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 Rahman,s Baba Poetry






History of Rahman Baba



      ABDUR-RAHMAN is one of the most popular, and probably the best known, of all the Afghan poets. His effusions are of a religious or moral character, and chiefly on the subject of divine love, being, like the poetical compositions of all Muslim poets, tinged with the mysticisms of Sufism, already described in the Introductory Remarks; but there is a fiery energy in his style, and a natural simplicity, which will be vainly sought for amongst the more flowery and bombastic poetry of the Persians.

Rahman belonged to the Ghoriah Khel clan or sub-division, of the Mohmand tribe of the Afghans, and dwelt in the village of Hazar-Khani in the tapah or district of the Mohmands, one of the five divisions of the province of Peshawar. He was a man of considerable learning, but lived the life of a Darwesh, absorbed in religious contemplation, and separated from the world, with which, and with its people, he held no greater intercourse than necessity and the means of subsistence demanded. He is said to have been passionately fond of hearing religious songs, accompanied by some musical instrument, which the Chasti sect of Muslims appears to have a great partiality for. After a time, when the gift of poesy was bestowed upon him, he became a strict recluse, and was generally found by his friends in tears. Indeed, he is said to have been in the habit of weeping so much, as in course of time to have produced wounds on both his cheeks. His strict retirement, however, gave opportunity to a number of envious Mullas to belive him; and they began to circulate reports to the effect, that Rahman had turned atheist or heretic, since he never left his dwelling, and had even given up worshipping at the mosque along with the congregation-a matter strictly enjoined on all orthodox Muslims. At length, by the advice and assistance of some of the priesthood, more liberal and less bigoted than his enemies, he contrived to escape from their hands, by agreeing, for the future, to attend the place of public worship, and to pray and perform his other religious duties, along with the members of the congregation. He thus, whether agreeable to himself or not, was obliged in some measure to mix with the world.

Rahman appears to have been in the habit of giving the copies of his poems, as he composed them, from time to time, to his particular friends, which they, unknown to each other, took care to collect and preserve, for the express purpose of making a collection of them after the author’s death. This they accordingly carried out, and it was not until Rahman’s decease that these facts became known. It then appeared also, that some of these pseudo friends had, to increase the bulk of their own collection of the poet’s odes, mixed up a quantity of their own trashy compositions with Rahman’s, and had added, or rather forged, his name to them in the last couplets. In this manner two of these collections of odes were made, and were styled Rahman’s first and second. Fortunately for his reputation, these forgeries were discovered in time, by some of the dearest of the poet’s friends, who recognised or remembered the particular poems of his composition; and they accordingly rejected the chaff retaining the wheat only, in the shape of his Diwan, or alphabetical collection of odes, as it has come down to the present day. Still, considerable differences exist in many copies, some odes having a line more or a line less, whilst some again contain odes that are entirely wanting in others. This caused me considerable trouble when preparing several of them for insertion in my “Selections in the Afghan Language ;“ but it was attended with a proportionate degree of advantage, having altogether compared some sixty different copies of the poet’s works, of various dates, some of which were written shortly after Rabman’s death, when his friends had succeeded in collecting the poems in a single volume.

By some accounts, the poet would appear to have been a co-temporary of the warrior-poet, Khushhal Khan; and it has been stated, that on two or three occasions they held poetical disputations together. This, however, cannot be true; for it seems that although Rabman was living towards the latter part of that brave chieftain’s life, yet he was a mere youth, and was, more correctly speaking, a cotemporary of Afzal Khan’s the grandson and successor of Khushhal and the author of that rare, excellent, and extensive Afghan history, entitled “Tarikh-i-Murassae,” and other valuable works. A proof of the incorrectness of this statement is, that the tragical end of Gul Khan and Jamal Khan, which Ralunau and the poet ijamId also have devoted a long poem to took place in the year of the Hijrah 1123 (A. D. 1711), twenty-five years after the death of Khushal. Another, and still stronger proof against the statement of poetical disputations having taken place between them, is the fact of Rahman’s retired life, and his humble position, as compared with that of Khushhal the chief of a powerful tribe, and as good a poet as himself.

