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Abdul Gaffar Khan Biography

Abdul Gaffar Khan is one of the tallest freedom fighter, not only in sheer physical height but also in his contributions and sacrifices. He dedicated his life for the betterment of his fellow country men and hugely inspired the Pathans of the north-west frontier to follow the Gandhian values of non-violence and non-possession. No wonder he was described as the ‘Frontier Gandhi’.

Abdul Gaffar Khan was born in 1890 to Khan Behram Khan of Utmanzai village, Peshwar. Despite
being illiterate both of his parents were broad minded and wanted their children to get proper education. Abdul was sent to a Missionary school in Peshwar after his primary education. Abdul was selected in the British Indian Army but soon left the army after observing the ill-treatments and insults the Indians faced there.

The Pathans at that time were mostly uneducated and unorganized. Moreover the British wanted them
to keep them backward in order to control them easily. Abdul realized the need of the hour and opened
schools for children and women. For this Abdul was jailed and brutally treated. Despite the British injustices and the threats, the schools started flourishing. After his release he published a national newspaper- ‘Pakhtun’ which became very popular. At this juncture, the progressive king- Amanullah came forward in his support. The British and the local Mullahs conspired to destroy these developments. In 1928, Abdul came to India and met Gandhiji and Nehruji. Impressed and inspired by the nationalistic fervour, Abdul established an organization to bring social reforms.

It was called Khudai Khidmatgars and every member of the organization vowed to practice non-violence, brotherhood and serve humanity in the name of God. The British tried every possible way to destroy the movement. They attacked, they destroyed, they killed, they tortured but couldn’t make the Pathans to break their vows. Khan was put to the prison again and inhumanly tortured. He did not get any support from the Muslim League but the Congress promised help, if the Pathans join the Indian Freedom Struggle. The Congress sent reports allover India, Engalnd and even in America about the sorry state of the Pathans.

At last, after a long period of imprisonment, Khan was released in 1945. He passed away in 1998
and thousands of people walked in his funeral procession to pay homage to their hero.


Facts and Information about Abdul Gaffar Khan

Other Names Fakhr-e Afghan, Bacha Khan, Pacha Khan or Badshah Khan
Born 1890 in Utmanzai, Hashtnagar, Punjab Province, British India (now in Pakistan)
Died 20 January, 1988 in Peshawar, Pakistan
Resting Place Jalalabad, Nangarhar, Afghanistan
Father Bahram Khan
Wife Meharqanda Kinankhel, Nambata Kinankhel
Sons Abdul Wali Khan, Abdul Ghani Khan, Sardaro, Mehar Taja, Abdul Ali Khan
Brother Dr. Khan Sahib
Religion Islam
Political movement Khudai Khidmatgar
Organization Pakistan Socialist Party, Indian National Congress, National Awami Party
About He was a spiritual as well as political leader. He opposed the British Raj in India. He is known as “Frontier Gandhi” because of his close relations with Gandhi.
Join freedom movement He became a part of Haji Sahib’s freedom movement in 1911.
Marriage He married Meharqanda in 1912 and in 1913 their son Abdul Ghani Khan was born.
Remarriage After Meharqanda he married Nambata, his first wife’s cousin. Mehar Taj, their daughter, was born on 25 May 1921 and on 20 August 1922 their son Abdul Ali Khan was born.
Khudai Khidmatgar He founded the political organisation Khudai Khidmatgar (“Servants of God”) to oppose the British rule. The movement was also known as Surkh Posh (“Red Shirts”).
In 1931 he declind the offer to accept the presidency of the party saying, “I am a simple soldier and Khudai Khidmatgar, and I only want to serve.” In 1939 he left the Congress party. After the revision of the War Policy he rejoined the INC.