• By: Ibn-e-Taha

“Sir, the book costs Rs 140, but I will charge you Rs 100 only for this translated work on Khushal Khan Kata (KK)….. Nowadays, people are not inclined towards buying books, moreover the Pushto poetry, that too translated in Urdu??? !!!!! But I can see you are book lover especially of the Pushto poetry”

                The shopkeeper was submissive inviting the purchaser to buy the book available with him. The purchaser did not disclose he was part and parcel during translation of this book with translator, Mr Taha Khan. Purchaser recalled, collection of scattered material on KK was in itself a task. Than burning midnight oil in reading, perceiving, and understanding the concept (defined in Pushto), further getting it verified by eminent Pushto scholars and then translating in Urdu in the same tone, rhyme & rhythm, idea and thought were extremely difficult. Interestingly the publisher neither asked permission nor informed about printing of this book to the legal heirs. The purchaser could not believe the same book will be sold less than the price of an “Ice Cream scoop”.

                Purchaser recollected, at the end of a function at famous hall of Peshawar, organizers handed over the envelope with apologetic tone, they could not afford more than this honorarium. The blind poet was told the amount in isolation later. Being man of dignity, he thanked Almighty; amount was enough to buy two kilograms of mangoes he was wishing that day. Surprisingly a few days later Income tax department served a notice asking him to pay the tax on his undeclared income. The amount of fee the income tax lawyer charging was more than the total amount he received through this earning for the entire one year.

                KK’s study served as an inspiration for Taha Khan. He identified hidden traits of KK as a Philosopher, Hakeem (Wiseman), Teacher, Astronomer, Philanthropist, Mathematician, Historian, Hunter, Politician, Geologist, Fighter, Foresighted visionary, Commander, experienced war veteran, Romantic poet, Mentor, Religious mind and a skilled horse-man.

                Analogies are also made by him between KK and Allama Iqbal and explained both KK and Iqbal idealized “Eagle” in vision and high aims. Iqbal and KK have a gap of almost centuries, but share the same philosophical thoughts. Allama Iqbal himself had also appreciated KK in his poetry as:

                                                Parallel to Mughals he lived n’ sustains:

                                                Eagle n’ Son of rugged mountains:           

                Interestingly, tale of Prophet Abraham and their siblings explained by KK and Iqbal is in the same tone. If KK says;

                                                “Learn how Allah saved Abraham from fire

                                                Saved Moses n’ sunk Pharos with full attire” 

Iqbal follows by saying;

                                                “Siblings of Abraham, fire and Nimrod

                                                “So tough are Test n’ trials oh God”        

                Merry (the pious) is mentioned by KK as symbol of dignity. KK’s message to be submissive to will of Allah is also explained;

                                                “Ye zealous, ambitious, don’t preach that you know:

                                                Moses surrendered to Khizar, in only one throw”

                KK wise thoughts are also found in Persian poetry when Sa’adi (13th century) follows the same suit as ;

                                                “Low caste when honored with knowledge and skill:

                                                Is like a dagger with a plunderer to kill”

                KK’s quest for knowledge deeply influenced Taha Khan, who himself taught for 38 years. He took pride in explaining KK’s idea of seeking knowledge in line with Holy prophet’s Hadith as;

                                                “Knowledge and wisdom wasted, is an eagle lost:

                                                Cannot be regained or re-earned at any cost”

                In English poetry, similarities between Shakespeare and John Keats are comparable to KK in appreciation of nature. KK was translated as;

                                                “Flowers praise Allah with their bloom and tone:

                                                In wish of Allah’s, when sown and grown”

                Mr Taha Khan explains Shelley’s dominance resembles KK in certain thoughts like ruling nature of a pure Pushtoon in KK;

                                                “World for men, describes two things:

                                                Either be hanged or be amongst the kings”

                He goes on to link the aggression of John Milton’s shades in his book “Aeropagitica” like KK;

                                                “Khushal Khan gets frivolous when the shield:                                                 And swords sprinkle silver on daggers’ yield”

Taha Khan himself was always analytical in describing some literary figure. According to him, you need to describe the professional work of a literary person instead of mentioning the personal traits. KK’s romance for hunting, reading and love of colors is translated by Taha Khan translated as;

                                                “Hunting, Books and the dear loved ones:

                                                Colorless , is the world without these ones”

                KK is known to be a hospitable man with an open heart to offer food and shelter to the needy. KK quotes visionary thoughts from domestic pottery to a visionary;

                                                “Breaking utensils and other food pots:

                                                Makes you beggar, culminates and clots”

                As a historian KK describes the unrests and turmoil of Mughal era as;

                                                “Mughal widows kept mourning the Hooliganism of 1083:                                                                                              Afridis, Mohmund, Shinwaris fought to keep them free”

                Ethno-centrism in his poetry is also found in English classics. This native tone can be felt while reading modern world’s novel “Return of the Native” by Thomas Hardy.

