Khushal Khan Khattak

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Khushal Khan Khattak (1613 – 1690) was a Pashtun warrior, poet and tribal chief of the Khattak tribe. He wrote in Pashto during the reign of the Mughal emperors in the seventeenth century, and admonished Afghans to forsake their divisive tendencies and unite. He was a renowned fighter who became known as the “Afghan Warrior Poet”. He lived in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains in what is now the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of western Pakistan.

His poetry consists of more than 45,000 poems. According to some historians the number of books written by him is more than 200. His more famous books are Baz Nama, Fazal Nama, Distar Nama and Farrah Nama’.

H. G. Raverty was the first translator of Khattak into English; Selections from the Poetry of Afghans (1862, Kolkata) has ninety eight poetic pieces. This was followed by Biddulph’s translation Selections from the Poetry of Khushhal Khan Khattak in 1890 published in London. Evelyn Howell and Olaf Caroe jointly translated and published The Poems of Khushhal Khan Khattak in 1963, from the University of Peshawar. Another translation was that by Dr N. Mackenzie Poems from the Diwan of Khushhal Khan Khattak published from London in 1965.

Dost Mohammad Khan Kamil was the first Pakhtoon scholar to initiate research on Khattak along scientific lines. He wrote two important and comprehensive books, one in English called On a Foreign Approach to Khushhal and the other in Urdu titled Khushhal Khan Khattak published in 1952. Diwan-i-Khushhal Khan Khattak was published under the directive of H .W. Bellew in 1869 (Jail Press, Peshawar), the manuscript of which was provided by Sultan Bakhash Darogha, an employee of the British government. More recently his poetry has been translated again.

In October 2002, a book on Khushal Khan Khattak, Khushal Khan, The Afghan Warrior Poet and Philosopher, has been published. Sponsored by Pashtoon Cultural Society (Regd) and Pashto Adabi Society (Regd) Islamabad/Rawalpindi, written by a well known writer and scholar, Ghani Khan Khattak who is reputed for having established the literary and cultural societies and for promoting Pushto literary and cultural activities in the federal capital, Islamabad (Pakistan). The significance of the above named book lies in that this is the first book in English on Khushal. Most of the written material available on Khushal Khan Khattak is either in Pashto or in Urdu. Although orientalists have always given importance to Khushal in their findings but they have not ever presented a detailed picture of the exceptional man known as Khushal Khan.

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