In this photograph, Mahatma Gandhi is seen pictured with Abdul Ghafar Khan, also remembered as Bacha Khan, during their visit to Edwardes College in Peshawar in 1933. Reverend A. M. Dalaya, the principal of the college, sits on his left. They were addressing a gathering of students.
Abdul Ghafar Khan was a Pashtun independence activist who worked to end the rule of the British Raj in India. He was a political and spiritual leader known for his nonviolent opposition. He was also a close friend of Mohandas Gandhi and was nicknamed the “Frontier Gandhi” in British India by his close associate Amir Chand Bombwal. Bacha Khan founded the Khudai Khidmatgar movement in 1929. It was founded on a belief in the power of Gandhi’s notion of Satyagraha, a form of active non-violence. By the late 1930s, Ghaffar Khan had become a member of Gandhi’s inner circle of advisers, and the Khudai Khitmatgar actively aided the Congress Party cause up to the partition of India in 1947. The success of Khudai Khidmatgars also triggered a harsh crackdown by the British Raj against Khan and his supporters, and they suffered some of the most severe repression of the Indian independence movement.