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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Remembering Arva Khaad Sher Ali Bachaa

Sher Ali Bacha

By Syed Yasir Ali

The great Pakhtun writer Qalandar Momand wrote in the memory of Sher Ali Bacha, “The life of Sher Ali Bacha has two sides. While many people know him as a nationalist politician, not many are aware of his literary achievements. The time has come that we collect all his work, put it forward to the readers and give him the high status that he deserves in the field of literature.”
Sher Ali Bacha was born in Hoti Mardan in 1932. His uncle, Hannan Bacha, was practically working for Khudayee Khidmatgar Movement of Independence and was the leader of Mardan City. Bacha was mainly inspired by his mother who used to read him Pukhtun Magazine and other Pashto story books.
He started his literary activities when he was an undergraduate student in Mardan College, then called Akbar Memorial College. He was the secretary of the college Pashto Adabi Tolana (Pashto literary society).He then went to Karachi to study Law in Muslim Law College. He became the Editor of Pashto Magazine "Adal". His literary name was “Anwar”. This was the time of Ayub Khan’s Martial Law in the country. Bacha worked very hard to promote political and social justice awareness amongst Pukhtuns. After finishing his degree in Law, he returned to Mardan and started apprenticeship with Amirzada Khan Advocate. He reactivated the Pukhto Adabi Jarga in Mardan in 1962 and used his own office as a base for the Jarga. It became very popular in the literary circles of Pukhtunkhwa. It not only attracted local talent but writers like Ajmal Khattak, Qalandar Momand, Hamza Shinwari, Ayub Sabir and others attended the gatherings in Mardan. Writers from Mardan like Qamar Rahi, Asghar Lala, Andesh, Humayun Huma, Israr Toru, Abdul Wahid Qalandar and many more are still witness to the good work of the Jarga. To his likings he organised a memorable Mushaira (poetry session) instead of music on the eve of his wedding. This was the first of its kind and is still remembered very much by those who attended the evening.

He wrote meaningful poetry and prose right from the start. His ideas and writings mainly concentrate around the two main aims of his life. One was the fight against the ugly social class system in the country which in other words was the fight for the promotion of human rights. The second aim was the uplift of Pukhtuns as a nation. This way he is one of the pioneers of progressive Pukhtun writers. The others in this category will include Kakaji Sanobar Hussain, Ajmal Khattak and Rahmat Shah Sayal. His memorable poem “Khog Watan” (My Dear Homeland) is a brilliant example of putting the two ideas in one poem.

He wrote many articles, essays, poems and booklets. He usually asked someone to publish these for him and a lot of his work is still not published due to the lack of resources. During his life time he managed to publish a book “What is Philosophy?” He produced the weekly and monthly Circulars including Sanobar, Mazdoor Kissan Zindabad and Pukhtunkhwa. On the political front he wrote “The History of Mazdoor Kissan Movement”.

The process of publishing his further write ups will probably be a long process. His approach to the problems of Pukhtun Nation is very scientific and evidence based. He not only highlighted the problems but came up with the best solution as well. One such collection of his essays is the book "BAL Mashaloona" published after his death. His death was a great loss to the nation. The tributes and comments of his friends, writers and family members were saved in the condolence Book. These are unique of its kind and are now published in the form of a 266 pages book "Milli Atal", the National Hero. The readers of this book will no doubt appreciate his contribution to the nation.
Sadly this great intellectual died on 25th July 1998.He is buried in his ancestral graveyard at Bibi Abai, Hoti Mardan.

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