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Pre and Post Partition Socio-Economical and Educational Development in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: A Historical Review
This paper shows the pre and post partition socio-educational scenario of the then N.W.F.P now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The objectives of the study were (i) to explore the pre partition history of the educational development (ii) to explore the post partition scenario of educational uplift in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (iii) to compare the pre and post partition educational developments in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Data was collected mainly from primary sources like Directorate of Archives and libraries, Peshawar and personal interviews were conducted too. For secondary sources, data was collected from books, research papers, newspapers, magazines and other published material. The data was analyzed through internal and external criticism. It was concluded from the study that education as policy matter saw no difference both in pre and post partition period. However, after the independence, the development ration ratio increased with a high momentum.
Pre Partition Education, Post Partition Education,
The Indian British N.W.F.P now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was bifurcated from the Punjab province in 1901. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the Edwards Memorial Mission school was the pioneer of the Educational institutions, established in 1854. It was followed by some other missionary schools in the entire region. The agitation against the Rowlatt Act of 1919 awakened the masses towards political, social and educational endeavors in the province. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was a province, without any constitutional reforms. It was declared as a Governor Province in 1932. Subsequently, elections were held for the Provincial Assembly in 1937 and Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan formed the Ministry in the province and he kept the education portfolio with him. From April 1937 to September 1937, Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan, during his tenure, did nothing for the promotion of Education, as it was very short term.
In September 1937, Dr. Khan Sahib formed the Ministry after successful no-confidence motion against Sahibzada Abdul Qayum Khan. He worked for 27 months, during which Education remained in focus in many ways. The next years_ from 1939 to 1943, the Governor Raj was imposed during World War 2nd whereby Education again, remained in foreign hands.
Sardar Mohammad Aurangzeb Khan took over charge as Chief Executive of the Province in 1943. He claimed drastic changes and focused on secondary education. For the first time in the history of the province, Minister of Education was appointed. Sameen Jan Khan, a member of Congress, deviated his loyalties to the Muslim league and was given portfolio of Education, in return. He worked as Minister of Education from May 25, 1943 till March 16, 1945.
Dr. Khan Sahib took over charge as CM on March 16, 1945 till November 22, 1945. Qazi Attaullah Khan was appointed Minister of Education in this period. The first legislative Assembly was dissolved on November 22, 1945 in order to hold new elections. New election was held from February 1-14, 1946 and as a result, congress cum Khudai Khidmatgars won a clear majority having won 30 out of 50 seats.
Dr Khan Sahib took over charge as CM while Mohammad Yahya Jan Khan was given the Ministry of Education. This Ministry worked from March 12, 1947 till August 22, 1947.
The Ministry of Dr. Khan Sahib was dismissed after the birth of newly formed country, Pakistan. Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan was gifted the rulership of the province, with Mian Jaffer Shah as Minister of Education. This ministry remained in power from August 23, 1947 till March 23, 1954.
Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan’s Contributions in Education (April 1937 to September 1937)
Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan contributed the following services to the nation:
1. Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum, the only one incharge of the transferred department of NWFP, played very important role in the promotion of education. He worked for education in different cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and also worked for the progress of the Islamia College Peshawar. For the betterment of Education system in Islamia College Peshawar, he gave 1 lac and 80,000 rupees to the college.
2. He also extended help from the government side to the Hindus College in Dera Ismail Khan.
3. He announced scholarships to intelligent students i.e. 250 rupees per year.
4. At the central level, he always helped the students of NWFP, and gave them 350 pounds.
5. Sir Sahibzada enlightened the people of Pakhtunkhwa, who were struggling for social uplift.
6. He tried to appoint the educated people of NWFP in place of British on important vacancies.
7. He also worked for the progress of the Agriculture, Forestry and irrigation system in the NWFP.
8. For awareness of Female Education, he also opened different schools for female in NWFP.
9. For the promotion of education in tribal areas, he opened schools in tribal areas and also increased scholarships.
10. He also promoted the democratic and political institutions in NWFP. Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum wanted both English and Urdu medium education in educational institutions of NWFP.
11. He also helped the Islamic schools of NWFP. Islamiyat was made compulsory. He also helped for the curriculum development in NWFP schools.
12. In November 8, 1934, he passed the Shariat bill. He established a Radio station in 1935 and appointed Aslam Khan Khattak as the Director of Radio station.
13. The biggest achievement of Shaibzada was to suspend the FCR and unnecessary use of 40 FCR. Before it, a deputy commissioner was allowed to ask for unlimited money as guaranty.
14. The ministry of Sir Sahibzada announced both, Urdu and English as medium of instruction in all schools. To this decision the Hindus and Sikhs agitated for their own language Hindi and Gurmukhi.
