PESHAWAR: Today, Pashtun in Afghanistan and Pakistan remembering their leader Samad Khan Achakzai on his 42nd death anniversary. Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai (1907-1973), having his paternal connection to the Ahmed Shah Abdali’s top general and the conqueror of Panipath battle Barkhurdar Khan Achakzai, got his political inspiration from King Amanullah Khan of Afghanistan. Among Pashtuns he is called Samad Khan Baba. He is also known as Khan Shaheed.
It was the day when Abdul Samad Khan went to Chaman the first town where King Amanullah Khan was leaving through train for his Europe tour, among the people of the area this young teenager was deeply observing the “Afghan King” and had firmly believing in him as own king though Samad Khan had opened eyes in the Afghan territory, under the rule of British India.
Early in the morning the first shocking seen for Samad Khan was when the British guards ready for King Amanullah Khan’s receiving had dirt on their boots and was cleaned with cloth pieces in the hands of “Indian servants”. This shocked him and kept him in deep thoughts, the second was when the King arrived and a huge mass of the Pashtun was gathered and King came to their side but they were unable to manage discussion with him.
According to Samad Khan, the King asked “Is there anyone from you to talk to?” It imprinted on Samad Khan’s mind that our people are not organized and have no political leadership and this is clearly known from the King question. He writes further that the King went from them having no chat further was a kind of “disappointment”.
These were the impression pushed Samad Khan in thought to organize his people for the political struggle. He thought, it is need of the time to be organised otherwise we are in a greater number but unorganized mass will never become liberated from the “boot cleaning duties”. No matter how much wealthy we are and what are our history, culture and civilization. Samad Khan was firm believer of liberation; as human being is born free and should live free; freedom is the basic and natural right of every individual.
At the time of Samad Khan, the sub-continent was under the rule of Colonial Brits; political movements were underway to liberate the continent from the rule of the British Forces. Samad Khan wanted to see Pashtun united and politically aware which was need of the time.
Abdul Samad Khan always considered Afghanistan his motherland; as he has written about the Afghan Kings “our own King and Kingdom.” His writings are full of the Pashtun and Afghan terms, means he believed in greater Afghanistan. The love of Afghan liberation and Afghan unity was in his blood from paternal forefather Barkhurdar Khan Achakzai the conqueror of Panipath and Ghazi Abdullah Khan Achakzai the sparkle of first Anglo Afghan war.
Samad Khan believed in peaceful political movement; this is why he was arrested in his 13th year as political prisoner by the administration for arranging a demonstration in front of Gulistan High School. He stated that he had respect for his brother “Abdul Salam Khan Achakzai” because he was the soul man who was earning bread for his family and was supporting him economically and had given him the freedom to remain active for the political struggle. But he had never supported Salam Khan if there was a “tribal or personnel fight” because Samad Khan knew that fight is never a way to overcome our issues; so remaining peaceful and rational is the only way to struggle.
This is the reason Khan Shaheed spent 30 years (out of his life 66 years) behind the bars and at home imprisonment by the British and then after 14th August, 1947 by the Pakistani martial law administrators. He never missed a day to aware his people; and was the one man crusade who finally formed Anjuman-e-Watan political party, then Wror Pashtun, joined National Awami Party, the biggest political party of the oppressed nations inside Pakistan when it violated its constitution so he separated and announced his own National Awami Party Pashtoonkhwa; now going through the struggle voyage as Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party, led by his son Mahmood Khan Achakzai as its chairman.
Samad Khan never compromised on democracy; he believed that will of the people can change fate of the nation rather the “dictators” orders. This was why neither he compromised with the British nor after them with the Pakistan army’s generals who violated the constitution and ruled the country under martial laws. Samad Khan asked for a federation of Pakistan where all nations would have equal rights and control over their resources and supremacy of parliament and rule of law.
He loved his language, culture, history and geography and this is why when National Awami Party (NAP) failed to provide the Pashtun united unit in Pakistan; he agitated and formed his own political party to connected the masses from “Bolan—(the historical pass near Quetta) to Chitral” the peak of mountains in the north of Khyber Pashtunkhwa.
Samad Khan in his autobiography, compared the two annual meetings of his village with the meetings of the ancient democratic parliament of Swiss—he had read about. And explained that every kind of issue whether it was social, health, economic, political or tribal rivalry was discussed in this gathering led by the Meeraaow—the agrarian water management head, someone knowing the writing and calculation of the water timing. This way he was very satisfied by the counselling of Pashtun Afghans; and solving their issues through dialogues. This made Samad Khan very impressed by the rule of law and democratic discussions in his ancestral village of Inayatullah Karez Gulistan.
Samad Khan never believed in hate; he has narrated a story of his sister operation in Quetta Mission Hospital as he was in his early age, met the nurses in hospital. He went with the Christian missionary hospital nurses to their home where he ate food with them. His parent had asked him about his absence, he clearly told them that he was with the nurses and spent his day with them, ate with them. His parents had asked him, “You ate with English nurses?” He had replied of course; because they eat the same we eat and drink the same water we do then what’s the issue if I eat with them?
Samad Khan considered women as the equal part of our political and social system. This is why he was the pioneer to enroll his only daughter in school in a time when education even for boys was thought to be something wrong. But he broke the ice and let his followers to do the same. Later he didn’t stop taking his daughter on a political visit to Afghanistan; where she remained with him throughout the visit.
The philosophy of peaceful politics, democracy, social justice, equity among masses and nations, rights of nations on their natural resources were the areas struggled for Samad Khan Baba. He always believed that Afghanistan is the historical motherland of the Pashtuns on both side of the Durand Line; so considered it a form of a body. If somewhere in the body is a sore or in pain then the whole body get pains. This is why he left a strong message of unity for the Pashtun and their land as explained by him “from Aamu (River Oxus) to Abasin (River Indus) and Bolan to Chitral peaks”.
On 2nd December, 1973, Samad Khan’s room was bombed with two hand grenades and the attack separated him physically from us; but ideologically his mission widened and millions of Pashtuns are now followers of his ideology in the form of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party.
Source: “Zama Zhwand Aw Zhwandoon”– My life and lively-hood, the autobiography of Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai.
By Malik Achakzai, Pesahwar University
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