Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Reply to Whither “Progressive” Bacha Khan’s Wife?"

While googling for something else, one link led me back to PakTeaHouse, to this "article". After noting that "Frontier Gandhi" Abdul Ghaffar Khan's first wife died in 1918, and second wife died in 1926, the author says:
Now surely there must be a picture or two of the great Bacha Khan’s wife in public sphere since it has now become fashionable to claim that he worked for women’s empowerment. Can someone please upload it? It is of urgent importance.
Abdul Ghaffar Khan was born in 1890; in 1926 he was 36.  Is there a photograph in the public domain showing him age 36 or younger?

It is further asked:   
So who is Bacha Khan’s wife? Who is Bacha Khan’s sister?  Who is Bacha Khan’s daughter?
Zakia A. Siddiqi and Anwar Jahan Zuber, in an Aligarh Muslim University publication, "Muslim women: problems and prospects", found on, say that
The two Muslim leaders of the freedom struggle who sought to bring political awareness to the women of the Muslim majority provinces dominated by them were Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in the North West Frontier Province of the then united India and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in Kashmir. Both were zealous advocates of education for women and had several schools set up for girls' education. Both were successful in drawing women to their meetings. Badshah Khan, as Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was known, used to say that men and women were like the two wheels of a chariot and that unless the movement was coordinated the chariot would not move. He would attribute the success of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement to the sympathy of the women who made it deep-rooted. It was during Sheikh Abduall and Badshah Khan's time that women began to attend Friday prayers at the mosques in Kashmir and the Frontier Province. Though both these leaders refrained from touching on the desirability of removal of purdah as a whole, it was obvious that they felt about it from the example they set for their own families. Sheikh Abdullah's own wife did not observe purdah. Badshah Khan sent his daughter to a convent and then to college in Lucknow and to London. The family women did not observe purdah.

PS: Badshah Khan's daughter-in-law, Begum Naseem Wali Khan, is a political leader and plenty of photographs of her are available on the web.

PPS: Here claims:
One of his first concerns was the role of women. Badshah Khan had long lamented the traditional system of purdah, which restricts Muslim women from participating fully in society. He encouraged them to come out behind the veil, as the women in his own family had done. His sisters became increasingly active in his movement, until by 1930 they were touring the districts of the Frontier and giving speeches--activities which would have required courage even in the cosmopolitan capitals of Islam, but which in the conservative Frontier showed truly extraordinary daring......

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