Some descendants of Rahman, on his daughter’s side, dwell at present in the little hamlet of Deh-i-Bahadur (the Hamlet of the Brave), in the Mohmand district; but the descendants on the side of his only son have long been extinct.

The poet’s tomb may still, be seen in the graveyard of his native village


Poetry Of Hamza Shinwari





Amir Hamza Khan Shinwari 'Baba'

Hamza has also his share in the decoration of Pashto,
The coming generations will ever be conscious of this
(Hamza Shinwari)

The death anniversary of great Pashto poet Hamza Shinwari is being observed on July 17. Born in 1907 Hamza Baba died of kidney failure. He spent last decade of life shifting between his adopted hometown, Peshawar and the native village Landi Kotal. In winter he lived in a small, modest house, inside Aasia Gate and the scorching summers drived him to his village in the comparatively cooler hills. But unlike the rest of the old, retired people who are resigned to their fate, he had a virtual stream of friends, disciples, admirers and well-wishers, calling on him every day. There was hardly any day in his life when a visitor or two are not with him, talking to him with the tongue of the pen as he was too deaf to hear ordinary human voice; and he did not relish the hearing aid either. However, despite all his senility and infirmity he had good eye sight and the most wonderful memory. He remembered almost all his poetry, indeed not only his own poetry but a great deal of god poetry from Urdu, Persian and even Arabic literatures that he might have read long ago. His over-all knowledge of Pashto literature was simply encyclopedic. One felt that he was as much a part of the hoary past as the ultra-modern age of Pashto literature. He claimed with unshakable authority:

The crimson colour in your cheeks is the colour of the blood of Hamza,
You came of age, Pashto Ghazal, but turned me into an old Baba.

But this Baba-e-Pashto Ghazal, as he is commonly referred to, actually started his poetic career with writing Urdu poetry, way back in the 1920s, when he was a fifth class student at the Islamia Collegiate School. He would then show his Urdu poetry for correction to the late Maulana Abdul Qadir who was an eighth class student at the school. Although not one of his earliest Urdu works. But he neither continued with school nor with Urdu poetry. Both he had to give up one by one. First he gave up school when he was in the 9th class. This must have been the greatest pleasure for him as he had been extremely miserable throughout his school life, not because he was a duffer or a blockhead but because of an earlier bitter experience when one day he was mercilessly beaten by the insensible primary teacher at Landi Kotal, for an apparently innocent mistake. From that day he had given up that school. When he was then admitted to the Collegiate School, his school phobia or hatred was not mitigated, although, like all the other pupils, he would attend classes, pass exams, write poetry, play games, and like an uncommon naughty boy, even forge the principal's signatures; yet he seemed to have already cast the die and was looking for the earliest opportunity to cross the Rubicon. Perhaps one of the tantalizing factors on the other side of the bridge was the irresistible lure of the theatrical companies which had then taken Peshawar by storm. The jingling glitter of this make-believe world had aroused the latent actor in him. This sudden craze for acting made a virtual gypsy of him, wandering all over the vast Indian subcontinent in search of a role in some theatrical company or film as the silent movies had also come to India and the talkies were not far behind.
Like the unbounded Prometheus he called it a day and left school for a practical life full of ups and downs, worries and pleasures, wavering and tenacity, but underneath all such crosscurrents he had a strong, unrelenting sense of a mission; a desire to achieve the unattainable, whether in art or literature, to be ranked among the immortals. His yawning youth was evolving into a restless adolescence and his inborn artistic compulsions were creating stormy ripples on the surface of the deep sea of his otherwise drab life. A fragrant flowering spring was breaking somewhere in the remote recesses of his drowsy consciousness and he was deeply intoxicated with the lure of a fuller life, a life without let or hindrance. In this life he would visualize himself now as a clown and now as a hero, holding destiny in his own hands and with a contemptuous smile on his face.

