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Pandit Nehru Stoning, 1946


As Vice President of the Interim Government he visited the North-West Frontier Province in 1946 in the company of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, 'the Frontier Gandhi', who shielded him from pelting by some goondas. From 'Jawaharlal Nehru in pictures', Edited by D.G. Tendulkar, 14 November 1964.
This was the year that saw Ghaffar Khan and Nehru getting attacked at Malakand Fort. This was the year which saw 'mass serial bombardment' in certain parts of Wazirtstan as punitive action. This was also the year of kidnappings and ransom. 


[More about the scene in NWFP in 1946-47 here]

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"In 1938 he was talking about her in an exotic setting before a strange audience and in an unexpected context. He was somewhere amidst the barren hills of the North Western Frontier, where a sniper was expected to be hiding behind each rock., and he was addressing a meetng of the supposedly wild and unruly tribes who were being accused of kidnapping hostages for ransom.
"He condemned all kidnapping, of course, and pointed out how the mischief of a few was bringing disrepute to a gallant people." He added thar the Pathans, whatever their weaknesses, were a brave people, appreciating courage in others and responding to a friendly approach.
And then he said something which touched that big audience of rough and tough warriors, "I have a daughter," he said, "twenty years of age, who is far away in England now. She is my only child, and she is dear to me. I have tried to teach her courage and self-reliance, and to keep no company with fear whatever might happen. If she were with me here now, I would unhesitatingly ask her to go unaccompanied into the tribal territories, and to visit the people there, and make friends with them. I would do so having faith in her, faith in those people, who I feel sure, would not abuse the confidence or treat one who came in friendship as other than a friend." So he spoke and talked of freedom, which would include everyone living from the north to the south. And when he finished, some of the Waziris, whose tribe was then in conflict with the government, came to him, and having slightly misunderstood his remarks, asked him when his daughter would visit their homes. They pledged their word that she would have the freedom of the country, and not a hair of her head would be injured, for she would be their guest and their friend, and the daughter of a friend."


From 'Indira Gandhi: Return of the Red Rose' by K.A. Abbas (1966)
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Previously:
Indira Gandhi Stoning, 1967

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