تبلیغات
The Hidden Treasure (Patta Khazana)
شنبه 1388/09/28

Native Skeptics

   خپرندوی: سپینتمان افغان    

Native Skeptics
Another issue which needs to be discussed here is what has been said by some
people in Afghanistan, or in some instances what they have written about Pata
Khazana. These people have voiced their personal opinions about the book, but what
they have said is not based on facts. Here I do not want to take the position of a total
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defender of the book but would like to scientifically analyze what I have heard. If
someone should criticize the work in a scholarly manner in the future, without showing
bigotry, he or she should be heard, but if the critique is questionable, then it should be
researched and evaluated thoroughly.
One of the writers holds the view that the first poem of Pashto should have strong
historical backing and documentation. Without it researchers cannot rely on its
authenticity.
It should be mentioned that when studying Pata Khazana, or the biographies of
poets in other languages, the use of the terms 'first poem' or oldest prose or poetry is
not correct. It is not proper to state that a certain poem is the first one. Poetry is not
revealed suddenly from heaven but goes through constant transformation and
improvement. Compilers of Persian biographies, who have attributed the oldest Persian
poem to Bahram Gor, Mohammad bin Waseef Seistani, Abas Marwazi or Abu Hafs bin
Ahwas Sughdi have erred in doing so. It should be said that the first known poem
recognized in a certain language has been written by such and such poet. Based on
Pata Khazana we consider the poem of Amir Krorr as the first known poetic work of the
Pashto language. As I have mentioned in the annotations of the book, the literature of
the language evolved well before the writing of Amir Krorr's poem and during the eighth
century A.D. it had reached a highly refined stage. My view regarding this matter is
similar to what scholars have said about old Persian texts.
All of what has been written about ancient poetry in biographies of poets cannot be
taken for granted because in these books one comes across non-scholarly issues which
should be rejected on a scientific basis. Modern research is based on an evaluation of
facts based on philology, etymology, poetics and stylistics. Mohammad 's claim
regarding the qasidah of Marwazi in Lubab-al-Albab is untenable, but the book contains
a great deal of material which has been accepted as genuine.
All aspects of research on poetry (whether new or old), should conform with the
standards of philology and poetics. It is the duty of scholars of poetics to differentiate
good from bad and genuine from non-genuine. By collating all the ancient poems of
Pashto in order of their antiquity, we can say that the poem of Amir Krorr is the oldest
one known to us. It is possible that in the future older works may be discovered.
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The writer states: "Mohammad Hothek's view, in the 12th century Hejira regarding
the poem of Amir Krorr is not convincing, and when a researcher of the day comes
across such an issue it should not convince him". The respected writer should be asked
what he means by researchers of the day? If he is referring to reviewers or researches
of the history of literature, then such scholars would not out rightly reject the book.
In Lubab-al-Albab, Daulat Shah's biography of poets and other such works in
Persian and Arabic and other eastern languages there are thousands of poems that
have been accepted as genuine by scholars on the basis of a singular citation. The
works of Brown, Hamayee, Safa, Sàeed Nafisi, Dr. Shafaq and others are full of such
narratives. If such people are not considered scholars then who is a scholar?
Today the divan of Hanzala Badghisi does not exist but according to the Chahar
Maqala of Nizami Samarkandi (p. 69), this divan was in possession of Ahmad bin
Abdullah Khajestani {died 262 H. (876 A.D.)} who used to read it. Only one verse of this
anciet Persian poet has been cited in Lubab-al-Albab and Chahar Maqala, although
their style is dubious. Àwfi states that he had seen the Arabic and Persian divan of Abual-
Fatha (Lubab, p. 62). Beside a few couplets we do not have in our hand any other
part of the divan of this famous poet from Bost. His complete Arabic divan was
published by Ibrahim bin Ali Tarablusi in 1294 H. (1877 A.D.) and Dr. Amir Mahmud
Anwar completed the work containing 1350 couplets in Tehran from several handwritten
manuscripts (Maqalat wa Barasiha, vol. 13-16, p. 345). Many ancient divans
have been lost. If we reject the aforementioned arguments, then there will be no
material left for present day scholars to work with. In this manner half the works on the
history of Persian literature would have to be discarded because the material in works
such as Lubab-al-Albab has been collected by the writer of the biography. If we do not
rely on such works then today's researcher will have very little material to work on
because the originals of the old works (including the celebrated Shahnama) do not exist
today and we only have copies in our possession. If some doubt the authenticity of
Mohammad Hothek's work then one could cast doubts on the works of others such as
Àwfi, Daulat Shah, Azar and Hedayat. It may be stated that Àwfi and Daulat Shah lived
before Mohammad Hothek but Azar was his contemporary and Hedayat lived after him.
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He further writes: "The opinion of a writer such as Mohammad Hothek..." It is difficult
to understand why he is not convinced by the opinion of Mohammad Hothek? The truth
is that the works of Àwfi, Daulat Shah, Azar and Hedayat are also under discussion by
scholars. Mohammad Hothek's celebrity in and familiarity with Pashto literature far
exceeds that of Àwfi and Hedayat in Persian. He has made far less mistakes in the
writing of Pata Khazana than has Daulat Shah and Hedayat in their works. The
command of language which Àwfi, Daulat Shah, and Nezami Samarkandi had in
Persian, Mohammad Hothek has shown in Pashto. By profession, Mohammad Hothek
was secretary of the Hothek court in Qandahar. He has shown eloquence in his style of
writing and like Arab historians has extensively cited both written works and the
narrations he had heard. A number of the works he refers to are present at this time
such as the Makhzan of Nàmatullah Herawi, the works of Khushal Khan and Nafà-al-
Muslimeen of Noor Mohammad Ghaljay.
The lost books which Mohammad Hothek saw and has cited cannot be considered
dubious. There is no evidence of forgery in the narrations provided by Mohammad
Hothek with respect to poetics or the presentation of historical events. They resemble
the narrations that Daulat Shah cites from Munaqebat-al-Shuàra of Abu Tahir Khatuni.
This book is lost but we accept the narrations of Daulat Shah until another source is
found which is contrary to Khatuni.
There are other celebrated historical works such as Tarekh-e Baihaqi and
Tabaqathh-e Nasiri which quote narrations from lost texts. For example the Maqamat of
Abu Nasr Mushkan, secretary of the Ghaznavid court, in ten volumes that does not exist
now. What Baihaqi has narrated from this book is considered valid and we trust what
Baihaqi has said (although the original version of Baihaqi's book is not available today).
The history of Mahmud Warraq, Musamara-e Khwarazm and Maqamat-e Mahmudi are
all lost documents on which Baihaqi relies and provides them as references for his
book. Minhaj Seraj also quotes from lost books such as Takamilat-al-Latayef, Tarekh-e
Mujdool, Ahdas-al-Zaman, Muntakhab-e Tarekh-e Nasiri, Nasab Nama-e Ghoriyan and
Tarekh-e Naabi. We accept Minhaj Seraj's citations from these books even though
neither the versions written during the time of Jouzjani and Baihaqi nor any later
manuscripts are available.
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If these Persian biographies and historical works are accepted there is no reason
whatsoever why Mohammad Hothek's biographical account is not acceptable. If it is
claimed that Mohammad Hothek was referring to old texts during the 12th century Hejira
then the same formula should be applicable to Ãtaskkada of Azar and Majmà-al-Fusaha
of Hidayat because they were written during the 12th and 13th centuries Hejira.
Historians do not use such reasoning. Therefore, these books should be treated
equally without any doubt or bigotry especially where the writer refers to a certain
source or provides a narration and does not add anything himself. Mohammad Hothek
follows these rules strictly. With respect to the poem of Amir Krorh he cites Larghoni
Pashtana of Shaikh Kata Mathizay Ghoryakhel bin Shaikh Yusuf bin Shaikh Mathi
{around 750 H. (1349 A.D.)}. Shaikh Kata had copied his material from Tarekh-e Suri of
Mohammad bin Ali Bosti. This shows that Mohammad Hothek's citation is welldocumented.
If we accept the citations of Minhaj Seraj and Baihaqi, taken from now lost
sources, then there is no reason why Mohammad Hothek's citations should not be
acceptable.
We know that the citations provided by Mohammad Hothek from Makhzan-e
Afghani, the divan of Rahman Baba, the divan of Abdul Qadir Khan and the work of
Khushal Khan are correct and valid, therefore, we should not have any doubt in
accepting his citations from books that are lost. As stated earlier such citations and
narrations are seen in other biographies and we also come across cases where the
authors present material they have collected. There are many such volumes in use in
the history of literature. Prior to the finding of the complete manuscript of Lubab-al-
Albab, Hedayat's latest version was accepted in which he had relied on Arafat-alÀshuqeen.
When in 1903-1906 Lubab-al-Albab was published by Brown, according to
the late Sàeed Nafisi, Hedayat had taken a great deal of the material of Lubab from
Arafat, but had insinuated he had actually seen Lubab himself (refer to the introduction
of Lubab-al-Albab by Sàeed Nafisi, 1947). How is it possible that the material presented
in Lubab-al-Albab, Daulat Shah and other biographical accounts, is acceptable to
scholars, even though they do not cite their references, while Mohammad Hothek's work
is not. If the validity of Pata Khazana is doubtful then others have the right to look with
uncertainty at the works of Àwfi, Daulat Shah and their likes. Leaving bigotry aside let
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us evaluate the following narration of Daulat Shah: Abu Tahir Khatuni has said that
during the era of Azd-al-Daula Dailami, the Shereen palace, which is near Khaneqin,
had not been totally destroyed. In the inscription of that palace this couplet, written in
old Persian style, was found:
hazh bara ba kaihan anosha bazi هژ برا به کیهان اوشه بذى
jahan badedar tusha bazi جهان بدیدار توشه بذى
Great monarch you secured endless fortune,
The world despises your splendor.
What kind of a verse is this? Is not the Manaqeb-al-Shuàra of Khatooni lost. Can we
rely only on Daulat Shah's statement? Mohammad Hothek's reference to Larghoni
Pashtana has similar import. There are many instances in biographical anthologies in
which the author is the sole narrator. If such narrations are removed from the literature
of Pashto, Persian and other languages, a large number of poets and old writings will
have to be forgotten, and the 'present day researcher' will be left empty-handed.
He further writes: "It has not been explicitly stated in history what language was
spoken by the people of this era (8th century A.D.) or later and what was their form of
writing? Some scattered documents, however, show that different ethnic groups of the
country wrote their national and local languages, more or less, in their own form of
writing without any foreign influence. During the beginning of the second Islamic century
the language of the people of the central and mountainous regions was free from Arabic
influence. This was because Arab influence had not taken hold, or was in the early
stages of development.
"The antiquity of Pashto and Persian literature can be proved from Vedic and
Avestan ballads and the writings of Greek and Arab historians. The question here deals
with the national language and its present day form of writing, and the time of its origin.
As stated earlier, Arab influence in the central part of the country during the second
century was minimal. Even if there was some influence, it was not much so as to greatly
influence language, religion, style of writing and dialect. Furthermore, Tarekh-e Baihaqi,
Tabaqathh-e Nasiri, Futuh-al-Baldan, Shahnama-e Tabari and the works of neutral
historians and scholars are documents which allow us to form an opinion.
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"These documents and other reliable sources state that Islam's influence had not
spread to Ghor until the 4th century Hejira. Based on this, Arabic had not influenced the
language or writing of the people of Ghor. If samples of the writing of the language are
found they will certainly not be in Arabic. The style of writing can be visualized from the
excavated inscriptions. In my opinion the Arabic script, as in the case of Persian, was
adopted by Pashto when these regions came under the influence of Moslem
administrators.
"If Islam was introduced to Ghor by the Ghaznavids, then how it is possible that the
Arabic language found its way into the area two centuries before the Ghaznavids? Is it
possible that Arabic had so much influence in the area that Amir Krorh was able to write
his poem in Arabic script with such eloquence and leave it to us as a souvenir of his
age. If this unexpected influence spread so quickly in Ghor, then their inscriptions
should also have been written in Arabic."
The first part of this statement belies historical facts and events. The issue of script
has been extensively treated in the writings of Indian, Arab and Greek writers and
clarified by inscriptions, coins and Avestan, Pahlavi and Chinese sources. That the