Sahibzada Muhammad Ashraf wrote this book with a much exaggerated tone. For the above 14 points he had not mentioned any single reference. To triangulate these statements, the record of the then provincial assembly was checked from April 1937 to September 1937 in the assembly proceedings and debates record in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly library.(N.W.F.P 1937-38).
During the tenure of Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum from April 1937 to 9 September 1937, the annual budget was not even presented in the Provincial Assembly. The non-confidence motion was passed against him on September 1937 and the budget was presented after that how come it, without budget that Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum established so many schools in province, as claimed by Sahibzada Muhammad Ashraf in his Book “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ka Azeem insan”.
Dr. Khan Sahib’s First Ministry as C.M (September 1937 to November 1939)
Dr. Khan Sahib made great contribution towards education, emphasizing upon infrastructure and innovations. New schools were established with filling up the missing facilities in the already established schools. Dr. Khan Sahib established 50 new Primary District Board schools; some were upgraded to lower middle while others were converted to Middle standard. The students who were enrolled to take technical and vocational training at industrial schools were offered full stipends. The director Public instruction was made a provincial post hence saving was established, as a result. To promote literacy ratio among adults, the District Board school teachers were asked to take extra night shifts in the schools. In this regard help was also sought from Educated Khudai Khidmatgars and rover scouts. An amount of six thousand rupees were allocated in the budget of 1939-40 for the following purposes:
1. The honorary teachers working in district board schools were paid remuneration.
2. A lump sum amount was also allocated for the contingent expenditures to run the extra classes in DB schools.
3. The lower grade students were provided wooden Takhtis and Qaida, as extra writing material.
Dr. Khan sahib gave full attention to Education during his ministry. While delivering a speech on the occasion of annual gathering of his mother institution; the Edwards Mission School, he emphasized that education is not only the earning of livelihood for men but to develop mankind. Education makes a sense to be dutiful everywhere you are working, he remarked. He remarked that he receives hundreds of application by person to appoint them clerks. It is the fault of Education system that is provoking only clerkship. There is a need to change curriculum, which is a lengthy process, he emphasized.
On another occasion Dr. Khan sahib asked the students to realize what the purpose of human creature in his world is; we are not over here to think for ourselves just, but to go beyond it and think for others, too; we should realize the rights of others, he asked. We eat food but do not think about those who produce it for us, he mentioned the peasants, at the occasion. He further elaborated that history is written by interested parties therefore students should read but not follow and the end of the school does not mean the end of education. They should think themselves students for the whole of their lives. They may not work for any kind of reward but for the betterment of the human.
Dr. Khan Sahib’s Second Ministry (1945-1946)
After the Second World War, the political scenario changed drastically. The question of independence of the India could not be prolonged more. The situation of the India was remarkable when the labor party won elections in the British general elections. The labor party was committed to the cause of Indian independence.
In the then N.W.F.P, the Muslim League ministry fell down in March 1944. The Dr. Khan Sahib’s Congress lead party, took over charge of the ministry after a successful no-trust motion against Sardar Aurangzeb. It was hard time to maintain the ministry as political horse trading was initiated to make and conceal to it. War was still the official policy of the All Indian National Congress. Dr. Khan sahib pointed that people of the province were hanging between life and death. He declared that Congress was interested in serving people. The civil disobedience movement was going on. The Britishers were still hoping help in war and its effects from the AINC. They issued an order that no ministry will be made functional until March, 1945 without confirming help and assistance assurance to them.
Sir Charge Cunningham invited Dr. Khan Sahib to form ministry, before an unconditional assurance to the “whole- hearted” cooperation. It was in fact, a victory for the pro government authorities to get an undertaking from the most resistive political party.
The Ministry was formed with following portfolios.
Dr. Khan Sahib - Chief Minister (Political affairs, Home, public health, and public works)
Qazi Attaullah - Revenue Minister
Meher Chand Khanna - Finance Minister
Budget for 1945-46
The Muslim League Ministry, while presenting the budget on March 9, 1945, by the Finance Minister, Sardar Abdul Rab Nishtar. The Assembly met again on March 19, 1945, after the formation of ne ministry. There was no ethical consideration and time constraints to revise Budget. Therefore, Dr. Khan Sahib ministry worked on the arrangements of the ongoing ministry. The ministry increased the revenue rates under the income tax share of the province. There was a phenomenal decrease in the prisoners which resulted a huge saving. The saving encouraged the ministry to solve the problem of food stuff which was affecting common people’s life.
Dr. Khan Sahib’s Third Ministry (Feb, 1946 – 22 Aug, 1947)
In February 1946, elections were held for the Provincial Assembly. The Khudai Khidmatgar movement in the province contested election against the Muslim league. The Muslim league convinced the masses for the slogan of Pakistan, while Khudai Khidmatgar contested election for the right and uplift of oppressed nations. In the 50 constituencies, the Khudai Khidmatgars won 30 seats, and thus enabled to form the third ministry.
