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Friday, January 27, 2012

Why Khan Abdul Ghani Khan ?

I have a friend, who hails from the city of Peshawar in the Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province of Pakistan, belonging to a very educated family. His older brother has got a degree in English from a well known University in Islamabad. 

My friend, Dodo, we will call him by his nick name for Dawood, got his early education at Edwards College here in Peshawar. He got his Masters from some University in Islamabad and then left the country for higher education in the United States of America at Harvard University. He is now a doctor of philosophy in something something.

When he returned from the United States, we went to attend an educational seminar with some of our old friends. We all got into a debate over our Pashtoon culture and our great poets. It was sad to see that Dodo did not know a thing about his own culture or his great writers and poets. He had almost learnt by heart the western poets and writers. He even got a PhD in the western books. He said he studied Oscar Wilde since he was only a little boy. He read Keats and many others when he was only twelve or less than twelve. He himself got a bit upset over not knowing who Khan Abdul Ghani Khan was upon my asking about him.

Khan Abdul Ghani Khan (1914-1996)
This made me upset. I got to thinking why this was so. I asked him if he had ever heard of "The Pathan" by Khan Abdul Ghani Khan. His exact words were, "what is that?". This was it. The tragedy of the century is that the literature of our culture is hidden away and not made public. It must be lying somewhere in some library and it is not promoted or presented in an attractive way so nobody cares to go pick up the books and read them. Who cares anyways? 

The world takes us for terrorists only because that is what they are getting to hear about us on the news channels everyday. If you "youtube" the word Pathan or Pashtoon, all you get is dancing Nazia Iqbal songs and dirty mujras; which is definitely not our culture. I was so deeply hurt by the fact that the world was almost doing injustice to the pashtoon/pathan people and why would they not? If a handsome, intelligent and well educated Pathan boy from a well educated Nobel Pathan family has never heard of Khan Abdul Ghani Khan or thinks him to be only a politician, why would the world not think of the Pathans as only terrorists? 

I myself write poetry only in the English language. Why? Because during childhood, I never got the chance to learn that people can write Pashto too. I never heard about our great philosophers or poets or writers too, not till only recently and that too, on my own because I wanted to learn about them. So I started reading a book by Khan Abdul Ghani Khan, it was called, "The Pathan". I asked Dodo to read it, and sent him an e-book. He could not make time to read it. I thought, why not record it as I read it and then share it with my friends who have never heard of Khan Abdul Ghani Khan, or of the true wonderful Pashtoon/Pathan culture, so that many other Dodos out there could also develop some interest in knowing about where they truly come from. Khan Abdul Ghani Khan wrote about "The Pathan". Dodo, it is time to know yourself.

I got feedback from Dodo, and many other Pathan, Pakistani and foreign friends, letting me know that they really loved Khan Abdul Ghani Khan and "The Pathan".

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