THE FRONTIER GANDHI: BADSHAH KHAN, A TORCH FOR PEACE
A Film by T.C. McLuhan
Twenty-one years in the making, THE FRONTIER GANDHI: BADSHAH KHAN, A TORCH FOR PEACE (a feature length documentary – 92 minutes) launches into orbit the epic story of a remarkable Muslim peacemaker born into Pashtun warrior society of the strategic North-West Frontier Province of the Indian subcontinent — now Pakistan’s frontier region Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Pronounced “a miracle” by Mahatma Gandhi, Badshah Khan (1890-1988) raised a 100,000 strong nonviolent army of men, women, and young people — the Khudai Khidmatgars, or servants of God — drawn from the multi-ethnic traditions of Afghanistan and India. Muslims, as well as Hindus, Christians, Parsees, Sikhs, and Buddhists came together in the cause of peace, social justice, religious tolerance, and human dignity for all.
In partnership with Mahatma Gandhi, the 6’5” charismatic Khan (also known as Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan) led a nonviolent resistance movement against British colonial rule in the first half of the 20th century. He openly championed women’s rights and spoke of the inherent compatibility of Islam with nonviolence. He challenged his own highly volatile culture to change its vengeful ways and to turn to the spiritual and moral strength of nonviolence. He opened schools, fought for the social improvement of the least fortunate, and was unceasing in his compassionate embrace of the poor.
Nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, Badshah Khan’s improbable life and legacy remain little known. He died in 1988 at the age of 98 having spent nearly 35 years in solitary confinement for his efforts to humanize humanity.
Filmed in Afghanistan, Khyber Pass, Pakistan, India, United States, and Canada, the film includes rare historical footage, surprisingly candid interviews with world leaders, testimony from 63 of Badshah Khan’s nonviolent warriors — most beyond the age of 100 years — and a score by acclaimed world music pioneer David Amram. Legendary Indian actor, Om Puri, brings alive the thoughts and writings of Badshah Khan.
Badshah Khan’s example and legacy advance a greater, broader, and inspired understanding of what is currently perceived as Muslim, Pashtun, and Afghan. His heroic life offers a profound message of hope for these increasingly troubled times.
Principal Film Credits
Produced, Directed and Written by: T.C. McLuhan
Cinematography: Sanjay Agrawal
Story Consultant: Robert Seidman
Editing Consultant: Josh Waletzky
Voice of Badshah Khan (from his writings): Om Puri
Music Composed, Orchestrated and Conducted by: David Amram
Design and Animation: Edgeworx Inc., New York
Visual Effects: John Romano and Evan Cohen
Motion Graphic Design: Anthony Morgan
Post Sound Services: Tattersall Sound & Picture, Toronto
Sound Supervisor: David McCallum
Video Services: Magnetic North, Toronto
Production Manager (India): Anureeta Saigal
Sound Recordist & Engineer: Asheesh Pandya
Rahul Bali and Mohd. Saadullah (India)
Amir Ghazan Khan and Mohammad Raza (Pakistan)
Poster Design: Keira McGuinness