The Pathan Unarmed

ISBN 9780199406043
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In the interwar years there arose a Muslim movement in the North-West Frontier (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), the Khudai Khidmatgar (‘Servants of God’), which drew its inspiration from Gandhian principles of non-violence. The movement was dedicated to Indian nationalism rather than communal separatism. Virtually erased from the national historiography of post-Partition Pakistan, the aging veterans of the movement are even today highly respected in the region.
Although originally written in the pre-9/11 era and the resultant war with the Taliban, the second edition of the book is more relevant today than ever. This book is the first account of rank and file members of the Khudai Khidmatgar, analysing why they joined, what they did, and how they perceived the ethics and aims of the movement. It also attempts to scrutinize how the Pathans, stereotyped as violent and tradition-bound, were geared towards the ethics of non-violence and reforms in their traditional code of honour.
“Using a mixture of oral historiography and archival research, the author successfully reconstructs much of the organization and ethos of the movement and tells the tale of its rise and fall in the politics of the time…the topic is an extraordinarily interesting one, the writing, at its best, is fresh and lucid, and the historical and ethnographic evidence is rich and compelling.”
Jonathan Spencer
University of Edinburgh

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