The Khudai Khidmatgars And Steps In Politics
A Few days later, when I was back at Utmanzai, I received a telegram from Nadir Khan informing me that he had conquered Kabul. This made me very happy.
To celebrate the victory we took out two processions, one from the northern end of Hastnaghar and one from the southern end. The two processions met at Utmanzai where we held a big meeting. Many patriotic poems were recited, and speeches were made. I, too, made a speech.
I told the Pathans: “There are two ways to National progress: one is the path of religion, and the other is the road of patriotism. Even if you have not yet acquired much education, I said “You have all heard of America and Europe. The people in those continents and countries may not be very religious, but they do have a sense of patriotism, love for their nation, and social consciousness. And look at the progress that has been made there. Then take a look at ourselves!
“We have hardly learned to stand on our own feet yet. Look at their standard of living and then take a look at ours.
“If we are on the road to ruin, it is because we have neither the true spirit of religion, nor the true spirit of patriotism, of love for our ration, nor have we developed any social consciousness. A great reveloution is coming and you haven’t even heard about it.
“I have just returned from India and one thing I saw there had impressed me very much. I saw that both men and women there are ready to serve their country and their people. And here? Leave alone your women, even your men do not show any desire to serve. They hardly seem to understand the meaning of the word “nation” or “national”.
“A revolution is like a food, it can bring blessings, but it can also bring blessings, but it can also bring devastation: it can bring fertility and prosperity but it can also bring ruin. Only a nation that is wide awake, whose people are aware of themselves as a nation, where all live together as brothers, in harmony and love, only that nation, I tell you will benefit by the revolution.
“A revolution is like a flood. I f the people are vigilant they will be ready for the flood and when it comes the whole nation will move along with it. And like the flood, when it subside, it leaves fertile fields behind, so the revolution, when it is over, leaves the ground clear for the reconstruction of the nation. But if the people are asleep, indifferent to each other and indifferent to the country, the whole nation will be swept away by the flood, by the revolution when it comes. Oh Pathan! Take a look at the developed countries of the world. Do you think their prosperity has just dropped from the sky? It has not, you know, no more than our prosperity will drop from heaven! Then how is it, you may ask, that they are prosperous and we are not? I will tell you and please think this over. The secret of their prosperity is that in those countries there are men and women who sacrifice their luxuries, their pleasures and their comfort for the sake of the prosperity of the nation. If we can produce such men and women, we shall be prosperous too.
“Please remember this: if the nation prospers it will affect everyone; every man, woman, and child will benefit thereby. Don’t think that by acquiring riches for yourselves your countries people have learnt that no man is an island, but in our country everyone lives in a dream world of his own. Like the animals. Any animal can find a place to live, find a mater, rear its young. Can we call ourselves the crown of creation if we do just that and nothing more? Therefore I want to impress this upon your minds: if you want your country and your people to process you must stop living for yo0uselves alone, you must start living for the community. That is the only way to prosperity and progress.
“I have been told that Aman Ullah Khan used to call himself the revolutionary king of the Pakhtuns. And indeed it was he who inspired us with the idea of the revolution. But the Afghans did not take as much advantage of it as we did, because they were asleep and we were beginning to wake up.”
The meeting had a marked effect on the people. The next day a young man came to see me and told me that he wanted to found an organization, devoted to the sevice of Pakhtun people and to social reform.
As a matter of fact, we already had the Islam-ul-Afaghami, the organization we had started for the spreading of education in our province. In our pinion this was very important work and we thought that the organization should continue to concentrate on education. But we realized that there were many weaknesses in our social system, and we felt that we ought to start a movement that would helo to make people more socially conscious.
And that is how the Khudai Khidmagar movement was founded.
We did not want this movement to have anything to do with politics, but later on the cruel oppression the British subjected us to made it impossible for the movement to keep away from politics.
And, strange though it may seem, it is a fact that the British brought the Congress and us together.
Factions, feuds, and social evils were rife among the Pathans. Families were always quarrelling amongst themselves and taking each other to court and a lot of money that could have been spent on good food and decent clothes was wasted on all these bad habits. And not only money, we also wasted precious time that could be spent in developing our trade and agriculture.
All these things were discussed at great length and eventually, in 1929 we were able to found the kind of organization we wanted. We decided to call it the Khudai Khidmagar movement (Servants of God movement). Our motive for choosing that name was that we wanted to awaken in the Pathans the idea of service and the desire to serve their country and their people in the name of God, an idea and a desire which was sadly lacking among them.
Another thing was that the pathan s were inclined to be violent and their violence was directed against their own countrymen, against their own kith and kin, against their closest relations. They are like smouldering embers, always ready to flare up and inflict harm and injury on their own brethren.
One of their worst characteristics was their habit of taking revenge. They badly needed to change their anti-social customs to check their violent outbursts, and to practice good behaviors. And this was what we thought the Khudai Khidmatgar movement could and would to.
Anyone aspiring to become a Khudai Khidmatgar had to take this solemn vow:
“I am a Khudai Khidmatagar, and as God needs no service, but serving His creation is serving Him, I promise to serve humanity in the name of God.
“I promise to refrain from violence and from tasking revenge. I promise to forgive those who oppress me or treat me with cruelty.
“I promise to refrain from taking part in feuds and quarrels and from creating enmity.
“I promise to treat every Pathan as my brother and friend.
“I promise to refrain from anti-social customs and practices.
“I promise to live a simple life, to practice virtue and to refrain from evil.
“I promise to practice good manners and good be-haviour, and not to lead a life of idleness. I promise to devote at least two hours a day to social work.