- Waging nonviolence: reflections on the history writing of the Pashtun nonviolent movement Khudai Khidmatgar
- Peace and Change
- Volume | Issue number
- 38 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
The article investigates recurrent narratives in the cultural historiography of the early 20th century nonviolent movement of the Pashtuns, known as Khudai Khidmatgar (1929-1948). Commentaries and studies of this movement are ridden with three inter-connected problems: firstly, a cultural stereotyping of the Pashtuns, labeling acts of nonviolent resistance as an aberrant phase in a culture branded as inherently violent; secondly, a denial of the indigenous roots of the movement, viewing it as a provincial offshoot of Gandhianism; and thirdly, an elitist privileging of the principles of nonviolence over concrete acts and practices. Employing a close reading of media reports and historical accounts, I argue that the Khudai Khidmatgar movement offered an example of radical nonviolent action, drawing from Islamic principles, and dialectically engaging with transnational debates. I propose a careful examination of the foreclosures and oversights in the historical narratives of nonviolent resistance movements.
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