Second Marriage, Hijrat, Campaign And Khilafat Movement

My second marriage took place in1920.

 In that year I also took part in the All India Khilafat Committee conference in Delhi. There was at that conference an ardent young man, called Aziz, who proposed the Hijrat[1] movement. He said that we should all leave this country. At that time we thought it was just a joke. But the joke became a calamity. This unfortunate joke was the cause of a terrible loss of Pathan lives and property.

            A Hijrat Committee was formed in Peshawar and anyone who wanted to migrate to Afghanistan had to go through this committee, which provided him with all kinds of facilities and comforts. In the beginning the British tried to stop people from going on Hijrat to Afghanistan, but later, when they found that people would not listen to them they changed their tune and encouraged people to go on Hijrat in large numbers. They thought they could kill two birds with one stone. Afghanistan would be put to a great deal of trouble, having to cope with be put to a great deal of trouble, having to cope with the immigrants, and as the political workers from rest of India might also go on Hijrat, they would get rid of them, and their worried would be over. The British also sent a number of trained spies with the emigrants to Afghanistan.

            The mullahs issued a forceful fatwah, saying: “Any man who does not go on Hijrat will have to divorce his wife.” But the women had different ideas. It is said that the doe is so swift-footed that even if one made her wear ankle bells, she would be out of sight before anybody could see who she was or where she was going. Many women become as swift footed as the doe when it was a question of staying with their husbands.

            I myself also went on Hijrat and I saw the whole show with my own eyes.

            King Amanullah Khan wanted to give the emigrants land and employment, and a share in trade, too. But the spies the British sent with the emigrants were against it.

            They Said: “We have not come here to take land or to seek employment, or to set ourselves in business. We have come here to wage a holy war!”

            King Amanullah Said: “I have not enough strength of fight the British. I shall give you a colony here. If you amongst yourselves can build up enough strength to wage a war against to British, I shall give you all the help I can. You know, as well as I do, that the British are like a black cobra that will not let you live in peace, and I, for one, Live in constant fear of its deadly bite.” But spies moved among the exiles and did their shameful work.

            There was another group in Kabul too, who were against the Hijrat and who secretly did all they could to turn it into a failure. And though King Amanullah tried to help the emigrants, all his efforts were in vain and the Hijrat movement had to admit defeat.

            While I was in Kabul, I had an audience with King Amanullah. The king could speak several languages, but he did not know Pashtu. During the audience I said to the King:

            “There is something I would like to say, if you will allow me.”

            The king said: “Of course.”

            I said: “What a pity it is that you, who know so many languages, do not know Pashtu, though it is your mother tongue and your national language!”

            The King agreed with me and soon he began to learn Pashto.

            At that time Nadir Khan was the Minister of Defense and Sardar Ubeid ullah Ghriz Khan, the father of Sardar Dawud Khan, was Minister of Education. I knew both of them very well. Sardar Ubeid Ullah Ghariz Khan said to me one day: “I am going to visit Habiba College.” I decided to accompany him.

            The principal of the college very kindly allowed me to visit some of the classes and ask the students question. I had to speak to them in Persian.

            “Who are you?” I asked one of the students.

            “I asked: “What country do you belong to?”

            “Afghanistan,” he replied.

            “What is your national language?” I asked again. The answer was: “Afghani.”

            “Do you know this language?”

            The reply came shyly: “No.” Then the boy lowered his eyes and kept quiet.

            “Say something, Sir” I urged, but the boy said, “I can’t.”

            The I said: “You call yourself a good Afghan and you can’t even speak your own language?”

            Mohammed Tarzi was the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Afghanistan, an extremely able and competent man. One day he invited me to a party. During the evening the language question came up and this evening the language question came up and this gave Mohammed Tarzi the opportunity to say:

            “Our people speak Persian as well as Pashtu.”