Avestan script was used in former Aryana is evident from the book of Avesta itself. The
Avestan influence is seen in Balkh, Seistan and the Helmand valley up to Rakhd. Most
of Avestan rulers and events pertain to Afghanistan. That a religion and a book are
produced in this country and that a religious book is written in a particular script does
not mean that the script was popular in this country as history does not show this
clearly.
From the hundreds of Greek inscriptions and coins which have been found in
Afghanistan and are preserved in the museums of the world, one cannot come to the
conclusion that from the time of Alexander's conquests (230 B.C.) until the 8th and 9th
centuries Greek script was in use in Afghanistan.
The religious tablets found in Mansehra and Shahbaz Garhay, related to the
Mauryan king, Ashoka (273-232 B.C.), were written in Kharoshti and Prakrit scripts. The
Daronta tablets have been written in Aramaic, and the Qandahar's old city inscriptions
are in Greek and Aramaic scripts. Is it not possible to say that during the second and
third centuries B.C. that Greek, Aramic and Kharoshti script were used in Afghanistan
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up to the banks of the Indus river by the people? Or is it possible that they wrote
religious sermons in some other form of writing other than the script of the people?
The tablets of the early Koshanid period are in the Takhari language written in Greek
script. The Uruzgan and Jaghato tablets are similar and date back to the 5th century
A.D. Later inscriptions and coins, belonging to the 6th and 7th centuries are in Sarada,
Brahman, Greek and Pahlavi scripts. In later years all these scripts were replaced by
Kufic and Arabic scripts. Thus the statement by the writer, "local languages, without the
influence of other languages, were written, more or less, in a special script...", is
incorrect.
The Aramaic script was introduced by the Achamenids, the Greek script by
Alexander and Greek rulers, the Pahlavi script came from Fars by means of the
Sassanids, and Sarada from Wagri, and Brahmi came from India. Only the Kharoshti
script is believed to have originated in the area between the Helmand and Indus rivers.
Wilson also considers it as the Aryana script (Aryana Antiqua). Therefore, one cannot
say that historical documentation is not clear. Are these not historical documents? If the
writer considers compiled volumes historical documents, I refer him to the two volumes
of History of Afghanistan by Kohzad, my Short History of Afghanistan and the History of
Afghanistan after Islam.
It will become clear that the issue of language is similar to that of culture and
Afghanistan has been considered at the crossroads of different cultures. Then how is it
possible to say that local languages had not come under the influence of other
languages? With the coming of the Hephthalites and the Koshanids many Turanian
words were introduced into our language. In Pashto, Turkish words such as olas, jerga,
aegh, toura and hundreds of others, are in common usage and have become an integral
part of the language. All the words of the 25 line Surkh Kotal inscription are of ancient
Aryan origin, and as mentioned earlier, the deep cultural influence of east and west is
seen in it.
The word mandar, used in the inscription is originally a Sanskrit word which means a
palace, temple, resting place etc. This vividly shows the effect of Indian culture and
language. The month of Neisan is a Babylonian month, also in use in Syriac and Jewish
calendars. In Akhadian the word is written as neisun, in Armaic as neis and in Arabic as
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neisan. This word has found its way from Babylon to Aryana via the Scythian, Median
and Achaemenid civilizations and became established in the civilization of the Koshanid
era.
When it is evident that Afghanistan has served as the central hub of different
civilizations and cultures then how is it possible to say that our language has remained
aloof from the influence of other languages (as the writer of an article has put it)?
The assertion that the effects of Arabic language and culture had not reached Ghor
during the 4th century H. is incorrect. Also Islam was not introduced to Ghor by the
Ghaznavids during the 4th century H. The historical facts are different. Islam was
introduced into the regions of Ghor during the first Islamic century and the influence of
Arabic spread at that time.
Minhaj Seraj states that Malik Shansab bin Kharnak, the Ghorid king, embraced
Islam through Hazrat Ali, the fourth Caliph in 36 H. (657 A.D.) (Tabaqathh-e Nasiri, vol.
1, p. 320), and considers Amir Polad a contemporary of Abu Muslim Marwazi, circa 130
H. (748 A.D.) (vol. 1, p. 324).
The Arabic and Islamic influence did not reach the inner valleys of Ghor until 107 H.
(726 A.D.), when the Arab conqueror, Asàd bin Abdullah attacked Gharistan and that
region's ruler, Namroon. Later he also attacked the mountain dwellings of Ghor, who hid
their possessions in a cave in one of the mountains. Asàd made coffins in which he hid
his soldiers. The coffins were sent to the cave. Thus his soldiers were able to take out
the possessions (Tabari, vol. 5, p. 328). As far as we know from historical documents,
people living in the far reaches of the mountainous valleys of Ghor had not pledged
allegiance to Islam until 253 H. (867 A.D.) (Tabaqathh-e Nasiri, vol. 1, p. 318).
In the circumstances that the rulers of Ghor were traveling to the courts of Hazrat Àli
and Haroon al Rashid and Amir Polad participated in the conquests of Abu Muslim, it is
clear that Arab civilization and religion had spread to some parts of Ghor. The rulers of
Ghor maintained their local power until the time of Sultan Mahmud and Sultan Masàud.
The possibility exists that in the far reaches of the mountainous regions of Ghor some
people did not embrace Islam for a long time. The influence of Arab culture and
language on the cities of Ghor is evident. The statement that Islam's influence had not
reached Ghor until the 4th century Hejira, and that until the era of Timur, Islam had not
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completely penetrated Ghor is incorrect. One has only to look at Tabari and Tabaqathhe
Nasiri to clarify this matter. The statements of the skeptics do not correspond with
historical facts.
How is it possible that the rulers of Ghor, who had access to the Arab courts,
participated in Arab conquests, fought in alliance with Abu Muslim's armies, where
Arabic poetry was recited and Arabic was the language of the court, were so distant
from the cultural setting that they did not know a word of Arabic?
The writer of the article has mixed the issue of script with that of language. He
states: "It is far from possible that in 130 H., during the early stages of Islam, a man by
the name of Amir Krorh wrote his poem in Arabic script."
It must be mentioned that in Pata Khazana there is no allusion to the script of the
poem. If for the sake of argument let us accept that the rulers of Ghor, despite being
involved with Abu Muslim Marwazi, did not know how to write Arabic, the possibility
exists that they wrote their language in Greek, Kharoshti or Pahlavi script. With the
spread of the Islamic influence, during the first and second centuries Hejira, in the area
they could have adopted the Arabic script. The ancient relics of Persian language such
as the hymns of the Karkoy temple, the poem of Bahram Gor, manam ãn sher galah,
and the inscription of the Qasr-e Shireen, were most likely written in Avestan or Pahlavi
script. When these poems found their way into Persian works they were transcribed in
the Arabic script. Based on this, it is important that the issue of the use of script should
not be mixed with that of language.
In the epic poem of Amir Krorh, the names of certain places such as Zaranj, Jurm,
Gharj and Hariwa-al-Rud, have been Arabicized without any doubt. In geographical
works of the time the names appear in similar fashion. During that time Arabic was the
literary language of the court. In the Arabic writings of the people of Khorasan the
Arabicized forms have been used. The fact that the rulers of Ghor had affinities with the
citizens of Khorasan and the Khorasanian courts, the Arabicization of four Ghorid
names in the poem, does not mean that the poem is forged. We see that the Taherid
rulers of Poshang of Herat, who were not that far away from Ghor, recited poetry in
Arabic only 50 years later.
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After the dominance of the Arabs, during the first century Hejira, the names of a
large number of cities were Arabicized and the native people also used the Arabicized
forms. For example Sagistan became Sajistan, and Zarang became Zaranj. These
forms were used in all Persian and Arabic documents. If in the ancient works their
original form was written, the scribes converted them to the Arabic form. For example
the word chol, meaning desert or empty space, is commonly used in Pashto and
Persian. In a copy of Tarekh-e Seistan its Arabicized form appears as jol. Similarly rakhj
which is an Arabicized form of the rakhot in Pahlavi and rakz in Persian, has been
written in the Arabic form in all books. All these changes took place during the early
conquests of the Arabs and the spread of Arab influence. The word jurm was also
coined by the incoming Arabs. It stems from garm, (with reference to a land of hot
clime) Arabicized as jurm, the plural of which is written as juroom. The word, sard (cold),
has been Arabicized with the use of the letter swad instead of the letter seen, the plural
of which was written as surood, referring to cold mountainous areas. These terms came
into use during the middle part of the first Islamic century, gained prevalence in
Khorasan and found their way into Persian and Pashto literature. It is pertinent to say
that the Arabs did not have such usage in their language.
He continues to write: "It is impossible to imagine that the people of Ghor, despite
not accepting Islam, adopted the Arabic script?"
The issue of the acceptance of Islam by the people of Ghor was treated earlier, but
to say that the people of Ghor had no contacts with Islam at that time is negated by
historical facts. According to Ibn Asir (Asad-al-Ghaba, vol. 4, p. 239) and Hafiz ibn Hajr
Àqalaniani (Alasaba, vol. 5, p. 268), Kais (Arabicized as Qais), one of the forefathers of
the Pashtoons from the Sulaiman mountain, had met with the Holy Prophet. They refer
to Ketab-al-Kabir as a source which deals with the classes of the people of Balkh
(Fazayal-e Balkh, p. 317). It is not possible to disregard such authentic and noteworthy
books.
Arabic script reached Afghanistan and Ghor during the first two Islamic centuries
and had extended one thousand miles toward the east. The Touchi tablet of Waziristan,
preserved in the Peshawar museum, has been inscribed with two scripts, namely
Sanskrit and Arabic. The Arabic is written in the Kufic style of calligraphy. This
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inscription is dated 243 H. (858 A.D.). It reinforces the statement that a hundred years
after the time of Amir Krorr, Arabic script had found its way into the mountains of
Waziristan.
Now let us discuss his statement: "Amir Krorr's language is mixed." Beside the four
Arabicized names of places, there is not a single word in the epic poem of Amir Krorr
that is not pure Pashto. There are certain words with which Pashtoons are not familiar
now. These words have been recognized through etymological analysis. Is it possible to
call the language of such a poem mixed? If someone thinks it is mixed, then the
question arises with what language? Can someone show a single word of another
language in this poem? If there are words which have similarities with other languages,
it is not with Arabic but with Persian. This is a natural phenomenon because in Ghor
both languages were spoken and their linguistic closeness is possible. The language of
Amir Krorr's poem is not mixed and this is clear to students of language.
He continues to write: "According to Habibi, if the language of the people of Ghor
was Pashto after Islam, then prior to Amir Krorr or after him some documents should
have been found in it."
Here it is important to mention that I have not stated that prior to Islam the language
of the people of Ghor was Pashto. I have said that the language was so refined during
the first century of Islamic era that magnificent epic thoughts could be expressed in it.
From this it can be deduced that it was not a new and undeveloped language.
To show that the language of some people of Ghor was Pashto I present a passage
from Tarekh-e Baihaqi. When Prince Masàud bin Sultan Mahmud attacked the Juros
region of Ghor in Jamadi-al-Awal of the year 411 H. (1021 A.D.), Baihaqi writes: A
learned messenger was sent there with a Ghorid man...so he may act as translator (p.
125). This shows that the language of the Ghorid people was something other than
Persian as the emissary of Sultan Masàud certainly knew Persian and did not need a
translator. So what language did the people of Ghor speak to require a translator. Since
the clues of any other language have not been found in Ghor, then the probability is
high that the language they spoke was Pashto. With regard to his statement that prior or
later documents should have been present, suffice it to say that if we look for
documents predating every literary work, then we assume that every written work
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should be preceded by a former piece of work. Such an argument is negated by logic
and common sense. In Pata Khazana itself later works from the courts of Ghor are
presented. If the skeptics believe that the prior work of every piece of Pashto literature
should have a work prior to it, then the question arises where are such works of Persian
and Arabic literature? If we consider a Persian poem as old, then should we ask what
was it preceded by or what has happened to the older poem? If we are unable to find
such a document then is it logical to reject the work?
