A literary session with poet Abaseen
PESHAWAR: The Readers Club, a group of bibliophiles comprising intellectuals, writers and retired civil servants, arranged a literary session with Abaseen Yousafzai, a noted Pashto poet and author of bestselling Pashto poetry collection Ghurzangoona, at a hotel here in University Town.
Hosted by Shamamatul Amber Arbab, member of the executive committee of Provincial Commission on the Status of Women, the literary session was conducted by Nasser Yousaf, additional secretary culture, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and attended by a gathering of ardent book lovers.
The session opened with a popular Pashto poem of Ghani Khan titled ‘Bamiyan’ which he had composed years ago while standing in front of the Bamiyan Buddha in Afghanistan. Awestruck with the art of Buddhist civilisation, Ghani Khan had prophesied the spread of philistinism around it.
Mr Yousaf said in his inaugural remarks that literature was a true mirror to society, and Pakhtun poets and writers had reflected to some extent a true image of their volatile society in their writings and art. Honouring Pakhtun literati and propagating their message to the youngsters was one of the aims of the Readers Club, he added.
This was followed by recitation of inspiring Pashto poems and ghazals of Abaseen Yousafzai. He began with reading out his poem Za Lewnanekegum (I am going to be mad).
(English translation of the poem) The man is bragging at the dump of gunpowder
The smoke of charred flesh is rising around the world
The prophets of peace are forced to starve and perish
Awards are distributed among the makers of bombs
Immeasurable apathy prevails, the good is destroyed
How could the thirst be quenched with poison!
For how many years the helpless Japanese were burning?
Come on my friends! Let’s all be mad together!
He also recited some of his popular poems including ‘The Best Painting –USA’, Bekhudi an ode to Allama Iqbal, Benooma (nameless) and Pekhawar (Peshawar), which moved to tears the audience for their beautiful imagery. Most of the poems written by him two decades ago had a strong relevance to the situation prevailing in the region.
Mr Yousafzai is currently chairman of the Department of Pashto at Islamia College, Peshawar.
The poetry reading was followed by a question-answer session. Answering a participant’s query, Mr Yousafzai said that lack of education and an endless trail of purposeless wars had turned an otherwise liberal and progressive Pakhtun society into a society of fanatics, adding he had little hope of revival under the prevailing circumstances.
Answering another question, he said that good poetry and fiction readings were available, but unfortunately, most educated Pashtuns did not have a penchant for reading.
Mr Yousaf, president of the club, announced that the literary body would arrange a two-day literature festival in the near future.