            I remarked: “But Pashtu is the national language of Afghanistan. I am not saying that nobody should speak Persian. But what I want to know is why you people have forgotten your own language. It is after all the language of the majority. When the British came to India they did not know any of the languages that were spoken in this country, neither did anybody in India understand their language. Yet they did not make any Indian language the official language. Their own language remained the language of the Government. The result was that millions of people learnt English. People from different parts of India cannot understand each other’s language. But English has penetrated everywhere and there is hardly any part of India where you cannot make yourself understood everywhere and there is hardly any part of India where you cannot make your self understood in English. If you had made Afghanistan returned home.

            Some of my friends went my friends went to Tashkent, and I myself, with a few companions, went to Bajaur, where we wanted to establish schools for the independent tribes.

            One of the schools we opened was in Khalu, a village in the district of Dhir. Maulvi Faz’l Mohammed Saheb Makhfi was put in charge of the school. The people of this village were very pleased because they were very keen on education, and their children were unusually intelligent. This was the first opportunity they had of going to school, and they took full advantage of it.

            The political agent of Malakand, an Englishman called Can, was very hostile towards the Pathan movement for education, and he opposed it whenever and wherever he could. When he found that the school in khalu was so popular with the villagers, he sent for the Nawab of Dhir.

            “Look here,” he told him, “All this education is creating endless trouble for us. If you want to avoid getting yourself into difficulties, you better see that this school is destroyed as soon as possible.”

            So the Nawab had the school demolished!

            These were the conditions under which we had to work, the hardships we had to face. I was all alone now, all my companions and colleagues had left Bajaur districts and then went back home. I thought I should now try to reopen the schools which the British had closed down during the first World war.

            These were the days when the Khilafat movement and the Congress were meeting on a common platform.

            My friend Qazi Ataullah and I had received invitations for a function at Aligarh university. As we were going there it occurred to me that I should also attend the meeting of the Khilafat movement.

            At Aligarh university we found a number of students from our province. We talked and exchanged views with them. Several of them had given up going to college because of their pro-Turkish sentiments.

            Because of urgent business elsewhere the Qazi Saheb and I could not attend the Khilafat conference after all, and we went back to Utmanzai.

            At the end of December 1920 my brother, Dr. Khan Saheb, returned from England where he had spent about fifteen years. He had finished his medical studies during the war and had been enlisted in the Army as a doctor. He had the rank of captain and was attached to the Guides at Mardan.

            With the help of some friends I had been trying to provide facilities for higher education. In 1921 our efforts were crowned with success and the Azad High School was founded in Utmanzai. My colleagues at this school were: Qazi Saheb Ataullah, Main Ahmed Sahah, Haji Abdul Ghaffar Khanm haji mohammed Abbas Khan, Abdullah Akbar Khanm Taj Mohammed Khan, Abdullah shah and Khadim mohammed Akbar Khan.

            We also founded a society which we called Anjuman-ul-Afaghina..

            We were short of teachers for our school. One reason was that we could not afford to pay our teachers very high salaries. So I also used to take classes very high salaries. So I also used to take classes.

            During that period I attended a conference of the Khilafat movement at Lahore. At the conference I met Aziz Mukhtar Khan, from Merakhail village in Bannu district. He was accompanied by his two sons Aziz Mumtaz Khan and Maqsud Khan, who were both studying for their B.A degree at Islamia College, Peshawar, but had stopped going to college during the pro-Turkish movement, like the students we had met in Aligharh.

            Aziz Mukhtar Khan gave both his sons to our School. Maqsud became the first headmaster, and later, when he went back to college to continue his interrupted studies, his brother Aziz Mumtaz Khan took over from him.

            The British did not like our school, and whenever we appointed new teacher, they tried to frighten and threaten them. If that did not scare them away, they tried to lure them away by offering them better-paid jobs. Poor Maqsud Khan, too, was harassed by the police whenever he came to Utmanzai.

I Was still enthusiastic about the Khilafat movement, but that path did not run smoothly either. The Khilafat movement in Peshawar had split up into two different parties. One day Haji jan Mohammed Saheb and his colleagues organized a public meeting in Shahi Bagh. At that meeting it was proposed that Haji jan Mohammed Saheb be elected president of the Khilafat Committee. The proposal was unanimously accepted.

