The Position of Pashto Language and Literature

in the Civilizations of Asian People


Abdul Hai Habibi


Among Aryan languages Pashto is an independent language in the Indo-Iranian branch of languages. Based on a large number of lexicons and historical reasons we do not consider it either belonging to the Iranian or Indian languages. If we consider a branch of the Bactrian languages to be linked to the Indian and Iranian languages and sounds Pashto will fall into this category.

Pashto has been spoken in this region since the dispersal of Aryan tribes started to the east and west 2,500 years before Christ. This area has acted as a crossroad between India, Iran and Turkistan with trade goods passing through it. It lies on the famous silk route which provided a passage to conquerors in quest of expanding their empires. Because of its location Pashtuns had ties with the people to the east, west and north. The Aryan tribes arrived here from the north crossing the Oxus river and their agricultural activities started here. They called their original land Arya Vega and this word exists in Pashto until the present time. This is a stark sign which shows the oldness of the language and its influence on Aryan life and style of living.

When the Aryan tribes moved to India and Iran and started their historical period there we see the old Pashtun name Pakhat in Veda and Avesta books. The names of their leaders, places and cultural sites, their old songs, religious periods and names of former gods and narrations have been mentioned in a way as though they were part of Aryan life and civilization.

They called the eastern lands which they annexed, i.e. northern India, Arya Warsha. This is the Pashto arya warsha which means the pastures of Aryan people.

In Ancient Aryan books, Veda, Avesta, Mahabaharat and Pahlavi narrations we come across words which shows us the ancient literary essence of Pashto during the old times. In Old Persian inscriptions, carved on the face of a rock in the Baghistan (Beistoon) mountain during the time of the Hepthalite king Darius (522-486 B.C.), we come across a ballad which with little change is strikingly Pashto. The king on one of the tablets writes:

Original                                                                Pashto

ne arika ahum                                                   na yae arreki yam

ne drau jana ahum                                            na yae dawra jan wam

ne zura ka ra hum                                             na yae zora krruney wam

ne adam ne zami tuma                                     na za na me tomana

au paari arashtam au pari yaam                     da reshtya lapara (yam) waprei yam

(I did not distress a slave nor the destitute, I endeared those who helped my family, and vanquished those who embarked to ruin my family. Neither I nor my essence. I am for truth, a reliable person.)

When the Central Asian Aryans took over the northern parts of India they called the Dravidian people of the area sodar. According to the invading Aryans these people were untouchables. This word exist in Pashto in the form of sodar meaning a lazy, ignorant and ignoble person.

 Racial discrimination took place in the Indian civilization the Aryans established and they were divided into three groups. This is the first indication of discrimination in their society. The first group was composed of the spiritual Brahmans, whom we call Barimanan in Pashto, at the present time. The second group was composed of military and administrative personalities, their vocation was to conduct military operations and they were called Kashteri i.e. kash turey (one who draws the sword). The third group was composed of workers, industrialists and traders and were called weysiya meaning they were trustworthy and reliable people. The word kasha tur has been recorded in old Pashto literature in the later part of the 8th century A.D. in a poem by Kabulshah. This indicates the effect of Pashto literature was so overwhelming that these three words penetrated Indian social structure with the same meaning.

In a part of Veda the battle of ten tribes has been mentioned. One of the tribes was named Pakhat. A commander of this tribe was named Toroyana meaning a swordsman. This Pakhat is the Pashtun tribe. The name Afghan has been in use in history for a long time. On the Kaaba Zardusht stone walls, related to the first Sassanid ruler of Iran, Shahpur, and the second ruler of the dynasty which was written around 260 AD we come across an inscription in Ashkani, Parthi and Greek letters. While mentioning the Kushanid nation the inscription contains the name of an Afghan commander, Windafern Abgan Rizmawud.