Soon after leaving school he was married and at the same time employed in the political department as a passport officer at Torkham. He was also called upon to be assisting his father at a contract work on the Landi Kotal, Torkham railway line. But soon he gave up the passport officership for T.T. ship in the then North-Western railways to quit it for trying his luck at Bombay which was then a sort of subcontinental Hollywood. Although this long tour of great expectations turned out to be a complete misadventure, yet he was not demoralized and in 1920 succeeded in getting the role of a dacoit in a silent movies called the Falcon, made by the Punjab Film Company, Lahore, with Harri Ram Sethi as its director and producer. However, it was in 1941 that his craze for films found complete fulfilment when he was called upon by Rafique Ghaznavi, from Bombay, to write the script, songs and dialogues for the first ever Pashto film Laila Majnoon. Later on he also wrote scripts for two more Pashto films, Pighla (The Virgin) and Allaqa Ghair (The Tribal Territory) Both were filmed at Lahore during the sixties.

By the thirties he was deeply entrenched in Sophism. About his initiation into this esoteric discipline he said, "I stepped into this Hairatabad (Wonderland) in 1930. I was not consciously inclined that way before. It would be more true to say that I have not come here of my own accord but have simply been dragged to it". But once he entered these enticing portals he then lived there for good, unruffled by the ups and downs of life or the push and pull of his own base nature. Eversince he lived the serene life of a hermit in the monastery of his own pure (or rather purified) soul. For a long time he had carved a niche for himself in the awesome temple of mysticism. He was venerated more as Murshid than as one of the greatest of Pashto poets. Perhaps the credit of it all go to his farsighted Sheikh who dragged him to the path of Sulook in the very formative years of his young and restless life which was but poised for a leap in the void, unmindful of hell or heaven. We can not but appreciate his practical wisdom in first advising Hamza, against his own wish, to take to Pashto literature instead of Urdu and then formally initiating him in the eternal lore of mysticism to add yet another and more subtle dimension to his vastly promising life. He took formal allegiance, in the Chishtia order, at the hands of Syed Abdus Sattar Shah whom his entire family lovingly called Bacha Jan, who lived in the Dubgari Street, Peshawar and died in 1953. Later on Hamza wrote his memoirs which were published in Urdu in 1969, under the title Tazkira-e-Sattariya.
It was in 1937 that a Pashto literary society called Bazm-e-Adab was established at, as Hamza, would call it, the Astana Sharif of Syed Abdus Sattar Shah, with the active patronage of the enlightened Pir. Apart from Bach Jan, its founding fathers were Syed Rahat Zakheli as its president, Hamza Shinwari as its vice-president and Bad Shah Gul Niazi as its general secretary. After some time, the presidentship was entrusted to Hamza Shinwari to look after its affairs right upto 1950 when it was merged in a larger society called Olasi Adabi Jirga (National Literary Council).

The Bazm-e-Adab was perhaps the first ever Pashto literary society of its kind in the entire Frontier province. It started holding Pashto Mushairas not only in the city schools, colleges and the villages around but also at the shrine of Rehman Baba. These Mushairas soon became popular and the annual Rehman Mushaira was tuned into an Urs to be celebrated with great fanfare. It was in 1940 at one such Mushaira that Hamza was given the title of "The King Of Ghazal" now commonly referred to as "Baba-e-Ghazal", when he recited the poem of which I shall give here two couplets.

I am again invited by the Raqib
It may only be a trap for revenge.
Your dark eyes are bent on my heart
The Moors are again poised for storming the Kaaba. (Hamza)

For a number of years this society worked for the revival of Pashto letters. Its scope expanded with the passage of time. A time came when a larger and more representative society was visualized to accommodate poets and writers from the entire province.

It was in 1950 that the Bazm-e-Adab was finally merged into the Olasi Adabi Jirga. The moving spirit behind this August Jirga was Sanobar Hussain Kakaji with Hamza Shinwari and Dost Mohammad Kamil as its vice-president and general secretary. Its membership consisted of Qalandar Momand, Ajmal Khattak, Mir Mehdi Shah, Wali Mohammad Toofan, Fazle Haq Shaida, Saifur Rehman Salim, Afzal Bangash, Latif Wahmi, Hussain Khan Soz, Ayub Sabir, Farigh Bokhari, Raza Hamdani, Qamar Rahi and a number of others. Apart from promoting poetry this Jirga also paid equal attention to the promotion of Pashto prose. For poetry as well as prose, it started holding regular sessions at the Balakhana of Kamil in Peshawar's famous Khyber Bazar.

