Bertrand Russel, the British Philosopher, in his book “The Power” devoted one chapter to “What is Leadership”. According to this chapter, the emergence of leader is a phenomenon. It is circumstances, which gives rise to leaders. Even though, the chapter further unfolded, the lust for power is innate in people, but people despite that give their power to a particular person. Reason can be two: either people lack capability to tackle the situation, or they concern about communal good. Therefore, leaders entrust with some objectives to achieve.
In view of that, a good leader should acquire the following attributes.
- Good leader should dispense justice to his people
- Good leader should participate in war in person
- Good leader should be a shrewd diplomat
- Good leader should be a nationalist
- Good leader should strive to secure the livelihood of his people
- Good leader should be loyal to his land and people
The story begins with the Durand agreement of 1893 that divided the Pashtun terrain. This division brought Pashtun under two influences: the Pashtun under British and the Pashtun under Afghan. British, in result of the Durand agreement, at once, set out to intervene in the local affairs of the region and marched towards Wana (a strategically important region) to inhabit there. The local people regarded the action extremely undemocratic. However, a man of nationalistic outlook, Mullah Powindah Mahsud, came into being and set out to teach British a lesson. He gave British tough time and British consequently conferred him due place.
Accordingly, Mullah Powindah dispensed justice to his people. On the outset of the British intervention, not only the local affairs were razed to the ground but also apprehension of local people devoid of proper litigation came into appearance. The immediate concerned of the newly emerged leader Mullah Powindah was to dispense his people a justice. Therefore, Mullah Powindah sent a letter to Mr. Bruce, who apprehended five natives without legal proceedings, to set the prisoners free. Mr. Bruce denied setting them free. Mullah Powindah at once attacked their camps and also banished and killed those Maliks included in the apprehension case. However, the fight against injustice of British government had been continued since longer.
Moreover, Mullah Powindah fought every war in person. In 1894 when the British commission first arrived at the site of Wana to establish camps, Powindah himself confronted them. This was the first skirmish between the troops of British government and Mullah Powindah’s lashkar. Likewise, in other minor confrontations, he fought bravely for the cause of emancipating the natives from the British so-called democratic rule. However, it was difficult to act effectively under the new governing structure founded by Lord Curzon in 1899. According to the new policy all the regular troops were replaced with the local people. This attempt by the government of British was only aimed to undermine the leadership of Mullah Powindah. However, people despite receiving outstanding incentives from the government under the new policy‒the soft forward policy‒didn’t abstain from their journey against British. The local people that were now safeguarding their selves, with the weapons provided by British, turned against British government and killed many government incumbents. Hence, one can say that the influence of Mullah Powindah could not reduce even by the new tactic of British government.
Similarly, Mullah Powindah was a shrewd diplomat. The time when British, Russia and Afghanistan were playing with the lives of common person, there a man like Mullah Powindah emerged as a blessing for people. Mullah Powindah, wrote Andre Singer, the author of the book “Lords of the Khyber” was able to play upon the revelries between the British and the Afghans, getting financial support from the Amir Abd-ur Rahman to maintain pressure on the British and at the same time getting occasional support from the British in return for ‘keeping the peace’. The dual trait of diplomacy earned him a deferential place in the history.
Besides, Mullah Powindah was a great nationalist. It was not endurable to him to see his people divided. Therefore, when British embarked on towards Wana in 1894 to occupy it, he immediately forewarned them of any kind of encroachment. However, the British ignored his warning and that compelled Mullah Powindah to take action against the government troops. Olaf Caroe, in his book “The Pathan” unfolded Mullah Powindah’s nationalistic temperament in such a way: the farewell letter to his countrymen, read out to his followers in Jirga after his death, the Mullah exhorted them to hold their nationality intact, and allow neither the British Government nor the Amir to encroach up their country, to compose their internal difference and to give up raiding so as to deprive Government of a convenient excuse for occupying the region.
Likewise, Mullah Powindah strove to secure the livelihood of his people. It was difficult to secure sustenance for natives. However, he remained hopeful and kept struggling to secure for them enough food so as no one could able exploit them. The local people were too poor to decline any offer made by the British. That was why, Mullah Powindah very cautiously and diplomatically secured livelihood for them from both the countries: Afghanistan and British. Hence, this way the vulnerable habitants got emancipation from the exploitative nature of British.
In the same manner, Mullah Powindah was loyal to his land and people. At the beginning of his leadership, he was disregarded by the British government. He was considered neither a leader nor a resister. However, in 1895 when Mr. Watson became Political Officer, Mullah Powindah was acknowledged as a leader. Mr. Watson formally interviewed him. At interview, he criticized government’s policy towards his people and he declined all incentives offered by Government to stop resistance.
Consequently, the leadership of Mullah Powindah was blessing for the tribal people. He was the first person to stand against the injustice of British government. In 1894, when British held five men without proper proceedings, he called the action undemocratic and asked British to set them free. Moreover, he continued his struggled to get emancipation from the yoke of British unlawful governance. Mullah Powindah was one of the outstanding leaders ever produced in History. The book Mizh, written by Evelyn Howell, unfolded Mullah Powindah’s personality in such words: All officers who ever actually met him will agree that his forceful character, striking appearance and persuasive eloquence made a deep impression on those with whom he came into personal contact.