Sprengling in the Sami Journal in 1940 writes that this commander was an Afghan. The title of Apakan is seen with the name of the third Sassanid emperor who lived and ruled from 309 to 379 A.D. He may have been an Afghan too. Ferdawsi says:

      The commanding General like Qaran Gawan

      The commanding lion like Awgan.

In the story of Fereidun he says:

      The commander like Qaren Gawan

      At the head of soldiers stands Awgan.

Awgan, Abghan, Awghan and Afghan have been mentioned in the literary narrations of old civilizations as a commander and governor. Later around 505 A.D. we see this name in the book Bahrita Sanhita, of the Indian astronomer and poet, Warhayee Hera. In the 11-61 and 16-31 hemistichs the name has been mentioned as Awagana. Foushe  writes that this astronomer died in 587 AD. The name Afghan and the role of Afghans in Indian and Iranian civilizations dates back at least 1500 years. Later the Chinese traveler, Hsuan Tsang, on June 25, 644 AD came to the Ow-yu-keen area between Banun and Ghazni. In his memoirs he mentions this name and discusses the life, government and culture of these people, who are Afghans.

There are a lot of references to the Pashto language and Afghans after the start of Christian period. We have other documents which show the role of Pashto language just after the the conquests of Alexander. At the time of the Bactrian kings Menanadeer was born in Hopian and around 190 B he served as a general to Demetrius, the Greco Bactrian king and occupied certain parts of India. His family governed in India until 100 BC in India. At this time the Bactrians came under the influence of Indian culture. According to Strabo Minanadeer freed a number of Indian tribes. In Indian writings his name is Milinda and he converted to the Buddhist religion. He asked the famous Indian philosopher, Nagasena, certain questions and held dialogues with him which in Hindi are known as Milinda-panha, meaning the questions of Milinda.

According to Silvan Levi and Rajat Staram Bandat this book was written in old Pashto and was later translated to the Pali language and into Chinese. Two Chinese copies of the 5th to 7th centuries exist which may have been translated later. The Pali translations are present in Ceylon, Burman and Sayam. An old Pali translation written in  the 4th century was found in a temple in Japan. As a result of his spiritual and literary prowess Minanadeer’s fame spread wide and far to the extent that after his death disagreements arose over his remains. In the end his ashes were distributed equally among his followers.

In that the sayings of Minanadeer and the Buddhist Stananaga Sena have been written in Pashto and later translated into Pali and other languages shows the extent of Pashto’s influence on the Bactrian and Indian civilizations and exchanges of thoughts.

Another old example of Pashtunkhwa’s oldness and participation in civil movements dates to 350 AD. Panini the compiler of Sanskrit grammar who was born and raised near the banks of the Indus river in his book Eight Dialogues mentions Ruhita Gere (meaning the soul mountain) between Kapisa and Balahpaka (Balkh). In ancient and present literature ruh has been used to mean the land of the Afghans and Pashtuns. In India Pashtuns are called Ruhila and their land Ruhilkahand. Ruh means a mountain.

Strangely enough the name Ruh in Mahabarta, the Indian book, written around 1200 BC, has been mentioned as luha, which is an Indian form of the word ruh. In section 26 of the book Luha is described as the present day Afghanistan. Mohammad Qasem Fereshta writes that lengthwise Ruh extends from Swat, Bajawar to Sewi and the Bakar area and in breadth it stretches from Hasan Abdal to Kandahar.

Here I presented some examples of the literature of Pashto language and the influence of Pashtun culture on western and eastern Aryan languages. Unfortunately we have not been successful in finding a written sample of Pashto literature before the Islamic period and we do not know how the style with which old Pashto was written. We have discovered Greek, Dewanegari, Kharoshti, Arami and certain other scripts before Islam in Afghanistan. The oldest sample of Pashto literature which we have at our disposal is the epic poem of Amir Krorr which was written during the 8th century. This poem has been recorded in the book Pata Khazana (Hidden Treasure). There are few Dari relics from this time and in the western and northern regions of Afghanistan  Pahlavi language was also spoken and written. In the eastern section Sanskrit was spoken and written together with some local languages.

