Literati and politicos from Chitral on Wednesday paid tribute to noted Khowar writer and poet Gul Nawaz Khaki who passed away last month.
The condolence reference was organised by the Peshawar chapter of Anjuman-e-Taraqi Khowar at Peshawar Press Club to commemorate the services of Khaki – a prolific Khowar writer. Khaki died last month in his ancestral village of Singoor, Chitral at the age of 87.
The wordsmith started his career at Radio Pakistan as a singer. He, however, later turned to scriptwriting and acting instead. He also wrote poetry for radio and started writing for a Khowar monthly on regional issues in the 1970s. At the time of his death, Khaki was working on compiling a Khowar dictionary.
Peshawar chapter president of Anjuman-e-Taraqi Khowar, Mehrban Elahi Hanifi discussed the multifaceted personality of Khaki and praised his artistic endeavours for the promotion and preservation of Khowar. Hanifi said Khaki also worked for the preservation of Khowar folk songs, which he meticulously collected and published in a two-volume book.
“Khaki was a multi-talented artist,” said Hanifi. “He was a poet, singer, essayist, dramatist and lexicographer; all in one. His death is the end of an era for Khowar literature.”
Addressing the participants, former chairman of the geography department at University of Peshawar, Professor Israruddin said Khowar is the third most widely spoken language of the province, after Pashto and Hindko. He said Khaki played a crucial role in popularising the local Chitrali language through his publications and poetry. Israr added Khaki’s goal was to promote local culture and language. He maintained Khaki penned many dramas that represented the particular culture and norms of Chitral.
“Khaki was not just a Khowar poet, but an institution in himself,” said Israr. “Through his writings, he ensured the preservation of Chitrali cultural heritage for future generations. People like him are assets of our culture, and can save our language from extinction. The government should recognise and support such writers.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2013.