Mohammad Gul Khan Momand
|Mohammad Gul Khan Momand|
Andrabayo Province, Kabul, Afghanistan
|Died||August 18, 1964|
|Occupation||Army Officer, Home Minister, Diplomat|
|Known for||Military service, Leadership, Pashtunwali|
Mohammad Gul Khan Momand (Pashto: محمد ګل خان مومند) (born 1885 – died 1964), also spelled as Mohmand, was both a literary figure and a well-known politician in Afghanistan. He was also known as Wazir Mohammad Gul Khan Momand or Momand Baba. Mohammad Gul Khan was an Army Officer during Afghanistan's Independence war in 1919. He served numerous Government and Leadership positions including Home Minister of Afghanistan.
Early life and education
Wazir Mohammad Gul Khan Momand was born in the Andrabayo district of Kabul Province. His father was Khurshid Khan, his grandfather is Momen Khan who served in Afghan Army during King Abdur Rahman Khan, and his great grandfather was Abdul Kareem served in the Afghan Army during the reign of King Dost Mohammad Khan. He belongs to Mohmand Pashtun tribes and traces his ancestry to Nangarhar Province. Mohammad Gul Khan attended Habibia High School, and later went on to Turkey for higher education. After completing his primary and secondary studies, Mohammad Gul Khan entered the military school in 1909. Apart from Pashto and Dari, Mohammad Gul Khan spoke the Turkish and Russian languages.
Political and military career
Soon after completing the military school, Gul Khan Momand joined the Royal Guards and became a Unit Commander and an instructor for some units. After serving as the principal of the Military School, he later became deputy commander-in-chief and then commander of the Royal Guards.
In 1919 during Afghanistan's struggle for Independence, Mohammad Gul Khan was a member of the delegation, which visited Europe to announce the sovereignty of Afghanistan under King Amanullah Khan. Mohammad Gul Khan was then appointed to serve as diplomat for Afghanistan by King Amanullah Khan. From 1924 to 1928, he also served as Governor of Paktia, Nangarhar, Balkh under King Amanullah Khan.
In 1929, the government of King Amanullah Khan fell to the hand of bandits under the leadership of Habibullah Kalakani known in Afghanistan as Bacha-i Saqqao. Mohammad Gul Khan joined forces with then GeneralMohammed Nadir Shah to restore the official government of Afghanistan. The bandits in Kabul were attacked from three fronts, under the command of Sardar Shah Wali Khan, Shah Mahmud Khan, and Mohammad Gul Khan from Nangarhar. In October 1929, the bandits were completely defeated and the official government of Afghanistan was restored under the King Mohammed Nadir Shah. The family of King Mohammed Nadir Shah had enormous respect for Mohammad Gul Khan and considered him as their sixth brother. In 1930, Mohammad Gul Khan was appointed as a Home Minister (Interior Minister) of Afghanistan in the Cabinet of King Mohammed Nadir Shah.
Later in his career, Mohammad Gul Khan served numerous position as Special Envoy throughout Afghanistan. Under his leadership numerous road, bridges, agricultural, schools, and other infrastructure projects were successfully completed. The stories of Mohammad Gul Khan's service to Afghanistan is common talking points in Afghan households.
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Mohammad Gul Khan has contributed to Pashtu language and literature. His work can best be compared to Khushal Khan Khattak and Rahman Baba as a poet, writer, and orator.[clarification needed] Mohammad Gul Khan was a strong advocate of the purification of the Pashtu language. His literary work mainly deals with Pashtu language. He wrote several books and compiled a Pashtu dictionary called "De Pakhtu Sind". His other work include "De Pukhtu De Zabe Lyara" (on Pashtu grammar) and another book entitled "De Pashto Landakai". His letter to Abdul Rauf Benawa regarding the importance of language for the nation and the responsibilities of writers and leaders towards their language was published in a fifty-three page essay by Pashto Tolana (Pashtu Gathering), in Kabul. "This essay counts all the virtues of human life in relation to Pashtu and Pashtunwali." (Hamish Khalil, 1995).
Mohammad Gul Khan has served his whole career to defend the sovereignty and independence of Afghanistan. He was a strong supporter of a powerful and unified Afghan National Army. Mohammad Gul Khan was a strong advocate of Pushtun Human Rights even across the Durand line which includes Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and part of Balochistan.
According to his defenders, Mohammad Gul Khan was fair and just with other ethnic minorities in Afghanistan. Author Nancy Tapper in her book "Bartered Brides" describes Mohammad Gul Khan as, "Despite fiercely pro-Pashtun sentiments, Muhammad Gul Khan refused to countenance the oppression perpetuated by the Khans. He balanced the domination of Durrani from Kandahar by introducing many more eastern Pashtuns to the area (especially as landowners between Aqcha and Balkh), and he appears to have dealt fairly with petitions against the Nazarzai brought by Uzbeks and Aymaks from throughout the Saripul region and its hinterland." p. 34.
According to his detractors, Mohmand enforced a central government policy of political and cultural discrimination against non-Pashtuns. It is true that he was assigned as a "special envoy to northern Afghanistan" where he pushed for its Pashtunization (i.e. settling Pashtuns, often by force, in the north). His Pashtunization projects also included changing the lingua franca of the region from Persian to Pashto. Regardless of his actual character, he is associated with oppression and disenfranchisement among the non-Pashtuns of northern Afghanistan.
- Da Mummad Gul Khan Momand Annd ao Zwand ta yawa Kathana – written by Mohammad Ismail Yoon – 1994
- Mohammad Gul Khan Momand – written by Hamish Khalil – 1995
- Loy Afghan – written by Syed Sabir Shah – 1998
- Tapper, Nancy (1991). Bartered Brides: Politics, Gender and Marriage in an Afghan Tribal Society. United States: Cambridge University Press. p. 331. ISBN 0-521-38158-4. "Despite fiercely pro-Pashtun sentiments, Muhammad Gul Khan refused to countenance the oppression perpetuated by the Khans. He balanced the domination of Durrani from Kandahar by introducing many more eastern Pashtuns to the area (especially as landowners between Aqcha and Balkh), and he appears to have dealt fairly with petitions against the Nazarzai brought by Uzbeks and Aymaks from throughout the Saripul region and its hinterland." p. 34
- Necipoğlu, Gülru. Confessions of a Mullah Warrior. p. 16.
- Necipoğlu, Gülru (2002). Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World. BRILL. ISBN 90-04-12593-0. p. 87
- Hamayoun Baha's article on the Pashtunist policies during Nadir and Zahir Shah's rule
- Byron, Robert (1982). The Road to Oxiana. United States: Oxford University Press. p. 320. ISBN 0-19-503067-2.