Unarmed Pathans: History or Future?
Reader in Social Anthropology
London School of Economics
Friday, April 1 5:30 pm
Indiana Memorial Union
A book signing will follow immediately after the lecture.
The Pashtun (Pathan) of the North-West Frontier have often been regarded as a warrior people. Yet in the inter-war years there arose a Muslim movement, the Khudai khidmatgar (“Servants of God”), which drew its inspiration from Gandhian principles of non-violence dedicated to Indian nationalism rather than communal separatism. Virtually erased from the national historiography of post-Partition Pakistan, where they resided, the aging veterans lived to the tale of their extraordinary politics. This lecture considers the significance of this story for contemporary global politics: how notoriously violent Pashtuns converted to an ethic of non-violence while remaining true to Islam and ideals of honor.