This book was written under peculiar circumstances. Imprisoned twice during the terms of Field Marshall Ayub Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, I had the time but lacked the access to reference materials which were necessary for this purpose. Due to my solitary confinement under the Bhutto regime, I could not even lay my hands on pen and paper to jot down my thoughts. With the helpof a few books that came my way, however, I tried to put the record straight by presenting the other side of the picture which had, until this time, always been turned to the wall. It is a pity when the Government of the day presents only one point of view before the people and deliberately suppresses every other. The Government of Pakistan was determined to tamper with historical records and give the public a one-dimensional view, so that it could find religious justification for its political decisions. The purpose was to keep the public in a constant state of ignorance. Suffice to say that history was being fabricated rather than recorded. I felt some times that this was a court of law where only the public prosecutor was allowed to present evidence against the accused, while the latter was prohibited from speaking a single word in his defense. I felt as if his hands and feet were manacled and shackled, his lips sealed and his pen confiscated.
Could this be called a House of Justice?
These circumstances compelled me to record historical facts, documenting each detail, so that, if not this generation, at least future generations would not be denied access to the truth.
I was trying to reveal the true spirit of our political ideology. In my capacity as a member of his political caravan, I felt the inner compulsion to present to my people the truth behind Badshah Khan’s Khudai Khidmatgar movement and its struggle for freedom. I used several books and memoirs as documentary evidence for my statements and contentions. And by force of intellect plus the strength ofmy political upbringing I hope I have proved the truth behind the Pashtu proverb that whatsoever is yellow, round, and sour, is unmistakably a grapefruit!
After having served one prison term under Bhutto, I arrived in London. First there were medical problems which required attention. I then found time to browse through some of the London libraries…. I soon discovered that certain top-secret and highly confidential documents had been placed in the India Office Library, London. According to British law, after the lapse of a 30-year period, every document becomes public property. Therefore, there is no restriction upon reading or making Xerox copies of these highly confidential papers. For some time I had been in search of concrete evidence to support
the main contention of this book. It pleased me no end to find what I was looking for; and I have no doubt that based on that evidence, those who read this book will agree that Badshah Khan’s politics, and the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement was a thorn in the British flesh. The British wanted to preserve their Empire, no matter what the cost. For this it was essential that the internal freedom movements be nipped in the bud.
It was evident to the British that the Indian National Congress was spearheading the internal freedom movements. The Congress represented all the religious groups in the country; Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or Parsis, anyone could obtain its membership. The British policy was to support other movements in the country with a view to loosening the Congress grip. On the other hand, there was the matter of India’s strategic natural location. Surrounded on three sides by vast oceans, its north was protected by the ramparts of the Himalayan range; a few natural passes were the only means of entering the country by land. The fact that those passes linked the country with the USSR posed the only real danger and threat. It was evident that the Khudai Khidmatgars were being clobbered because they refused to succumb to any of the British strategies. First, it was important to understand the genesis of the Anglo-Russian relationship. Therefore, I began my research by examining the archival manuscripts of the Department of External Affairs.
During the Russian revolution of 1917 when the world witnessed its first ideological state, the British Government devised various strategies to curb its growth. As a matter of routine, the British Viceroy in India used to send his weekly report to the Secretary of State for India in Britain. In return, the Secretary dispatched the government policy, pertaining to India, through a weekly courier service. I had a hunch that my problem might be resolved if I could lay my hands on the correspondence that was exchanged between India and Britain, during the months following the death of Lenin. I felt that these dispatches would contain the key to the change in British policy vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. What I discovered in those documents was far beyond my expectations! For, along with their foreign policy documents, I found detailed analyses of the internal affairs of India. I had never really believed the allegations of my elders, who often accused the British of using the most underhand tactics to promote their policies. Having witnessed the lifelong suffering of Badshah Khan which was always attributed to the treatment he and his loyal followers received, I began to suspect that Badshah Khan’s hatred for the British was a biased emotion. To blame them for their excesses against him and his men, was understandable, but to hold them responsible for everything that ever went wrong was absurd….
The Congress blamed Britain for creating communal hatred in the country in order to perpetuate their imperialist policies and strengthen their vice-like hold. I often heard them referred to as the bastards who bit the very hand that had fed them for well over one hundred years. The spark they created became a forest fire of communalism. No one, not even the authors-of the crime, could find a means ofquenching the flame. Having listened to these diatribes of my elders, I always attributed them to a common human fallacy whereby one’s own shortcomings are laid at the doorstep of whoever is perceived as the “common enemy”.