Whenever he was at Peshawar Hamza also regularly attended the meetings of an Urdu literary circle called Dairay-e-Adabiya, run by Zia Jaffery and Abdul Wadood Qamar and a number of younger poets like Raza Hamdani, Farigh Bokhari, Ahmed Faraz and Mohsin Ihsan. Some of these Urdu poets took to translating Pashto works into Urdu. To this list must also be added the name of Khatir Ghaznavi who rendered some of the Pashto romances in Urdu and published them under the title, Sarhad Ke Rooman (Romances from the Frontier). In the beginning they all gathered around Zia Jaffery but affected by the Indian progressive literature they gave up his company and each tried to find his own mooring in the quicksand of the fast changing fashions of Urdu literature.

Hamza was also the first major poet to have consciously created and carefully sustained a pervading literary consciousness throughout the Khyber. He raised a fresh crop of young, talented poets who were soon to yield a rich literary harvest ready for export to Afghanistan and the rest of the Pashto speaking world. Among this galaxy of poets we may mention Nazir Shinwari, Khatir Afridi, Khyber Afridi, Sahir Afridi, and so on. These pioneers of the Khyber school of poetry were overtaken by a still larger number of poets from the younger generation. Among these may be mentioned Shahzad Afridi, Kalim Shinwari, Riaz Afridi, Yar Hussain Sair, Itihad Afridi, Manzoor Afridi, Qandahar Afridi, Shafiq Shinwari, Jafran Muntazir, Niamatullah Asser and so on. These and many more poets of this school have now established themselves as masters. Most of them have published their collections of poetry and prose works. Their songs from the radio, television, films and the local musicians, are a source of perennial joy.

With Khushal Khan Khattak (1613-1689) in the seventeenth century, we come across a flowering revival in Pashto letters which can be called a truly raging renaissance. This renaissance was partly facilitated by the necessary spade work by an earlier, 16th century movement, called the Roshanite Movement with Bayazid Ansari (1535-1579), ambivalently referred to both as Pir Roshan (the enlightened Pir) and Pir Tarik (the dark Pir), as its leader. This movement put forth not only enduring works in both Pashto prose and poetry but also formally introduced mysticism in Pashto literature, devising the alphabet of the Pashto language. This literary-religion-political movement found staunch antagonists in Delhi on the one hand and Akhun Darweza (circa 1570) a vice-regent of Hazrat Ali Tarmezi called Pir Baba, on the other. The battle of books that was started with Khairul Bayan (Account of piety) by Bayazid Ansari and Makhzanul Islam (the treasure of Islam) by Akhun Darweza was taken up by subsequent writers from birth the camps. Both the sides produced eminent writers to enrich Pashto literature and give it a prestige of its own. It was also during this period that Pashto was rather too heavily Persianised and Arabicised to make it almost impossible for the subsequent writers to get rid of its alien, cumbersome diction.

The renaissance that had started with Khushal Khan in the seventeenth century can be said to have folded up with Ahmed Shah Abdali (1712-1773), in the 18th century, if not earlier. The other great poets of this period are Abdur Rehman Baba (1651-1710), Abdul Hameed (1667-1732), Ali Khan (1705-1853) and Kazim Khan Shaida (1757-1813). Here I shall compare Hamza Shinwari with each of these classical luminaries of medieval Pashto literature:

I girded my sward for the Afghan honour
I am the chivalrous Khushal Khattak
(Khushal Khan Khattak)

The enemy brands it as a language of hell,
To heaven I will go with Pashto

All that is apparent is the veil,
The refulgence of beauty is beyond perception
(Rehman Baba)

These are all veils on your face,
Philosophy, Jurisprudence, interpretations
Are all without your trace

Although far superior to animals
Yet in love, intellect also flopped

The black and white of love is beyond me,
While lost in the days and nights of intellect

Your lips are more deadly than your tresses,
The Qazalbash are more callous than the Hindus
(Ali Khan)

Watching your tresses with longing for your face
I only demand Kashmir from the Hindus

Like a bubble I filled it with a cold sigh,
Who could light a candle on my grave?

