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Old Tuesday, May 29, 2007
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Default PASHTO POET " Rahman Baba"

Rahman Baba
NIGHTINGALE OF PESHAWAR

One of the great religious scholar of Swat (A city in current Pakistan),
Swat Sahib, said: "If any other then, the book of God, was permissible for prayer,
I would have defiantly chosen Rahman's book." At the dawn of seventeenth century, at the age of invasions from the West by Persians and East by Moghols, a the time when Afghans were in the mist of war in every corner of the nation, a the time when education was the last thing in peoples' mind, a legend was born. In the high hills of the Afghan nation, in the provincial area of Mohmand, a child was born, by the name of Abdul Rahman. Abdul Rahman would become one of the greatest poet in the history of the Pashto literature.

At the dawn of seventeenth century, at the age of invasions from the West by Persians and East by Moghols, a the time when Afghans were in the mist of war in every corner of the nation, a the time when education was the last thing in peoples' mind, a legend was born.
In the high hills of the Afghan nation, in the provincial area of Mohmand, a child was born, by the name of Abdul Rahman. Abdul Rahman would become one of the greatest poet in the history of the Pashto literature.
One of the great religious scholar of Swat (A city in current Pakistan), Swat Sahib, said:
"If any other then, the book of God, was permissible for prayer, I would have defiantly chosen Rahman's book."
Abdur Rahman Baba popularly known as Rahman Baba (1064-1123A.H/1653-1711 AD) was born to Abdus Sttar at Bahadur Killi, Hazar Khawani, Peshawar.

Rahman is commonly acknowledged as the saint among Pashto Poets. That is why he is called Rahman Baba. Baba means father, and is a common appellation of reverence for age and wisdom. Professor Preshan Khattak writes, 'there are many excellent poets of Pashto language those of the past and of the present. They are appreciated, loved, but none of them has reached the universal popularity of Rahman Baba and probably no one will'. Rahman Baba a great mystic poet has always been a great source of inspiration for poets and writers. Rahman Baba is an in exhaustible subject for researchers and critics of Pashto language.

Twentieth century gave a new wind of thought to Pukhtoons. With the dawn of the twentieth century, many poets/writers, researchers and critics emerged, they rediscovered Khushal Khan Khattak coupled with ennobling spirit of mysticism of Rahman Baba provided a new spur to the imagination of Pukhtoon poets.

Rahman Baba was well conversant with the prevalent stock of knowledge, fork lore and all the pros and cons of a typical Pukhtoon society. He was not just a detached reclusive mystic, oblivious and blind to the common problems of the people around him. Rahman Baba was a true representative of the spirit of the age he lived in. His poetry is a mirror to the virtues and ills of his period. Many of his verses have become proverbial in Pashto language. His verses have got such a currency in Pashto language that a convincing speech or a sermon remains almost incomplete and even incomprehensible without quoting one or two of his verses as a forceful argument.

The subjects of Baba poetry are universal love, sympathy, humility, peace, humanity and true friendship.

'Rahman Baba was the king of love, the guide to contemplation and virtue, the walking stick of the blind, the leader of poets, the saint of Pathans, and the master of simple word, observes a critic. Dost Mohammad Kamil who has explored Rahman Baba in his most admirable book "Rahman Baba' published in 1958 says, 'Rahman Baba has reached such heights of humanity and honesty that the reader-listener is compelled to accept his words "The Truth".

The poetry of Baba attracted many linguists, Scholars and researchers to understand the collective wisdom of Pukhtoons. Major Raverty and Plowden jointly translated (A selection from the poetry of Afghans) a celebrated book published during the British era. Markazi Naukhar Pukhto Adabi Jirga founded in 1934 by Abdul Khaliq Khaleeq, Abudl Hanan Hami and others arranged the first ever Pashto Mushaira at the mazar of Rahman Baba in 1938. The Jirga included Amir Hamza Khan Shinwari, Samander Khan Samarder, Abdul Ghufran Baikas, Ashraf Maftoon, Ajmal Khattak, Mian said Rasool Rasa, Abdullah Ustad, Mohammad Akram Mahshood. The poets at the Mushaira demanded that Tablets should be prepared for the graves of literary giants, Khushal Khan Khattak and Rahman Baba so that it could be properly preserved. The demand was put before the 'Pukhto Tolana Kabul, Afghanistan.

Mohammad Hassan a sculptor along with an engineer came to Peshawar and prepared the designs of the graves, they handed over the Tablets to the Afghan consulate in Peshawar 1949. The provincial government of N.W.F.P built a complex comprising a white marble mazar, a cafeteria, mosque, library and an auditorium where the poets and writers arrange a three days seminar and a Pashto Mushaira at the mazar of Rahmana Baba every year in the spring season. This year the Rahman Baba day coincides with the centenary celebration of N.W.F.P. The Diwan of Rahman Baba was translated into Urdu in verse form by Amir Hamza Khan Shinwari published in 1963.

Jens Kristian Enevoldsen (1922 -1991) a Danish scholar rendered Rahman Baba's poetry into English under the tile Rahman Baba: the nightingale of Peshawar. Keeping in view the universality of the message of Rahman Baba, I consider him the Nightingale of Humanity.

Amir Zeb HEC Islamabad
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