                                                “Native habitat attracts me with flavors like Musk:

                                                It keeps me mercurial from dawn to dusk”

                Love of Pushtoon culture and wisdom in KK is explained by Taha Khan as;

                                                “Every joint of sugar cane is sweet 

                                                Shell’s head is cut for Pearl s’ greet”

                KK lived some part of his life in Punjab. Influence of Punjab culture on KK is described as;

                                                “There wouldn’t have been mess in the Ranjha’s flute:

                                                Had “Shor Kot” not produced “Heer” the cute”

                Being exposed to diversified cultures of Sub-continent, KK compared the affection of Hindu and Pushtoon maids;

                                                “Though Pushtoon virgins are lively n’ attractive too:

                                                Hind’s maidens are colorful n’ receptive too”

                Knowing the nature of local Hindus, KK advises not to marry the Hindi woman;

                                                “Don’t marry a Hindi wife O’ unaware:

                                                Ill birth will be gained from an ill ware”

                Sometimes KK’s uses long lines of a rhythm in explaining inner horseman of wild Pushtoon. These long rhythms sometimes are also reflected in work of John Donne;  

                                                “Cowardice and timidity leads to low aims n’ character:

                                                Tiger inhabiting with Jackals will always be a lost benefactor”

                Division of Pushtoon tribes had always haunted KK. Taha Khan highlights KK’s developed concerns like a pilgrim of Chaucer’s’ in “Nuns’ priest tales” as;

                                                “I travelled all along Teerah n’ Swat:

                                                Did not find a trustworthy heart”

                Taha Khan translated the KK’s thoughts on tribals’ betrayal as;

                                                “Money as power is showing its color:

                                                Softening n’ rusting swords and velour”

                KK’s frustration over the lack of trustworthiness of his sons is similar to Shakespearean drama “King Lear”, when the king is furious over his daughter “Regan and Goneril”;

                                                “The off springs have low spirits n’ are aimless:

                                                Wonder I call them siblings, they’re shameless”

                Being representative of his age KK had love of Astronomy. Taha Khan depicted his thoughts as;

                                                “Stars move independently in a stipulated zone and timing:

                                                When the North star is up its Gemini’s expiring”

                Being a mentor, teacher, philanthropist and a solicitor KK is found to be preaching;

                                                “Service to humanity with a greed expected:

                                                is wasteful and is totally un-accepted”

                Taha Khan also presents un-described traits of KK as a peace lover;

                                                “War and Peace are abrupt n’ reciprocate:

                                                Sincerity and revulsion nullifies n’ dominate”

                KK’s eloquent heart and mind is presented form his poetry’s piece as;

                                                “Sweet words with eloquence do always precede:

                                                Offering sugar with dishes of sweet act and deed”

                KK also preached peace and serenity in the following manner;

                                                “Wise man feels regrets by accepting fault:

                                                Unwise would entangle being naïve and wrought”

                Taha Khan identified KK’s poetry’s shades of ancient Arabic poetry and epilogue; 

                                                “White Beard before time, made me lose beauty n’ bright:

                                                Lost the teeth and am now left with only sight”

                Taha Khan gets impressed when KK in his last age is turning towards pen from guns and hunting.

                                                “Nay gun’s, lust nor falcon’s hunting is awake:

                                                Pen, Paper and fear is the earning now I take”

  • Taha Khan was sweating to translate the entire literary work of KK into Urdu, like he translated Rehman baba but Allah had different plans for him.  Taha Khan lived a dignified life and wanted to die in dignity. His siblings feel honored of giving shower to him alive as well as after his death. They are also thankful to Almighty that his videos of sickness and lying on a hospital bed were also not aired on local media fulfilling his wish to die in a dignified manner. 
  • Khan_adnan040@yahoo.com

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