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Why Abdul Ghaffar Khan is special for India ?

“0 You who believe! Stand out firmly for God, as witnesses to fair dealing,
and let not the hatred of others to you make you swen/e to wrong and
depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear God For God is
well-acquainted with all you do” (AI Maidah 5:8)

Reading about Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan a few years ago, the name that generated interest was Bacha Khan- King of chiefs It was one of his nick names used by his beloveds People saw in him a mirror image of M K. Gandhi. Many historians see him as one of the calm headed and logical Muslim leader of that era. He was one of the first to oppose All India Muslim League’s demand for partition of India and when the Congress accepted the demand, he opposed it tooth and nail. Eventually, he did pledge allegiance to Pakistan after partition but as his native place (present day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) became part of Pakistan after partition. He was often jailed and exiled by the Pakistani government for one reason or another.

Abdul Ghaffar Khan is deeply remembered for his boldness and his efforts towards social upliftment during the independence struggle. Just like Gandhi he believed in Non-violence and preached that Islam is the “Religion of Tolerance”. He was a trusted ally of Mahatma Gandhi and even formed a group Khudai Khidmatgars (Servants of God) to spread peace in the country and served as a non-violent struggle against the British Empire.
It was always Abdul Ghaffar Khan- the Frontier Gandhi whom the people of the then India accepted as the ambassador of Unity. He and Mohandas Gandhi both strongly championed Hindu-Muslim unity.

Especially, in an age when Islam is primarily associated with violence, it is wise to engage with Khan’s ideals- as a shining example of how, in the right hands, Islam can become a force for positive change. Ghaffar Khan always dreamed of an independent, undivided, secular India- an India where both Hindus and Muslims would live together in peace. He was the first to declare that all the people irrespective of religion belongs to God. It can be easily said that Ghaffar Khan was a perfect example of Hindu-Muslim unity who acted as a refreshing non-violent pulse at the core of the Islamic faith. He is a tribute to non-violent Muslims.

Many insist that Islam is fundamentally violent, however, Ghaffar Khan founded a movement drawing inspiration from the Qur’an & Hadees and based on the assumption that non-violent struggle was a “weapon from the Prophet” which exemplified the spirit and fundamentals of Islam. Abdul Ghaffar Khan affirmed: “I am a believer in non-violence and I say that no peace or tranquility will descend upon the people of the world until non-violence is loved and it stirs courage in people.” Khan popularized Gandhi s teachings amongst Muslims and became the flag bearer of Hindu-Muslim unity during the independence struggle.

Abdul Ghaffar Khan earned the respect of all the people in the Indian subcontinent irrespective of their faith. Every logical & informed Indian salutes Abdul Ghaffar Khan. It is regrettable that Ghaffar Khan’s voice was sidelined during the partition of India. Had his voice been taken seriously, he would have altered the course of history for good and in the process would have saved millions of lives on both sides. Despite everything, Ghaffar Khan’s love for India and love for unity, secularism and peace is unique and worth emulating. India, today, needs more Muslim leaders like him to consolidate the fragile Hindu-Muslim unity, this will ensure a rapid development and nobody would be able to stop India from becoming a super power.

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