He continues to write: "This Amir Krorh is a vague personality because not a single
Arab or non-Arab historian has mentioned anything about him. It is far from possible
that historians should not mention such a mighty and brave king. According to his own
poem, Herat and Jurm were under his sway and he was even known in Rome."
It should be reminded here that the poem in question is a piece of epic poetry. In
such poems poets say whatever they like and not all of it is true. In epic poems, the poet
uses his utmost imagination to boast and exaggerate and to show a great deal of pride.
When a poet says that he is recognized in Rome this does not mean that we should
look for his name in Roman history. And if we are unable to find it then that does not
mean that the poet did not exist. There is no doubt that Amir Krorr has resorted to poetic
exaggeration. It is possible that he was recognized in Herat and Jurm but was certainly
not known in Rome given the limited mode of transportation of the time. Poetic
exaggeration is common in literature as shown in the following lines:
A lord, a world conquering king
The kings of all the world are his subjects.
Sometimes you see his signs in India
Sometimes they read his decree in Rome.
(Jamaluddin Mohammad Nasir, Lubab, p. 107)
Truly, the monarch praised in these lines was neither known in India nor did anyone
read his decree in Rome. Such exaggerations cannot be accepted as historical facts.
When the Arab poet of the court of Yàqoub Lais Safari wrote a qasidah as an epic poem
he sent it to the caliph of Baghdad. Let us evaluate four lines of the poem to check its
historical validity:
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Ana ibn al-akaram min nasl jam انا ابن الاکارم من نسل جم
wa haiz ars mulook al-àjm و حایز ارث ملوک العجم
maà àlam al-kabian al-lazi معى علم الکابیان الذى
ba artaji an aswad al-lamam به ارتجى ان اسود الامم
I am son of the worthy, from the Jam race
Inheriter from the Alajam sovereigns.
Holder of the Al Kabian banner
With which I will become master of nations.
Was Yàqoub in reality of Jam lineage and did he possess the flag of Kawiyans? The
fact is that, during the Sassanid period, this flag fell into the hands of Arab conquerors in
the battle of Qadisia, 14 H. (636 A.D.), and was distributed as booty. Four centuries
after Amir Krorr, Sultan Àlauddin Hussain, recited these lines after destroying Ghazni:
The world knows I am the Sultan of the world,
The light of the Abbasid dynasty.
When I sit on the royal throne,
The world and sky are one and alike.
Like Alexander, I will conquer the whole world,
And appoint a ruler in every city. (Tabakath-e Nasiri)
Are all these lines realistic and was he the emperor of the world? Was it possible for
him to conquer the world like Alexander? We know that later he was captured by
Khwarazm Shah. When Yàqoob Lais claims he is a descendent of Jam and when
Hussain boasts to be the sultan of the world, we know that they are using poetic
hyperbole. The boasting of Amir Krorr, who was a local king, is in the same token, and
he could not have been an international celebrity at the time. The skeptic continues to
write: "Tabaqathh-e Nasiri only speaks about Amir Polad (whom Mohammad Hothek
citing, Shaikh Kata, introduces as the father of Amir Krorr) and does not mention Amir
Krorr. Moreover, in Tabaqathh-e Nasiri, it has been written that after the death of Amir
Polad, the throne was ascended by his nephews. Pata Khazana writes that after Amir
Polad, Amir Krorr became the king. These statements are contradictory."
The silence of Minhaj Seraj regarding Amir Krorr does not negate his existence
because historical narratives are taken from different sources. Every historian discusses
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50
a particular subject according to his sources of reference and what he hears about the
topic. It is possible that what is written in one book is stated in another or that the other
source may not contain the same information. Minhaj Seraj himself admits that at the
time when he was writing Tabaqath he was away from his country in Delhi and did not
have access to the sources he had left behind in Ghor. The information provided in
Tabaqath and by Mohammad Hothek are complementary. Tabaqath discusses issues
that we do not find in other books. While certain authors may have not treated an issue
this does not mean that the information provided should not be considered correct. With
regard to historical events the two books do not contradict each other. There were
several rulers in different parts of Ghor governing simultaneously. It is possible that Amir
Krorr ruled a certain region at the same time when Amir Folad's nephews were kings in
other regions. Tabaqathh-e Nasiri clearly states that the members of this family were
kings in Mandesh, Khaisar, Bamiyan, Takhar, Gailan and Kajran.
He continues to state: "It must be remembered that the science of Arabic prosody
(urood) was founded at the beginning of the second century Hejira. The poem of Amir
Krorh, though having nationalistic and local flavor conforms to the rules of Arabic
prosody. How is it possible for someone in a far off land, away from Arab influence, to
write poetry in accordance with the rules of Arabic prosody, when those rules were
compiled only a few years earlier? Except that we consider such closeness to Arabic
meter purely on the basis of chance."
This statement completely contradicts scientific thinking. Meter has a long history in
Arabic verse and existed during the era of jahiliyat (ignorance) well before the time of
Khalil bin Ahmad (circa 175 H.). Khalil compiled and classified meter in Arabic; he did
not invent it. In Arabic literature we come across numerous poems which were written
well before the time of Khalil but conform to Khalil's rules of prosody. These qasidahs
were written before Khalil and even before the advent of Islam. Even if we assume that
Amir Krorr's poem is based on Arabic meter, it is not correct to say that it is an
occurrence by pure chance. In fact Amir Krorr's poem does not conform to Khalil's
prosodic system whatsoever.
Personally, I am not aware of any such meter in Khalil bin Ahmad's rules of prosody
where the first and second hemistich are four times the length of the third and fourth
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51
ones. If the respected skeptic is able to show such a pattern in the rules of Arabic
metric prosody, it will be to good purpose. It is true that some Pashto poetry has been
written with Arabic metric prosody in mind but this does not apply to compiled or non
compiled Pashto poetry. Every Pashto poem cannot be made to fit the rules of Arabic
prosody. Meter in Pashto poetry differs from meter in Arabic and this can be recognized
on the basis of the use of accent, sound and other Aryan metric characteristics.
He states: "It should be remembered that prose was written before poetry. When we
come across a poem written in such an eloquent style in 130 H. (748 A.D.) then there
should be ample evidence of other works of prose and poetry in the language. At this
juncture we will wait for such works to appear."
It is true that prose may have been written before poetry, but incidentally, the ancient
documents of some languages of the world are in verse only. Examples are the Veda,
Avesta, Eliad and others. On the other hand if we are unable to find works of prose this
does not mean that the discovered verse is not acceptable. With this logic Persian
poetic works of the first, second and third century Hejira should be discarded, because
we have not found any work in prose belonging to this period.
We do not understand what is meant by 'pure poetry'? If the skeptics are able to
show one foreign word in the poem of Amir Krorh then we would admit that the poem is
not pure. By comparing this poem with ancient pieces of Persian poetry, recorded in
Tarekh-e Seistan, we can tell which one is pure. In a verse from Mohammad bin Waseyf
five out of ten words are Arabic. He wrote this poem in 296 H. (909 A.D.). Another
couplet written 60 years after the era of Amir Krorh and cited in Lubab (p. 20) contains
seven Arabic words from a total of 11. The skeptics do not have to wait for other pure
Pashto poems to appear. They have at their disposal Pata Khazana which contains
several pure Pashto poems. Such waiting applies to other languages.
After their sickening tirades (which are not based on scientific facts), these
honorable writers come forward with their real motive and reveal their skepticism
regarding Pata Khazana in the following words: "With the encouragement of the ruler of
the time, Mohammad Hothek decided to include in his book such an unknown poem by
an unknown person from unknown sources. The references mentioned in Pata Khazana
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have not been found anywhere, therefore Mohammad Hothek's statements cannot be
believed in their entirety."
From the above it is clear that these skeptics consider the poems to have been
forged by Mohammad Hothek with the encouragement of Shah Hussain. In answer to
this we shall state that it is possible for one person to forge poetry related to one era
and one style of writing. In Pata Khazana, however, we come across different styles of
poetry written in different periods. Is it possible that Mohammad Hothek forged all of the
poems? Is it possible for one person to write poetry of different intellectual trends,
philosophies and tastes with varying dialects? Is it possible to write the epic poem of
Amir Krorr with its special meter and use of words, and then be able to fabricate poems
in the style of the poets of Ghaznavid courts such as Shaikh Asàd and Skarandoi?
Furthermore is it possible for one person to fabricate tens of poems in tens of different
styles and meters in tens of different dialects? And, at the same time be so well familiar
with historical events that not a single poem shows any variance with historical events.
If this is not conjecturing on absurdity then Hothek certainly was a genius.
If we look at biographical anthologies with such skepticism and disapproval then
Lubab and other old works fall in the same category. If someone says that the poems
presented in Lubab and other works are forgeries because these books have not
provided references, or if the references cited are lost, and that Àwfi and others have
forged them for unknown reasons; would it not be appropriate to call such a person
malevolent and a bigot. We do not have doubts and reservations with respect to Persian
and Arabic books and narrations. Is it not unjust to expound such reservations and
skepticism when it comes to Mohammad Hothek?
Let us assume, for arguments sake, that Mohammad Hothek (as he has been
accused) forged the ancient poem in the name of Amir Krorh for the satisfaction of the
king. Why did he not forge it in the name of Amir Polad or his father Amir Kharnak, who
were known personalities, and their exploits recorded in Tabaqathh-e Nasiri. In this case
no one could have accused him or cast doubt on the historical events. Mohammad
Hothek did not indulge in such fabrication because he had access to an old document.
He refers to it on an accepted and scientific basis and cited what he saw in that book.
Mohammad Hothek understood the responsibility of a writer or compiler of a
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53
biographical anthology to narrate what he saw or heard and to cite his references. If we
continue to doubt biographical anthologies in this manner, then these words will ring
true:
Na tho mani, na owe, nae fakr razi نه تو مانى نه او، نى فخر رازى
Neither you will be left, nor him, or Fakhr Razi.
Here, I must add that the original calligraphed manuscript of Pata Khazana is
preserved in the Calligraphy Library of the Ministry of Information and Culture and
available for public viewing. In 1976 it was photographed and published.
Translator's note: Il Tesoro Nascosto Degli Afghani, Lucia S. Loi, Bologna, il Cavaliere azzurro, 1987 is a
study of Pata Khazana. According to her reviewer C.J. Brunner, she provides a lexicographic analysis of
216 words which were listed as rare words by A. H. Habibi in the 1944 edition of the book. The words are
analyzed and most are shown to be usages represented in 19th and 20th century Pashto dictionaries.
Some problems of interpretation are resolved by using Platt's dictionary of Urdu, Classical Hindi and
English. Brunner, in his review notes: "Habibi's mystifications, deliberate or not, are removed and with
them the only prop of Hothek's dating and of the 1729 dating of Pata Khazana."
The list provided by Habibi has no 'mystifications', unless one is looking at it with a biased
perspective. It is clear to Pashto speakers that some of the words are not in use in the language
anymore. Over the years the Pashto Academy of Afghanistan and Pashto writers have started to
reintroduce the words into the language as suggested by Habibi in his annotations. The commentary and
annotations of the book clarify the issue of usage of such words. Pashto has common bonds with Indo-
Iranian languages and the roots of a large number of old Pashto words can be traced in eastern
languages which are out of use such as Sanskrit, Avesta, and Pahlavi and ones that are in use at the
present time i.e. Hindi and Persian. The fact that certain words which appear in Pata Khazana, are not in
use today, but are found in 19th and 20th century dictionaries does not prove that they are not rare or that
the work is a pastiche of authentic old poetry in a fictional framework. To understand and analyze the
subject, a thorough examination of the origin of the words, their etymology, structural relationships,
Pashto poetics and the cultural and social setting of the Pashtoons at the time needs to be undertaken.
This examination should provide a definitive critical study of the book based on philological considerations
of linguistics and historical facts. To appreciate and understand the depth of Pata Khazana one has to
have the ability to engage into another culture.


