And now Rahman Baba's shrine….

By Shaheen Buneri
PESHAWAR: Unidentified militants Thursday bombed the mausoleum of Abdurrahman Baba, the 17th century legendary Sufi poet of the Pashtuns in Hazarkhwani area close to Peshawar city in North West Frontier province (NWFP) of Pakistan.


Police confirms that the outer wall of the Mausoleum completely destroyed.
Locals told the Pashtunpost, that a group of unidentified militants used remote control bombs to destroy the four pillars of the under-construction building in the premises of Rahman Baba’s Mausoleum.
The bomb explosion has partially damaged the building. Eye witnesses say that if timely efforts are not taken the building may collapse.
Yousaf Ali Dilsoz, President of Rahman Baba Adabi Jirga says that Rahman Baba is the icon of Pashtuns spirituality and their love for peace and tolerance.
“In wake of the raising militancy in the region, it is cry of the hour that we understand and spread the message of peace and universal humanity conveyed by Rahman Baba through his poetry. By targeting the Shrine the militants want to destroy our identity and want to present us to the world as a wild and uncivilized nation”, he maintained.
It merits a mention here that every year in the month of April, fans of Rahman Baba hold a grand cultural festival at the Mausoleum. Poets, writers and lovers of Rahman Baba from Afghanistan and Pakistan Pashtun dominated areas would come together to celebrate the festival. This time the festival was scheduled for April 5.
“By bombing Rahman Baba shrine, the forces of darkness want to discourage people not to participate in the festival and to forcefully divert them to their extremist and fundamentalist agenda”, says Usman Ulasyar, president of Swat Cultural Society and a devouted lover of the poetry of Rahman Baba.
Rahman Baba was born in 1632 A.D. at Bahadur Kala, a village, 4 km south of Peshawar. He enjoys the same status in Pashto poetry as Hafiz Shirazi does in the Persian Literature.
Rahman Baba’s poetry is popular for its simplicity, spontaneity and universality not only among Pashtuns but all those who are interested in evolution of Sufi thought in the region.
Besides many others, Major Reverty in his book “Selection from the poetry of Afghans” has also paid rich contributes to him. He writes; Rehman Baba’s poetry is the heart beat of every Afghan and is recited through the Afghan lands.
Saidu Baba, a revered saint from Swat valley, is known to have said that if the Pashtuns were ever asked to pray on a book other than the Koran, they would undoubtedly go for Rahman Baba’s work.
English writer Robert Sampson introduced Rahman Baba to the western world by translating his poetry and writing commentaries on his work. The translated work is titled Rahman Baba – Poet of the Pashtuns.
Earlier Janes Enveldson translated a selection from Rahman Baba’s poetry and published it as “Nightingale of Peshawar”.
A selection of Rahman Baba’s poetry
Sow Flowers
Sow flowers so your surroundings become a garden
Don’t sow thorns; for they will prick your feet
If you shoot arrows at others,
Know that the same arrow will come back to hit you.
Don’t dig a well in another’s path,
In case you come to the well’s edge
You look at everyone with hungry eyes
But you will be first to become mere dirt.
Humans are all one body,
Whoever tortures another, wounds himself.
— Rahman Baba
….

Why I’m not dying
Why I’m not dying
Why I’m not dying,
Of the sorrow of separation,
Why I’m not dying,
Of this mourning intense.
Why I’m not dying,
Of the cruelty of this age,
Which snatches a lover from the lover.
Why I’m not dying
Of witnessing these mornings,
Which laugh at my sobs every rising day.
Why I’m not dying
Without my lover,
For it is a death, not to stare in the lover’s eyes.
Why I’m not dying,
To see these unfaithful drops of dew,
That leave the flower upon seeing a slight warmth.
Why I’m not dying,
Of this deadly miserable life,
That I’m carrying with myself,
O’Rehman from so long.
(trans: Adil Shah)

Such have your sorrows overpowered me
Such have your sorrows overpowered me,
That I’ve lost every place in and out. My sobs have rendered people restless,
Like fire of a burning dry wood engulfing the moistured.In your pain, I’m weeping like a candle,
But you are smiling at me like a bright morn.
My heart’s hanging in your path,
Like your black hair dangling in front of your face.
Tis’ a norm for all the sorrows to be crushed under your feet,
When you are burdened with that single grief.
They come towards you, leaving me behind,
All those who advisingly forbade me from your path.
Such is the effect of yours over the face of Rehman,
Like a flame of fire over a thinly dry stalk.
(trans: Adil Shah)
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