Dr. Khan Sahib was elected as the chief minister with portfolio of home, political, public health and public works.
Qazi Attaullah Khan was nominated as minister for revenue, industries and jails. Mohammad Yahya Jan took oath as Education minister and Mehrchand Khanna as the Finance minister. Allah Nawaz Khan was elected as the speaker and Lala Girdari Lal became the deputy speaker. (Ameer Kumar Gupta, NWFP legislative freedom struggle 1932-1947, new Delhi 1976 p181).
There was, actually an interim Government in British India. In fact, the interim Government was created in an atmosphere of suspicion and distress among Congress, League and Viceroy.
The Role of Yahya Jan Khan in the Ministry of Dr. Khan Sahib for the Promotion of Education (1946-1947)
Yahya Jan Khan, the former headmaster of the Islamia High School Peshawar, who won election from Peshawar constituency, was appointed as Minister for Education. The third Education Ministry of Dr. Khan Sahib worked from March 7, 1946 to August 22, 1947.
The biggest achievement in this short period was the introduction and passing the University of Peshawar’s bill. From the provincial Assembly on 21 March 1947 a sum of rupees 30 lacs were sanctioned with a recurring budget of .8 million annually.
The bill of the establishment of the University of Peshawar was presented by Yahya Jan Khan and the following members participated in discussion session:
1). Abdul Qayyum Khan Sawati of Hazara
2). Pir Shehen Shah of Kohat
3). Sardar Asadullah Khan of Kolachi
4). Lala Koto Ram Bannu
5). Sardar Ram Singh
6). Abdul Aziz Khan of Swabi
7). Sardar Partab Singh
8). Lala Kevel Ram
The second biggest achievement of this Ministry was the conversion of 60 vernacular schools into Anglo vernacular schools. Similarly, English teachers were appointed for Anglo vernacular schools. The next biggest achievement was the increase in salaries of teachers association that had been demanded for a long time.
Sardar Aurangzeb’s Ministry
In November 1939, the Congress ministry in NWFP led by Dr. Khan Sahib, and he resigned on account of differences on Indian’s participation in World War 2nd. The provinces were brought under Governor Rule. Sardar Aurangzeb Khan started the struggle for the formation of ministry in the province but due to the lack of support of required numbers of Assembly members, he could not make it. However, in May 1943, he managed to get support of incomplete legislative assembly having total strength of 36 members. The situation was that seven Congress members of legislative Assembly were in jail while few seats had fallen vacant as result of the death of members and other reason.
Consequently, the Governor of NWFP invited him to form a ministry. He took oath as Chief Minister on 25th May, 1943 along with a four member’s cabinet comprising of Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, Mohammad Sameen Jan Khan, Abdur Rahman Khan and Sardar Ajit Singh.
Role of Sardar Aurangzeb’s Ministry 1943 – 1945
There is nothing found in the historical anecdotes except his own statement in the legislative assembly that he established six secondary schools in the province.
Profile of Barrister Abdul Qayyum Khan
Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan was born on July16, 1901 at Chitral where his father Abdul Hakim Khan was posted as Indian assistant on behalf of the Government of India. His grandfather Muhammad Qasim Khan taught at the Mission High School Peshawar. His forefather belonged to Kashmir.
At the age of 5, he received his early religious education at home. He was admitted to the Mission High school Peshawar but his schooling was disrupted. In Peshawar, Mardan, Kohat and D.I. Khan he attended school before passing his matriculation examination. In 1918, he passed his intermediate examination from Islamia College Peshawar, where he took part in co-curricular activities in Ali Garh and London School of Economics. He passed his Bar-at-law examination, and started legal practice in Peshawar in 1926.
Barister Abdul Qayum as the Chief Minister
Dr. Khan sahib’s majority Ministry was dismissed on 17 August, 1947. The minority party was offered to form the government. As a result Abdul Qayum Khan, the barrister, formed the government on August 22, 1947. A manipulated election was held in 1951, and Abdul Qayum Khan was appointed as Chief Minister of province for the second consecutive time.
