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  Khushal Khan Khatak

Khushal Khan Khatak  Afghanland.comBy Afghanland.com: Khushal Khan Khatak was a descendent from long line of warrior chiefs. His father was killed in battle against the Yusufzai tribe. His own tribe is the Khatak tribe, which according to afghanland.com sources get its name from the story of four brothers which tells as follows;

Four brothers went hunting and on the way they met 4 women covered in veils, the brothers decided to take the women as wives, the eldest brother used his seniority and claimed the first choice and chose the best dressed woman, and the youngest ended with the raggedy clothe woman. After the ceremony each brother lifted the veils and the eldest found an old toothless woman in fine clothes, the youngest found a beautiful young virgin. The younger brother laughing pointed to the older brother and repeated the phrase "pa khata larye" (you put your foot in it) therefore the children of the brothers were called the Khataks thus the birth of the Khatak tribe.

After his father's death Kushal became the leader of the Khatak tribe, he had rallied all the tribes under his command to build a greater defense against the enemies that lurked at the borders. Khushal Khan first accepted the Moghol kings wealth in return for king Shah Jahan access to Kabul Peshawar roads. After the death of Shah Jahan in 1665, his son Awrangzeb had Khushal Khan arrested and placed in prison. Upon his release from captivity in 1668  Khushal Khan joined a rebillion of Momand, Safi and Afridi tribes against the Mughols. The Rebellion was sparked by a moghol soldier insulting a Safi woman. In revenge the Safi tribals killed the soldier. The Mughol King Awrangzeb ordered the Safi tribal elders to hand over the killers. The Safi, Afridi, Momand, Shinwar and Khatak tribe came together to protect the Safi men accused of badal. Awrangzeb set out with a large force which resulted in their defeat with reported loss of 40,000 moghol soldiers. After battle Khushal Khan retired as a warrior and used his pen to point to weaknesses of his society, he was not only a great warrior but had keen sense wordplay. Khushal Khan Khatak had written many poems mostly patriotic about his roots, about his tribe, about his nation and triumphs over invaders.

The Khushal Khan Khattak Tomb in PashtunistanUpon his retirement, his 57 sons began fighting for leadership. Eventually his degenerate son Bahram defeated and arrested Khushal hand picked successor and put in prison. Bahram then sent his men to arrest his father as well. Upon the new of the army's advance, Khushal Khan at the age of 77 suited up in his armored suit and drew his sword and called out; "Whoever are men amongst you, come to the word if you dare" The men returned to Bahram in shame. Bahram joined forces with Moghols set to capture his father, and before he could do so, Khushal Khan fled into Afridi territory where he died a year later.

The art of chieftainship thou hast not learned, bahram

in your time you have dishonored the chieftainship

from now on don't count yourself amongst my sons

that is the last prayer breathed by Khushal the Khatak

Khushal Khan Khatak wrote excellent poetry in Pashto about such things as unity, honor, war, love, and everyday life. He also wrote about philosophy and ethics. His poetry is still widely read. He died in 1689.

His most famous poem was about getting old and losing friends;

Shereen Omr (Sweet Life)


Shereen omr che terezhi dregha dregha

De obo pasay baiezhai dregha dregha


Da yaran laka goloona de bahar dee

Da khazan pa ta razhezhee dregha dregha




Sweet life that passes by slowly slowly

Like water it flows slowly slowly


Friends are the flowers of spring

They follow the path of autumn slowly slowly


   * * *

The Knowing

By Khoshal Khan Khatak

The knowing, the perceptive man
is he who knows about himself,
for in self-knowledge and insight
lays knowledge of the holiest.

If in his heart there is no fear,
his deeds are not those of the good,
pay no heed to one who's skilled
in quoting the Quran by heart.

 * * *

Adam Khel Afridi

By Khoshal Khan Khatak

The Adam Khel Afridi Maids
Are both rosy and fair;
Among them there are many beauties
With every kind of charm

With great bright eyes, long curling lashes
And eyebrows arched and wide,
With honey lips and rosy cheeks
And forheads like the moon;

With tiny mouths like budding roses
And teeth even and white,
Their heads all clad in blackest tresses
Fragrant as ambergris;

Their bodies smooth as any egg,
Without a trace of hair,
Their feet petite, with rounded heels,
Their haunches plump and wide;

Their stomachs slim, their bosoms broad,
Their waists perfectly narrow,
Their figures straight as letter "I's"
And shining silver white

Although I wander, like a hawk,
About the barren hills
Many a pretty little partridge
Has fallen prey to me.

Young and unskilled, or old and sly,
A hawk always seeks prey,
And an old hawk's stoop is surer
Than that of a young bird.

Either the waters of Landdai
Or the Bara stream
Taste sweeter, more refreshing both,
Then sherbet in my mouth.

The peaks that flank Matari pass
Rise straight up to the sky;
In climbing, ever climbing them
One's angles soon gain strength.

I came into Tirah county
Among the Adam Khels;
Now, sat at heart, I've taken leave
Of all these gentle souls.

All love's affairs are well portrayed
By fire, O Khushal:
Although you cover up its flames
The smoke will still be seen.

Source:Andre Singer

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