19th death anniversary: Scholars pay rich tributes to Hamza Shinwari

Information minister urges youth to take inspiration from national heroes.


A new compilation of Hamza Khan Shinwari’s poetry ‘Baad-e-Khyber’ was launched on his death anniversary at the Peshawar Press Club. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: The 19th death anniversary of Amir Hamza Khan Shinwari (1907-1994), popularly known as ‘Baba-e-Pashto Ghazal’, was commemorated at the Peshawar Press Club (PPC) on Sunday.

A new compilation of his poetry titled ‘Baad-e-Khyber’ was also launched during the event, which was organised by Hamza Baba Adabi Society and the culture committee of PPC.

A number of eminent scholars and intellectuals paid tributes to the life and literary contributions of the poet. Minister for Information and Culture Mian Iftikhar Hussain also spoke at the occasion.

“The young generation cannot take inspiration from their national heroes if they are ignorant about them. They need to be made aware of their heroes’ sacrifices and struggle for Pukhtun culture and literature,” said the information minister.

He stressed on the importance of producing more literary works which represent the current situation. “It is not a time of romanticism; we are in a state of war so we should focus on such issues.”

Coincidently, the death anniversary of Hamza Baba’s only son, popular progressive Pashto poet, song and fiction writer Murad Shinwari (1927-2012) also falls on the same date – February 18. Like his father, Murad contributed enormously to the Pashto language and to Pashto literature.

Hamza Baba’s mausoleum is situated in Landi Kotal, Khyber Agency. The boundary wall of his tomb remains partially damaged due to militant attacks in the region.

However, his grandson Zahid Husain Shinwari told The Express Tribune his grandfather’s shrine was not in ruins as reported by the media. “Roughly 4,700 new books were added to the shrine’s library, but only government officials are allowed to enter.”

According to Zahid, Hamza Baba’s other grandson, Husain Shinwari, volunteered to be a librarian there, but the government rejected his proposal.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2013.

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