Abdul Ghaffar Khan
Dr. Sayed Wiqar Ali Shah ∗
Although quite a few biographical studies1 are available on
Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly known as Baacha Khan, they are
primarily centred on his personality and the various stages of his
relations with the Indian National Congress (INC). In this paper, an
attempt has been made to study and analyse objectively, the life,
times and struggle of Baacha Khan for its own sake independently,
emphasising particularly his role in the freedom movement, the
revival of Pashtoon nationalism and the adoption of non-violence
in the Pashtoon society. Baacha Khan’s role as a social reformer,
an educationists and finally as a politician would also be discussed.
The present study is distinguished from others as mainly primary
source material has been utilised to analyse and discuss Baacha
Khan and the part he played in the political mobilisation of the
Pashtoons thus creating awareness in them to struggle for their
rights during the British rule in India. As stated earlier, the main
focus of the present study will remain on Ghaffar Khan’s role in
the freedom movement, however, for a better understanding of
Ghaffar Khan’s life and times, a brief account of his post-1947
activities has also been provided at the end of the chapter.
The North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) has played a
significant role in the shaping and re-shaping of the Indian history.
Its crucial strategic location made it not only the Frontier of India
Associate Professor, Department of History, Quaid-i-
Azam University Islamabad.
but also an international frontier of the first importance from the
military point of view for the whole British Empire.
The British came late to the NWFP, owing to its geographical
location, which was far away from their point of early contacts
with the Sub-continent. As it is situated on the ‘highway of
conquest’, majority of the invaders, including the Aryans, Persians,