شنبه 1388/09/28

The skepticism of Dr. Ali Akbar Jàfari

   خپرندوی: سپینتمان افغان    

The skepticism of Dr. Ali Akbar Jàfari
Several articles appear in the 1968 issues of the literary journal, Sukhan, regarding
Pashto authored by Jàfari. Issue 17(4) of this journal contains a discussion of Pashto
literature. It refers to my articles and books and considers Tazkerat-al-Awlia of Sulaiman
Maku and Pata Khazana among the earlier works of Pashto.
In the beginning Jàfari admits that he is not familiar with the subject matter to voice
an opinion (Sukhan p. 335), but later it appears that he has come under the influence of
Professor Morgenstierne's writing in The Encyclopaedia of Islam and quotes his
skepticism. Once again no explanation is provided and without giving any examples or
analysis he writes: "By looking at some Indian words, whose pronunciation is not older
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34
than a few centuries, it appears they have been unknowingly adopted into their
language by Pashtoon conquerors who invaded India". He seems to be baffled by this
issue and believes there are three reasons:
1. In Persian, story writers insert their poetry where they feel fit or use the poetry of
others to praise heroes such as Rustam, Afrasiab, Alexander, the daughter of the
Chinese Kublai Khan, Amir Hamza, etc. It is possible that Pashtoon story writers did
the same and in his references Mohammad Hothek came across such poems... To
what extent Mohammad Hothek examined the validity of such works we do not
know.
2. From old days to the time of Mohammad Hothek these poems have been recited
by people to one another and have been converted (made new).
3. The calligraphers have changed the poems according to the style of the time. But
despite the new tone which is seen in these poems they also retain their old style
(Sukhan, p. 337).
These ambiguous statements do not make mention of any Indian words or new
words nor is there an example provided of the new style that may have raised his
doubts concerning poems with a new tone which also retain their old style.
With regard to Indian words, it is clear that Pashto has similarities with the old Vedic
and Sanskrit languages. A large number of old Vedic and Sanskrit words are in use in
Pashto today or have been used in the Middle or old Pashto literature. This is because
the Aryans went to northern India from this land (Afghanistan) and during their migration
took with them elements of their language. Moreover, due to the exchange of goods and
the movement of people over the eras a large number of Hindi words have been
introduced into Pashto and vice versa. These issues have been discussed in detail in
the History of Pashto Literature, (vol, 1 1947, second edition 1976). In old Pashto
poetry, or in documents prior to the Mongols {around 600 H. (1204 A.D.)}, I have not
come across words, whose pronunciation is not older than just a few centuries, as
hypothesized by Jàfari. Since he does not provide any example nor have I come across
such words in the old literature, therefore I cannot add anything further to this argument.
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35
It would have been fruitful had the critic provided some examples of the issues he
has raised. In his first argument Jàfari considers Pata Khazana (the biography of Pashto
poets) to be similar to prose texts of Persian fables. This is an incorrect comparison
because he has mixed the writing of a biography with that of fictitious works. Pata
Khazana is a biography of poets such as the biographical account of Daulat Shah,
Lubab-al-Albab, Majmà-al-Fusaha and other such works. In a great many instances
they refer to lost books, while sometimes they do not reveal their sources, a criticism
which can be equally applied to a great number of biographies of eastern languages.
Mohammad Hothek provides a reference for the poem of Amir Krorr e.g. Larghoni
Pashtana of Shaikh Kata, who had taken his material from Tarekh-e Suri in Balishtan of
Ghor {around 750 H. (1349 A.D.)}. Therefore it is incorrect to compare the contents of
Pata Khazana with the fictitious works of Persian tales.
The other issue which he has raised is how does he substantiate his claim that some
of the poems have 'new elements and yet maintain their 'old form'. In reality the
difference between old and new poetry in Pata Khazana is distinct, although he sees
the two styles to be admixed. Is there a logical possibility for such a blend to have
taken place or is the logic of the writer shaky?
Changes brought about by scribes in old texts are real. In the eastern languages no
two copies of a text are alike. If we look at the celebrated Shahnama of Firdausi, which
has been copied several hundred times after the conquests of the Mongols, it is difficult
to find two versions that match each other exactly. Unfortunately, we do not have an old
hand-written version of Pata Khazana nor are the references mentioned therein in our
possession to allow us to make a comparison and see how much text has changed with
the passage of time.
Prior to the advent of the Mongol era, Pashto poets had maintained the originality of
their language and style of writing. Their works contain a large number of words which
are pure from the point of view of etymology, but are not used in the language now.
With regard to Indian words, that Jàfari has mentioned, it can be said that these are
those ancient common words of the western and eastern Aryan languages between
which Pashto serves as a link. The use of such words has been going on for centuries.
For example in the encomium of Skarandoi boodtoon has been used. This word has a
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36
common root with the budd of Hindi. Its usage had started before the advent of Islam in
Pashto and cannot be related to the conquests of Sultan Mahmud.
Al Biruni states in Al Hind (vol. 1, p. 163) that there are three elements of the mind:
intellect, religion and ignorance, the first of which is called budh which brings forth a
state of rest and peace of mind. This word later found usage in other Aryan languages
such as mobadd (protector of faith), sepah jamà budd (commander) etc.
According to Al Biruni, the name of Buddah is derived from budd which has been
recorded in the same form in the book Shapoorgan of Mani. In Arabic budd means an
idol. Abu-al-Àla Màri in the book Conversion of the World writes:
wa al qalb min ahwaya àabed و القلب من اهوائه عابد
ma yàbad alkafer budda ما یعبد الکافر بده
And the heart of the adorer desires
An idol in the infidel's temple.
This analysis and the historical use of the word shows that büdtün (temple) of
Pashto was a compound place noun in use in the Ghorid era (11-12th centuries A.D.).
Such a combination cannot be considered a new element in the language. There are
several hundred such Hindi, Turkish, Pahlavi and Avestan words that were used in old
Pashto literature. They were in use prior to Islam and can not be considered new
elements, as Jàfari has stated, but are old words.
At any rate, old works of Pashto which predate the Mongol era should be evaluated
with respect to etymology, the evolution of the language, and correspondence to
historical events. This can be done by a person who is knowledgeable in these fields
and who is able to substantiate the claims with examples. Brief allusions should be
avoided so that it may not result in confusion.


Afghanistan: by Louis Dupree and
Wilber's skepticism
Under the title of Afghanistan a book was published in 760 pages by the Princeton
University Press, New Jersey in 1973 authored by Dr. Louis Dupree. The reading of this
book (with reservations) is beneficial to gain information about the country.
The author is an archaeologist and has published several papers in his field which
have proved useful in understanding the ancient history of Afghanistan. The statistics
provided in the book are categorically incorrect. Beside there are other errors in the
book. For example on page 185 he considers koranai (family) as a Pashto word and in
another column gives its meaning as khanawada in Persian. In a following line he
considers koranai to be a Persian word and gives its meaning in Pashto as kahol. In fact
koranai and kahol are both old Pashto words and their Persian equivalents are
doodman, khanadan and khanawada.
On page 75 he has recorded the word par-darya, called mawara-un-nahr in Arabic,
as pay-i-darya. Par is an ancient Aryan root. The people of Afghanistan still use the
word par-darya. In page 80 he states that Mirza Abdul Qadir Bedil was born in Patna in
1644 and died in Delhi in 1720. He is considered to be a teacher of Persian at the
Moghul court of Delhi. However, in page 92 he considers the same Mirza Abdul Qadir to
be among the contemporary poets of the time such as Betab, Qari and Mustaghni.
On page 82 he considers Sardar Ghulam Mohammad Khan Tarzi, a politically exiled
poet and epigrapher and conceives him a master of the shekestah form of writing. The
shekestah form of artistic calligraphy originated after the 9th century Hejira. Dupree
translates this word as broken-line poetry. This is totally incorrect and the word has no
relation to poetry. He further adds that in a period when family names were almost
unheard of in Afghanistan, he called himself 'Tarzi', stylist. This is also incorrect and
shows total non-familiarity with the issue.
Tarzi was the poetic pseudonym of Ghulam Mohammad Khan. For hundreds of
years poets have used pseudonyms in Afghanistan such as Farukhi, Dakiki, Jami,
Mashreqi, Tarzi's uncle, and Andaleeb, Mashriqi's son. These were not family names
but like Mustaghni, Qari and Betab they were poetic pseudonyms. It is necessary that
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32
family names and poetic pseudonyms are differentiated. The fact that Tarzi's eldest son
adopted his fathers pseudonym as a family name is an issue of modern day and age.
Following western traditions, people started to adopt family names.
There are numerous mistakes in the historical material of the book. For example on
page 312 he talks about the spread of Islam in Afghanistan and states that the first
major Arab raid took place through Qandahar in 80-81 H. (699-700 A.D.). The fact is
that the Arab raids took place through Seistan, Helmand, Bost and Rukhaj. Kabul was
conquered by Ibn Samra in 36 H. (657 A.D.) (Tarekh-e Seistan, p. 85; Futuh-al-Baldan,
p. 488). Similarly there are numerous other errors in the book with which we may not
concern ourselves. On page 75 he mentions the names of past Persian literary figures
such as Mahmud Warraq and Hanzala Badghisi, without any comment or reservations,
and provides translations of examples of their poetry. But in relation to Pashto he writes:
"Pashto as a literature tends to get short shrift even in Afghanistan. In his excellent
survey of Islamic Literature, (1963), Najib Ullah (Afghan scholar and diplomat, whose
last name was Toraviana) almost completely neglected Pashto...
"The authenticity of the Puteh-Khazaneh, published in Qandahar in 1749 (correction:
finished in 1729) and claiming to contain several eighth- and ninth-century poems, has
been recently questioned (Wilber, 1967, 412).2 No matter, for Pashto literature does not
come into its own until the seventeenth century, but then seems to move along at a
relatively uninspired pace until the twentieth century." (Afghanistan, p. 83).
This short commentary by Dupree does not rest on any reasoning or detail. Apart
from creating confusion, it seems to have no other purpose. The fact that he cites
Wilber, who neither knew Pashto nor had studied the history of the language is not
befitting of a scholar. I have not met Wilber but have read his articles. They are of a
general nature and have a political tone that is not a subject of discussion here.
2 Translator's note: In the bibliography of the book Wilber, D.N., 1967 appears as "Language and Society: The Case
of Iran," Behavior Science Notes 2(1):22-30, 1967. In this article Pata Khazána or Pas'hto literature have not been
discussed. Regarding Pata Khazána, Wilber writes in his book, Afghanistan 1962, p. 108-109: "The Puteh Khazaneh,
published at Qandahar in 1729, includes Pushtu poems of the eighth and ninth centuries. Amir Kror, called Jahan
Pahlavan, a ruler of Ghur in the second half of the eighth century, is said to have composed poems in Pushtu, and in
the ninth century Shaykh Reza Ludi wrote poetry and Abul Mahmud Hashem wrote prose, both also in Pushto..." It
seems that Dupree has not only made an error in citing Wilber but is raising an issue which the author has not even
commented on.
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33
In that the late Najibullah does not allude to Pashto language or its literature does
not mean that the language does not have an old literature and history. It is possible
that in what he was asked to write, the history of Pashto was not the subject of
discussion.
I remember the time when the late Najibullah participated in the meetings which
were held to discuss the annotations and translation of the poetry of Pata Khazana prior
to its publication. He voiced no objections regarding the poetry or the annotations.
Sometimes when he would hear the translation of the old Pashto poetry he would get so
overwhelmed that tears would roll down his cheeks. It is possible that the editorial policy
of the publisher prevented him from writing anything about Pashto literature. Moreover,
if in some books, published in Afghanistan, nothing has been mentioned about the
history of Pashto this does not have any bearing on the validity of Pata Khazana. The
late Najibullah was not familiar with Pashto literature so how could he have commented
on the extensive literature of the language. Dupree criticizes Shaikh Sàdi, for including
the couplet in his book on morality.
If the king says the day is night.
Say here are the moon and the Pleiades.
He accuses him of justifying untruth. If such criticism is valid, it is the opinion of one
person and does not lessen the literary value of Gulistan.


