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KHUDAI KHIDMATGAR MOVEMENT

KHUDAI KHIDMATGAR MOVEMENT The Khudai Khidmatgar Movement, or the Servants of God Movement, was launched in the 1930s Its main political purpose was to obtain some form of autonomy for the Pathan population living in the Northwest Frontier Province of British India The movement was backed by uniformed but unarmed shock troopers who wore homespun and hand-woven garments dyed a dirty red The color of the uniform gave the Khudai Khidmatgars (KK) another name: the Surkhposhan, or the Red ShirtsThe Red Shirts operated at two different levels: first, they mobilized the landless peasants and village workers against the khans or the large landlords of the Northwest Frontier Province They also appealed to the urban intelligentsia to campaign against the British rule of India The movement’s popularity with the less privileged segments of the Pathan society gave it a distinct socialist-almost Marxist-flavor, and its anti-British stance brought it close to Mahatma Gandhi and his Indian National Congress These two antiestablishment orientations-against the landlords and against the British-explain why the movement developed a strong antipathy toward the Muslim League which had many landlords in the ranks of senior leadershipThe Khan brothers-Dr Khan Sahib and Abdul Ghaffar Khan-were the movement’s most prominent leaders, and their politics made them close associates of Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru



In the critical elections of 1946, the brothers guided the Congress Party to an impressive victory With the help of other non-Muslim League members of the provincial legislature, the Red Shirts were able to form a government with Dr Khan Sahib as the chief minister The Red Shirt government was still in power when Pakistan was born on 14 August 1947 The administration was dismissed by Governor Sir George Cunningham on 22 August 1947, and Abdul Quyyum Khan, president of the provincial Muslim League, was invited to form a new administration This change resulted in the political demise of the Khudai Khidmatgars

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