Amir Krorr’s epic which is an old example of Pashto literature is in par with other Aryan languages which depict epic literature. Heroic poetry was an attribute of old languages. When lyrics are written in a society, based on the needs of social attributes of the society, epic poetry which was called weyarrana in ancient Pashto, was also composed.

Just as in Greek literature around 9 BC Ilian and Odyssey were written by the western Aryans and a year later we see the lyrics of Sayed Eshqi and Akhlaqi and among the eastern Aryans, after the Vedic hymns, we come across the epic works of Ramin and Mahabaharat. Side by side with Aryan culture we have similar poetry in Pashto which can be considered a part of the link of the old Central Asian languages, Veda, Avesta, old Persian, Sanskrit and other old Aryan languages. Pashto acts as a link between the western and eastern Asian civilizations, thought and culture.

In Part 7, volume 6, narration 6-7 of Rig Veda we come across these words:

      “God is the sovereign of life

      The owner of the land.

      He gave families to these people.

      God! we are your slaves

      Do not leave us without children and goodness!”

 According to Gustave Le Bon, the writer of Civilization of India, this hymn of Rig Veda manifests the thought of the ancient Aryans to increase the number of their families. If we are to compare the Bet Neka poem mentioned in old Pashto literature in Memoirs of Saints of Suleiman Maku we see the same thought.

      O Great God, O Great God

      And your love in every place,

      The mountains rise with might

      Bringing forth life in sight.

      Here at the mountain’s base

      Our tents are pitched face to face,

      May these households spread wide and odd,  

      O Great God, O Great God.

Epic literature depict the might and strength of feudal lifestyle. In an agricultural and industrial society wars break out on ownership and sexual desires are expressed in love and strength. Warriors and warlords engage in the writing of epic poetry to show their prowess to subdue their enemy and manifest their hierarchy in classes. Such epic themes are seen in Indian epic literature which reveals a feudal society and such epic poetry is also seen in Avesta and Pahlavi books of poetry.

Darius in the Baghistan tablet states: “I am Darius, the eminent king, king of the kings, the king of Pars, the king of nations.”

Firdowsi’s Shahnama is basically a work of epic which is renowned in world literature. Most of the places and people mentioned are from the lands of Afghanistan and an epic of Rustam, a native of Zabul, is as follows:

In valance I girth my loins

To face the rapacious lion.

It started cooing in my presence

The mighty lion and the demons.

To the aid of Royin fortress I went

And turned the world around.

I sought the rancor of the Iranians

And with the advice of the elders

I captured Turan and China

With great hardship and clamor.

I caught the nimble leopard

Like the seaman who nets the whale.

I by myself fought the battle

In war no one can challenge my calamity.

Such epics are common in Dari literature and the old Pashto poem which has been included in Pata Khazana is also such an epic. Amir Krorr says:

      I am a lion, in this world there is no one more powerful,

      In India, Sind, Takhar or Kabul,

      Nor is there any in the plains of Zabul.

      There is no one mightier than me.

Amir Krorr’s epic ties Pashto literature with epics in Drai, Aryan, Indian and Central Asia’s other literatures. If we are to compare it with other epics it does not fall behind in standing. In terms of its contents and form and the fact that it is close to pure Pashto it retains a high standing. This epic reminds us of Abu Muslim’s resistance which overturned the Baghdad and Islamic world’s political stature and the period of civilization and culture of the Abbasid Caliphate started which is considered as a bright period in Asian and even in world civilization. This movement placed Pashto literature in the annals of the history of Asian civilization.

After the Islamic conquests Arabic language was introduced in Afghanistan during the seventh and eighth centuries and it became the religious and scientific language of the people. Hundreds of learned men served this language and Islamic studies better than the Arabs. Pashto literature had an effect on Arabic language and literature. Arabic also had a profound effect on Pashto in that thousands of Arabic words were introduced to Pashto literature. Among Indian Aryan tribes dum was a musician, barber and cook. This word is an important mark of Pashto and Pashtun culture which has penetrated Indian culture. Pashtun’s consider a drummer a dum. A poet says:

      Oh dum caress my hair slowly

      For in every braid lies my heart.