شنبه 1388/09/28

The writings of Professor Morgenstierne

   خپرندوی: سپینتمان افغان    

The writings of Professor Morgenstierne
When I met the famous Norwegian philologist, Professor Morgenstierne, in Kabul in
1946 I asked him his views regarding the book. Earlier I had sent him a copy of the
book. He answered that his study of Pashto had not reached a level where he could
comment on the literature and poetry and their evolution. However, in the second
edition of the English version of The Encyclopaedia of Islam he has written an article on
the Pashto language where he says:
"Pashto is in its origin and structure an Iranian language, although it has borrowed
freely from Indo-Aryan. It shares all the common Iranian sound-changes. It sides with
other Eastern Ir. languages... In its origin it is probably a "Saka" dialect, introduced from
the North, but it is not possible to define its relationship more closely...
Until recently no Pashto literary work older than the 17th century had been
published. But in the Almanach de Kabul, 1940-1 (Da Kabul Salnama) Àbd al-Hayy
Habibi published fragments of the Tadhkirat-i Awliya by Sulayman Maku, containing
poems said to go back to the 11th century. In 1944 he published in Kabul the Peta
Khazana by Muhammad Hotak, which is professed to be written in Kandahar (finished
1729), and to be an anthology of Pashto poets from the 8th century down to the time of
the compiler. But these works raise a number of grave linguistic and historical problems,
and the question of their authenticity cannot be finally settled until the manuscripts are
made available for philological investigation. Even if the authenticity of the Khazna is
admitted, however, Muhammad Hotak's dating of the oldest poems may be doubted.
According to Raverty, Shaykh Mali in 1417 wrote a history of the Yusufzays, but nothing
more is known about this work." (The Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. 1, p. 220, 1960).
Now I would like to conduct a critical analysis of Morgenstierne's assertions:
First: The fact that he considers Pashto to be related to the Saka languages is not
surprising at all. There is no doubt that Pashto has close affiliation with Aryan
languages, because these languages belong to the Indo-European family. Even now
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24
remnants of old Aryan words are used in Pashto such as ãryanavijah (in present day
Pashto avijah means a domicile) or ãrya warsha; warsho (pasture) is a living Pashto
word. Similarly hundreds of other common Vedic, Avestan, Medic and old Persian
words are seen in the language. Under the name of Saak, a tribe exists among the
Pashtoons until this day. With regard to Morgenstierne's statement that the language is
affiliated with eastern Iranian languages there is ample evidence to consider it a
Bactrian language. It is a link between the Indian (eastern) and Iranian (western)
languages. With respect to the structure of sentences, and etymology it has close
resemblance to the eastern Indian languages such as Vedic, Sanskrit and Prakrit.
Similarly it shares common words and sounds with Iranian and even Aryan-European
languages.
In Pashto the sounds ( ټ te, ډ dal, ړ rhae, ڼ nooñ) are common with Indian languages
while in the ( څ tse, ځ dze, ښ sen) it is close to the western Aryan languages such as
Slavic and German. On this basis calling it an Eastern-Iranian language is a matter of
concern. Afghan culture manifests many newly acquired western and eastern elements.
The Surkh Kotal inscriptions show that during the second century, the Bactrian-
Koshanid language had old elements of both Pashto and Persian. ãb, naubakht and
shakhalesi are three Persian words while bag, loy and malwakht are three living Pashto
words seen in the Surkh Kotal inscriptions. Similarly, pohar (por), bad yen (baden),
aweg yak, bo, roz mehr, farman and norla are close to Pahlavi. Just as Professor
Toynbee has said that Afghanistan was at the crossroads of ancient civilizations, it can
be said that Pashto served as a link between the eastern, western and northern Aryan
languages. The words daz, dazhdi which meant a fortress has been written as layz in
the Surkh Kotal inscription. In the northern and Sughd languages deza was used as a
suffix in names such as Chakar Deza, a famous graveyard in Samarkand, or Shahlez,
the name of a place in Ghazni or warw alez which has been changed to walwaloj in
Arabic.
Like other cultural elements, the Bactrian-Koshanid language stood at the
crossroads of eastern, western and northern civilizations, a trait which is seen in Pashto
today.
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25
Second: If the distinguished scholar would glance at the history of the literature of
eastern languages and evaluate their structure and style of writing, it will be clear that
new research on languages and the finding of new historical material is underway in
these languages. In particular, numerous such findings have been made in Persian
literature.
Another issue is that one cannot just rely on the findings of past European scholars
alone. When Raverty (1825-1906), Darmesteter (1849-1894) and Dorn (1805-1881)
started their research on the language one hundred years ago, their work was based on
a few well-known literary and religious books. Such as the Makhzan of Akhund
Darweza, Fawayed-al-Shariat of Akhund Qasim and the divans of Rahman Baba and
Khushal Khan Khatak. Other works were less famous at the time, but now we have at
our disposal a great deal of new material.
The distinguished scholar cites Raverty and states that Shaikh Mali wrote a history
of the Yusufzay in 821 H. (1418 A.D.). The fact is that this book was not a historical
treatise, but a book on tribal legend and even today the Yusufzay call it the dawtar or
daftar of Shaikh Mali. It contains rules for distribution of land and water rights. This
social system continued among the mountainous people of Swat until the colonial
British system known as band wa bast was imposed on them in 1869. Feudal lords had
tried to abolish this system for a long time to enable them to take personal possession
of the land. Therefore the Dawtar of Shaikh Mali was destroyed. Even in the time of
Khushal Khan the dawtar was kept hidden in Swat as Khushal Khan says:
In Swat there are two things, hidden or revealed,
They are the Makhzan of Darweza or Daftar of Shaikh Mali.
Unfortunately this book has not been found, but it is so revered among the mountain
people of Swat and the Yusufzay that they refer to it as the beginning of the historical
era. When the Swat and Multan elders refer to an event they say it happened so many
years before or after the dawtar.
The distinguished scholar has said that Pata Khazana should be evaluated
linguistically and historically. This is true but who should do such an evaluation? Such
an evaluation will be meaningful if it is done by someone whose mother tongue is
Pashto, knows modern philology and is familiar with etymology. And he or she is totally
The Hidden Treasure
26
familiar with the history of Afghanistan and the Pashtoons and is well-informed in the
developments of Central Asian languages.
In his writing the distinguished orientalist thinks that the oldest Pashto literary
document, according to Raverty, is Shaikh Mali's (History of Yusufzai?). Since
Mohammad Hothek writes about Pashto works prior to the ninth century thus doubt can
be cast on the authenticity of his book! The fact is that we can show several such
examples in the history of literature of other languages whereby history of literature has
been compiled from known sources. When new material has been found it cannot be
disregarded by saying that the material has not been mentioned in such and such a
book. If Shaikh Mali's dawtar is found and there is no mention of the old references cited
by Mohammad Hothek it cannot be reasoned that Mohammad Hothek has forged Pata
Khazana.
What is evident is that until a century ago, the oldest biography of Persian poets was
Daulat Shah Samarkandi's Tazkerat-al-Shuàra {written in 892 H. (1487 A.D.)}. Daulat
Shah in the introduction of his book writes: "No scholar has written about the history,
work and life of Persian poets." Thus our information regarding Persian literature was
confined to what Daulat Shah had written in his biographical account. In some instances
he cites references but in many other cases he has failed to cite any references at all.
Toward the end of the book he discusses the biography of only seven contemporary
poets. In 1846, Nathaniel Blend, in the London Asiatic Society Magazine, introduced us
to another biography of the Persian language. The Lubab-al-Albab of Àwfi. Only two
hand-written manuscripts of this work exist. One is in the possession of Mr. Blend and
the other is preserved in the Berlin Imperial Library. Mr. Blend's version was later
published by the late orientalist Edward Brown and the late Qazweni. Thus with its
publication our knowledge of Persian literature was enhanced. We do not reject the
material provided by Àwfi merely because it has not been mentioned by Daulat Shah
despite the fact that the Àwfi manuscripts are of very recent origin.
The divans of most Persian poets have been lost or do not exist, but based on the
information provided by Àwfi and Daulat Shah, we accept their works if they match the
principles of Persian literature and corroborate with historical events. No doubt has
been cast on such works. The fact that the honorable orientalist states that Pata
The Hidden Treasure
27
Khazana raises grave philological and historical problems is far from a just statement.
He talks about problems but does not state what the problems are? Nor does he explain
the problems? Beside creating confusion such a statement has no academic value.
After Lubab-al-Albab and a few other Arabic references, Tarkh-e Seistan is only the
other book which cites Persian verse or prose. Neither is the name of the author or the
name of the book known. Its style of writing corresponds to the styles of writing
prevalent from the 5th century Hejira and continues to 725 H. (1325 A.D.). Based on
this it can be said that the book has not been written by one person nor does it follow
one style of writing.
This book had not been recognized previously. Even the author of Ahya-al-Mulook,
Shah Hussain, who was one of the Safavid princes and wrote his book in 1028 H. (1619
A.D.) did not know of its existence. The book was printed from an unknown hand-written
manuscript in the former newspaper of Iran {Issues 474 to 562, 1299-1302 H.
(1882-1885 A.D.)}. Other copies were made after it appeared in the newspaper. Finally
the late poet laureate, Bahar, published it in Tehran in 1936.
This book has added a great deal of information on the history of Persian literature.
Among them is the ballad of the Karkoy fire temple of Seistan, the encomium of
Mohammad bin Waseef Sagarzi and the poems of Mohammad bin Mukhalid are
accepted as examples of old Persian literature based on the style of writing and their
relevance to historical events, despite the fact that neither Àwfi nor Daulat Shah
mention anything about these writers. It must be added that only one copy of Tarekh-e
Seistan exists. Despite this no one has doubted the poets mentioned in the book or said
that the author of the book had forged it. Nor has anything been stated as to what kind
of problems the book presents with regard to philology or historical events.
A closer look at Lubab, the biographical account by Daulat Shah, Tarekh-e Seistan,
other biographical works and old sources, reveal a great deal of problems which cannot
be accepted in view of philologial and historical facts. For example look at this couplet of
the famous encomium written by Marwazi {circa 210 H. (826 A.D.)} for the Caliph
Mamoon:
The Hidden Treasure
28
aye rasaneda ba dawlat farq khwd tha farq din
اى رسانیده بدولت فرق خود تا فرق دین
gustaraneda ba jowd wa fazl dar àalam ba din
گسترانیده بجود و فضل در عالم بدین
O ruler, you who can distinguish thyself and religion
You are the forgiver and giver in this world. (Lubab, p. 20).
This encomium is written in a new style and is tainted with forgery. In the same
book, which is considered on of the most renowned and ancient biographies in Persian,
a poem appears which is said to be written by Sultan Mahmud. It is an elegy for a slave
woman named Gulistan. The language of the poem does not at all resemble the style of
Persian verse during the era of the Ghaznavids:
Ta tho aye mah zer-e khak shudie تا تو اى ماه زیر خاک شدى
khak ra bar sephar fazl ãmad خاک را بر سپهر فضل آمد
del juzà kard, guftam aye del sabr دل جزع کرد، گفتم ایدل صبر
ayn qaza az khuday-e àdl amad این قضا از خداى عدل آمد
ãdam az khak bood wa khaki shud آدم از خاک بود و خاکی شد
har khe zawzad baz asal ãmad هر که زوزاد باز اصل آمد
O moon faced when you were buried
Your grave's soil brought kindness all around.
When my heart grieved, I said be calm, O heart
For this is the work of the just God.
From dust we come and to dust we go
For he who wails is the righteous. (Lubab, p. 25).
That a mighty emperor such as Sultan Mahmud would recite an elegy for a slave girl
in these words is difficult to believe. In the book a hemistich is also said to have been
written by Sultan Mahmud: zi beem-e tegh-e jahangir-e qalà kushay, (from the fear of
arrow, world conqueror and vanquisher of fortresses) (Lubab, p. 26). The same
hemistch appears in a hand-written manuscript preserved in the National Assembly
Library of Iran and in Tarekh-e Guzedah (p. 457). In these documents it is said that the
line has been written by Mohammad bin Malikshah Saljouqi.
The Hidden Treasure
29
We do not have any manuscripts close to the Àwfi period; the available manuscripts
were written later and their date of writing is not known. On the other hand, the author of
Bazm Ãra, Àli bin Mohammad Hussaini, copied all the material of Lubab-al-Albab in his
book without citing the references or the name of the author. Does not the question
arise as to who is the creator of this book?
Despite the fact that some of the poems in Lubab-al-Albab have come under
criticism, the prose and poetry seen in the later manuscripts, preserved in London and
Manchester, is reproduced in Bazm Ãra around 1000 H. (1592 A.D.). Does not this
create doubts and problems.
Despite these doubts, Lubab-al-Albab, Daulat Shah, Azar and Hedayat maintain
their celebrated status, and these books are considered important sources of the history
of Persian literature. A weakness in one part of the book or skepticism about one topic
of the book does not taint the authenticity of the whole book. Those of us whose mother
tongue is Pashto, and who are students of the history of the evolution of our language,
having read and evaluated Pata Khazana word by word have not come across any
problem that may contradict philological or historical facts. Were there such a problem
to arise we would have dealt with it in the annotations of the book. It is regrettable that
the distinguished orientalist does not explain what the philological or historical
anomalies are but creates confusion by alluding to some vague skepticism. A scholar
should not act in this manner.
Formerly, there did not exist a biography of poets in Pashto, and if one did exist, it
probably has been lost like Munaqeb-al-Shuàra of Khatoni which has been mentioned
by Haji Khalifa and Daulat Shah. In 1942 I published the first volume of Pashtana
Shuàra through the Pashto Academy. Included in this book was material which I had
gathered until that time. For example I had found six pages of the lost Tazkerat-al-Awlia
in the mosque of a village along the banks of Helmand river. These pages were
photographed and presented in the book together with my comments. This finding
negated what Raverty had said regarding the history of Pashto literature e.g. he had
The Hidden Treasure
30
dated it back to the 17th century only.1 The finding showed that Pashto literature dated
back at least to the 12th century A.D. But when other old manuscripts such as the
Keramat of Sultan Sakhi Sarwar, circa 577 H. (1182 A.D.), who was the establisher of
the Sultania sect of Punjab, Pata Khazana and Makhzan-e Afghani of Nàmatullah
Herawi, 1018 H. (1609 A.D.) were discovered, it was deemed necessary to revise the
information in Pashtana Shuàra. All the new material was presented in the second
volume of Tarekh-e Adabiyat, which was published in 1964 by the Pashto Academy. If
more material is found it will be added to it. However, such material should not be
doubted by the distinguished orientalist and other scholars like him because the history
of literature is continually being updated with the discovery of new material. At the
present time there is a great deal of new material at hand regarding the history of
Persian literature than what had been included in Brown's history of Persian literature.
The new material has been added to that book, and some of the older material deleted
from it, for example, the attribution of Tarjuman-al-Balaghah of Mohammad bin Omar
Radwayani to Farukhi and the attribution of the Yusuf and Zuleikha poem to Firdausi.
It is surprising that a scholar of such caliber, a hundred years after Raverty cited
Shaikh Mali's lost Dawtar (Register), incorrectly calls it the history of the Yusufzai and
considers it as the first literary book in Pashto. This work has not been found nor does
the distinguished orientalist sheds light on it. It is surprising and difficult to grasp that
based on a lost book he casts doubt on the known material of Pata Khazana.
In Pata Khazana we come across words which are not used in Pashto today, but
every native student of the language can easily recognize them and with the help of
philology and etymology arrive at their Pashto origin. Words similar in form exist in the
Avestan and Vedic literature.
It is deplorable to note that those who have doubts talk of problems but do not
provide any details so one may understand what these philological and historical
problems are and what is their scholastic merit to discredit a celebrated, useful and rare
book?
1 Translator's note: With regard to the Daftar of Shaikh Mali, Raverty in the Introductory Remarks of A Dictionary of
the Puk'hto, Pus'hto writes: "This is the earliest work I have been able to discover; but, of course, it must not for a
moment be inferred that previous to this there was no Pushto literature... That the Pushto is a very ancient tongue
cannot be doubted."


