Monday, 12 February 2018

QK Archives: A readable anthology of Hindko poetry

A readable anthology of Hindko poetry
Published Monday October 6 2003 by Statesman Peshawar

By Afzal Hussain Bokhari
It is very rare that a book in Hindko gets published from Peshawar, Abbottabad, Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan or any other Frontier town where the language is spoken or understood. Idara Farogh-i-Hindko, Peshawar, therefore, deserves a pat on the shoulder that it brought out a 160-page anthology of poetry titled so aptly “Hindko ghazlaan di soghaat.”
A quick look at the contents shows that the compiler of the volume, Aurangzeb Ahmad Ghaznavi, who works at Superior Science College, Peshawar, has ostensibly taken pains to put together in book form 140 ghazal pieces by 136 writers scattered oddly across the province into cocoons of self-love. Poetic pieces picked for the anthology are not new. Those with a keen eye and a sharp ear for Hindko poetry or prose have already read or heard of most of the pieces included. The important thing about the publication is that ghazal pieces were taken out from the personal diaries of the writers and put together like a bouquet of sweet-smelling flowers.
In his foreword to the anthology, the compiler has said that responsibility to determine the order of seniority (hifz-i-maratib) of the selected writers falls on Khatir Ghaznavi and Haji Mohammad Ismail Awan but at times the compiler appears to have so naively mixed up junior and senior writers that serious readers of Hindko literature receive rude shocks. For example, Mukhtar Ali Nayyar, Nazeer Tabassum and Sajjad Babar perhaps deserve a better place than the one allotted to them.
In his brief two-page history of Hindko ghazal, Khatir Ghaznavi has started from Mohammadji Wanjiara and come down to Aurangzeb Ghaznavi but he took care not to make even a passing reference to his contemporary writer Mukhtar Ali Nayyar. This situation is best summed up in an English quotation: “I do not agree with what you say but I shall sacrifice my life to give you the right to say so!”
This type of factual lapses, future historians may call it sheer dishonesty, on the part of a senior literary research scholar may render his entire research questionable. Everyone in Peshawar knows that Khatir and Nayyar are genuine scholars of Hindko to the extent of being even chauvinists. They live at a walking distance from each other but due to professional rivalry neither of them wants to see the face or hear the name of the other, which is so agonising for their admirers.
Difference of opinion with fellow writers apart, the compiler of a credible anthology of poetry should be unbiased and dispassionate. Aurangzeb has tried, wherever possible, to be precisely like that. Still there are some names in the anthology that are missing. For example, Mushtaq Shabab, Bushra Farrukh, Qudsia Qudsi, Shamshad Nazli and Nasira Sajjad Babar can write better poetry than many of those piled up in the book but not a single line by them has been included. Feeling apologetic about this in his foreword, the compiler has, however, promised to include them in his next attempt.
Somewhere inside him, the compiler probably has a latent desire that in times to come when Hindko will perhaps be taught at the M.A. level, Peshawar University may, by a sheer stroke of luck, decide to include this anthology in the curriculum of the M.A. Hindko classes, whenever that happens. Without meaning disrespect to anyone, it may be submitted that content-wise quite a few ghazal pieces especially by new and little known writers appear amateurish and mere versification of third-rate emotions of imagined love. Whether or not the book finds its way to the M.A. courses, the sheer delight of reading of reading a new anthology of Hindko poetry should be enjoyed just for the fun of it.
Sajjad Babar can write equally fascinating poetry in Urdu and his mother tongue Hindko. Had the compiler requested for a fresh, unpublished piece, Babar is the type of man who feels pleasure in obliging others in such professionally literary matters. But such a request does not seem to have gone out to any other writer as well. It may just be in the fitness of things to reproduce here the most quoted lines from Sajjad Babar: “Hor te saada wass kay chalda eh wadiyaee keeti, warkha,warkha sari album chai chai keeti!” (Having been driven to the wall in love, I was rendered totally helpless. In desperation what I did was to burn the entire album, page after page, to ashes!).
Diminishing returns at saving centres: There was a time when widows, pensioners and salaried men and women in the city queued up in front of the National Saving Centres with their hard-earned money to invest in half a dozen of highly attractive schemes. Those who invested Rs100,000 in the monthly income schemes were given a profit of Rs1,550 which after the deduction of withholding/income tax, came down to Rs1,350. Since the rate of profit was good, customers did not mind the deduction of tax. Due probably to a liberal inflow of foreign aid after the 9/11 developments, our government does not appear to be in need of public savings. Rate of interest has gradually been coming down. At present if anyone invests Rs100,000, he gets a monthly profit of nearly Rs936. On special saving (registered) certificates, the customer gets a six-monthly profit of Rs3,750 on an investment of Rs100,000. As if this was not enough, the saving centre staff deducts Rs93.75 as Zakat money and, if your investment exceeds Rs150,000 which is more often the case, a 10 percent deduction from July 2001of withholding/income tax (Rs375 on a profit of Rs3,750) is also done. So with tears in eyes, and a nasty curse in whispers, a poor, old elderly woman returns home with a six-monthly net profit of Rs3,281, which comes down to Rs546 per lakh per month. The goldsmith living next door ridicules the frail old widow and offers to give Rs3,000 every month on her amount but the woman thinks her money may not be safe with the clever goldsmith so she continues to harvest humiliation from the State-controlled exploitation centres under the pseudonyms of savings.
Post a Comment