Bacha Khan didn’t achieved the political stature equivalent to that of Nelson Mandela because his land and nation remained the least developed
All benefited from Afghan war except Afghans themselves: Karzai
The govt is making all out efforts to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. Peace does not mean compromise over dignity and prestige of citizens or a group: Abdullah Abdullah
By willing to be buried in Jalalabad, Bacha Khan Baba wanted to make reminiscent Makkah-Madina love bond by the Prophet of Islam as he was came across unspeakable troubles in Makkah but love in Madina. Similar is the tale of Bacha Khan: Ghulam Ahmad Bilour
Terrorism has killed over 850 followers of Bacha Khan’s non-violence movement in post-9/11 scenario. It
looks Pakistan doesn’t want to pursue strategic depth in Afghanistan as its own cities have caught fire of terrorism: Khattak
Violence had increased manifold in the past few decades in the region and non-violence movement holds solutions to our common challenges: Sinha
AT-KABUL: Since the region called Afghanistan, India and Pakistan has been mired in a perpetual state of conflict, terrorism and violence, therefore the tradition of non-violence movement of Mahatma Gandhi and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Bacha Khan)—the two allies in a revolution of human spirit and pioneers in a culture of peace, will ever remain a source of guidance. To spread a message of peace and hope, non-violence, Rana Think Tank in coloration with Indian Embassy in Kabul, organized a one-day conference on the “tradition of non-violence in the region: Mahatma Gandhi and Bacha Khan—two leading flag bearers of non-violence”, on Sunday.
Ex-President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, the CEO of National Unity Government, Abdullah Abdullah, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour—Senior Vice President Awami National Party (ANP), Indian Ambassador Amar Sinha, Senator Afrasiab Khattak, Central Leader of ANP, and ex-spy chief Amrullah Saleh talked on non-violence, its relevance in the current day world and politics.
Ex-President Karzai said that the tradition of nonviolence in the region is the most important and humanitarian subject particularly for Afghans. “We are speaking about personalities of two greatest paragons of non-violence in South Asia and their humanitarian characters, who were the frontrunner for creating awareness about the tradition of nonviolence and seeking independence from the British Empire,” Karzai said.
The ex-President said that Gandhi and Bacha Khan wanted independence and prosperity of their people, but through nonviolence.
He said that Gandhi was the pioneer of nonviolence movement, later joined by the larger-than-life Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. “The first meeting between Mahatma Gandhi and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan took place in Lucknow in 1929. Bacha Khan found Gandhi’s views and strategy much important and the friendship between the two grew rapidly. They remained friends till independence of India,” he recalled.
Karzai went on saying that Gandhi had travelled to North West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) where the two leaders conferred on culture and history of this area. Bacha Khan also expressed his desire for independence.
In the quest for independence of India, different conferences were held on nonviolence. Second World War, independence of India, emergence of the Soviet Union as super power (in the bipolar system) and re-emergence of China as a nation was counted as threats by the West, Karzai said. “Thus Britain and the United States, (whereas the latter replaced the former as an imperial power) held a session to explore ways to deal with the potential threats from global changes taking place on world’s political pulpit. They decided to use religion as a tool against the Soviet Union and communism. They used Islam as well as Christianity for this purpose. They decided to carve out a new country in the region to create buffer zone. They created Pakistan for this purpose,” he said.
He added that Pakistan was strengthen and made member of the SEATO and CENTO. Karzai said that like the US, Pakistan also used religion as a tool against Afghanistan and India. War in Afghanistan helped the United States as the Soviet Union disintegrated and the US emerged as sole super power. “Europe also benefited from the war because Germany was reunited. Pakistan also benefited and became nuclear power as well as strengthened its intelligence and army institutions. However, it was Afghanistan that witnessed a dark age. Afghans had rendered matchless sacrifices. The US has handed over authority of a weaker Afghanistan to Pakistan. Pakistan as a result destroyed our military institutes and invaded our culture,” he said.
The ex-president said he laid a particular stress on American bombings on Afghan civilian houses. Recalling his experience with Pakistan on war on terror, Karzai said that he urged Islamabad to stop bombing public places in Waziristan and Bajaur and instead of doing so it should bring changes in its policies and stop using extremism as a tool.
