Special Reports

Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan Stamp


Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890-1988) was an Indian freedom fighter from the North-West Frontier province (now in Pakistan) who opposed the British Rule in India. He was a close friend of Gandhiji and was called "Frontier Gandhi". He was born in 1890 in Hashtnagar in Utmanzai at Charsadda. He opposed partition of India but had to live in Pakistan though he spent most of his years there under arrest or as an exile in Afghanistan.

He studied at Edward’s Mission School and at Aligarh Muslim University. He got a chance to study in London like his brother Dr. Khan Sahib. But as his mother was not willing to part with him, he started to work in the family land.

When he was 20, he opened his first school in Utmanzai and this was a huge success. He married Meharqanda in 1912. They had two sons, Abdul Ghani Khan and Abdul Wali Khan and a daughter Sardaro. When Meharqanda died in 1918, he married Nambata and had a daughter Mehar Taj and a son Abdul Ali Khan.

He established Khudai Khidmatgar, an organisation which fought for Indian freedom. Later he joined Congress Party and remained a member of the Working Committee. He was arrested on 23 April 1930 for taking part in the Salt Satyagraha. He championed the cause of women’s rights and non-violence.

He opposed partition of India. Later he formed the first national opposition party in Pakistan, Pakistan Azad Party on 8 May 1948. He was house-arrested for six years from 1948 to 1954.

He was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1987 and Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1967. He died in Peshawar on 20 January 1988 while still under house arrest and was buried in Jalalabad in Afghanistan.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 October 2013 on page no. 13

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