A bubble like an eye in your search,
I am drifting in the sea of your live

I forget the throne of Delhi,
When I remember the peaks of Pakhtoonkhwa
(Ahmed Shah)

I feel the taste of Pakhtoonkhwa in India,
When I come across an Afghan there

In the preface to Hamza Shinwari's book, Ghazawoon (Yawning), Qalandar Momand maintains, "The poetry of all the contemporary Ghazal writers; their expression, construction, style, imagery and even their diction have all been influenced by the Ghazal of Hamza. So, if the poetry of Hamza is to be discussed, it will necessitate the discussion of all the contemporary poets which is a difficult task".

Similarly, comparing Hamza to a light-house for the coming generations, Noor Mohammad Zigar has written, "It is a law of nature that every age is provided with such personalities as can determine the standard and keep the wheel of evolution turning. Whenever a society reaches a stage of evolution when the previous standards no longer hold good then a new sage emerges. Only the one with the enlightened mind, high thoughts, strong morals and good manners is selected from among the entire society for its guidance. Such a person is usually a symbol of unity and universality and his influence transcends all the barriers of caste, colour or creed. Though localized by necessity, his art and thought can benefit the entire human society. Apart from his own time such a person can be like a light-house for the coming ages", Hamza has also been compared to a large tree with its roots deep down in the classical tradition, its trunk a source of strength for the present age while its tender, high boughs and the fruit therein is a symbol of hope and nourishment for the posterity.
As compared to poetry, Pashto prose is rather poor. Many of our great writers, of course with a few fortunate exceptions, have paid this equally vital branch of literature; they have hardly ever wandered from the evergreen pastures of poetry. But on the contrary Hamza has written more prose than poetry, with great diversity and equally great depth. Starting with stories and essays he soon stepped into mysticism from where he took the highway to philosophy. Even in his last days he was writing a book on "Free will and Predetermination" or Jabar wa Ikhtiaar. He has also written a novel. Two volumes of travelogues, a biography and an autobiography. In the beginning he used to write stories or short stories and essays which used to be published in various magazines including the prestigious Nan Paroon (nowadays) which used to be published from Delhi during the Second World War. Later on they were collected and published in a miscellany called Jawar Fikroona (deep thoughts). In 1937 he published his first major work on mysticism under the title Tajjaliate Mohammadia (the refulgence of Mohammad). It can truly be called a compendium on Sophism. In 1957 he published the accounts of his tour of Afghanistan. In 1958 he published a novel called Nawe Chape (new waves). These were followed in 1959 by a treatise Yau Shair (one couplet) on the following couplet of Khushal Khan.

I observe the same face in every thing,
That disappeared in His over creation

In 1962 he published his first major work on philosophy called Jwand (life) and published its Urdu version, Insan Aur Zindagi, in 1967 he published the accounts of his pilgrimage to Makka with this prophetic verse.