            The following day a certain sayyid Saheb and his friends gathered in Peshawar and held a meeting of their own. They said that Sayyid Saheb was a true follower of the Prophet and a servant of the People: therefore his claim was greater than Haji Jan Mohammed Saheb’s and he should be elected president of the Khilafat Committee. And all the people in the meeting shouted “Agreed!”

            These were the conditions under which the Khilafat movement had to work. The agitation and the rivalry increased day by day. No real work was done. Precious time was being wasted. There was no harmony among the workers. Normally the people of Peshawar are good, hard- working folk, but the disharmony amongst themselves made them useless as workers for the movement.

            I used to go to the Khilafat office once in a while and as I was on friendly terms with both parties, they both used to talk to me about their differences. Both parties made it quite clear that they had confidence in me, and eventually it was suggested that I take over the president ship. I was not really interested, because I am not, on the whole, a lover of president ships or other high offices, and I felt that I had to accept it. I made one condition, however. I stipulated that all the subscriptions collected in the Frontier province should be spent solely on education within the province.

            And so I became the president of the Khilafat Committee, with Abdul-ul-Qayyum as the secretary.

            Now that I did not have to worry about the school so much, O began to tour the tribal district. My purpose was first of all to meet the people and to exchange thoughts and ideas with them, and secondly to see if I could reopen the old schools in the tribal area.

            It was about six months after my school at Utmanzai had been opened that the Chief Commissioner for our district sent for my father, and said to him:

            “I have noticed that your son is touring the villages and opening schools. I have also noticed that other people stay quietly at home and don’t bother about these things. Would you kindly ask your son to give up all these activities and stay at home like other People?”

            When my father came home he told me, in private, what the Commissioner had said. And he added: “Why don’t you stay comfortably at home, son? Why should you do all these things that nobody else bothers about?”

            My father’s rebuke, gentle through it was, upset me. I said to myself: “These British don’t hesitate to sow discord between father and son if it serves their purpose.”

            My father was a deeply religious man, I said to him: “Father, if everybody else stopped stying their namaz, would you advise me to do the same?”

            My father replied: “God forbid! Saying Namaz is a sacred duty.”

            I said: “And to my mind educating the people and serving the nation is as sacred a duty as Namaz.”

            Very seriously my father replied: “Son, if it is so sacred a duty, you must never give it up!”

                        My father told the Commissioner that we could not possibly give up our religion and our sacred duties for his sake.

            A few days later I was arrested, and was asked to furnish security, which I refused. On the eleventh of December 1921 I was sentenced to three rigorous imprisonment under section 4 of Frontier Crime Regulation.

            It was certainly rigorous imprisonment. The food we were given did not deserve its name and the clothes we were supposed to wear could hardly be called clothes.

            A father and his son from my village were brought in at the same time. When they had changed into their prison clothes the boy could not recognize his father any more. He began to cry “Baba, Baba, where are you?” the father said: “Son, I am here, right beside you!”

            And what about a tall, robust man like me? Of the prison clothes they gave me the trousers did not even prison clothes they gave me the trousers did not even come down to my calves, and they were so tight that they tore at the seams. The shirt stopped above the waist!

            A new prisoner was usually put in solitary confinement and he was required to grind twenty seers of corn every day. He was put in fetters and an iron collar was put round his neck, from which hung a small identity disc, showing the prisoner’s crime and the duration of his sentence.

            The warder in this prison was a Hindu. He was an honest man, and as he was a patriot, he was sympathetic to the jail inmates. Thought he put me in a solitary cell, he did not put me in fetters, nor made me grind corn. He gave me prison food, but the Chapatis were clean and the Dal and the vegetables were at least eatable. My cell was bitterly cold because it faced the North and never got any sun. I was given three blankets and a piece of gunny sacking: they were no protection against the cold. Besides, we never left our cells, and getting no exercise made me feel even colder. Occasionally,, when a kind guard happened to be on duty, I was allowed to sit outside in the sun for half an hour or so.

            Another difficulty was that even at night nobody was allowed to sleep in peace, because every three hours the guards changed and the call out till the occupant of the cell answered. A prisoner who did not reply was punished the next day.

