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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Poets of Pakistan (Series) - Khushal Khan Khattak. (1995-3)

One of the four pillars of the Pushto literature \'Khushal Khan Khattak, probably the great warrior poet and chieftain of Khattaks was born in 1613 AD corresponding to 1022 A.H. at Akora Khattak, 20 km off to the west of Attock Fort in the plains between river Kabul and river Indus. His father Shahbaz Khan and ancestors were in the service of the Mughals since the reign of Akbar the Great.
After the demise of his father Khushal Khan was made the new chief of the Khattaks. He was highly respected by the Emperor Shahjahan on account of political acumen, knowledge, and loyalty. In 1642 he lad the campaign against the Raja of Kangara and captured the fort of Taragarah. In 1645 he stoutly defended the fort of Andrab and Hindukush and accompanied the Emperor Shahjahan in the military campaign of Badaskhan and Balkh.
He remained associated with Shahjahan till around 1656 when civil was erupted among the sons of Shahjahan. With the accession of Aurangzeb in 1659 Khushal Khan Khattak gradually lost his influence in the Mughal Court and his relations with the new emperor became strained for several reasons. Chiefly Khushal khan Khattak was a loyal Officer of Shahjahan.
Aurangzeb feared that Khushal Khan Khattak might rebel against him for the restoration of Shahjahan. Secondly, the Afghans had always been of the view that the Mughals had usurped the throne of Delhi from them, they wanted to maintain their autonomy in their lands.
For this cause they had to fight the Mughals on a number of occasions. Khushal Khan Khattak although a loyal Mughal Officer (Mansabdar) strived to keep this autonomy intact. But this attitude was neither acceptable to the Mughal viceroys of Kabul and Peshawar, nor to the emperor himself. Therefore a situation was created in which the Mughals and the Afghans engaged themselves in activities to undo each other.
In 1661 Syed Amir Khan replaced Muhabat Khan. Khushal Khan Khattak was dismissed from the royal service. He was arrested and dispatched in chains to Delhi and was imprisoned at the fortress of Ramthambore in Gwaliar till 1664. In 1672 he joined his hands with the rebel Afridi\'s chieftain Akmal Khan and inflicted a series of defeats on the Mughal forces. During this period he enlightened the cause of Afghan emancipation through his sword and writings.
Aurangzeb realising the gravity of situation himself assumed the command of the Mughal forces.
In 1675 Khushal Khan Khattak routed the Mughal army first at Karpash and then at Ganpat.
During this period till his death Khushal khan Khattak constantly chanted the love of beauty, honour and justice. He reached union of all Afghan tribes and a general revolt against the Mughals.
\'My sword I grid upon my waist to guard Afghan honour and fame its chieftain in this age am I the Khattak Khan, Khushal my name.
However the pro Mughal elements created disunity between him and his Sons and gradually he lost his power and control over his own people. His sons Ashraf Khan and Behram Khan revolted against him. After being disgusted over the situation and because of old age he went into seclusion and breathed his last on February 19, 1689 corresponding to 1100 A.H. He was buried at Aseori near Akora Khattak.
Khushal khan was not only a great poet but at the same time he was equally great Writer, Religious Scholar, Hakim, Philosopher, Military Commander and Administrator. He composed about 45000 couplets in Pushto and Persian. He tried his hands in all the branches of Persian and Pushto poetry i.e. Ghazal, eulogy (Qasida) Rubai, Mathanavi, Musadass and Mkhamass etc. and having excelled in all of them stands unique and unparalleled in the whole history of Pushto Poetry. Khushal Khan Khattak contributed nearly 200 books in poetry and prose.
1. Diwan (consisting of nearly 16000 couplets)
2. Sahat uBadan (A long verse deals with pathology of human body.
3. Fazal Nama: Deals with religious proposition.
4. Swat Nama: Narration of his visit to Swat Valley.
5. Farrukh Nama: A dialogue between Pen and Sword.
6. Faraq Nama: Narration of the days in Mughal internment and exile.
1. Baz Nama: A detailed study regarding rearing of his Hawks.
2. Tarjuma Hadia: Explains various aspects of Fiqha Hanfia.
3. Aaina: A Pushto translation of an Arabic book on Fiqha.
4. Baiaz: Memories of life.
5. Zanziri: Deals with the principles of shorthand.
Khushal Khan Khattak was not only a prolific writer but also man of versatile genius. He is regarded as the national poet of the Afghans and Father of Pushto literature. His sons Ashraf khan, Gohar Khan, Sikandar Khan and Abdul Qadir Khan and daughter Bibi Halima also composed poetry.
To commemorate the renowned poet of Pakistan Post is issuing a stamp of Rs. 7/- denomination on February 28,1994.