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Some Pashto poetry for you to enjoy


Khushal Khan Khattak (b.1613-1690) wrote in Pashtu during the reign of the Mongol emperors in the seventeenth century. He lived in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains.  Here are some of his poems. His first one illustrating how he feels about his fellow Pashtuns. 

Of the Pathans that are famed in the land of Roh,

Now-a-days are the Mohmands, the Bangash, and the Warrakzais, and the Afridis.

The dogs of the Mohmands are better than the Bangash,

Though the Mohmands themselves are a thousand times worse than the dogs.

The Warrakzais are the scavengers of the Afridis,

Though the Afridis, one and all, are but scavengers themselves.

This is the truth of the best of the dwellers in the land of Pathans,

Of those worse than these who would say that they were men?

No good qualities are there in the Pathans than are now living:

All that were of any worth are imprisoned in the grave.

This indeed is apparent to all who know them.

He of whom the Moghuls say, "He is loyal to us",

God forbid the shame of such should be concealed!

Let the Pathans drive all thought of honour from their hearts:

For these are ensnared by the baits the Moghuls have put for them.

From C. Biddulph, Afghan Poetry Of The 17th Century: Being Selections from the Poems of Khushal Khan Khattak (London, 1890)



Afghan Passion

Caravans of silk, beautiful lads, and sharp swords,

Are what a brave Afghan with pride hoards

When the swords of Afghans glitter,

The caravan and its merchandise shiver.

The camels moan and the riders groan,

As they near Khybar[1] with their spirits blown.

Caravans and merchants whine and weep,

When onto the Pass mighty Pashtons leap.

If a Pashton extracts no tolls from a trader,

His tribe considers him a sellout traitor.

The Arab boys and the Frang[2] women,

Crave the strength of Pashton men.

From Hindustan[3] to the distant west,

Afghans have put all to this test.

O son one word I have for thee,

Fear no one and no one you flee.

Pull out your sword and slay any one,

That says Pashton and Afghan are not one.

Arabs know this and so do Romans,

Afghans are Pashtons, Pashtons are Afghans.

By Khoshaal Khan Khatek

[1] Pass-acient route connecting Afghanistan with Pakistan

[2] Frang-a term describing an infidel westerner

[3] Hindustan-modern India and Pakistan