Hamza Shinwari

Ameer Hamza Shinwari (Pashto: حمزه شينواری), born in Landi Kotal, Present day Federally Administered Tribal Areas in the year 1907 and died in February 1994, was a Pashtun poet. He belonged to the Shinwari tribe of the ethnic Pashtuns. Ameer Hamza's work is considered a fusion between classic and modern poetry. He followed the traditional old classical poetry and blended it with the modern spirit, as well as introducing new ideas in Pashto Ghazals. He is known as the father of Pashto Ghazals.

Early career

He was born in September 1907, in Khyber Agency. In the house of Bazmeer Khan, who was well renowned for his generosity, hospitality and a role model for the people of Khyber Agency. He was the fifth son of Bazmeer Khan.

Hamza Baba was very intelligent from his childhood, that he remembered all his childhood happenings. He remembered his mother death when he was two (02) years old. In 1915AD he was admitted to primary school. When teacher asked him to write alphabets of Urdu (Alif, Bhe, Fei………) he drew a human sketch which shows that he was having artistic ability from his childhood, for which the teacher beat him too much. Due to which he lost his interest in school. After he went to Islamia Collegiate school in fifth (5th) class he started writing poetry in Urdu. He also wrote many Tales (Afsana). As Abdul Qadir was in eight (8th) class, he use to help in correction. In early time he use to write in Urdu once his Peer told him " You can't get good position in Urdu language, so u must start poetry in your mother language". Which Hamza Baba said I didn't like, because I was too related to Urdu, but as it was the order of my Peer I obeyed. He wrote his first Pashto Ghazal in 1933.

Za da yaar da makh pa shama zei da danesta swazama,
Shamei tha bha ghura hase be aqala parwa na kawei.
Zaa saa dar hada mashahoor sharab nushei kei yam,
Zam che mekhanei tha isteqbal me mekhane kawei.

He was working in railway, as a T-T-E he was having low income. He was given low income certificate, due to which he refused to continue his job and return all the government equipment he had, and went to Mumbai to try in film industry. He didn't get work in films. He was coming through Ajmeer sharif with his brother on basant maila. Wali Sb Nisar Ahmed with his co-Qawal was singing "Aaj Khawaja Moheen Uddin k ghar aaj easi hai basant", which inspired Hamza baba and he started crying. It was His turning point to Sufi-E-ism. Hamza Baba was inspired by Mirza Khan Insari and Khushal Khan Khattak. In early 1940's his poetry was related to romanticism.

It's hard to understand Hamza baba, he was a poet, Sufi, great chemist, great and a legend Pukhtoon. He was so nice man that even his enemies admire him. He never quarreled with any one. He was also a great sports man. He was best and expert player of chess. He used to play with Nazir Sb and Khyber ustad. Hamza baba loved to win and feel happy. He also use to play Nau Rangi (9 cards colour Game) at Akram Khan Farooq Dhera. They put money on cards, but never gambled.

He was the one to touch the topic of romance with different aspects. He placed Pukhtoon culture in Ghazals. As we all know that Ameer Karor was the first poet of Pashto one thousand (1000) years ago. But before Hamza baba no one has worked this much on Pashto Ghazal. He is unanimously called as the father of ghazal. As Khushal Khan did poetry related to war, but Hamza Baba touch the side of Pukhtoon culture and love. In 20th century no one is able to compete him, because the allegories he used in ghazzal are of extreme perfection. He used sensitive pukhtoon culture in his ghazzal through soft words. His work on Pashto ghazzal is unmatchable. He linked tassauf with Ghazal in easy and soft words. He liked Khatir's poetry. In 1957-58 he wrote his well renowned phrase: "Waye agheyar che da dhuzakh Jhaba dha, Za Hamza bha jannat ta da pukhto sara zam"

Though he was weak but he use to offer his prayers like young. According to Saif Ur Rehman Saleem "I found his status, he was like sweet river some quenched their thirst, some water their fields with his knowledge. In short every one benefit with his knowledge. Syed Tahir Bukhari is Jaana sheen and khaleefa of Hamza baba in cheeshteya line. He got "bhait" on hand of Hamza Baba. He has the honor of translating his two books on tassauf "Tajalleyat-e-Muhammadeya" and "Tazkera-e-Satareya" from Pashto to Urdu in 1967AD.

Hamza baba work on Pashto ghazal is outstanding he take the Pashto ghazal to maturity. He called his ghazzal with such phrase sta pa annango ke da hamza da weeno sraa dhe, Ta shwe da pukhto ghazaala zwan za dhe baba kram" The historian are afraid that after Hamza no one can be born like to do such work. Hamza baba lived his much time in Peshawar , because Peshawar is center of cultural activities. He was living in Muhalla sakhi shah Mardan having his personnel home. He died on 08 feb 1994 and is buried in Khyber Agency. All pushtoons loved him and keep him remember.

Ameer Hamza Shinwari was also a critic and a playwright, he wrote 200 plays for Radio Pakistan, Peshawar, a number of features, critical essays and research papers for different literary magazines and newspapers of Pakistan.

Ameer Hamza Shinwari died on February 18, 1994.


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