            When I was arrested, I was first sent to Peshawar prison. I was not put in a lock-up, as is usual when one awaiting sentence, but I was put in the criminal’s cell.

            When the door was opened a most odious smell met my nostrils. The source of it was not difficult to trace: a clay chamber pot full of the last occupant’s excrement was lying in a corner! I told the prison officer that I could not stay in such a dirty cell, but he said coldly: “Your are in prison, you know!” and pushed me inside.

            After I was put in prison my friends in the Khilafat movement were also arrested and sent to prison. We were kept locked day and night. Our food was shoved in through a barred opening in the door. The door was opened only when the sweeper came to clean the try to come near us or talk to us. The result of this cruel treatment was that most of my colleagues decided to furnish security but Abdul-ul-Qayyum and I refused to do that.

            After ten days I was taken to the Deputy Commissioner. He was a queer Englishman and his method was equally odd. He asked the policeman, who had brought me, what offence I had committed. The Police man told him that I had gone on Hijrat and also opened an Azad school.

            The Deputy Commissioner asked him: “Why did our allow him to return to this country once he had gone on Hijrat?”

            Now I spoke up and said: “First you have taken our country from us and now you won’t even let us live in it anymore?

            This made the Englishman very angry and he told the Policeman: “Take him out of my sight. I am sentencing him of three years’ imprisonment.”

            The policeman took me back to the prison. Abdul-ul-Qayyum was also given a three ywar sentence.

            It was an offence for any prisoner to keep food in his cell. One day I was sitting in my solitary cell when a man form my village, who was a prisoner, came to my cell and gave me two pieces of Gur[2]. After a while the guard outside told me that the Jailor Sahib was coming. What should I do with the Gur? I could hide it under the blankets, but suppose the jailor wanted to inspect my bed? Under the gunny sacking then? Where could one hide anything in this bare cell? Somehow or other I managed, and as luck would have it, though the jailor did come in he did not search anything. When he had gone I threw the pieces of Gur out of the window and there and the I made a resolution that as long as I was in Jail I would never do anything against the rules and regulations, because it created fear in a man’s heart. I had seen it happen too many of my political friends. First they violate the rules, and then they flatter the jailor. They have to even bribe him. All this is caused by fear and it costs a man his self-respect. I did not want that to happen to me.

            Some time later my brother, Dr. Khan Saheb, and a few other came to see me. They brought a message from the government. The message said that I would be allowed to run the schools but that I must stop touring the villages. If I agreed to that, the message went on, I would be released form the prison.

            I tore up the Government’s message.

            Among the many other prisoners in this jail were some crusaders from Chamarkand whom I knew, for when I was going from Kabul to Bajaur I had gone to Chamarkand to meet them. I had warned the not to go to the Frontier or Punjab, because some of their men had been arrested there. “And how much longer,” I asked them, “will you people go on chasing a dream? Why don’t you start looking for jobs? You have mules, haven’t you? Well, not very far from here, in Kunar district, a large variety of fruit is grown. If you go there and buy the fruit and sell it in Mohmand district, you will be able to make a decent living. And you will be independent and free.”

            I gave them this advice because when I was in their district I had studied their circumstances and their way of living. I had found that they were becoming useless and idle. These crusaders had come to come to Chamarkand form Boner. Disunity had crept into their ranks, and they had killed their leader, a Punjabi.

            Splitting up into functions and engaging in fights and barwals seems to come naturally to our Punjabi brothers.

            There were also a number of Bengalis among the crusades in Boner, and they lived together in friendship and love. But as soon as Punjabis joined them, they formed themselves into different groups and the fights and the Barawls started. In the end the commander had been killed and they had all been told to leave Boner. It was then they had gone to Chamarkand. But the party spirit was still there. Their leader, Maulvi Faz’l Ali, was a great “groupist” and very dangerous man. I had met him when I was about to leave Kabul and I had given him a great deal of advice.

            Because of this party factionalism Maulvi Faz’l Ali had killed a very good leader, Maulvi Bakshi, who was a most virtuous and sincere worker.

            Even in prison these crusader were in a bad state. They used to quarrel and beat each other. After my arrival the situation improved.