From this word we have dumbak (drum), damama (kettle drum) and other words. Ibn Khardzaba, the Arab geographer, says that Indians call this cult zanab. This is an Arabized version of dum and damb. This words tells us to what extent this Pashto word influenced Aryan civilization and it had found its way into Arabic too.

From old Pashto literature we have the word kotwal. It was extracted from the Pashto kot+wal during the time of the Ghaznavid kings, a thousand years ago, and it penetrated Dari literature. Naser Khusrao says:

      You shall not find truth

      Kotwal will guard the religion.

There is a vagabond group of people in Afghanistan known by the name of jath. These people speak Pashto also. They used to go from Afghanistan through southern Iran to Arabia and were transporters of goods and cultural affinities. This name became zath in Arabic. and these people were called zawti. During the time of the prophet Mohammad a zath doctor treated Aisha.

Bunya and bunyagar is an Aryan word common in Pashto, Dari and Hindi. Buzurg bin Shahriyar around 911 AD has used this word in the plural form as bunyaniya. By this he means traders. This is an influence of Pashto on Arabic in trade ties and economy. Similarly the Sindhi bahat and bata have penetrated Arabic language and culture from Pashto. When the Buddhist religion was introduced to Afghanistan through the political power of Ashoka in 260 BC people erected Bhudda’s statues which were very beautiful. Later these statues were called badada, plural of bad. From this the word buth was extracted in Pashto and Dari and the beloved was known as buth in literature. Jami says:

That buth looked at herself in the mirror.

I became a buth worshipper and she a buth admirer.

Such beautiful idols were made in Gandahara and are now discovered in the mounds in Gandahara so buth kandahar in Dari literature became the designation of beauty. This word became bodtoon in Pashto literature which means an idol temple and it has been used in Ghorid Pashto literature.

In Ajayeb al-Hind and Murawaj-al-Dahab we see an Arabized Pashto word hunarman which is an example of the social effect of this language on the political and administrative culture of the Arabs. In the third century Hejira (10th century AD) the Arabs built a mosque near the Arabian Sea. The raja of the place appointed Abas, son of Mahan, as the hunarman (caretaker) of the mosque. The Arabs had converted the word into an infinitive. Masudi, the Arab traveler, heard another word, biyasara, in this city. He says ten thousand Arabs live in the city and they are called biyasara. This is because they are travelers and away from their homeland. Hence they are considered to be without means i.e. be asra. This is a Pashto word and when it entered Arab vocabulary it was converted to biyasara.

Pasthuns called city dwellers sharedz which is related to the word shahr (city). This word by means of conversion became shahrej in Arabic and its plural is shaharej. This word has been mentioned in Murawaj al-Dahab, Tarekhe Yaqubi, Al-Tanbiya wa Al-Ashraf. Dhabi Al-Asad Al-Hamani, who was a contemporary of Khalifa Mehdi, in Ketab-al-Aghani has used this word: Nahn al-shaharej wa awlad al-dehaqeen (we the city dwellers and children of farmers).

These literary examples provided here shows us Pashto’s recognized place in the transition, development and changes which took place in Asian civilizations. There are many more such examples in the Pashto language which needs another treatise to present.

Literary relics of Pashto before the Islamic period at our disposal fit with the spiritual sonnets of Veda and Avesta and the epics in books of poetry (shahnamas). During the time of the Samanids and Ghaznavid dynasties when Dari language became the official and literary language of these courts we see that the Central Asian movements had a profound effect on Pashto. The language, beside its own Pashtun, intrinsic, and eloquent characteristics contain epics and odes in the style of the Ghaznavi court in which we find a great deal of excellent features. These changes which are manifest in poetry and literature of the Ghaznavi and Ghorid courts resulted in directing Pashto literature to the format of Dari and Arabic literature and those changes which were brought to Dari literature by the distinguished Ghaznavi scholars were also absorbed  by Pashto. Beside this the language has certain characteristics which are not present or are rarely seen in Dari poetry. For example Farukhi in his elegy, which is considered to be his master piece, says:

      Ghazni city is not what I had seen before

      What has happened, that all is awry.

