Lecture: Moderate Afghan King Shah Amanullah Khan

The Strategic Center for International Relations (SCIR) has organized the 3rd lecture about the judicious Afghan king Shah Amanullah Khan on January 07, 2016 in its series of lectures. The lecture under the title “How to Weigh Shah Amanullah Khan Role in the Course of History, the Past, Present and Future Perspective” has delivered by the well-known Afghan writer, politician and Deputy Minister of Border and Tribal Affairs Ministry, Abdul Ghafoor Lewal. The lecture has attended by a large number of Kabul University’s youth, professors, and civil society activists.

In the beginning, Lewal has given detailed about the biography of Shah Amanullah Khan. He said that “One must keep in view the importance of the political events of that era while calculating the contribution and role of Shah Amanullah Khan in the course of Afghan political history. Shah Amanullah Khan is not a personality but the symbol of a dynamic historical epoch. In that time, three very important political happenings took place, “The end of the Tsar Dynasty in the Russia, National Freedom Movement against colonialism and elimination of the feudal relation and the decline of the Turkish Islamic Usmani Khilafat (Empire) is an additional political event of that time.”

He further quoted that “To revive the political ideal role of Islam, Pan-Islamism was another cult of that age. These all external changes have influenced the internal social and political dynamic of the Afghan society. Mehmud Tarzai the father of the Afghan journalism for the first time in the history of Afghanistan had led the stone of the first regular newspaper ‘Siraj-Ul-Akhbar’. There were different voices for constitutionalism, press freedom, and political reforms but Amir Habibullah Khan crushed brutally the first constitutionalist movement for the sake of his absolute despotic rule. The forerunners of these different social and political movements were mostly from the religious class. Later on, in a political assassination, Amir Habibullah Khan was killed in Laghman, Kalagosh area while doing hunting.

Shah Amanullah Khan had taken the throne. The intelligent mother of Shah Amanullah Khan, Sultana Begum also played an important role to bring into power her young son Amir Amanullah Khan. The second phase of the Afghan constitutionalism and enlightenment was started within the newly Amir Rule. The dissimilarity of the second phase with the first phase of the constitutionalism and democratization is that, now the moderate Amir himself supported the movement. Some of the Afghan scholars had forwarded many of recommendations to the new Shah (king) for the extensive reforms. The visionary Shah has led the foundation of the Habibie High school in 1903.

The leadership of the second phase ‘constitutionalism and modernism’ has gradually  and strategically advanced in order to achieve the goals in a very long-lasting way because they were well aware about the bitter experience of the Amir Habibullah Khan period, brutality. Generally, the manifesto of the movement was stood for the cause of national sovereignty, national unity, democracy and national economy, relation with the international community in order to develop the national consciousness and support the Afghan culture and identity. Later on Shah Amanullah Khan on August 19, 1919, formally declared the freedom and termed the previous treaties null and void of the Afghan government signed with the British Colonial Administration. ”

Eventually, Abdul Ghafoor Lewal also shed light on the conspiracy and propaganda of the English colonialism and imperialism against the moderate king. He stated that “The English colonial ruling class was well accustomed of the role of religion in the Afghan society. So they supported some religious element against the Shah. As well as internally some crack and opposition appeared in the court of Shah Amanullah Khan. The English were active on the psychological, political and military fronts in order to dethrone the Shah (king). In the result of these external and internal factors, a reactionary rebellious uprising as sponsored by the English appeared against the Shah Rule. Shah Amanullah Khan had left the throne in the larger interest of the common people and moved to Europe. After that Habibullah Kalakani known as “Bache Saqqaw” (Son of a water carrier) with the help of British conspiracy took the throne.”

In the conclusion of the lecture, Lewal emphasized that history has two types of significance, empirical and ethnological. Afghans must learn from history and judge the historical events and personalities with a critical and rational approach. The emotional historicism with ultra-liberal adventurism and the conservative reactionary opposition of modernism and progress simply both types of fundamentalist traits are irrational and unrealistic.

After the lecture, the audience has asked different types of questions and also shared their views on the topic with a deep interest. Abdul Ghafoor Lewal replied their questions comprehensively. In the end, Afghan writer, Khushal Khalil summed up the lecture and appreciated the SCIR team to arrange such an important lecture on the prominent and progressive Afghan hero. He stated that “Whatever name and allegation the opposition leveled against Shah Amanullah Khan, but the history will be on the side of Shah Amanullah Khan because the reforms as he extended belong to the future rather than to the past.


The Afghan Tribune | Sher Jan Takal | Published: January 10, 2016, 02:59 PM


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