            They told that me that one of their colleagues back home, was a Hafiz Koran[3] was actually working for the police. He used to report against the good workers to the police while he himself stayed in the background. Then he would tell this worker: “Let’s go to such-and-such a place. We’ll be able to collect good subscriptions there.” The worker would go with him in good faith, and by the time he discovered that he had been deceived, it was too late, for then the police would be waiting for him and her would be taken in.

            They also told me that his Hafiz Koran had gone to Chamarkand again in search of new victims. It appeared that he had his eye on one of our most distinguished leaders. Somehow or other, they said word should be sent to Chamarkand, warning everybody not on any account to go anywhere with this Hafiz Koran.

            One of the imprisoned crusaders was a Mohmand. He was due to be released in a day or so. His home was near Chamarkand. The crusaders wanted me to write a letter, warning their colleagues at home against this Hafiz Koran. The Mohmand was to deliver the letter.

            At first I was not inclined to write such a letter. But when I thought of the trouble this hafiz Koran was causing and the harm he was doing to the crusaders’ cause, I changed my mind and wrote a brief letter, which I gave to the Mohmand the day before his release.

            In this prison, ordinary prisoners were usually kept in those solitary cells for a week, but they kept me in one for two months. Then I was transferred to Dera Ismail Khan, meant for habitual prisoners.

Meetings and Conferences

A KHILAFAT Conference was held at Calcutta in December 1928 in which we also participated. There were many Peshawaris in Calcutta, mostly fruit vendors.

            When the Khilafat Conference had started I began to notice that there was great antagonism between the Punjabis and Mohammed Ali and Shaukat Ali,

            The Punjabis are strange people. To give you an example: One day in the Zamindar office I said to Akhtar Ali Khan: “Listen! You and I are good friends, aren’t we? So if all the other papers in Punjab write against me, I have at least one friend who doesn’t want to give the Punjabis the wrong impression about me!”

            He laughed and said: “We newspaperman have no felling of charity for either the Punjabi or the Indian leaders. We insult them both if it makes a good story.”

            The Punjabis played the same game at the Subject Committee meeting at Calcutta one evening. I was sitting on the platform with the other leaders. One of the Punjabi leaders was speaking. In the course of his speech he criticized Mohammed Ali, who was sitting beside me. Mohammed Ali could not bear this and he became very angry. He got up and flung some abusive remarks at the speaker. Whereupon another Punjabi leader who was sitting near us on the platform jumped on his feet and waving bout a knife which he had suddenly produced from somewhere began to rail a5t Mohammed Ali. Pandemonium broke out on the platform.

            Fortunately a large number of Pathans were attending the meeting. We all got up, and managed o stop the fighting. We all got up, and managed to stop the fighting and rescue Mohammed Ali. If we had not been there to intervene he might have been seriously wounded.

            It appeared that Mohammed Ali was displeased with the Hindus, and in his presidential address at the Khilafat Conference he had said some very unpleasant things about the Hindus and rudely criticized their society their traditions, and their customs. This kind of criticism was very unbecoming of a leader, and it spoilt the same time as the Khilafat Conference.

            It was the first time I attended a Congress meeting. As it happened, here, too, the Subjects Committee meeting was in progress. Gandhiji was addressing the meeting. A conceited young man in the audience kept on heckling him. But Gandhiji did not get angry, he just laughed and wend on talking. The young man interrupted again and again, but Ghandhiji only laughed. This made a deep impression on me, and when I returned to my lodging, I told my companions about it.

            “If only our Muslim leaders could remain as calm and unperturbed as Gandhiji, the leader of the Hindus,”

            I said.

            We thought we ought to speak to Mohammed Ali about this; so the next day a few of us went to see him.

            “Mohammed Ali Sahel” I said, “we all respect you as the leader of the Muslims. I want to tell you about an experience I had yesterday. I attended the meeting of the Congress Subject Committee and I heard Gandhjiji deliver a speech. A young man in the audience kept on heckling in a most unpleasant way. But Gandhiji just laughed off and went on speaking. He did not get excited, he never even changed the tempo of his speech.