Even on my journey to Hijaz Hamza,
I go with caravans of the Pakhtoon

In 1970 he published the memoir of his Sheikh Syed Abdus Sattar Shah. It was written in Pashto but he got it translated in Urdu by Tahir Bokhari. The Pashto version has not been published. Round about the same time he published another philosophical treatise called Taskheer Da Kayenat (conquest of the Universe). In 1970 he published Wajud Wa Shudud (The essence and the apparent) in Urdu. This is a detailed commentary on the letters of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi commonly called Mujaddid-Alf-e-Sani. In 1976 he wrote his autobiography in Urdu on the repeated requests of a friend, Kanwar Mohammad Azam Ali Khan. It has not been published so far. The original MS. lies with Syed Anis Shah Jilani in Sadiqabad, Punjab. In 1980 he published Ana Aur Ilm (Ego and knowledge) in Urdu, its Pashto version was published in 1982. It was called Insani Ana Au Poha (Human Ego and Knowledge).
He also translated the entire Dewan of Rehman Baba in Urdu verse. It was published by Pashto Academy in 1963. Then he did Pashto verse translations of Allama Iqbal's Armoghane Hijaz and Javed Nama. They were jointly published by Pashto Academy, Peshawar and Iqbal Academy, Karachi. The former was published in 1964 while the latter in 1967. When the radio station was opened in Peshawar in 1935, along with Abdul Karim Mazloom and Samandar Khan Samandar, Hamza Shinwari was one of its pioneers in dramatics. Da Weeno Jam (Bloody cup) by Aslam Khattak was the first play to be broadcast. Hamza had played the role of the judge in that play. Soon he wrote his first play, Zamindar (the farmer) for the radio. This was followed by hundreds of plays and features over a life-long association with the radio. According to Farooq Shinwari, Hamza has written 200 plays for the radio. But he himself would cautiously lower the number to about 200. The irony is that most of these plays are now simply lost as he would hand in the original manuscript hoping that the radio people would be keeping a record. But having shifted its premises twice since then the radio organization has simply misplaced, if not actually burnt or sold in junk, all the valuable old record. Saifur Rehman Syed has dug up some 60 names of the plays of Hamza Shinwari, from the old diaries of the radio. But they are just names and no more. However, by a happy stroke of luck the following manuscripts of his plays have been preserved: Ahmad Shah Abdali, Akhtar Mo Mubarak Shah (Eid Greetings), Dwa Bakhilan (two Misers), Fateh Khan Rabia, Guman Da Eman Zyan de (doubt undermines faith), Khan Bahadur Sahib, Khushal Khan Khattak, Khisto, Matali Shair (the poet of proverbs) Maimoona, Muqabilla (competition) Qurbani (Sacrifice), Spinsare Paighla (the spinster), and Jrandagarhe (the miller)

There is also the MS of Khukale Bala (the beautiful specter) which is a translation of Agha Hasher Kashmiri's stage play Khoobsoorat Bala. Some of his plays like Da Damano Khar (city of the Professional singers) and Da Chursiyano Badshah (king of the Hashish smokers) were also recorded by a Gramophone company whether by His Master's Voice or some other company we will never be able to ascertain nor probably have those obsolete, round plastic discs called records. This recording was first done at Peshawar and then in Delhi.



Khoshal khan khattak,s Poetry








KHOSHAL KHAN, the renowned chieftain of the powerful Afghan trilbe of Khattak-alike a warrior and a poet-was born in the year 1022 of the Hijrahi (AD. 1613). Shahbaz Khan his father, having received a wound in a battle with the Yusufzis-one of the most numerous and powerful of all the Afghan tribes-from the effects of which lie shortly after died Khoshal, who had also been severely wounded in the head and knee, in the same battle, in the year H 1050 (A.D. 1640), with the unainmous consent and approbation of his relations and friends, became chief of his tribe. His father’s fief was confirmed to him by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, together with the charge of protecting the royal road from Attak, on the Indus to Peshawar; and other duties were entrusted to him by that sovereign, in whose estimation Khoshal stood high. He accompanied Sultan Murad Baksh, the son of that monarch, on his expedition to Badakhshan in 1645, and was also engaged in other wars of that period.

On the death of Shah Jahan Khoshal continued to serve his son and successor, Aurangzeh, in the same capacity as formerly; but after some time, through the machinations of his enemies, among whom was Amir Khan Shahdar, or governor of the province of Kabul, he fell under the displeasure, or rather suspicion of the monarch, and was sent prisoner to the strong bill fortress of Gwalior, in Upper India, where he remained in captivity about seven years; and there it was that many of the following poems were written. At length, at the recommendation of Muhabhat Khan, the second of that name, Aurangzeb released Khoshal, and sent him, along with the noble just referred to-who had been lately appointed Subah-dar of Kabul-for the purpose of settling the affairs of the Peshawar district, which had fallen into a very distracted state. But the iron had entered the soul of Khoshal, and on reaching his native country, he kept as retired as possible; ceased to hold any intercourse with the governor of the province, and other subordinate officers; and declined rendering any assistance to the troops of the Emperor.