In his poem Farukhi talks about the beauty of the city and the lamentation of its citizens at the death of Sultan Mahmud. Addressing the king he states:

      The bazaar of the poets which prevailed

      Succumbed when you passed away.

His poem manifests personal grief over a fatality which prompted Farukhi to lament about the death of the monarch in his poem. Shaikh Asad Suri wrote his elegy around 1033 AD on the death of Mohammad Suri. He starts his poem with these words:

      What can I complain about heaven’s power

      That wilts the smiling spring flower. 

His poem, beside coming under the influence of Dari literature, contains Pashtun characteristics and features which provides Pashto literature a special place in Asian poetry. In the end he conveys his Pashtun feelings as such:

      A brave warrior you were and so you did die,

      Upholding dignity, you did not lie.

      With your departure the Suri are sad today

      Remember will they, your name with pride.

Here the poet departs from personal grief, he is not trying to personify himself and his poetic excellence. He considers dignity better than death and praises the way the king died in honor. These are characteristics which Pashto literature maintains after amalgamating with Asian literature. Skarandoi’s poem is also an excellent example of fluency and the description of natural beauty:

      Everywhere fragrant flowers thrive

      As if caravans of musk from Tartary arrive.

Dari literature during the Ghaznavi period, beside poems of glorification and stories, contain features of religion and spirituality also. Naser Khusrao Balkhi introduced philosophical thought, Sanayee Ghaznavi’s poetry contains mysticism and amiable manners, Shaikh Atta and Mawlana Balkhi in their episodes talks about religion, carnal knowledge and piety. In this way love poetry, ghazals and quatrains were founded in Asian literature. The poetry showed that humanity has strayed from the real source and beauty of nature and is once again striving to get back to this exalted source. The works of Mawlana Balki and other scholars are based on this philosophy which has an intrinsic value. He says:

      When I was suspended from the divine order

      Men and women lamented about my status.

Pashto literature has maintained this characteristic of Asian thought to the end. Shaikh Mati Khalil’s carnal poem is an enlightening example of such thoughts. He says:

      As the sun shines dazzling in space,

      As the moon enchants the night in its golden embrace,

      As the lofty mountain stands in delightful grace,

      Mirrored in tranquility is the river’s face.

      All this is a part of Your elegance

      A small sample of Your prudence.

During the middle period of development of Pashto literature we see the expansion of different kinds of poetry and prose which is praiseworthy both qualitatively and quantitatively and Pashto literature is bestowed with attractive features. The art of writing memoirs also started during this time. A time when Oufi had not yet written the Dari Lubab-al-Albab memoir in India. Memoirs of Saints by Suleiman Mako was written in 1214 AD while Oufi wrote his book six years later. With the writing of Tarekh-e Suri, Akhbar-al-Ludi and Larghoni Pashtana the value of Pashto literature increases further and it takes different forms. A depiction of hell has been pictured in Asian traditions from the time of Avesta. It was considered to be a place in another universe but Rabia, who lived around 1513 AD in Kandahar brings forth this Asian thought to this world:

      He brought man to the world’s mire

      And put his inner body on fire,

      By creating hell on earth called separation

      To endure, if you divine love desire.

An important event in the history of Pashto literature is the socialist movement which was started in 1417 AD by Shaikh Mali Yusufzai with the writing of Daftar. Shaikh Mali’s Daftar is a legal literary document which provided Pashtuns with the legal basis for their livelihood and distribution of land. This distribution was not based on individual ownership but all the sources of revenue, land, pastures and villages were the property of society and every ten years the distribution was renewed.