Professor Habibi's Remarks on the
Skeptics of Pata Khazana
The following is a commentary which appeared in the fourth edition of Pata Khazana
published in 1977 by the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, Kabul University.
As is evident from the first edition of this book 1323 H. (1944 A.D.), I obtained the
hand-written manuscript with the help of the late Abdul Ali Khanozay, a Kâkarh at
Psheen in 1943. First I translated it into Persian, provided explanatory notes and
annotations and published it in 1944 through the Pashto Academy. In 1961 five
thousand copies of the original edition were republished by the Publications and
Translations Department. Due to the great demand for the book, the third edition was
published in 1976 by the Pashto Development Board of the Ministry of Information and
Culture. This edition contained a complete facsimile of the original hand-written
manuscript.
Since its publication 33 years ago different opinions have been expressed about this
book and certain people have cast their doubts upon it. Some have said that I have
composed the book while others have claimed that it was forged by Mohammad Hothek
to please his monarch, Shah Hussain, son of Haji Mirwais Khan. Such claims have
been heard over the years, but unfortunately, the critics have not compiled any detailed
or scholastic analysis of the work so that they may be studied, and if found refutable,
commented upon scholastically.
Scholars in the field have not discussed this book in detail so far. What has been
written has been brief and expressions of doubts. No scholastic or positive criticism
The Hidden Treasure
23
from the viewpoint of linguistics or etymology has been provided so that the authenticity
or forgery of words may be evaluated and the facts clarified.


شنبه 1388/09/28

The novelty of imagination and fluency

   خپرندوی: سپینتمان افغان    

The novelty of imagination and fluency
The merit of poetry lies in its abstract and concrete values. The abstract adorns the
poem with hidden beauty from the point of view of novelty of thought and imagination.
The material side of the poem comprises of eloquence that helps in the selection of
words and the interpretation of meaning. When exalted thoughts are molded into words
they become awe-inspiring and have an eternal effect on the reader. The elegance of
poetry lies in its simplicity of meaning. When noble thoughts are expressed in
unambiguous words they adorn the lyrics with eternal beauty and are most interesting to
read.
The poems in this book show that our ancestors wrote with an astute sense of
imagination. Their style was simple, fluid and eloquent and they were able to interpret
The Hidden Treasure
21
complex issues clearly. Love, bravery and social episodes have all been expressed
fluently by all the poets whose work appears in the book.
The poems of Shaikh Mathi, Khrasboon, Ismail and Malikyar, the odes of Asàd and
Skarandoi and the lyrics of Zarghoon are masterpieces of fluency and eloquence in the
annals of Pashto poetry. As an example I present the quatrain of Nazo, mother of Haji
Mirwais Khan, to see how lucidly she has expressed her deep feelings:
At dawn the narcissus petals were wet
Like tears, flowed each crystalline droplet,
"Why do you cry thus, O pretty flower? " I asked:
"My life is just a fleeting smile", replied the floret.
Imagination is the common inheritance of poets and philosophers. It is for this
reason that insinuation is considered an established principle of the world of poetry.
Here we see how the eminent Nazo thoughtfully molded two abstract ideas 250 years
ago, and a philosopher of this era, Àlamah Iqbal did the same in these words:
The clouds of spring lamented
That life is a constant cry,
The swift lightening flashed and said:
You are mistaken, it is an instant sigh.
The late Iqbal tried to translate two contradictory philosophies and two important
human thoughts; first the philosophy of pessimism of the German philosopher,
Schopenhauer, who considered lamentation as the halo of life and second the thought
which is related to Nietzche, whose philosophy was based on the enthusiastic love of
life. In her quatrain the contemplative poetess describes both thoughts; in that the short
smile is the cause of continuous crying. She has taken her lessons from mother nature
while the philosopher is a product of schooling. The clarity of thought, lucidity and
firmness of words have been clearly manifested by this poetess of utmost genius.
This was a short glance at the poetry of the Pata Khazana. Further elaboration
would require the writing of a book, therefore I terminate this treatise at this juncture.
Abdul Hay Habibi
Kabul, Chahar Bagh, 10 Mizan 1322 (October, 1944).


شنبه 1388/09/28

Social Feelings

   خپرندوی: سپینتمان افغان    

Social Feelings
The deep social feelings of the Afghans are also represented in the book. In reality
love for society stems from family attachment. Sociologists also consider the family as
the nucleus of social life. Among ancient Aryans the family was the center of glory and
was considered the source of social virtues. Thus attachment to the family acted as the
basis for love of society. A supplication of Rig-Veda says: God is the giver of life and is
the king of kings. He is the bestower of beautiful families. O God we are also your
subjects, let us not die without progeny.
In classic poems of the Pashtoons these feelings of the Aryans are visible with force.
An old lyric of Shaikh Bit Nikah clearly manifests the strong bonds of our ancestors with
the family in these words:
Here at the base of the mountains
Our tents are pitched wide and odd,
May these households grow in numbers
O great God, O great God.
The poems of Khrasboon and Ismail profoundly represent family ties, their closeness
and social bondage. Deep social feelings are also represented in the poem of Shaikh
Reza that he sent to Nasr bin Hamid Ludi, expressing his displeasure at the shame
which the Ludi family had to endure because of Nasr's deeds. He says:
The Ludi have their dignity lost
For centuries kept at a high cost.
In his reply Nasr also stresses social bonds and talks with pride about his relation
with the people, he states:
I am a Ludi, my customs I keep
My ties with the Hamid family are deep...
Do not listen to them (my enemies)
From the Ludis do I stem.
Sociologists say that the feelings of love toward the nation and society stem from the
love for parents, family and society and culminate in love for the nation.
The Hidden Treasure
20
As mentioned earlier, poetry reflects the feelings of the poet like a mirror. The poet
relates his sentiments in whatever circumstances he finds himself. The poet who has
deep feelings of love for his country and resorts to writing poetry during times of tragedy
finds that national sentiments imbue his lyrics even at such difficult times.
Wailing and lamentation are two important products of eastern literature and such
lyrics have an important place in our literature and language. When poets find
themselves in pain they speak of their sorrow in their lyrics. But at such times they
seldom forget their love for the country. Eastern elegies are profound but rarely does
one find feelings as those expressed by the late Khushal Khan:
I wish he had died young in honor of the Pashtoon name
But to be laid in grave in a coffin with shame.
This elegy was written by Khushal after the death of his son, Nezam. It is clear that
despite his sadness at the loss of his son the feelings of national pride overwhelmed the
great poet as he wrote these lines.
Deep emotions of nationalism are also embedded in the elegies of Shaikh Asàd Suri
at the death of Mohammad Suri and of Zeinab, written after the death of her brother
Shah Mahmud. The Afghan poetess was deeply moved at the loss of her brother. She
laments not only for her brother but for the nation left without leadership.


شنبه 1388/09/28

Love and the fondness of beauty

   خپرندوی: سپینتمان افغان    

Love and the fondness of beauty
Poets are devoted to nature and it can be said that a major element leading to the
writing of poetry is the love of natural beauty. Their love for the wonders of nature is so
great that they ultimately perceive its source, and such perception leads to the
recognition of God as the creator of all the wonders of nature. Therefore, they envision
eternal beauty in everything they see as is evident from this line: Whatever I look at, I
envision your presence.
The passion for love and fondness of beauty (love of God) are translated into the
language of mysticism. In scientific terms this attraction may be compared to
gravitational force. The two forces disseminate from the same source and their function
is the same i.e. attraction. In this book the best example of love and fondness of beauty
is the poem of Shaikh Mathi which can be considered a masterpiece of perception.


شنبه 1388/09/28

Valor and Pride

   خپرندوی: سپینتمان افغان    

Valor and Pride
Poems in this book, written before the eleventh century Hejira, can be divided into
several types. With respect to meaning and thought they have the following
characteristics:
They have a strong flare of national valor and pride. The ballad of Jahan Pahlavan
Suri is a good example of such composition and the poem of Baba Hothek rekindles the
feelings of national defense.
Bravery and valor have been looked upon with pride for ages in our nation. The
gallantry of youths has been praised in poems and Afghan maidens have always taken
pride in the bravery of youth as seen in this national ۍ لن landey:*
My lover was injured on the chest
I walk proudly among the maidens of the village.
And when the man shows cowardice in battle she regrets kissing him the night
before:
You ran away from the gleaming sword,
I regret letting you kiss me yesterday evening.
In the elegy of Asàd Suri such national flavor is clearly visible as he describes his
sadness over the death of Mohammad Suri, but since the king died upholding his honor,
he praises him profusely:
** Two lined Pas'hto poetry which contains 8 syllables in the first line and 13 in the second line.
The Hidden Treasure
17
A brave warrior you were and so you did die,
Upholding honor, you did not lie.
With your departure the Suri are sad today
But they will, your name with pride say.
The encomium of Skarandoi is also laden with such thoughts which is a
characteristic ballad of valor in Pashto poetry.