Khoshal’s tribe had been long at feud with many of the other Afghans around Peshawar, amongst whom were the Yusufzis- fighting against whom, as before mentioned, his father lost his life- and was generally engaged in hostilities with one or other of them; but with the Afridis, who were also powerful, the Khattaks maintained a close alliance. Matters, at length, went so far between the Khattak chieftain and the Mughal authorities, as to produce an open rupture. Khoshal now girded his loins with the sword of courage; and in concert with Aemal Khan, and Darya Khan, chiefs of the Afridis, carried on, for seven or eight years, a determined and destructive war with the Mughals, in which the latter were generally defeated.

The whole of the Afghan tribes from Banu to Jalalabad, seeing the success of their countrymen over the hated Mughals, had been drawn, by degrees, into the confederacy, which now aimed at no less than the total expulsion of the Mughals from Afghanistan. But the Yusufzis, who could have aided so effectually, held aloof; and would render no assistance to their countrymen, through enmity to the Khattaks, notwithstanding that Khoshal went in person, even as far as the Suwat valley, to endeavour to instil into them some of his own and his confederates’ patriotic spirit, hut without effect-they were deaf to the voice of the charmer.

Affairs at Peshawar had assumed such a serious aspect, that Aurangzeb considered it necessary to appear in person on the scene; and for about two years he remained encamped at Attak, superin-tending the prosecution of the war; and that wily monarch, finding force unavailable in such a difficult country, began to try the effect of gold. In this he met with the success he desired; and some of the petty clans of the confederacy became fascinated with the gold of the Mughals, and submitted to the government; whilst others of Khoshal’s friends began either to desert him, or to give him cause to doubt their sincerity; and Aemal Khan and Darya Khan, his most powerful, and most trusty supporters, having previously been removed, by death, from the scene, such an effect was produced upon the fine spirit of Khoshal- that he became disgusted, and sought to find peace in retirement.

At length, he resigned the chieftainship of the Khattak tribe, in favour of his eldest son Ashraf, and devoted himself to books and literature. On Ashrafs becoming chief of the clan, Bahram, another son, who appears to have been always regarded with aversion by his father for his degenerate acts, succeeded in gaining over a considerable party to his side, and appeared bent upon bringing mis-fortune upon his brother. They met in battle several times; and on one occasion, Bahram was taken prisoner, but succeeded, by his artfulness and duplicity, in exciting the pity of his injured brother, who set him at liberty. Khoshal well aware of the disposition of Bahram, was highly incensed with Ashraf for allowing him to escape so easily, and, as it turned out, not without reason; for no sooner was Bahram free, than he again commenced his intrigues against Ashraf and at length, in the year H. 1093 (A.D. 1681), he succeeded in betraying him into the hands of the Mughals. Aurangzeb sent him prisoner to the strong fortress of Bejapur, in Southern India, where, after lingering in captivity for about ten years, he died. A further account of this unfortunate chieftain, will be found prefixed to his poems; for, like other sons of Khuahhal, as well as numbers of his descendants, he was a poet as well as his father.

Afzal Khan, the young son of Ashraf now took up arms in his father’s cause, and was installed in the chieftainship by his grand-father, who was still regarded as their natural and rightful chief, by the majority of the tribe; but the youth and inexperience of Afzal-for he was only seventeen years of age-could not yet cope with the wily Bahram, who was also aided and upheld by the Mughals. Khoshal therefore, taking Afzal’s youth into consideration, and in order to prevent his clansmen from shedding the blood of each other, interfered between the contending parties, fearing that the tribe might hesitate to obey one of such inexperience, and allowed Bahram to enjoy the chieftainship, advising Afzal to bide his time, and not lengthen his father’s captivity by opposition for the present. Afzal, therefore, retired with his family into the friendly country of the Afridis.

Not content with this success in all his schemes, Bahram would not allow his aged father to end his days in peace. Several times he made attempts upon his life. He once despatched his son Mukarram Khan with a body of troops, to endeavour to secure the old man’s person. Mukarram went, as directed, against his grand-father; but the brave old chieftain, who had attained his 77th year, having discovered the party from the place of his retreat, advanced to meet them with his drawn sword in his hand, at the same time-to quote the words of Afzal Khan his grandson, already alluded to, who subsequently wrote a history of these events-exclaiming, “Whoever are men amongst you, come to the sword, if you dare; but veneration for the aged chieftain was so predominant in every one’s breast, that no one would make any attempt to lay hands on him;” and Mukarram, ashamed, returned as he went. Bahram, his father, enraged at his son’s failure, ordered him to return, with directions to kill Khoshal with his own hand, if he should refuse to deliver himself up. On Mukarram’s return, to carry out this inhuman order of a degenerate son, the old chief again advanced from his place of shelter, and taking his stand upon the crest of the hill, with his good sword in his hand, again dared them to approach; and in this manner is said to have remained on the watch for several days. But no one amongst the party had either the inclination or the courage to face him, whom they stilt regarded as their natural chief.

