Sufi poet Rahman Baba’s Urs (death anniversary) gathered poets from around the province at the Khana-e-Farhang on Sunday.
Organised by the Rahman Baba Adabi Jirga, the event is usually held at the mausoleum of the great poet, but this year, for the first time, it was held at the Iranian Cultural Centre. Devotees and poets, from amateurs to established writers, were in attendance to pay their respects to the region’s most loved poet.
The sessions were divided in two, with many poets invited on stage to present their work. Very few of them, however, limited their readings to Rahman Baba’s work.
“A congregation on such a grand scale is seldom held in our province. It serves as an opportunity for Pashto poets to present their work to the public,” said Ghandal Khan Ghanda, while speaking to The Express Tribune. He had travelled to Peshawar from Katozai, Charsadda.
I have travelled from Katozai with just Rs 100 in my pocket. It's not just the responsiblitiy of poets to rember the great Sufi. Ghandal Khan Ghandal
Noor Muhammad Sheda recited his famous poem ‘Pa vina sur zamunga kali ta akhbar raghly’ – ‘Red with blood, the newspaper comes to our village’ – in which he highlighted the threats and insecurities faced by Pukhtuns. The same issue was also discussed in the poetry of Abdul Manan Sangar in his poem ‘Munga aman pejanu, da na che aman na pejanu’ – ‘It is not such that we do not know peace’ – and Zainullah Khan’s ‘Zamung dawa wa che Kabul ta de Khuday khair ki, us hagha haal pa Pekhawar ke de’ – ‘We prayed for Kabul’s safety, now Peshawar is unsafe’. Zainullah also went on to present some of his light, humorous poetry, which drew great appreciation from the audience.
In his address at the event, Sangar also compared the teachings and poetry of Rahman Baba to those of the famous Persian poet Saadi Shirazi. Sangar termed Rahman Baba as the finest poet and said spirituality in poetry has trickled down to all contemporary Pashto poets from Rahman Baba.
Shaukat Husain Hasrat and Ghulam Haider, who presided over the sessions, expressed their disappointment over the lack of interest of the general public at such events even when they are held to remember a man popularly known as ‘the poet of the Pukhtuns’.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2014.