The more violence is used and innocent people’s houses are bombed, the more extremism would threaten the region.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah has called Mahatma Gandhi and Bacha Khan as the two leading flag bearers of none violence who inspired millions of people.
He said that Islam is strictly against violence and those who are killing people in the world in the name of religion are earning bad image for Muslims and Islam. Abdullah added that such people could not be called Muslims.
Regarding the peace process he said the government is trying its best to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. “Peace does not mean compromise over dignity and prestige of citizens or a group. Achievements made in the past 13 years will be safeguarded.”
Former Chief of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Amrullah Salih, also termed Gandhi and Bacha Khan as epitomes of nonviolence who struggled for freedom but without firing a single bullet.
He said that Gandhi and Bacha Khan had leadership qualities and the ability to practice nonviolence that’s why they had many followers. However, he lamented over growing violence in the region and said that nonviolence is now restricted only to slogans and none is ready to practice it as policy.
EX-National Security Advisor Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta said Bacha Khan spent most of his life behind bars for practicing nonviolence, but he never renounced the policy of nonviolence.
Criticizing the developed countries he said that governments are overthrown by powerful actors in order to impose their own agendas. Citing Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Libya the former security advisor to Karzai said that use of force to impose own agenda has sparked violence in the world. He said that peace would not return unless genuine democracy was practices and nonviolence policy of Gandhi and Bacha Khan was adopted.
“Peace does not mean only putting down the guns, but preparing ground for various groups to live in harmony and peacefully as Bacha Khan and Gandhi believed,” he underlined.
The message of Bacha Khan Research Center at Kandahar University was also read on the occasion.
Chairman of the center Sher Shah Rishad said that his center is trying to tell university and schools students how to keep violence at bay and use wisdom to coexist peacefully.
India’s Ambassador to Kabul, Amar Sinha, said that violence had increased manifold in the past few decades in the region.
He hoped the former president Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah would continue working together to bring peace to Afghanistan.
He said: “The unrelenting violence in the region is a growing threat to the area that we collectively call home. The increasing acts of violence in one form or the other, under one or the other name, under no matter what pretext, is a serious threat to humanity and peaceful coexistence of people from various faiths.”
Violence violates basic human rights of the people and create a new insecure environment, Sinha said, adding that in the region there is a strong tradition of spirituality and nonviolence. “The two great epitomes, Mahatma Gandhi and his very close associate Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, I presumed that their relevance is even more important and their message outgoes to the younger generation who have grown up in a period of continued violence for last 30 years,” he said.
Quoting Bacha Khan he said, “Today’s world is going in some strange direction. You see that the world is going towards destruction and violence. The specialty of violence, is to create hatred among people and to create fear. I am a believer in nonviolence and I say that no peace and tranquility will descend upon the people of the world until nonviolence is practiced, because nonviolence is love. In the same way Mahatama Gandhi said that nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapons of destruction.”
Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, the Senior Vice President of Awami National Party (ANP), called Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a preacher and a practicing philosopher. He recalled an incident. “I went to Lahore with Bacha Khan nearly 40 years back. We were sitting at the house of our host that we caught sight of some Jamat-e-Islami activists. They came nearer and asked Bacha Khan that he looked inspired of Gandhi. They also told Bacha Khan that his ideology or movement of non-violence is a fallible because Islam believes in Jahid. I wondered how Bacha Khan will respond. What he told them is remarkable and outstanding. He told them that non-violence is not his movement or program rather it’s his faith—(aqeeda). He told them that when you say that non-violence is Gandhi’s ideology or program, you should study the life of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS). The JI activists responded that they know about the life of the Prophet of Islam. Bacha Khan responded in negation. He told them they don’t know about it because it is Mohammad (SAWS) who is the pioneer of this ideology. Bacha Khan told them that the 13-year life of Prophet Mohammad in Makkah is a perfect example of non-violence.” Bilour recalled another incident. He said that when Bacha Khan was on his death bed, he willed that he should be buried in Afghanistan. “We argued a lot about it. But he insisted. Even now some people object at the decision that why he was buried in Afghanistan. Bacha Khan had two reasons behind this decision and will. The first one is he wanted to follow the sunnah (act, doings and sayings) of the Prophet of Islam. Mohammad (SAWS) was born in Makkah but buried in Madina. The Prophet of Islam came across unspeakable troubles in Makkah while in Madina he found love, compassion and respect. Same is the case of Bacha Khan Baba therefore he wanted to be buried where he was showered with love and respect. Another reason is he wanted to show to the world that these lines (Durand Line) render no meanings as people living in Pakhtunkhwa and Afghanistan are one people and one nation. “We are being called by three names. Indians call us Pathans. We call ourselves Pashtuns. And British call us Afghans—so we are Afghans and Afghans include all Pashtuns, Tajiks and Hazaras because of their collective rule in India for over 300 years. And British historians call it Afghan period in history books,” Bilour said.
