Khan Abdul Ghani Khan was one of the finest Pushto poets this century. He was also the eldest son of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890-1989), the Red Shirt leader known affectionately as Badshah Khan and the Frontier Gandhi. He led the Pathans in what is today Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in the struggle against British colonialism from the 1920's until 1947.

The Khudai Khitmatgars, or Servants of God as they were known, were one of the most surprising political movements under the Raj. They showed that the principles of non-violence could appear in one of the more violent societies of the time. Ghaffar Khan became close to Gandhi and spent forty years of his life in jail.

Ghani Khan wrote his first famous poem when he was 14. He spent a good deal of time in the Gandhi and Nehru entourages, and went to Tagore's Shantineketan school with a young Indira Gandhi. Although he remains a revered figure among Pathans, he spent much of his life after independence in jail and/or unpublished at home. Identified with the cause of Pathan nationalism, he eschewed party politics. The closing years of his life saw him successively rehabilitated by various governments in Pakistan.

The producer of this site, Omar Khan, interviewed Ghani Khan a number of times on tape and video in 1990, most of them at his residence in the village of Mohammad Naray, Charsadda District, NWFP. Naeem Inayatullah took a number of the color photographs shown here on December 23, 1990. Ghani Khan offered candid reminiscences about one of the least documented regional freedom struggles in the subcontinent.

Available here are:

Audio Clips (RealAudio)
Movie (QuickTime)
Transcript of interview (18 pages)

The audio clips are part of a brief narrative which follows this page and links them to larger events. Media are also directly accessible through the top menu bar.


© Harappa 1996