Role of Abdul Qayyum Khan for the Promotion of Education
Education remained in focus with all wear and tear, in the Qayum Khan Ministry. The assembly debates are evident that he made on the floor of the house. He mentioned in the speech that he established 20 high schools in four years after the establishment of the country. He also told to the house that during these years he established 23 middle and 114 primary schools in the province. The following table can best judge our performance:
Before partition no. of schools
After Partition no. of schools
839 ( Primary)
1017 ( primary)
131 ( Middle )
238 ( Middle)
30 ( High )
70 ( High)
Following colleges were also established by Khan Qayum Ministry:
1. Government Girls degree college, Peshawar
2. Government Boys degree college, Abbottabad
3. Government Boys degree college, Bannu
4. Government Boys degree college, D.I Khan
There is strong contradiction of assembly proceedings and regards, as far as the University of Peshawar is concerned. The bill was passed by the Dr. Khan Sahib’s ministry on March 17, 1947. It was sent to the selected committee; the annual fund was allocated for it. However, after the formation of the Khan Qayum ministry, a new bill was passed by the assembly in presence of the old one. There is no doubt, that Khan Qayum initiated the bill for the first time in the history, in the central assembly, when he was representing the Congress at that time in 1938.
It is a fact that University of Peshawar was established in the tenure of Khan Qayum, irrespective of the fact who, initiated it. He wrote in his book ‘Gold and Guns’ that “It is the ardent wish of the Pathans to transform this college into a great Pathan University, which besides spreading the light of learning in the Province and tribal areas will also help the development and growth of the Pashto language and Pathan culture which they all have so much at heart. Sometime back a resolution recommending the conversion of this college into a University was unanimously carried in the Central Legislative Assembly but so far there has been no practical response from the powers. The Qayum Khan assembly moved the resolution for the establishment of the University of the Peshawar, on 7th January, 1950. It was referred to select committee and it became part the statue Book in March, 1950. On receiving green signals from the Provincial Government, the officer on special duty Peshawar University, Mr. Abdul Hashim Khan issued the following press communique:
“The Peshawar University Act which was passed by the NWFP Legislative Assembly in its session in March 1950 and which received assent of the Governor NWFP has now been applied in its entirety to the NWFP including tribal areas and states within its territorial jurisdiction. Under the term of the bill, Honorable Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, Chancellor of the Peshawar University, is pleased to direct that under section 49 of the said Act in terms of which and in accordance with the enter University now stand disaffiliated to the Peshawar University.”
Professor Shiekh Taimur was appointed as first Vice Chancellor and Professor Shiekh Minhajuddin as the Registrar. The ceremony for the inauguration of the university was held on October 30, 1950. The then Prime minister, Liaqat Ali Khan, delivered the inaugural speech.
“It is with very great pleasure that I have come here today to perform the inauguration of Peshawar University. This is a historic day for the people of this Province and for Islamia College which has been the Center of learning for such a long time and which has played an important part in the creation of the University. The Government and the people of the Province can take legitimate pride in their achievement as the inauguration of Peshawar University as an important landmark on road to progress which the province is traversing so rapidly and yet so surely.”
Khan Abdul Khan was keenly interested in equipping the university with required scientific apparatus. For this purpose, he asked Dr. Raziud Din Siddiqi in 1952 to procure equipment for the university. Dr. Siddiqi visited England, France, Germany and Switzerland and purchased laboratory equipment for the Department of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth science and Engineering. It is interesting to note that the university had no money for the purchase of such expensive apparatus but Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan manage to get 75 million rupees from the Central Government for the social uplift program, the major portion of which he gave to the university. With this amount, the university was equipped with necessary equipment and other facilities.
Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan took much interest in the affairs of the university and used to point out even minute things in the capacity of the chancellor. When the draft of the first admission form for MA/MSc was put before him for approval, he bitterly criticized one of its columns titled “caste.” He made a query, “Are we going to introduce caste system?” Subsequently the university administration excluded the said column.
The following table will show a picture about the amount spent on education with a comparison to the past:
Pre partition( amount spent)
After Partition ( Amount spent)
8, 84,000 (increase by 104%)
Similarly, per capita expenditure on education was as;
Per capita expenditures in Punjab
Qayum Khan also innovated the curricula. It was revised according to the conformity and requirements of new trends. Women Education was also focused. In one of his budget speech, Qayum Khan said;
“I may refer to the important decision, which I have already announced in the last session of this house whereby Education has been made free up to the middle stage. This decision has been hailed throughout the Province and even outside. This decision was inspired by a genuine desire to improve the lot of the common man so that these children are not denied Educational opportunities on the score of poverty without reckoning the resultant loss to the Provincial revenues.”
There was a phenomenal difference in the approach, legitimacy and pragmatism in promoting education before and after partition. There was government but lack of authority before partition. There was liberty to work after partition. All the dreams were given a practical shape regarding educational uplift schemes, policies and plans after partition. In March 1947, the University of Peshawar bill was introduced by Honorable Yahya Jan Khan, the Minister of Education. It was later, established by the Qayum Khan Ministry in 1950.
As far as the consistency of the policies is concerned, it remained a dream and no substantial evidence was observed as to which legacy freedom was sought. The colonial education system, with English as the language of academics and ability remained the sacred plum. The Wood’s examination system, which was to check the memory and not the critical ability continued even after the creation of the new country.