Afrasiab Khattak quoted Bacha Khan as saying, “There is nothing surprising in a Muslim or a Pathan like me subscribing to the creed of nonviolence. It is not a new creed. It was followed 1,400 years ago by the Prophet all the time when he was in Mecca.”
Once again quoting Bacha Khan, Khattak said, “I once asked Gandhi Jee, you have been preaching non-violence in India for a long time now, but I started teaching the Pathans non-violence only a short time ago. Yet, in comparison, the Pathans seem to have grasped the idea of non-violence much quicker and much better than the Indians. Just think how much violence there was in India during the war in 1942. Yet in the North West Province, in spite the unprecedented cruelties and atrocities by the British inflicted upon them, even a single Pathan didn’t resort to violence, though they too possess the instruments of violence. How do you explain that?
Gandhi Jee replied me that non-violence is not for cowards. It is for the brave and the courageous. And the Pathans are more brave and courageous than any other people in India. That is the reason why the Pathans were able to remain non-violent.”
Khattak quoted of Bacha Khan as saying:
Coming up with another quote from Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan, Khattack said, “Today’s world is traveling in some strange direction. You see that the world is going toward destruction and violence. And the specialty of violence is to create hatred among people and fear. I am a believer in nonviolence and I say that no peace or tranquility will descend upon the people of the world until nonviolence is practiced, because nonviolence is love and it stirs courage in people.”
He added that Bacha Khan modernized Pashtunwali (Pashtun’s culture).
“Terrorists killed some 850 members of Bcha Khan’s movement, Awami National Party (ANP). We haven’t demanded the secession of Pakistan, didn’t initiate any rebellion. We accept the law, and democracy, but why are we still being attacked. Because, the war between the forces of violence and non-violence is not finished yet,” he added.
He said that forces of violence are those who tried in the last of 20th century to ruin Afghanistan. “They laid particular emphasis on connection between Islam and Afghan culture. Not because they loved Islam but to undermine Afghan culture,” he said. “We witnessed in 1996 that how they entered Afghanistan and banned Afghan national anthem, and national flag. They renamed Radio Kabul with Shariat Ghag (the Voice of Sharia). Radio Islamabad remained Radio Islamabad, Radio Tehran remained Radio Tehran, but Radio Kabul turned into Shariat Ghag. They banned Nawroz, a cultural legacy of 5,000 years of Afghanistan. They termed Jirga un-Islamic. They destroyed the ancient statue of Buddha. They destroyed everything that was related to Afghan culture.” All these happenings were not accidental, but planed,” Khattak remarked.
“Pakistan wanted strategic depth in Afghanistan. But now terrorism has knocked at their doors. The wave of terrorism has reached Karachi. It’s this reason that Pakistan has changed its mindset now,” he said. Another participant of the conference, Mohammad Qasim Jamdar, recalled how he came across an incident that left him in a state of sorrow. He said that once in Hamburg, a city in Germany, he was talking on the non-violence movement of Bacha Khan and his troubles he encountered in his struggle in a conference. At the end of the conference I asked too many Europeans (participants) that since Bacha Khan had spent more years in prison than any other international leaders ( such as Nelson Mandela and others) but despite that Bacha Khan was not awarded Nobel Peace Prize. They told me that currently there 38 cultural committees working for Mandela in entire Europe but there is even not single organization named after Bacha Khan in Europe,” Jamdar said.