George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

A Muslim practitioner of non-violence in Afghanistan

January 30, 2018

Book Cover: Ghaffar Khan by Rajmohan Gandhi

Book Cover: Ghaffar Khan by Rajmohan Gandhi

By Chris Mitchell

Over the winter break, part of the John Burton collection dealing with non-violence was moved down to the S-CAR Research Library at Point of View. Among the books sent to Lorton, VA are two dealing with the life of Khan Ghaffar Khan, once known as “the Gandhi of the North West Frontier” because of his work among the Pakhtuns [then better known as “Pathans”] living in the border regions of Afghanistan and then-British India [later Pakistan]. At one point, Ghaffar Khan had over a million followers in his “Khudai Khidmatgars” [Servants of God] movement, committed to working non-violently for change in the border regions and in the country at large.

He and his movement were obviously regarded as dangerous by both the British and Pakistani  authorities, and Ghaffar Khan was first locked up as a political prisoner for 12 years by the British and later for a further 15 years once Pakistan had become independent. The events in his long life are described at length in Eknath Easwaran’s Badshah Khan; a Man to Match his Mountains and more recently by a former S-CAR Visiting Fellow, Rajmohan Gandhi, in Ghaffar Khan; Non-Violent Badshah of the Paktuns. Both these and other books on non-violent direct action can now be found at the John Burton Library within the department in Arlington, Va and in the special collection housed down at Point of View.

The John Burton Library is located on the 5th floor of the Vernon Smith Hall on the Arlington Campus and is open during weekdays. Contact pov@gmu.edu to arrange access the special collections at Point of View.

Related people: Christopher Mitchell
Centers and Publications