PESHAWAR: The research and publication team of Pashto Academy, University Peshawar, has brought out for the second time the complete works of popular Sufi poet Ameer Hamza Khan Shinwari fondly remembered as Hamza Baba after interval of 30 years.

The republished works of Hamza Baba have also been uploaded on the website of Pashto Academy for research scholars and common readers.

According to Prof Nasrullah Jan Wazir, the director Pashto Academy, Hamza Baba’s Kuliyat was published in five volumes around 30 years ago. “It was out of stock since long and our research students and general readers were in dire need of it,” he said.

He said that reasons behind its delayed publication were lack of funds and absence of experts on such projects as it involved in-depth study and quality research. He said that their team made it possible to complete the project with diligence and hard work.

“The research and publication team of Pashto Academy has been working on a number of projects in addition to teaching responsibilities alongside bringing out an online research Pashto journal despite shortage of faculty and financial constraints. Our online followers run in millions and they include not only Pashto speaking communities living abroad but also those working on different aspects of Pashto and Pashtun culture and history,” claimed the director.

He said that their research and publication team was able to conduct research on different aspects of Baba’s Kuliyat including its script, arrangement and references and reduced its number of pages to about 980 and condensed it into one volume.

“Its pdf version has been uploaded on our official website but it cannot be copied down and can only be read online,” said Mr Wazir.

It took almost three years to include a number of important poems and ghazals left out of the first publication in 1993 while several poems were repeated with many script mistakes but the family sources of the Sufi poet provided their correct version to the research team.

“A poetic travelogue titled ‘Da Kabul Safarnama’ authored by Hamza Baba was published in fragmentary form but was included in the second volume. Our team has assured a new publication of the Sufi poet’s works in A-4 size in accurate script with authentic references. The vice-chancellor of University of Peshawar was kind enough to grant approval for this huge project despite financial crisis,” he stated.

Mr Wazir told this scribe that Urdu book titled “Pashtun Kaun’ by Prof Preshan Khattak, Diwan of classic Pashto poet Arzani Kheshgi, a doctorate thesis done by Prof Mahjoor Kheshgi, ‘Pashto accents’ spoken in Southern Pashtun areas and two doctorate theses on Khushal Khan Khattak were also in pipeline and would be published towards the end of current year if sufficient funds were provided for them.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2023

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