Bacha Khan University in Charsadda responds to the blame game
By Afzal Hussain Bokhari
A few days back, one heard some conflicting reports about the Bacha Khan University, Charsadda. It was said that the administration had banned the entry into the university compound of as many as 10 teachers holding PhD degrees. The banned teachers included Dr Tawaf Ali, Dr Haq Nawaz, Dr Akhtar Ali, Dr Mohammad Rafique, Dr Sahibzada, Dr Roohullah, Dr Rahimullah, Dr Hamid, Dr Imran Khan and Dr Mosin Siddique. It was said that these teachers tried to defame the university and bring a bad name to this seat of higher learning. They did so by uploading some anti-university material on social media. A clarification made on behalf of the university stated that out of the 10 teachers mentioned above, only two were actually teaching in the university. The remaining eight academics were either teaching in other universities or had proceeded abroad for further studies. The Vice-Chancellor of the University Professor Dr Bashir Ahmad was massively supported by the local organisations. They lauded his services for the university and called upon him to continue his plans. The university was set up on the third of July, 2012, in the memory of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who was lovingly called Bacha Khan by his devotees. The purpose was to take forward the mission of the great Khan of Charsadda, which was to educate the young boys and girls of the area, who graduated from colleges and wanted to study at the university level for their Master’s, MPhil and PhD degrees. It may be recalled that in the pre-partition days, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan had set up schools at the village level under the auspices of his Khudai Khidmatgar Movement. Later, his son, Khan Abdul Wali Khan, continued the mission of his father. He brought education from the villages to cities. As the coincidence would have it, the other two sons of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan were also highly educated. Khan Abdul Ali Khan became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Peshawar. The staff and students of UoP still remember how the disciplinarian Ali Khan ran the affairs of the university. He was on record to have literally slapped PPP minister Hanif Khan, who entered the campus in his car with wrong intentions. The same treatment was meted out to PPP’s Azam Khan for identical reasons. The third son of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was Khan Abdul Ghani Khan, who was virtually a philosopher-poet. In an exhaustive interview to the Peshawar Centre of PTV, Ghani Khan narrated how he studied in Calcutta’s Shanti Naketan, where the daughter of Pundit Nehru named Indira Gandhi also studied. At one stage, she reportedly agreed to marry Ghani Khan. Meanwhile, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan got wind of it. He ordered Ghani Khan to promptly leave the Shanti Naketan and come back to Peshawar. Ghani Khan was later sent to America for further studies. Ghani Khan is the proud author of a collection of wonderful Pashto poetry titled “Fanoos”, pronounced local as “Panoos”. Just as the common people have on their fingertips, the lines from (Abdur) Rahman Baba, similarly Ghani Baba’s poetry is liberally quoted by all and sundry. People in Charsadda are familiar with the humanitarian streak in Ghani Baba. Ghani Khan’s only son was murdered by a peasant, who cultivated Ghani Khan’s vast lands. When the superintendent of police came to arrest the peasant, he forbade him to do so. The police officer was surprised at this. Ghani Khan said that his son was already gone. Now that he was arresting this farmer for murder, he would be hanged under the court orders. Therefore, he did not want that two human lives should be lost. Such incidents have endeared him immensely to the local people. A few wealthy Pakhtuns were great admirers of Ghani Khan. Whenever they happened to fly to Britain or the USA, they came to Ghani Khan to know if he wanted them to bring anything for him from the West. Instead of asking for the Havana cigars or anything of that sort, Ghani Khan would invariably hand down to them a list of newly-published books in English. Those who have visited Ghani Khan’s study know that these books used to be by his bedside.