شنبه 1388/09/28

The influence of environment

   خپرندوی: سپینتمان افغان    

The influence of environment
It has been proved that the effect of environment, i.e. time and place, is universal
and is a characteristic of nature; an element which is always under such influence is
poetry.
The poet is drawn by the power of creation to express his feelings and talk about his
environment and picture it in his lyrics. The poet of the mountainous regions extols the
ruggedness of the mountains and that of the plains describes the beauty of the green
lowlands. If we glance closely at the literature of surrounding nations we will often come
across such descriptions.
This characteristic is also evident in the poems cited in Pata Khazana and can be
described as follows:
I. Those poems that were written in a particular kind of native environment are close
in form to one another with regard to the usage of pure words, meter and rhyme. A
good example is the poem of Jahan Pahlavan Suri that does not resemble later
works in its meaning. Its words are purely Pashto, its meter and rhyming are
The Hidden Treasure
15
particularly Pashto in character, and it is not tainted by the influence of other
languages of the region.
The poems of Amir Reza and Nasr Ludi were written away from the
environment of Ghor, but the influence of Persian and Arabic had not affected their
language, thus they are also pure Pashto. But the poem of Hashim Sarwanay, even
though it was written well before the time of the Ludis, has Arabic influence in it. This
is because the writer was a student of Arabic, spent a large part of his life in Arab
countries, studied Arabic literature, and translated Arabic poetry into Pashto. Despite
this it is an important work of Pashto literature because the use of words from other
languages was not customary at that time.
II. Later around 300 H. (913 A.D.), at the beginning of the Ghaznavid period, the
time of the growth of Persian, Persian literature was fostered from the court of the
Samanids and the Ghaznids. Subsequently, the Ghorid kings were also attracted by
this trend. Thus from 300 to 400 H. (913-1010 A.D.) we see two kinds of poetry in
the book:
Those poems which were written in mountainous regions, away from urban
civilizations and royal courts, are not tainted by foreign influence. In adornment, style
and use of words, meter and rhyme they show the typical pure Pashto flavor and are
not cast in a foreign mold. Examples are the works of Khrasboon, Ismail and Shaikh
Mathi, which are pure in form.
The poems written and recited in royal courts and near centers of civilizations
form another category. Since these places were under the influence of Persian
literature and the style of prosody of the Ghaznavid court had reached the Ghorid
court, therefore we see that Pashto poetry written in the form of the odes of Farukhi,
Asjudi, Menochheri and others. The poems of the Ghorid court not only rival Persian
literature in excellence but are even superior for example the odes of Shaikh Asàd
Suri and Skarandoi. In style and meter their poems resemble Persian odes of the
Ghaznavid period, but in the use of words, thought and imagination they have
particularities of the environment embedded in them and are therefore considered
majestic works of Pashto literature. The use of Persian and Arabic words is seen in
The Hidden Treasure
16
these works, but the Pashto element is so strong that they cannot be excluded from
the most important works of Pashto literature.
Poems that were written after 600 H. (1204 A.D.), such as the supplications
of Shaikh Mathi, the poem of valor of Baba Hothek and the love song of Malikyar
show the influence of other languages. With regard to eloquence, solidity and
siplicity these are examples of first class Pashto literature, but we know that at this
time Persian had spread from the banks of the Tigris to the Ganges and had
infiltrated the courts of the Mongol kings. Thus we see a large number of Persian
and Arabic words in these poems but their subject matter is purely nationalistic.


شنبه 1388/09/28

The Book's Poetry

   خپرندوی: سپینتمان افغان    

The Book's Poetry
The first book which contains the rich treasure of Pashto poetry is the few pages of
Tazkerat-al-Awlia of Sulaiman Maku described in the first part of volume one of
Pashtana Shuàra Prior to the publication of volume one of the book in 1320 H. (1942
A.D.), it was believed that writing in the Pashto language was only 300-400 years old
and that the oldest document of the literature of the language dates to around 1000 to
900 H. (1592-1495 A.D). It was shown in Pashtana Shuàra that some of the ancient
records of Pashto literature date back to the time of the Ghaznavid period 300-400 H.
(913-1010 A.D.) The poems of Bit Nikah, Ismail, Malikyar, Taimani, Kutb Bakhtyar and
others are related to the time of the Ghaznavid and Ghorid dynasties.
Pata Khazana, which in reality is a treasure of the jewels of our national language,
removed a considerable number of obscurities that engulfed the literature of the
language. It proved that this ancient language had eloquent poets during the early part
of the Islamic period, and that it was a language of kings some of whom wrote poetry in
it.
The most outstanding document illuminating the history of Pashto poetry is the
martial poem by Jahan Pahlavan Amir Krorr Suri. From the viewpoint of vigor and style,
pure Pashto words, meter and rhyme, it is a magnificent example of our literature. The
characteristics of this poem can be summarized as follows:
1. It is an ancient document that proves that Pashto literature existed around 130 H.
(752 A.D.). It shows that the language was refined during the first century of the
Islamic era to the extent that magnificent martial poetry was written in it. From this it
can be deduced that it was not a new language. It was probably at least five
The Hidden Treasure
13
centuries old at the time of Amir Krorr and had a profound literary background to
reach such eminence.
2. This poem proves that the language of some of the people of Ghor at the
beginning of Islamic era was Pashto and that the Pashto spoken at the time was
pure and free from foreign influence.
The rare words used in this poem are our ancestral legacy. Some of them
have fallen out of use due to the influence of other languages ویاړنه wyârrene 32
(pride), اتل atál 33 (champion), من mán 34 (will), من  میر mértsamên 6 (enemy), ژوبله
zhobláh (battle), یونم yunêm (I am going)، یرغلم yárghálam 35 (I attack), هسک
hásk24(sky),  نمن nmênêdz(respect), پیژندوی pëzhandoy 36(famous), ن د dusan6 (foe),
پلن pálan 37 (infantry), زړن zárrên 38 (brave), مخسور mákhsûr39 (honor), لوړاوی
lwárrâweî40 (elevate), لور lowr 41 (kindness), بمن bamêm 42 (foster), ودانه wádána43
(nourish),  دری dêrédz 44 (pulpit), ستایوال stâywál 45 (eulogizer). These words used by
Amir Krorr were common before the literary invasion of the time.
3. In meter and rhyme this poem is also unique and is a treasure of our literature
revealing the mature state of our ancient literature and culture.
4. From the viewpoint of message, we see that the writer speaks of valor exaltingly.
He describes his battles and conquests with pride and on the other hand shows love
and kindness toward his subjects.
Later works mentioned in this book are poems by Abu Mohammad Hashim ibn Zaid
al-Sarwanay born in 223 H. (838 A.D.), followed by the poems of Amir Reza and Amir
Nasr Ludi written around 350-400 H. (961-1010 A.D.). Khrasboon and Ismail lived
around 400 H. (1010 A.D.) and Shaikh Asàd Suri was their contemporary 425 H. (1034
A.D.). After that Shaikh Taiman wrote poetry during the time of the Ghorids who lived
during the era of Alàuddin Hussain around 550 H. (1155 A.D.) and Skarandoi was a
contemporary of Sultan Shahabuddin Muàzuddin around 580 H. (1185 A.D.) Their
works represent the literary triumphs of that era.
After this era, Shaikh Mathi lived around 623 H. (1126 A.D.), Baba Hothek around
660 H. (1162 A.D.) and Malikyar around 749 H. (1348 A.D.) and their important works
The Hidden Treasure
14
have been documented in Pata Khazana. Then came Sultan Bahlol and a poet of his
court, Neyazay, around 890 H. (1485 A.D.), followed by Esa Meshwañay 900 H. (1495
A.D.), Zarghoon Khan and Dost Mohammad 912 H. (1506 A.D.) and Shaikh Bostan
Barheitsh 990 H. (1582 A.D.) Later we know other poets, who have been mentioned in
the first volume of Pashtana Shuàra such as Mirza Khan, Darweza, Khushal Khan and
others. The poets mentioned chronologically are ones who have been referred to in
Pata Khazana. According to other documents there are other poets who lived during
this time described in the first volume of Pashtana Shuàra
Since we are only concerned with those poets mentioned in Pata Khazana, others to
whom reference has been made in Pashtana Shuàra will not be dealt with in this
treatise. Now, I would like to scrutinize and analyze, under different titles, these ancient
poems from the point of view of their historical significance.


شنبه 1388/09/28

The Book's Poetry

   خپرندوی: سپینتمان افغان    

The Book's Poetry
The first book which contains the rich treasure of Pashto poetry is the few pages of
Tazkerat-al-Awlia of Sulaiman Maku described in the first part of volume one of
Pashtana Shuàra Prior to the publication of volume one of the book in 1320 H. (1942
A.D.), it was believed that writing in the Pashto language was only 300-400 years old
and that the oldest document of the literature of the language dates to around 1000 to
900 H. (1592-1495 A.D). It was shown in Pashtana Shuàra that some of the ancient
records of Pashto literature date back to the time of the Ghaznavid period 300-400 H.
(913-1010 A.D.) The poems of Bit Nikah, Ismail, Malikyar, Taimani, Kutb Bakhtyar and
others are related to the time of the Ghaznavid and Ghorid dynasties.
Pata Khazana, which in reality is a treasure of the jewels of our national language,
removed a considerable number of obscurities that engulfed the literature of the
language. It proved that this ancient language had eloquent poets during the early part
of the Islamic period, and that it was a language of kings some of whom wrote poetry in
it.
The most outstanding document illuminating the history of Pashto poetry is the
martial poem by Jahan Pahlavan Amir Krorr Suri. From the viewpoint of vigor and style,
pure Pashto words, meter and rhyme, it is a magnificent example of our literature. The
characteristics of this poem can be summarized as follows:
1. It is an ancient document that proves that Pashto literature existed around 130 H.
(752 A.D.). It shows that the language was refined during the first century of the
Islamic era to the extent that magnificent martial poetry was written in it. From this it
can be deduced that it was not a new language. It was probably at least five
The Hidden Treasure
13
centuries old at the time of Amir Krorr and had a profound literary background to
reach such eminence.
2. This poem proves that the language of some of the people of Ghor at the
beginning of Islamic era was Pashto and that the Pashto spoken at the time was
pure and free from foreign influence.
The rare words used in this poem are our ancestral legacy. Some of them
have fallen out of use due to the influence of other languages ویاړنه wyârrene 32
(pride), اتل atál 33 (champion), من mán 34 (will), من  میر mértsamên 6 (enemy), ژوبله
zhobláh (battle), یونم yunêm (I am going)، یرغلم yárghálam 35 (I attack), هسک
hásk24(sky),  نمن nmênêdz(respect), پیژندوی pëzhandoy 36(famous), ن د dusan6 (foe),
پلن pálan 37 (infantry), زړن zárrên 38 (brave), مخسور mákhsûr39 (honor), لوړاوی
lwárrâweî40 (elevate), لور lowr 41 (kindness), بمن bamêm 42 (foster), ودانه wádána43
(nourish),  دری dêrédz 44 (pulpit), ستایوال stâywál 45 (eulogizer). These words used by
Amir Krorr were common before the literary invasion of the time.
3. In meter and rhyme this poem is also unique and is a treasure of our literature
revealing the mature state of our ancient literature and culture.
4. From the viewpoint of message, we see that the writer speaks of valor exaltingly.
He describes his battles and conquests with pride and on the other hand shows love
and kindness toward his subjects.
Later works mentioned in this book are poems by Abu Mohammad Hashim ibn Zaid
al-Sarwanay born in 223 H. (838 A.D.), followed by the poems of Amir Reza and Amir
Nasr Ludi written around 350-400 H. (961-1010 A.D.). Khrasboon and Ismail lived
around 400 H. (1010 A.D.) and Shaikh Asàd Suri was their contemporary 425 H. (1034
A.D.). After that Shaikh Taiman wrote poetry during the time of the Ghorids who lived
during the era of Alàuddin Hussain around 550 H. (1155 A.D.) and Skarandoi was a
contemporary of Sultan Shahabuddin Muàzuddin around 580 H. (1185 A.D.) Their
works represent the literary triumphs of that era.
After this era, Shaikh Mathi lived around 623 H. (1126 A.D.), Baba Hothek around
660 H. (1162 A.D.) and Malikyar around 749 H. (1348 A.D.) and their important works
The Hidden Treasure
14
have been documented in Pata Khazana. Then came Sultan Bahlol and a poet of his
court, Neyazay, around 890 H. (1485 A.D.), followed by Esa Meshwañay 900 H. (1495
A.D.), Zarghoon Khan and Dost Mohammad 912 H. (1506 A.D.) and Shaikh Bostan
Barheitsh 990 H. (1582 A.D.) Later we know other poets, who have been mentioned in
the first volume of Pashtana Shuàra such as Mirza Khan, Darweza, Khushal Khan and
others. The poets mentioned chronologically are ones who have been referred to in
Pata Khazana. According to other documents there are other poets who lived during
this time described in the first volume of Pashtana Shuàra
Since we are only concerned with those poets mentioned in Pata Khazana, others to
whom reference has been made in Pashtana Shuàra will not be dealt with in this
treatise. Now, I would like to scrutinize and analyze, under different titles, these ancient
poems from the point of view of their historical significance.


