Khan and Gandhi were united in the fight for independence against the British rulers. Many people described Khan as the ‘Muslim Gandhi.’ When Khan died in Pakistan in 1988, people in both Pakistan and India mourned.
Both Gandhi and Khan fought for freedom and an undivided India
Seeing Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan next to Mahatma Gandhi was an almost comical sight. Khan, who was well over six feet tall and weighed more than 100 kilos, seemed to overshadow the small, thin Gandhi. Khan could be very vocal when making a point while Gandhi was very shy and softly spoken by nature. They had a very unusual friendship. Gandhi was a Hindu and Khan a Muslim. Khan popularized Gandhi’s teachings among Muslims. Some one hundred thousand Muslims joined his “Khudai Khidmatgar” or “Servers of Allah” movement. In time Khan convinced them of the need to follow Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy.
After India was partitioned Khan was accused of being a pro-Indian activist
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was born a Pashtoon in 1890 in the Northwest border city of Utmanzai, located in today’s Pakistan. His family were wealthy landowners. At a very early age he committed himself to eradicating poverty and realized the importance and meaning of education and literacy for society. When he was only 20 years of age he founded his first school and travelled throughout British-India to spread his ideas. Khan believed that people should earn respect based on their deeds, not on their class background. He condemned privileges and conducted himself with modesty, honesty and courage according to many of his followers. It was at this time one of his many nicknames stuck: Badshah Khan, “King of all leaders.”
A shared vision
In 1928 Khan met Mahatma Gandhi for the very first time and got involved with the Indian Congress Party.(…)
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