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Indian History

Khudai Khidmatgar Movement

  • 25 Apr 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

It is 90 years for Qissa Khwani Bazaar massacre.

  • Qissa Khwani bazar was the site of a massacre perpetrated by British soldiers against non-violent protesters of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement on April 23, 1930.

Key points

  • Khudai Khidmatgar Movement
    • The Khudai Khidmatgar was a non-violent movement against British occupation of the Indian subcontinent led by Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a Pashtun freedom fighter, in the North-West Frontier Province.
    • Over time, the movement turned political, leading to the British taking notice of its growing prominence in the region.
    • Following the arrest of Khan and other leaders in 1929, the movement formally joined the Indian National Congress after they failed to receive support from the All-India Muslim League.
    • Members of the Khudai Khidmatgar were organised and the men stood out because of the bright red shirts they wore as uniforms, while the women wore black garments.
    • The Khudai Khidtmatgar opposed Partition, a stance that many interpreted as the movement not being in favour of the creation of the independent nation of Pakistan.
  • Reasons for Qissa Khwani Bazaar massacre:
    • Abdul Ghaffar Khan and other leaders of the Khudai Khidmatgar were arrested on April 23, 1930 by British police after he gave a speech at a gathering in the town of Utmanzai in the North-West Frontier Province.
    • Protests spilled into the Qissa Khwani Bazaar in Peshawar on the day of Khan’s arrest.
    • British soldiers entered the market area to disperse crowds that had refused to leave and the British army vehicles drove into the crowds, killing several protesters and bystanders.

Abdul Ghaffar Khan

  • Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890-1988), the foremost 20th-century leader of the Pashtuns ( a Muslim ethnic group of Pakistan and Afghanistan) was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and was called the “Frontier Gandhi”.
  • Ghaffar Khan met Gandhi and entered politics in 1919 during agitation over the Rowlatt Acts, which allowed the confinement of political dissidents without trial.
  • In 1920 he joined the Khilafat movement, which sought to strengthen the spiritual ties of Indian Muslims to the Turkish sultan
  • In 1921 he was elected president of a district Khilafat committee in his native North-West Frontier Province.
  • Soon after attending an Indian National Congress (Congress Party) gathering in 1929, Ghaffar Khan founded the Red Shirt movement (Khudai Khitmatgar) among the Pashtuns.
  • In 1987 he was awarded the Bharat Ratna Prize, the highest Indian honour that can be given to civilians. He was the first non-Indian to receive this honour.
    • Another non-Indian to receive Bharat Ratna is Nelson Mandela (1990).
    • Mother Teresa, in 1980, became the first and only naturalised citizen to be awarded the Bharat Ratna.

Source: IE

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