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Riots in Peshawar, 1930

Photograph, India, North West Frontier, 1930.

The Government of India Act 1919 had initiated reforms aimed at involving Indians in all branches of the administration and the gradual development of self-governing institutions. These reforms were not extended to the Northern West Frontier Province, where the Pathans were considered not yet ready for them. A political agitator, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, began to arouse the Pathans against this discrimination and in 1929 he formed an unarmed paramilitary body known as the 'Red Shirts'.

Though the movement drilled openly and preached sedition and violence along the Frontier, no action was taken until the authorities felt compelled to arrest its leaders at a huge rally in Peshawar on 23 April 1930. The action provoked savage rioting which the Police were unable to contain and military assistance was requested. A despatch rider was killed and set on fire, his body igniting the armoured car seen burning in this photograph.

Photograph from an album compiled by C G S Clarke, 1st King George's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners, 1930-1931.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1977-02-39-2


National Army Museum, Out of Copyright


National Army Museum, Study collection

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