            “Mohammed Ali Saheb, you are our leader. We all look up to you, you are superior to all of us. But you would be even more superior if you could develop some of that patience and self-control that Gandhiji displayed.”

            Mohammed Ali Saheb did not react as we had hoped he would. He became very annoyed and said:

            “And who do you think you are, you Pathans from the back of beyond, to come and tell me how to behave?”

            Then he got up and left the room.

            We were very disappointed and hurt.

            After that I did not want to attend the Khilafat Conference any more. So I went back home.

            In December 1929 the Congress session was to be held at Lahore. Many people from our province were going to attend the session and I also went. At the meeting it was impressed upon us that the Pathan women, too, could play a part in the service of the country and the nation; and that they were ready and eager to do so. All of us, the Frontier people, who were attending the session held a meeting amongst ourselves to discuss the idea.

            At this Congress session it was also decided that we must work towards the Complete independence of India.

            When we returned to our villages, we started work with great enthusiasm. We went from village to village, talked to the people, founded jirgas, enlisted Khudai Khidmatgars. The movement spread to all parts of the province, even among the tribes, and soon it became so popular that jirgas[4] and Khudai Khidmagars were established in every village we visited.

            Perhaps the best effect our movement had was that it removed from people’s hearts the fear of the British it removed from people’s hearts the fear of the British Government and inspired them with new hope and courage.

            Not only did the police and the C.I.D keep an eye on us when were touring the villages, but sometimes the British themselves attended our meeting. And they were astonished at the great revolution our movement had started. They sometimes asked e what kind of magic spell I had exercised on the Pathans. And they were well aware of the danger to themselves.

            For a few months the Government patiently watched what we were doing, but took no action. During these months we worked day and night to extend the movement to the farthest corner of the province.

            About three months after the movement had been founded; an order came from the Chief Commissioner: “The organization you are running all over the country must be disbanded immediately!”

            In my reply I said: “Our organization is purely social; it is not a political movement.”

            “Actually,” I continued, “what we are doing ought to be done by the Government of the country. If you cannot take over the social work our movement is doing, you ought at least to give us all the help you can, rather than stop us!”

            The Chief Commissioner said: “Your work may be purely social at the moment, but what guarantee have I that once you have trained the Pathans, you will not use them against us”?

            I told him that guarantees between peoples must be based on trust.

            “If you are prepared to trust us,” I said, “we shall also trust you and we shall do nothing against you. I can see a revolution coming in this country. A revolution is like a flood. We are training the Pathans to be prepared for it, so that they will not be swept away with the flood, when it comes.”

            But the British would not trust us. In April 1930 there was a mass meeting of Khudai Khidmatgars at Utmanzai. After the meeting I was going to Peshawar, but on the way there, at Naki Thana, I was arrested and taken back to Charsadda.

            Main Ahmed Shah, who was our president, Abdul Akbar Khan, our secretary, Salar Sarfaraz Khan and Haji shah Nawaz Khanm, the organizers of the meeting, were also arrested.

            My arrest had one remarkable consequence which I would like to mention here. When I was arrested at Naki Thana, there were no Khudai Khidmatgars volunteer with me. The people of Naki Thana were very angry and they said: “It is a disgrace that the British have arrested Badshah Khan in our district.”

            They expressed their anger and indignation in a way which made me very happy: they all became Khudai Khidmatgars, and that gave wide publicity to the movement. It also put me up by a few degrees in the esteem of the British. This was April 23. The story of Qissa Khani Bazar deserves to be recorded in the annals of the freedom movement in golden letters.

            When the British troops and their armoured cars arrived in the town to suppress the uprising, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims stood shoulder to shoulder, forming a human wall. The troops drove their armoured cars straight into this wall of men, breaking it up and crushing several people to death. Suddenly a young a man set one of the cars on fire, the fire spread and four cars were reduced to ashes. Then the soldiers opened fire, and sent bullets in all directions. The people faced all this bravely and many sacrificed their lives.

            This was also the memorable day when the Garhwali troops gave testimony of their love for their country and their people by refusing to fire at the crowd. The heroic sacrifice of so many patriots and the courage shown by the Garhwali troops will never be blotted out from the nation’s memory.

