First published in Pashto in 1983, the autobiography of freedom fighter Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, fondly known as Bacha Khan or Badshah Khan, is now out in English, announced publishing house Roli Books.
The book, titled “The Frontier Gandhi: My Life and Struggle”, is translated by former Pakistani civil servant and author Imitiaz Ahmad Sahibzada. This is the “first time” that Khan’s autobiography is available in English. An earlier account of his life, published in English in 1969, and with the same title, was based on the interviews conducted with him and was not “his written autobiography”.
“.. Bacha Khan felt that the 1969 account of his life and struggle was not complete and began to write his own autobiography thereafter, with the help of numerous associates. Bacha Khan’s autobiography was thus first published in Pukhto in 1983, in Kabul.. This book is a translation of Bacha Khan’s only written, Pukhto autobiography,” writes Sahibzada in the book.
Khan (1890–1988), popularly called the ‘Frontier Gandhi’, was born in Uthmanzai in the North-West Frontier Province of British India. His life was dedicated to the social reform of the Pukhtuns and he continues to be revered across the world by them. In India, he is known for his close association with Mahatma Gandhi and his leadership of the Khudai Khidmatgar (Servants of God) movement from 1930 – 47 – one of the most successful and sustained Gandhian non-violent campaigns anywhere in the world.
The book, whose foreword is written by historian and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi, brings to life events and personalities of the independence movement as Khan records the untiring energy and sacrifices that went into winning freedom.
“If our world wants to picture non-violent defiance, or inter-faith partnership, .. Or a commitment to the rights of the vulnerable, it cannot do much better than study these two men together: Ghaffar Khan and, older by 21 years, Mohandas Gandhi, brothers in spirit, each armed with the swords of conscience and courage,” writes Rajmohan, who is also the author of Khan’s biography, “Ghaffar Khan: Nonviolent Badshah of the Pakhtuns”.
“The Frontier Gandhi: My Life and Struggle”, priced at `695, is available for sale in offline and online stores.