I did, however, believe that there was an underlying element of truth in the views of the Congress and Badshah Khan. But never could I imagine that their allegations were only a pale reflection of the truth; the truth was uglier. Their mischief exceeded our wildest imagination. Badshah Khan’s and Congress’ allegations were far short of the truth. If there was the slightest doubt earlier, it was now totally removed because the documents preserved in the archives bore the official British seal. Housed in the world’s most prestigious library, they were signed by no one less than the Viceroy and the Secretary of State for India. What more proof could one ask for?
While reading certain portions of these documents, I found myself staggering with disbelief. I could not believe the facts that were staring me in the face. Often I was compelled to close the files and go out for a cup of coffee, before taking courage to look at that bitter truth. To give the devil its due, one cannot help admiring British loyalty which stopped at nothing to ensure maximum benefit for their country. Although it was difficult to accept the unscrupulousness with which these rational and educated people protected the Empire, yet one could not help admire them for their straightforward rendering of the truth. There was neither bias towards their own kind nor malice towards others. One by one they stripped every one, friends, companions, and fellow-conspirators, to reveal the truth. They did not mince words in describing all the underhand tasks they assigned to their native lackeys. They appeared unconcerned about what would happen if these documents became known to the Indian people and the masks of their so called leaders were ripped off. The Indian public would be aghast if they realized that these pious leaders and patriots were trafficking in the integrity of their own country, and were the country’s enemy number one, besides being traitors and agents of the British Government. The British sense of fair-play did not take any of these factors into consideration.
My study of twenty years of correspondence [from 1922-1942] between the Viceroy and the Secretary of State for India revealed that the earlier study I had made of books and diaries pertaining to the subject was futile. Every detail of the policy was clearly stated in these secret documents which I was now reading. The anti-USSR policy of the British was staring me in the face; all doubts and misgivings were thus removed.
What caused me tremendous embarrassment was the account of incidents which revealed the character of the leaders of the country. The worst offenders by far were Muslim Leaguers. The allegations leveled against them by the Congress and or Badshah Khan were a fraction of what I found on record in these British documents.
After considerable reflection I made my final decision. The purpose of my book is to give an honest account of the struggle of Badshah Khan and his true followers, the Khudai Khidmatgars. For this purpose these documents were invaluable. Their contents could rip the veil from his enemies’ faces, especially those who used Islam as a means for strengthening the British imperialism and their colonial regime. This would exonerate Badshah Khan and send his opponents to hell. My purpose, however, was not to malign anyone in particular, but to reveal the true spirit of patriotism underlying our struggle. I want to stop the dirty, filthy rumour-politics which was corrupting the psyche of innocent and devout Muslims. In our country, Muslims have always been denied access to truth and historical evidence. Luckily, however, history has a way of revealing itself sooner or later, no matter how much effort is made to camouflage it with pretty untruths.
Just as a diamond glimmers even when buried in kimberlite, so also does truth ultimately emerge! Time has proved the inevitability of this process.
As I have said before, the purpose of writing all this is not to insult anyone but simply to narrate the truth. Concealing truth based on historical evidence is a sin. Having felt so shaken at the facts I uncovered, I wondered how those “true believers in God and the Prophet” would have felt who claimed that they had staked everything for religion! I would have overlooked many shortcomings of the Muslim League, had they been honest about their loyalties. If they liked the British regime, they should have openly supported it. But I cannot condone their heinous act of supporting the imperialist, arrogant, and, above all, the infidel British rule, while hiding behind the veneer of Islam.
Historical facts should be revealed with complete candour so that tomorrow Muslims know better than to trust these Judases. Before enlisting with any leader, Muslims should ensure that they are, once again, not being led down the garden path. The truth is sometimes bitter, but the events recorded in this book will enlighten many misinformed, misguided persons.
As the British love to say, ‘This is just to put the record straight.” I do not consider it necessary to inform my readers of my political point of view; it is perfectly obvious. But I want to assure them that the documents, upon which the facts narrated here are based, are lodged in the India Office Library, London.
Whosoever wishes to verify is welcome to read the originals. Meanwhile, I will attempt to prove all my statements. I wrote originally in Pashto. This was translated into Urdu by my wife, Nasim, which inturn is now being presented in English. I must thank Dr Syeda Saiyidain Hameed for the pains she took over this task. She has preserved the essence of my own writing most admirably.
12th July, 1987
Walibagh, Charsadda, District Peshawar.
FACTS ARE FACTS, The untold story of India’s partition,
Translation by Dr. Syeda Saiyidain Hameed
Second Edition ,November 2004
(Episode: 01, To Be Continued)