PESHAWAR: Renowned Pashto poet Professor Abaseen Yousafzai launched his third poetry collection Maraam on Thursday after a gap of more than 10 years.
To formally launch the book, literary organisation, Pohantoon Adabi Stori arranged a ceremony at Pashto Academy, University of Peshawar where senior poets and scholars participated to acknowledge the literary contributions of Yousafzai.
Muntazir Shinwari, a senior poet from Khyber Agency, said Pashto poetry, fiction and prose had undergone a tremendous change during the last three decades owing to war in the entire region. Pashto literati, he pointed out, were conscious in giving due place to the rapidly emerging geo-political scenario around them.
He added like others, Yousafzai too could not ignore what has been happening to the Pukhtuns. “Poetry like this could only be dubbed the spirit of the time and voice of the people,” said Shinwari. “Sufferings of the Pukhtun society find a better expression in the verses of the poet who shares the pains and pathos of the people he belongs to.”
Yousafzai’s literary struggle has continued for the last four decades. His first poetry collection, Ghurzanguna, and his second, Alwat (flight), won awards from the Abasin Arts Council.
Maraam’s collection of poetry is considered impressive. The tinge of romance is offset by a deep sense of nostalgia and grief over the erosion of golden Pukhtun traditions.
A portion of the book is devoted to Pukhtun heroes of the past and present in the chapter titled Da rana munarey (The beacons of light). There are also tributes to popular Pashto folk singers, as well as poems regarding militancy in Malakand.
“Yousafzai serves as guide for a generation of budding Pashto poets,” said Fazal Azeem, who presided over the launch. He said Yousafzai used simple diction and imagery to convey his message of peace, tolerance and Pukhtunwali through his poetry. “There might be a niche market for Pashto books, but Abaseen’s first collection ran into more than ten editions,” he added.
Dr Sher Zaman Seemab said Yousafzai was a poet of substance. “Abaseen’s poetry is unique, its scope is vast and encompasses every single incident in the region,” said Seemab. Yousafzai said on the occasion he always used poetry as a vehicle of guidance for his readers.
“I have been under the direct supervision of literary giants – Hamza Baba, Ghani Khan, Ajmal Khattak and Qalandar Momand for many years. I am lucky enough to have learned from all of these legends of Pashto poetry,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2016.