شنبه 1388/09/28

The characteristics of Mohammad's writing

   خپرندوی: سپینتمان افغان    

The characteristics of Mohammad's writing
Mohammad Hothek, the author of Pata Khazana transformed Pashto prose in a
simple style and, as far as he could manage, substituted the common form of speech
for the artificial and convoluted prose of his predecessors.
In the construction of sentences, Sulaiman Maku appears to be under the influence
of Arabic prose. Khushal Khan, Abdul Qadir Khan and Afzal Khan all were influenced
by Persian prose, but Mohammad Hothek managed to stay away from such influences.
When we read his prose it looks as though a Pashtoon is talking to us. He explains the
issues in a simple manner and his penmanship is free from the influence of others.
It cannot be said that thw work of Mohammad is not completely free of defects, but
in comparison to other authors his style of prose is clear and lucid, its meaning is
understandable, the prose is easy to follow and void of any complexity of past authors.
A worthy author is one who does not follow others in order to express himself. Khushal
Khan has said: "One who breaks his own pot will be in need of others." From the prose
of Pata Khazana it is clear that Mohammad Hothek wrote clearly and simply. Sulaiman
Maku's style of writing is good and close to speech, but in ease and elegance it is not on
par with that of Mohammad Hothek, though it is much better than the complex style of
Khair-al-Bayan. The first sentences with which Sulaiman Maku starts his book reveals
that he is not following rhythmic prose and the wording is not artificial. However, his
style deviates from that of speech and a semblance of the effects of Arabic prose is
seen in it.
Khair-al-Bayan was written three centuries after Sulaiman wrote his book. Although
the book is meant to be in prose, in reality it is not, as some of the sentences are poetic
in form, and towards the end of the book the sentences rhyme.
The style of writing of Khair-al-Bayan developed around 900H. (1495 A.D.), was
accepted and followed by others for several centuries. Akhund Darweza who lived
The Hidden Treasure
10
around 1000 H. (1592 A.D.) disliked the way Khair-al-Bayan was written. Despite that
he was not able to free his penmanship from the accepted style.
As mentioned earlier the first author to break away from this unacceptable style was
Khushal Khan. He laid the foundation of the simple form of writing devoid of rhythmic
prose. However, the influence of Persian can be detected in his writing. His prose
resembles that of Sulaiman Maku and there are no traces of Khair-al-Bayan in it. After
Khushal Khan, his sons follow his style in Gulistan, in Tarekh-e Murasà and in the
Pashto translation of Kalela and Damna by Afzal Khan.
The style created by Mohammad is excellent in composition and lucid in expression
of thought. It holds an esteemed place in contemporary Pashto prose and that of the
past. He can be considered the inventor of the contemporary style of Pashto prose.
After him Pir Mohammad Kakarh and Mohammad Khatak, who wrote during the time of
Ahmad Shah Baba and the Mohammadzay era respectively, followed his example.
Later Ahmad Jan of Peshawar followed the same style of writing passing it on to the
present times.
From the comparison of Pashto literature of the past, it is clear that Mohammad
Hothek simplified Pashto prose extensively. In my view the characteristics of his prose
are:
1. Mohammed is the first person who managed not to follow the style in vogue.
2. He managed to write prose closer to speech than previous authors.
3. He was able to express himself in a simple manner and did not use difficult
vocabulary and knotted sentences.
4. His sentences are short and stand out; and he managed to express his thoughts
lucidly.
5. His use of alternate words and structuring of sentences are not disagreeable.
6. The influence of other languages is minimal in his style of writing. The prose of
Sulaiman Maku is influenced by Arabic syntax, but the effect of Persian prose is
barely evident in Mohammad Hothek's writing.
The Hidden Treasure
11
The work of Mohammad Hothek was different from that of his predecessors, and
shows that the prose of Mohammad Hothek traces back to the classic style of Pashto
prose that was predominant before the unattractive style of Khair-al-Bayan. Khushal
Khan Khatak was the first writer who returned to the style of our ancestors and hoisted
the banner of correctness, and his descendants carried his torch forward. Mohammad
Hothek set us free from the vicissitudes of rhythmic prose. Around 1300 H. (1883 A.D.)
Maulavi Ahmad Jan wrote his glorious prose that remains a precious offering to
contemporary writers of the Pashto language.


شنبه 1388/09/28

The Book's Prose

   خپرندوی: سپینتمان افغان    

The Book's Prose
In the notes and annotations of the book attention is drawn to the qualitative
significance of some words and historical background. These explanations enables the
readers to appreciate the significance of the book from the point of literature and history
and to recognize its benefits. Here, I would like to dwell with the prose style of the
author and to clarify the importance of the book from the point of view of literary prose.
To clarify the issue, it would be fruitful to glance shortly at the history of Pashto prose
first, and later discuss its historical significance.
Pashto prose before 1000 H. (1592 A.D.)
The oldest document available in Pashto prose is the few pages of Tazkerat-al-Awlia
(Memoirs of Saints) of Sulaiman Maku, written in 612 H. (1215 A.D.) during the time of
the Mongol raids. This document represents the oldest Pashto prose available to us. I
found these pages five years ago. Before that, all those who studied the Pashto
language, told me that the half-poetic prose of Akhund Darweza and his likes was the
oldest sample of Pashto prose. After discovering the lost pages of Sulaiman Maku,
which I have printed in volume one of Pashtana Shuàra (Pashtoon Poets), it became
clear that Pashto prose was firmly established even before Akhund Darweza and Pir
Roshan.
The style of Sulaiman Maku, who wrote in Arghasan of Qandahar, is different from
present day prose. However, it shows that before the rhythmical prose of Khair-al-
Bayan (Blessed Discourse) and Makhzan-al-Islam (Islamic Treasure) our language had
The Hidden Treasure
8
a fluent and interesting style of writing, which was closer to speech and distant from the
artificial style of writing of later days.
During the time of the Mongols an overly adorned and unattractive style of prose
became popular in Persian. This style of writing prose was devoid of the excellencies of
the fluid composition of the past. In the rhythmic prose the lucidity of past composition
was lost. It did not have the elegance of the works of Baihaqi, Minhaj Seraj or Sàdi and
complex phrases and twisted sentences were introduced to Persian prose resulting in
loss of fluency. This style of writing continued until the time when Dura-e Nadera (Rare
Pearls) was written by Mohammad Mahdi Astarabadi.
This destructive movement also affected Pashto prose and authors started imitating
the Persian writers of the Mongol period. After 900 H. (1495 A.D.) Pir Roshan wrote
Khair-al-Bayan in this crude style using rhythmical prose with liberty. Toward the end of
the book he has rhymed his sentences. Akhund Darweza also followed this style in
Makhzan-al-Islam. This mode of writing was prevalent for a period of 300 years.
The first person who realized its fallacy was Khushal Khan Khatak, the father of the
Pashto language. He adopted the classic style of Pashto prose in his works. His sons
and family followed in his footsteps as is evident in their works such as the Gulistan
(The Flower Garden) in Pashto and Tarekh-e Murasà (Bejewelled History), written in the
fluid style of the past.
Forty years after the death of Khushal Khan an illustrious writer lived in Qandahar
who wrote Pashto prose in a fluid and simple style; thus he was able to revive the
classic style of his ancestors. This writer was Mohammad bin Daud Khan Hothek, the
author of Pata Khazana. After this revival, his style is clearly reflected in the works of
authors who followed him; and it can be said that it has been used by Pashto authors
for the past three and a half centuries after 1000 H. (1592 A.D.) Mohammad Hothek is
thus considered the master of the present style of Pashto prose.
Khushal Khan Khatak did try to deviate from the unattractive rendering of Khair-al-
Bayan but did not succeed in eliminating the obstacles altogether and in fact he slightly
became under its influence. However, the famous author of Pata Khazana, successfully
managed to free Pashto prose from the shackles of rhythmic prose. This literary victory
The Hidden Treasure
9
is attributed to his writing genius, despite the fact that that style was common in Pashto
literary circles of the time.


جمعه 1388/09/27

Introduction

   خپرندوی: سپینتمان افغان    

Introduction
Among the important relics our national literature which I have submitted to my
countrymen I am forwarding a book, which without any doubt is a testament of our
national heritage and an eloquent work of literature in the Pashto language.
This magnificent book entitled Pata Khazana (The Hidden Treasure), was written in
Qandahar in 1141-1142 H. (1728-29 A.D.) by Mohammad bin Daud bin Qader Khan
Hothek under the patronage of the young emperor Shah Hussain Hothek who was
keenly interested in the promotion of culture and of Pashto literature. The author of the
book was a distinguished literary personality of the court. He was an outstanding
scholar of the Pashto language and dedicated this work to Pashto poets. The book is
composed of three parts. The first treasure is dedicated to the life and work of past
poets, from 100 H. (718 A.D.) to one thousand Hejira. The second treasure concerns
with contemporary poets and the third treasure refers to poetesses of the Pashto
language followed by a conclusion. In the end of the book the author talks about his life
and literary works. Fortunately, the learned author had a gifted style and a strong base
for his work. Throughout the book, the author gives references to published material,
words of other people and tradition.
In the spring of 1944, I obtained a copy of this book, which contains the history of the
Pashto literature, and provides a profile of 50 poets dating from 100 to 1100 H. (718 to
1688 A.D.). Once I realized its importance I presented it to other personalities in the
Afghan literary circles. They were all overwhelmed by the finding and its significance as
a relic of national heritage. Most distinguished among them was Sardar Mohammad
Nàim, the Minister of Education who takes a keen interest in national literature. He and
other literary personalities urged the publication of the book.
The Hidden Treasure
6
Recognizing the strength of public interest for the book, I began to edit, annotate
and translate it into Persian and am now presenting it to all the enlightened people of
our country who are deeply interested in our literature. I am happy and honored that as
a continuation of my published work in Pashto literature an occupation of many years, I
finally succeeded in discovering this treasure and after editing and researching, to
present it as a historical document. For the reader to understand the text better, every
page of the original Pashto is presented with Persian translation on the opposite page.
Where changes have occurred in the spelling of words, the actual word, as found in the
manuscript is described in the footnotes together with the change and its meaning. The
Persian translation of both the prose and poetry is literary so that the originality of the
text is safeguarded. If it is tedious reading I hope that the reader will forgive me for this.
In the footnotes I explain the meaning of some of the rare and difficult to understand
words and present them together with their syntax and roots. Reference is also made to
names of certain locations and places mentioned in the manuscript which have either
changed or are not well-known. The end of the book contains a detailed explanation of
rare words, places and people which are mentioned in the text. A complete index of
people's names, places and sources is also included.
While researching rare words a large volume of reference material was used. The
pages and exact citation of the reference material is presented for ease of access. With
regard to the finding of the original manuscript and its importance I have a lot to say that
does not fit in this short introduction. The style of the poetry and the prose is discussed
in the following sections.
Kabul, Khwabgah, Hamal 1322 H. (March 1944).
Abdul Hay Habibi


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