Machine guns roaring, empty bullet caskets hitting the ground, their sound overcome by shouting and roaring and screaming. Armored vehicles coming to the front, armed men reloading their weapons while standing coverless, armored men taking aim at the opposite front - agony, instead of guilt donning their faces. The armored vehicle takes a step back, a small hiatus again emerging; the vehicle opens fire at the orders of the commanding officer. The soldiers with pointing guns catch their breath and try to breathe fresh air in the open, before reloading their rifles and waiting for the orders to empty them. They are worriless, safe and their hearts are at peace; they know that bullets from the other side can’t touch them; they are immune to them like an invisible fort is erected between them and the other, which bounces off any bullets coming in their direction. But the fort is not standing in between them, it is erected somewhere in the hearts and minds of the other. This fort has made the other throw weapons and cry slogans, firing bullets of their strong conviction and their faith at them rather than those of iron and steel. The soldiers don’t need to take cover, because there are no bullets to protect themselves against.

The pictures on the other side are slightly different. There is blood, agony, screams, relentless fortitude, unimaginable fearlessness, boundless conviction of the fact that the cause they are here for exceeds, by far, the mundane existence of this life Pictures of unreal and unfaltering fulfilment of some oath they took under a tall, gentle, ordinary man with extraordinary faith.

Men at the front fall. Some others, stripped of their, identity come forward and replace them to beat the shower of bullets with the shields of their bare chests. Their only arsenal is the conviction of their hearts, the life in their bodies, the blood in their veins and the flesh and bones helping them stand erect. The roar of machine guns stops, an amplified voice reaches them: “turn back”. The men at the frontline move forward, take the fallen and carry them away. More men replace them and shout to the machine guns; and a deafening slogan is heard from the ranks of unarmed men: “Inqilab Zindabaad!”.

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The narrow alleys turn blood red, with the blood of the dead staining all those in the ranks. Women from the congested two story buildings throw water to those maimed and injured and those scorched by the sun above their heads. Negotiations continue, the men holding machine guns shout "turn back and your lives will be spared"; the unarmed men retaliate, saying “you turn back, life is but a tribute to those who have fallen, and to honor”.

Half a day passes away. "he lines are broken and those fallen have left.

While at war, both armies were shocked out of their preconceived notions of how men with guns looked at the armless. The Pathans, never in their five thousand years long history have left an insult - let alone bullets - unanswered and unavenged. They were unarmed for the first time and were happily taking bullets from people who had come to occupy their lands. The men at guns never thought that the unarmed Pathans will not fall back. But there they were, unarmed, unmoved by violence, crushing those firing bullets at them.

This happened on 23 April, 1930, and the place was Qissa-Khwani Bazaar in Peshawar. This event is remembered in history as Qissa-Khwani massacre.

Leaders of the Khudai Khidmatgars movement had recently been arrested, and the rest of the group's leadership was moving in the shape of procession to the police station to voluntarily present themselves for arrest. An inexperienced, smug, and proud British official stopped them at the bazaar. People gathered to the beat of Inqilab Zindabaad. The official panicked and called army platoons and armored vehicles to the place. The rest was a horrific and gruesome sight. Nationalists claim that nineteen hundred men were slaughtered in the span of half a day. The investigative committee set by AINC stated that the fallen were somewhere between three hundred and four hundred. The British, on the other hand, claimed that only thirty people were killed.

The events of that day were as disturbing for the British as they were for the rest of India. Pathans came under the stereotypical definition of martial races, one who was ready to take to fight and become violent on the smallest of pretexts. This day denied all of these claims: perhaps they, the British, became more violent and killed so many Pathans as the sight of an unarmed and non-violent Pathan was unimaginable to them. Since that day, the British, and subsequently the Pakistani state, tried their best to trample the spirit of non-violence in the Pathans, offending them and provoking them into taking arms and becoming violent.

Ironically, the man responsible for this massacre later became the leading historian of the Pushtoon nation and employed every tactic possible to twist and forge facts or events to present the Pathans as the most violent nation on the earth, by presenting their history as one soaked in blood and feuds, and mindless battles over petty issues. That man become the governor of the-then NWFP and is known to us as Sir Olaf Caroe.

The concept of the non-violent Pathan is an anathema to the current Pakistani state, unsurprisingly so since as the state has has successfully owned every stereotype and mentality of the British. The Pakistani state has also employed every tool and tactic - from school curriculum to projects of national projection - to portray the Pathans as warlike and violent beasts who thrive at the sight of blood and abhor the life of peace as an aberration of kinds.

A non-violent Pathan is dangerous, as he can’t be made to take-up arms and fight proxy wars for the Pakistani state in the name of Jihad and this act of non-violence frustrates the state policies. As Abdul Ghaffar Khan said: “They fear a non-violent Pathan more than a violent Pathan”. And this is why they are ensuring that the Pathan never becomes non-violent, again.