Khans Ministry in because of the events of World War 2, British tactics towards the movement changed and added a sectarian and communcal element over brute force. Governor at the time George Cunnigham oversaw this policy. It had played throughout on the Islamic theme.
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Also called Surkh Posh or "Red Shirts", this was originally a social reform organisation focusing on education and the elimination of blood feuds; it was known as the Anjuman-e-Islah-e Afaghina society for reformation of Afghans. It gradually became more political as its members were being targeted by the British Raj. By its leadership was exiled from the province and large numbers were arrested. Seeking allies, leaders approached the All-India Muslim League and Indian National Congress ; after being rebuffed by the former in , the movement formally joined the Congress Party.
The real-world Khan
Qissa Khwani Bazaar is not much different from other marketplaces in older parts of South Asian cities. Indo-Islamic architectural styles can still be seen in the crumbling facades of the old buildings of the marketplace, known for its book shops, publishers and sweet shops. Before the Partition of the Indian subcontinent in , the marketplace was also the site of a massacre perpetrated by British soldiers against non-violent protesters of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement on April 23, Over time, the movement acquired a more political colour, leading to the British taking notice of its growing prominence in the region.
Explained: 90 years on, remembering Peshawar’s Qissa Khwani Bazaar massacre
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.
The Khudai Khidmatgars, or the Servants of God, were organized to reform Pashtun society through modern means: education, the emancipation of women and the reinterpretation of traditions, especially of normative violence. Almost every household in the Province had a member enlisted in the grassroots Khudai Khidmatgar army, and yet this remarkable phenomenon remains unrecognized in global narratives of nonviolent resistance. The idea of Pashtun nonviolence was so contrary to long-standing tropes classifying them as an intrinsically violent and martial race—with the additional tropology of Islam as an intrinsically violent religion—that it silenced this unique expression through the dominant representational framework which categorized them as such. I also contest the hitherto scant scholarly literature explaining Khudai Khidmatgar nonviolence as an exception of the Pashtun habitus, one that is credited to the exemplary character of Abdul Ghaffar Khan alone. Instead, by reading their vernacular literature I argue that the Khudai Khidmatgars were positing a new kind of political altogether by interpreting nonviolence through local registers: the indigenous codes of Pashtunwali, including local forms of radical democracy, the discourse of a liberatory Islam—especially calling upon its poetic metaphors of ecstatic enlightenment—and an anarchic nonstate imaginary. As such, they were always more suspect and policed much more harshly than other nationalist movements of the time, while their location upon the strategic yet ever-restive North-West Frontier of Imperial India justified the brutal disciplinary measures constantly meted out against them. Given that the postcolonial nation-state of Pakistan was also grounded upon the normative political of the colonial state, the Khudai Khidmatgars were, inevitably, charged with sedition in and the movement and its literature destroyed, while its history defamed and distorted through state narratives.