The Academy of Sciences, Kabul, has recently published the handwritten poetic works of Khan Baba (1613-1689).
Noted Afghan scholar Habibullah Rafi had discovered copy of the rare manuscript of Khushal Khan Khattak in the library of Pakhto Tolana in Kabul many years ago, but it took him years to confirm its authenticity and finally he was able to complete his research on the old text in 2016.
Scholar Habibullah Rafi has discovered the rare manuscript
“This manuscript was retrieved from Shinwari area by Mohammad Momin Patwaal, a member of Pakhto Tolana in 1966. The text spreads over 550 pages. The date and signature show that it had been completed five months and four days before the death of Khushal Khan Khattak in Darra Adamkhel’s Janakor Afridi area. It is written in Nastaliq script, the most favourite style with Khan Baba and his family,” writes Mr Rafi.
The Pohantoon Adabi Stori (PAS), a literary organisation at the University of Peshawar, has sent a letter to the country director of Unseco in Islamabad to declare the handwritten text of Khushal Khan Khattak as ‘common literary heritage’ under its ‘world book policy’ and also render its translation in major world languages.
Prof Abaseen, patron-in-chief of PAS, told this scribe that his literary body passed a resolution in the weekly session on Friday, urging country director of Unseco to declare the handwritten text of Khan Baba a common literary heritage. “We have also sent a letter to the country director of Unseco to make a film of the same and translate it into major world languages besides making it available in all archives and museum in KP,” he said.
Mr Rafi in his foreword to the ‘Diwan’ said that he had discovered the handwritten text of Khushal Khan Baba lying in the Pakhto Tolana archives library way back in 1979 and was able to get a photocopy of the old manuscript in 2005, but owing to my other engagements he couldn’t do work on it.
“Now, I am fortunate enough to bring out an authentic text of Baba’s poetic works so that alterations could be made by copyists and publishers in other published manuscripts of Khan Baba in the light of this original volume,” the scholar observed.
He said he had found many poems and ghazals in the handwritten text of Khan Baba that were missing in other manuscripts.
The entire text had been written in black ink seemed to be prepared by Khan Baba himself as he knew the art of calligraphy, argued the researcher.
Mr Rafi said he had critically analysed the text and edited the original manuscript of Khan Baba.
“The manuscript is though not in organized form and one cannot call it a Diwan because normally a Diwan is written in alphabetical order. Some pages have been damaged; other seemed to be missed out,” he said.
Article by Sher Alam Shinwari