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Title: The British Raj in India and the Pakhtun Struggle for Independence: A Comparative Analysis of Violent and Non-Violent Approaches (1901-1947)
Authors: , Asfandyar
Keywords: Social Sciences
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: University of Peshawar, Peshawar.
Abstract: The British Empire was gripped and engrossed by fear of threats to India from its rival European powers, i.e. France, Tzarist Russia, Soviet Union and Germany respectively. The British India was considered the symbol of British might and supremacy, and therefore, its protection was of utmost significance for the successful implementation of British Imperialist strategy in the region. In this regard, the British Government made Afghanistan a buffer zone-to protect her ‘Jewel in the Crown’-India. Similarly, a two-pronged strategy was devised by the British, i.e. to keep internal harmony and to protect it from any foreign invasion. Political moves served as solution to first part [internal harmony] while the Indian North Western Frontier served as the main vein linked to it [protection from foreign invasion]. This led to enhance geo-strategic and geo-political importance of India’s North West Frontier region and consequently, the British for economic and strategic consideration occupied Punjab in 1849 and turned it as an integral part of the British grand strategy in the region. The British Imperialism was based on patriotism, chauvinism, jingoism, economic domination, greed, the Christian holy mission, the White man’s burden to ‘civilize’ the ‘uncivilized’ and ‘savage’ people. They adopted the belief to have been divinely appointed to rule according to their own prerogatives and priorities, and to administer according to their [British] will-the Britishness. On the other hand, the Pukhtuns' way of life-influenced by the Pukhtun code of conduct popularly known as ‘Pukhtunwali’ rejuvenated the spirit of resistance. The British and the Pukhtuns, ideologically and culturally different, irreconcilable, incompatible and diametrically opposed to each other, witnessed continuous strife. The Pukhtuns' response from the day-first towards the British encroachment and occupation was to resist and defend their culture and territory. With the advent of 20th century Pukhtun struggle took a new dimension by launching two different approaches against the British Raj; one was the armed struggle led and championed by Fazl-i-Wahid (Haji Saib Turangzai) which also focused on the socio-educational uplift of the Pukhtuns and; the other was non-violent struggle initiated mainly in the settled districts in the shape of Khudai Khidmatgar Tehreek [Red Shirt Movement] led by Abdul Ghafar Khan (Bacha Khan). Bacha Khan, prior to it, also re-shaped the left-over socio-educational task of his predecessor by the formation of xiv Anjuman-i-Islahul Afaghina [Society for Reformation of the Pukhtuns]. The former engrossed pure religious education, the latter, imparted blend of modern, religious and vocational education. To resist the British might, both mind sets (violent and non-violent), strived for the liberation and emancipation of their mother land. The violent approach focused on the active use of sword and gun. The non-violent approach, nonetheless, used intelligence, senses and pen by impelling not only the common Pukhtuns but attracted literary figures to infuse and revive the ethos, patriotism and revolutionary spirit among the populace. Pukhtun nationalism, social development [social upgradation] political enlightenment, the non-violent approach and its philosophy added a new look to the freedom struggle of the inhabitants in a region highly conservative and backward. The British considered the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement and its philosophy a threat to the British interest and devised various ways to defame and denigrate it in the eyes of the masses. There is no denying fact that despite multifaceted challenges the leadership and the followers remained steadfast and played a major role in getting independence from the British yoke.
Gov't Doc #: 21633
Appears in Collections:PhD Thesis of All Public / Private Sector Universities / DAIs.

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