            After this unforgettable day, 23rd April, firing was again resorted to on 21st may. It started with the killing of Sardar Hanga Singh’s two innocent children. The children’s mother was injured and Sardar Ganga Singh was dismissed from the Government service.

            The news of my arrest spread like wild fire. Some of my colleagues in Peshawar were arrested on the same day and when it became known riots started in Qissa Khani Bazaar. The police opened fire and a number of people fell as martyrs for our cause.

            At Charsadda thousands of people collected to demonstrate their anger. They surrounded the lock-up. But because we had taught them to be non-violent, and because my brothe, Dr. Khan Saheb, also arrived and spoke to the people, no violence occurred at Charsadda.

            In the evening a motorcar came to take us away. The cavalry had come out from Mardan and, with escorts in front and behind, we set out. We reached Mardan the same evening and were promptly locked up.

            The next morning we were taken to Rishalpur where we were produced before Khan Bahadur Qzai Khan, the District Magistrate. He sentenced all of us to three years’ rigorous imprisonment under section 40 of Frontier Crimes Regulation.

            From Risalpur we were taken to the Gujarat prison in Punjab, where we found our colleagues from Peshawar, Ali Gul Khan, Sayyeed lal Badshah, who had been taken there earlier. Political leader from Punjab, form Delhi and the Frontier were there too. All of them, whether Sikh, Hindu, or Muslim, were serious thinkers. Never, in any other prison, had it been my good fortune to spend such happy days in the congenial company of learned religious and political leaders. It was of the greatest benefit to me. The discussions we had here left a deep impression on me that can never be blotted out.

            Dr. Ansari formed our own parliament for us in the prison. He felt that it would not be long before we would have our own Government and we should prepare ourselves to run the country. He taught us how a Parliament works. Dr. Gopiehand ordered many books on a variety of subject for us, which Shyam lalji, leader from Rohtak, used to read out to us. Hansraj was there too, and whenever his wife visted him she used to bring all kinds of nice food for us.

            Pandit jangat Ram of Haryana and I conducted class on the Baghwat Gita and the Koran, and through our efforts the Hindus among us learned about the Koran and the Muslims became familiar with the Gita.

            There was constant rivalry between Zafar Ali Khan and Dr. Kitchlew our the premiership, and they vied to win over the Frontier People, for the leader we voted for always won the premiership.

            There was also one Seth Saheb, who used to make pakoras, and share them among us, nice and hot. Devdas Gandhi too was imprisoned with us for a few months. Mufti kefayat-ullah Saheb used to prepare very tasty dal, but used to put in too much of chillies.

            One day a sikh fellow-prisoner said to Superintendent:

            “There is no Jhatka (slaughtering of animals according to Sikh custom) done in Gujrat town. We Sikhs are meat-eaters and we would be very grateful for your permission to get some chickens and kill them here.

            The Superintendent replied: “The Frontier Muslims would not like it.”

            Then one of the Sikh leaders came to me and said:

            “The superintendent replied: “The frontier Muslims would not like it.”   

            Then one of the Sikh leaders came to me and said:

            “The Superintendent says that you people object to Jhatka, and that you would be against our killing of chickens here, even if we were given official permission.”

            I replied: “Sardarji, you people will do the slaughtering won’t you? And you people will eat the Chicken?”

            “Yes” the Sikh replied.

            “Well then” I said, “how can we object? You can go ahead. As far as we are concerned you have our permission!”

            Then I called my companions together, and we discussed the question. Only Sayyeed Lal Badshah voted against jhatka inside the prison.

            “Sayyeed Saheb,” I said, “how would you feel if any one in this prison said he was against halal (the Muslim way of slaughtering animals)”

            “But that is part of our religion,” he said , why should anyone object to our religious customs?”

            “Well,” I said, “jhkr is part of their religion and therefore it is not proper for us to be against it.”

            “Then sayyed Saheb understood and he withdrew his opposing vote.

 

 

 

[1] Exodus, emigration.

[2] Jaggery

[3] One who knows the Koran by heart.

[4] Assembly of elders.

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