Since the name change of the province of N.W.F.P (North West Frontier Province) to Khyber Pukhtunkhwaa, I have been having mixed (and mostly sad) feelings about this. Now, no more will our map have the name we have all grown up with. The question I was wondering about was: Why is this name so important? Don't we already know the pukhtun identity? Don't we already recognize it? Acknowledge it? Why should a name change be done to make our brains accept what we already know? These questions seemingly have no answer. But a little peek into our history reveals some (a/c to me, no offence to anybody) rather sucky facts. Here goes. All links are mentioned below. I'm going to make it concise and er, palatable.
1. Who are Pukhtuns?
Ans: The Pakhtuns are the majority ethnic group in the NWFP, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Northern Balochistan. According to the NWFP government statistics, 68 per cent of the people in the Province speak Pakhtu or Pashtu, 18 per cent speak Hindko, 8 per cent speak Seraiki and about 2 per cent speak Urdu and Punjabi.
2. What does the word 'Pukhtunkhwa' mean?
Pakhtunkhwa, Pashtoonkhwa, or Pakhtoonkhwa means “The Land of the Pakhtuns” or “near the Pakhtuns”. This name was used for the area where Pakhtuns were dominant before the creation and forming of modern day Afghanistan and Pakistan.
3. Who came up with this word, Pukhtunkhwa?
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly known as Bacha Khan, proposed the name as an alternative to Pakhtunistan to the military dictator, General Zia ul Haq in 1978 when the latter refused to accept the demand from the latter to rename the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) as Pakhtunistan.
Source: See here
4. Who in the world was Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan?
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890 - 20 January 1988) was a Pashtun political and spiritual leader known for his non-violent opposition to British Rule in India. A lifelong pacifist, a devout Muslim, and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, he was also known as Badshah Khan (also Bacha Khan, Pashto: lit., "King Khan"), and Sarhaddi Gandhi (Urdu, Hindi lit., "Frontier Gandhi").
5. What was one interesting (read: sucky) fact about Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan?
Ghaffar Khan strongly opposed the partition of India. While the Red Shirts were willing to work with Indian politicians, some Pashtuns desired independence from both India and the newly created state of Pakistan following the departure of the British. The Congress party under refused last ditch compromises like the Cabinet mission plan and Gandhi's suggestion to offer the Prime Ministership to Jinnah. As a result Bacha Khan and his followers felt a sense of betrayal by both Pakistan and India. Bacha Khan's last words to Gandhi and his erstwhile allies in the Congress party were: "You have thrown us to the wolves."
6. Another sucky fact about Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan
Ghaffar Khan died in Peshawar under house arrest in 1988 and was buried in Jalalabad, Afghanistanaccording to his wishes. This was a symbolic move by Ghafar Khan, this would allow his dream of Pakhtun unification to live even after his death. The Indian government declared a five-day period of mourning in his honour.Although he had been repeatedly imprisoned and persecuted, tens of thousands of mourners attended his funeral, marching through the historic Khyber Pass from Peshawar to Jalalabad.
7. Yet another sucky fact
"O Pathans! Your house has fallen into ruin. Arise and rebuild it, and remember to what race you belong." -- Ghaffar Khanquoted in Eknath Easwaran, A Man to Match his Mountains: Bacha Khan, Nonviolent Soldier of Islam (Nilgiri Press, Petaluma, 1984), p. 25.
So this is the man who proposed the concept of Pukhtunistan, and then Pukhtunkhwaa. This is the history and opinions of this fellow, and that is a cause of great concen for me, to be blind and happy about a 'name change that has proven the pathan identitiy" -- my point simply is, that the identity was always recognized by the people. At least I did :P''
And by the way, this is a current news clipping:
1. Friday, April 02, 2010
PESHAWAR: Known nationalist lawyer Barrister Baachaa on Thursday rejected the hyphenated name of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for the NWFP and called for ending the long controversy by naming the province as Afghania. In statement, he said Afghani was acceptable all around and the political parties should have given up their rigid stand to let the people of the province get on with other pressing problems.