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PESHAWAR: Speakers at a function have shed light on various aspects of the life and literary services of noted Sufi Pashto poet Amir Hamza Baba.

The Pohantoon Adabi Stori, Khan-i-Farhang Iran, Peshawar, and Pashto Department of Islamia College University jointly organised a literary event here at the Khana-i-Farhang Iran to mark the 22nd death anniversary of Baba-i-Pashto ghazal Amir Hamza Khan Shinwari.

Delegates from tribal areas and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa attended the event. The speakers explored some hidden aspects of Hamza Baba and urged young writers to dig out works of the saint poet. They regretted that Baba’s letters and scripts of his radio plays had not been preserved and called upon writers to make efforts for their retrieval.

“Much has to be done to retrieve important letters and scripts of Baba’s radio plays on social themes and it would be a real service to his talent,” they said.

Speakers pay tribute to Sufi poet

Young poet from Swat, Shaukat Swati, recited popular Sufi numbers of Hamza Baba and received applause from the audience. A resolution regarding provision of a librarian and other facilities for the Hamza Baba Cultural Complex at Landi Kotal was unanimously passed by the participants.

Speaking as chief guest, Pashto writer Tahir Bukhari said that Hamza Baba being a multifaceted figure had contributed immensely to Pashto, Urdu and Persian. He said that 20th century should be dedicated to Hamza Baba’s matchless literary services. Research scholars read out papers on the life and contributions of Hamza Baba while poets paid their poetic tribute to the Sufi poet.

Ali Yousafi, director general of Khana-i-Farhang Iran, Peshawar, said that Hamza Baba had rendered the celebrated book Nahjul Balagha into Pashto which, he said, was a great achievement.

He said that Baba’s Sufi thoughts had a great impact on the Pashto poetry. He said Baba had also composed poems in Persian. Mr Yousafi also recited a ghazal of Hamza Baba in Persian.

Writer Kulsoomzeb Yousafzai, chief of the Women Writers Forum, in her remarks said that Hamza Baba had also served as a social reformer for the society. She said Baba had envisioned a progressive Pakhtun society. She said that women writers should also be encouraged to display their talent.

Prof Aslam Taseer Afridi while reading out his paper on Hamza Baba said that around eight doctorate theses had been conducted in Pashto on different aspects of the Sufi poet. He said Baba had contributed to almost all literary genres of Pashto poetry, prose and fiction.

Research scholar, Prof Hanif Khalil, pointed out that several aspects of Hamza Baba’s works had not been discovered yet. For instance, he added, scholars had yet to explore him as a translator, playwright and Urdu poet. He said that Baba had influenced several young Pakhtun generations and introduced them to different fields of scholarships such as philosophy, psychology and humanism.

Prof Yar Mohammad Khattak said that Baba experimented with ghazal composition and had innovated Sufi thought in Pashto literature. He said that Baba was the king of modern Pashto literature who had created his own school of thought.

Prof Zubair Hasrat, MR Shafaq, Kalim Shinwari, Dr Abdul Qudous Asim, Irfan Khalil, Muntazir Baba, Abaseen Yousafzai and Prof Dawar Khan Daud also spoke at the event.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2017