Unfortunately this social system came under the influence Moghul feudal system and anyone who usurped land burned the Daftar of Sheikh Mali. To the extent that during Khushal Khan’s time (17th century) Daftar had become an underground document and people used to hide it. He says:

      There are two things in Swat, hidden and discovered

      One is Makhzan of Darweza and the other Daftar of Shaikh Mali.

From what we know about Shaikh Mali’s Daftar the social and cooperative life which was incorporated in the book six centuries ago was at a time when extensive empires existed in Europe and Asia and feudalism was at its pinnacle. Remnants of this system remained in the economic lifestyle of the Pashtuns until 1869 AD when the British colonialists started the distribution of land to individuals and feudal lords. Under the name of Band-wa-bast they destroyed this social Pashtun order in order to foster their colonialist intentions. This tragedy resulted in the obscurity of this praiseworthy document of Pashto literature.

We can also assess Pashto’s importance in Central Asia’s literary accounts through the work of Bayazid Roshan and the writing of his Khair-al-Bayan. If we had a copy of the Daftar and would have been able to compare it with Khair-al-Bayan we would have discovered a great deal of hidden issues in the history of Afghanistan. We only have one copy of Khair-al-Bayan which shows that the real value of Pashto literature manifests that it has been used from the beginning to enhance life.

Pir Roshan’s work has a literary side plus it reveals a nationalist movement which resulted in the execution of Sher Shah Suri’s movement in India, Khushal Khan and Aimal’s resistance in Pashtunkhwa, Sher Khan Tarin and Mirwais’s independence movements in Kandahar. These literary and nationalist movements resulted in having profound effect on Indian, Iranian and Trans Oxiana politics, culture and thought and Pashto literature attained an high position in the literature of this region.

According to Akhund Darweza Pir Roshan was gathering an army to subdue India to once again establish the forgotten Pashtun rule there. Roshan writes:

      I am king of the Pashtuns who are my followers.

      I will bring down the Sekrei gate.

It was this very same fervor shown by Sher Shah Suri which resulted in the fleeing of Homayun, son of Babur from India. He established a strong cultural, civil and administrative structure in India which was followed by the English in administering the country. The seeds of this literary movement had been sown by Pir Roshan and Sher Shah directed the great Indian civil movements in that direction.

The Pastun Lodhi, Suri, Ghalji and other rulers introduced Pashtun vocabulary in Indian languages and literature. We see a great deal of our cultural affinities in the lives of Indians today. In Pashto a canal is called a wala, weyla or beyala. When the Pashtun rulers went to Punjab they constructed numerous canals. They are still called by Pashtun names with a suffix wala such as Husain Wala, or Turbeyla which in actuality is Tura Beyla.

Later during the 17th century the literary movement of Khushal Khan and his family commenced in Pashto which resulted in elevating Pashto literature extensively, eliminating a lot of errors in the language and starting a new chapter in Pashto literature. Pashto writing was elevated to the extent that it was able to rival Dari and Hindi literature. Khushal Khan’s poetry is lucid and has a heart rendering form. He was so versatile that he could write poetry about any subject. He created an art form for his life and promoted virtuosity.

We have the works of hundreds of Pashto poets and writers after Khushal. They wrote talented poetry in subjects ranging from idealism, realism, dramatics, fables and modern day issues. Their works forms an important part of Central Asian literature. During the 19th century when a new movement for independence took hold in this region Pashto poetry and literature was used to promote issues of life. Poetry and literature, beside dealing with life issues, also reflects upon heavenly and utopian issues. Art is a manifestation of the allurements of nature.

A major part of Pashto literature until the 17th century, like the other languages, dealt with idealism. We see issues pertaining to metaphysics, spirituality, religion, and monastic life in it. If there was something which was related to life it was portrayed in an epic form with boasting which was of little use in life. For a long time Pashto literature followed the idealistic pattern set by Kalim, Taleb, Ghani, Faizi and others in neighboring lands. In Khushal Khan’s poetry we see sensuality, artistic values, imagination and elegance as in these lines:

      Your company is like a river and I a fish,

      An eternal separation which I must bear.

