Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, The Frontier Gandhi
1890 – 1988
Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, proud Pashtun and devout Muslim from Charsadda in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan, traveled the length and breadth of the subcontinent preaching the power of passive resistance and nonviolence.
Close friend of Gandhi’s, his followers formed his non-violent army made up of Pashtuns, one of the most fierce warrior groups. The members of his army vowed to turn their backs on violence, revenge, and retaliation. They believed in the power of non-violence, education, and women’s rights.
Jailed by the British numerous times, he said, “With love you can persuade a Pashtun to go to hell, but by force you can not take him even to heaven.”
Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1985, his role in winning independence from British rule has been largely forgotten. His actions redefined the Pashtun concept of honor and courage.
Thousands of mourners attended his funeral, marching through the historic Khyber Pass from Peshawar to Jalalabad. A cease fire was announced in the Afghan war to allow safe passage to the funeral procession.
The world could use another giant of a man like Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan.