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IN 1915, 1916, 1917, AND 1918


In 1915 when we arrived at Herat one most interesting fact was that the old Governor of that Afghanistan province was a man of ability and humor. I remember with pleasure that the Governor had the fad of presenting to his guests the smallest silver coin called Abbasi about the value of three annas in Indian money. When we left Herat the Governor gave me horse whip with silver handle. I am passing over some uninteresting and unimportant events. I want to relate here the story of a lunch with King Habibullah Khan. This lunch was given by Sardar Nasrullah Khan, the younger brother of the King, who was also the prime Minister. It was the only occasion when I saw the King at his brother residence. The King and his A.D.Cs. came. We sat all together at the lunch table. The King was in the middle, at his right I sat, and on his left sat Sardar Nasrullah.Maulana Barkatullah and Kazim Beg, who accompanied me, also were present at the lunch. Without a plan or previous notice Kazim Beg happened to say to the King that Raja Sahib wanted that the restriction of the turban color for the Hindus should be removed. I was taken by a surprise, for a moment I had hardly a word to say. The king suddenly said I that it was impossible. He went on to say that it was a religious question. The Muslims were not allowed to say “salam-El-ekum” to non Muslims and therefore it was necessary that Hindus should have red or yellow turbans so that Muslims could know that they were not Mussalmans. The king further went on to say that there were several more restrictions on the Hindus in his father’s time which he removed such as repairing of temples and riding horses through the city. Here I said, “As you say that your Majesty removed certain restrictions, may be the King following you may remove this last restriction too”. I hurriedly added that I did not want to bring up this question at all. Captain Kazim Beg brought in the matter of his own accord ndthen turning the conversation into religious channel I added that I was convinced that the Hindu religion and Islam had common origin. I laid “Look for instance, the name of Ibrahim was Abraham in Hebrew language. Now if we drop’ A’, the word remains ‘Braham’ which is, one great deity of Hindu religion.” The King was greatly impressed. Noticing that my argument was well received, I continued, “The name ‘Adam’ as Adam has no meaning, but if we consider it as the name derived. From ‘Atma’, it has great meaning; because ‘Atma’ in Sanskrit means soul or breath. According to the Bible story as accepted by Islam, God made a body of earth and blew in that body his breath. That shows that because Atma or soul was put in that body the first human body therefore it was called Atma or Adam.” As there was time enough I went on to say that purely Persian words and Sanskrit words were mostly identical. For instance ‘Pedar’ for father was similar to ‘Pitra’ again ‘Madar’ was very similar to ‘Matra’ meaning mother. I could find many words showing similarity. The King began to appreciate this common relation between the two languages. One of the Sardars said that the King very much appreciated some Buddhistic teachings, so much that he had the Buddhist books translated into Persian language.


LIBERAL VIEWS OFTHE CROWN PRINCE Prince Inayatullah Khan once asked me to give him my photograph. I told him that I was not handsome enough and that my photograph would hardly make an ornament. Besides that, I did not like to give a photograph. I would like to give, I said, some of my ideas. The prince laughed and said he must have my photograph and added that he would send his own photographer who was a Hindu to take my photograph and that I might also give him my ideas. I wrote my ideas on a piece of yellow silk and presented him one day. A few days later when I, together with Kazim Beg and Maulana Barkatullah, went to see the prince, Captain Kazim seeing something on the wall, said aloud “Look here Raja Sahib, here are your ideas”. I was astonished to find that side by side with the Muslim Kalma my ideas were put on the wall in a big frame. Such was the liberal prince. People in India think of tee Afghans only in terms of bigotry and fanaticism. They should take a lesson from. this story. I take this opportunity to pray for the happiness of the soul of the late prince. After my arrival in India I heard that the prince died in ‘the year of 1946 in Iran.”


CONTRIBUTION OF AFGHANISTAN FOR INDIA’S FREEDOM, It was no secret that King Habibullah Khan was pro-British. He was too busy with Harem that he had hardly any time to think of any thing serious. He was perhaps afraid of using comforts and enjoyments. But his younger brother,Sardar Nasrullah Khan the prime Minister was out and out anti British. It was he who helped me financially to send our two Indian Missions to Czarist Russia. It was he again who helped us to organize our Afridi Army in Afridi tribal-land. Here I am not telling at length of the great aid that the Sardar extended to our cause.


Here I want to tell you something about the assistance which the Governor of Khanabad kindly gave me. In 1917, when I was at Khanabad,I told the Governor how I had several letters addressed to princes of India and I had one important letter addressed to the King of Nepal signed by the Prime Minister of Germany. If they could be sent to the addresses we could do some useful service. The Governor at some risk to himself suggested that he would arrange that the letters were sent out of Afghanistan. He said that he would not inform the king but he would write a secret letter to the Prime Minister Sardar Nasrullah Khan .On my enquiry whether he would wait for an answer from Kabul he said ‘no‘, he would arrange everything immediately. He kindly provided two horses and a passport with a guide. My companion and friend Gujar Singh or Kala Singh, who was also known as Udham Singh volunteered his services. He took the letters and with the guide, provided by the Governor, rode over difficult passes of high mountains. The arrangement Was that Mr. Singh would go to Mujahideens at Asmas and thence a Behari Muslim guide would accompany him to Nepal. The letters for the Indian princes were to be posted in India at different towns. Three years later I heard the story that the man could accomplish his mission but unfortunately he was captured by the British when returning to Afghanistan. Our Indian friends need know more of the friendly feeling in Afghanistan for India’s freedom. King Amanullah Khan quite frankly and sincerely said once that so long as India was not free Afghanistan was not free too in the right sense. There were and there could be a few Afghans serving the interests of the British; but speaking generally the Afghans as a people are not pro-British.


RELIGION OF LOVE. It was all Ram Navmi of 1916 that I started to write the book of Religion of Love at Kabul, Afghanistan. I did not write hurriedly. I wrote slowly as thoughts came. I finished the book at Mazari Sharif in Northern Afghanistan on Dewali day of the same year 1916. It, is worth noting that I did not find the Muslim atmosphere uncongenial to my writing, I mean that when I was writing the book I felt that I was among friendly people .If thoughts have anything to do with the human minds surrounding you I can testify that the book written in Afghanistan is in harmony with true Islam.


MY TOURS IN AFGHANISTAN. During those years from 1915 to 1918 I toured a bit in the land of Afghanistan. I entered the country from Persia. I arrived with my friends at the provincial capital of Herat. Then over the high mountains of Hazara we went to Kabul. In summer of 1916, I went over Bamian and Haibak to Mazari Sharif. In this conneotion I may tell you that that Bamian was once the center of Buddhist culture in these mountainous regions. Even today you can see two huge colossal statues on the side of a hill. There are remains of several monastries. This was the route followed by the Buddhist monks traveling overland from China to India. You can see all along the route remains of Buddhist culture. Mazari Sharif is today a place of pilgrimage for the Muslims. Hazrat Ali is supposed to have consecrated this spot. But there are reasons to believe that all this land round about here was a great center of a great civilization. The famous ruined city of Balkh is situated nearby: The Greeks have spoken of that city and they called it Bactria. I passed that whole winter at this provincial Capital of Mazari Sharif. In spring of 1917 when flowers were peeping out of the soil and tiny birds were singing over our heads I left with my companions to travel east. We went via Kunduz to Badakhshan and went higher and higher to Wakhan and reached the roof of the world. the Pamirs. It was very interesting, as we passed through the land of Bul – Bul and Ruby we enjoyed the beautiful and fragrant blossoms of fruit trees. As we moved from day to day we went to cooler and cooler regions so that each day we had new blossoms opening. Did you understand what I said? I mean as we traveled, days became warm but as we were going to cooler places all the time spring was just beginning. At the roof of the world there are no trees, trees cannot grow due to intense cold but grass grows fine and is rich in many different kinds of multi-colored flowers. At places you see nothing but flowers. For political reasons I had to retrace back the whole route. Winter of 1917 was also passed at Mazari Sharif and it was from Mazari Sharif at the end of February 1918 that I crossed the border into Soviet Russia.


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