      Lamenting I asked for a kiss from her lips,

      Laughing she said what does this man seeks.

Another hemistich reminds one of idealism:

      When I hold her in my arms she looks at me

      Like a fawn intoxicated by its mother’s milk.

In the end he says:

      Awrangzeb worries about Kabul’s fall

      Cup bearer it is spring season bring the wine.

Khushal Khans divan is laden with imaginary poetry. Eight thousand lines just deal with idealism. Pashto literature, however, is not just a portrayal of idealistic, indulgence and imaginative thoughts. It is a literature of the common people and is present in spoken and non-written form in the tents of nomads, the huts of poor people, among the maidens who carry water to the village, in national ballads and dances and in the trenches of battlefields. Pashto literature was hence used as a tool to express one’s inner feelings as depicted in this lunday (Pashto folk poetry composed of two lines):

      May you come wounded from the battlefield

      I need not hear undignified news about you.

Khushal Khan used literature as a means to express his inner and artistic thoughts but according to Alama Iqbal he was a scholar on Afghan society. He gathered the secrets of the life of Afghans and his works are a depiction of a social psychologist. In a critical tone he says:

      My tongue is like fire

      Like a bullet it hurts.

Pashtuns, as a cohesive nation, have a history of governance, geographical land and natural resources. According to Khushal Khan:

      The camel entered the house loaded

      Tangled around his neck is a bell.

Even though he was a feudal lord but in the world of realism he considered such acts vile:

      The rich and the governors

      Roam in India at every corner.

      They take the property of the oppressed

      In my opinion they are all base.

The emperor of the time, Aurangzeb, was a strange character. He used to personally scribe Qurans for a worthy cause and to express piety he turned prayer beads all the time but was cruel and atrocious to the extent that he killed his own brother and father. Khushal Khan condemns this king and the circumstances as such:

      There are numerous lords in this period

      King Aurangzeb among them the most prominent.

      On the one hand he scribes the Koran

      And then severs the artery of his brother.

In former Pashto literature, beside spiritual and moralistic subjects, there little was written about materialistic issues. In Khushal Khan’s literature it attained a median standing and others such as Rahman Baba, Hamid, Pir Mohammad and Ahmad Shah Baba in their idealistic world wrote some pieces on materialistic issues. Khushal says:

      The brave shall not die by means of an army

      They will always stand out among others.

Abdul Qadir in Guldasta states:

      A bad governor is cursed by God,

      One who is unjust is cruel.

      His cruelty will spread all over

      Affecting the life of the people.


      Cruel people are demons to themselves and others,

      Decrepit are the ones who engage in cruelty.

In Khushal Khan’s family Kazem Khan Shaida is the most idealist poet and follows the Indian style of visionary poetry but even he resorts to social matters:

      Like a candle will be the world of the one

      Who tires himself for the work others.

When Hamid writes about serious social matters he blends them in an artistic mold. This style is prevalent among the Dari poets of India. He describes the faults of humanity as follows:

      If the dew does not affect the sleepless

      He will not attain his lover’s solace.

Ahmad Shah Baba follows the trend of Suffism but when he takes over the Delhi throne he laments about his homeland and forgets all his spiritual thoughts:

      I forget Delhi’s throne when I remember

      Pashtunkhwa’s beautiful towering peaks.

In his imaginative thought Pir Mohammad Kakarr relates to the beauty of sleeping beside his beloved and her turning in bed in these words:

      In sleep my beloved turned in bed

      Like the gazelle treading over spring flowers.

Desiring to share his heartfelt feelings of love and pain with others Pir Mohammad writes:

      Separation has cast me with the afflicted

      Like a reed I bewail my sorrow to everyone.