Book Review: Nonviolent Soldier of Islam: Badshah Khan by Eknath Easwaran

Nonviolent Soldier of Islam: Badshah Khan, a Man to Match his Mountains
 by Eknath Easwaran
Nilgiri Press, 1999, 276 pages, $15.00

"Gandhi explained, '… as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world.' … With his truculent, explosive Pathans, Khan had an abundance of raw material to work with."

Mohandas Gandhi's nonviolent campaign to end British rule of India depended on an army of peaceful Muslim warriors led by Abdul Ghaffar (Badshah) Khan. As Easwaran's book describes, Khan created a nonviolent army out of 100,000 men from the revenge- and honor-driven Pashtuns of Afghanistan, the same tribe that later dominated the Taliban.

At one demonstration, Khan's unarmed army stood fast as British soldiers began shooting at them. Khan demonstrated Gandhi's insistence that nonviolence is not the weapon of the weak, but the strongest form of human power, which only the bravest can wield.

Reviewed by Carolyn McConnell