Bahram, however, thinking the prey in his toils, bad despatched a message to the Mughal governor at Peshawar, to the effect that the old lion was at length at bay; and requested him to send a sufficient escort to take charge of him, and conduct him to Peshawar. Khoshal, however, having been warned, as soon as night set in, made his escape, after two of Bahram’s party had lost their lives, and by the next morning succeeded in reaching the boundary of the Afridi tribe-who had always been his friends- a distance of 90 miles from Akorrah, the scene of the occurrences just related.

Khoshal took up his residence in the Afridl country, and returned no more to the home of his fathers, which he loved so well. He died as he had lived, free, among the mountains of his native land, in the 78th year of his age. Before taking his de-parture from a world, in which he had drunk so deeply of the bitter cup of treachery and unfaithfulness, he particularly charged those few of his children and friends, who had remained faithful to him through all his trials and misfortunes, that they should bury him where-to use his own words-” the dust of the hoofs of the Mughal cavalry might not light upon his grave ;“ and that “they should carefully conceal his last resting-place, lest the Mughals might seek it out, and insult the ashes of him, at whose name, whilst in life, they quailed; and by whose sword, and that of his clansmen, their best troops had been scattered like chaff before the gale.” A third request was, that in case any of his faithful children should succeed, at any time, in laying hands upon Bahram the Malignant, they should divide his body into two parts, and should burn one half at the head of his grave, and the other at the foot. He was buried, accordingly, at a place named I-surraey, a small hamlet in the Khattak mountains, where his tomb may still be seen; and, according to his dying request, his last resting-place was kept concealed, till all danger of insult from the Mughals had passed away.

Khoshal Khan was the father of fifty-seven sons, besides several daughters; but, with the exception of four or five of the former, they do not appear to have been particularly worthy of their parent’s affection.

Khoshal, from all accounts, was a voluminous author, and is said to have composed about three hundred and fifty different works. This, however, must be greatly exaggerated; nevertheless, he is the author of numerous works, which I have myself seen, both in Persian, and in the Pashto, or Afghan, consisting of Poetry, Medicine, Ethics, Religious Jurisprudence, Philosophy, Falconry, etc., together with an account of the events of his own chequered life. It is greatly to be regretted, however, that his descendants, after his death, had not the opportunity to collect all his writings together; and the upshot is, that many are known only by name. Amongst those which have thus been lost or dispersed is, I fear, the autobiography I have referred to.

Some of Khoshal’s poetical effusions, written during his exile in India, and whilst struggling against the power of Aurangzeb, will, I think, be considered highly of, even in the form of a literal translation, and in an English dress, as coming from the pen of an Afghan chief, cotemporary with the times of our Charles I., evincing, as they do, a spirit of patriotism, and love of home and country, not usual in the Oriental heart, but such as we might look for In the Scottish Highlander, or Swiss mountaineer, of bygone days, whom the hardy Afghans strongly resemble. A more extended account of Khoshal’s writings, and those of his descendants, will be found in the Introductory Chapter to my Afghan Grammar, published last year, together with an account of the Afghans and their literature.

Up to the time of Khoshal’s chieftainship, the bounds of the Khattak country were not well defined; that is to say, each family of the tribe had no fixed lands allotted to them. Khoshal caused a survey to be made of all available land; fixed the boundaries; entered them in a register; and, according to the number of each man’s family, assigned a corresponding quantity of land for cultivation. This arrangement is still in force, and hitherto has not, that I am aware of, been deviated from; and many small towers of stone, erected to mark the different boundaries, still remain.