Khushal Khan Khattak – The fierce Pushtoon warrior, poet and philosopher who fought the might of Mughal Auranghzeb for independence

Khushal Khan Khattak

Khushal Khan Khattak
خوشال خان خټك
Contemporay painting of Khushal Khan Khattak
Born Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Died Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Nationality Afghan
Other names Khushal
Ethnicity Pashtun
Known for Pashtun nationalism / poetry
Title Afghan National Hero and Poet

Khushal Khan Khattak (1613 – 1689) (Pashto: خوشحال خان خټک) was a prominent Pashtun malik, poet, warrior,A charismatic personality and tribal chief of the Khattak tribe.[1] He wrote a huge collection of Pashto poems during the Mughal Empire in the 17th century, and admonished Pashtuns to forsake their divisive tendencies and unite against the Mughal Army. Promoting Pashtun nationalism through poetry, Khushal Khan Khattak is the first Afghan mentor who presents his theories for the unity of the afghan, resistance against the foreign parts and the creation of a nation-state. His life was spent in struggling against the oppressive Mughal governments of India. In order to restore Afghan freedom Khushhal Khan challenged Mughal Aurangzeb powers. He defeated the mughal troops in many engagements. Khushhal Khan wrote many works in Pashto and Persian, ten of them are very popular.The re-stand and fight of Khushal Khan Khattak is an important capital of the Afghan history. His thoughts form the basis of the political and literary movements in Afghanistan.The resistance of Khushal Khan Khattak is an important part of the national and political resistance of the afghans. The opinions and ideas of Khushal Khan Khattak form a new stage in the ideological and intellectual development of the Afghans. What he has done for his language and his people is unprecedented in the cultural development of the Afghans. His theories and thesis correspond to those of many of large thinkers of the world and he can be considered an international personality . He also has written Persian and Hindi and written books on other important languages. He was a renowned military fighter who became known as a Afghan warrior-poet.Western scholars regard Khushal Khan Khattak as a national Hero and poet of Afghanistan.[2] Khushal Khan lived in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains in what is now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan.

[edit] Early life

Khushal Khan was born in or about 1613 into a Pashtun of the Khattak tribe. He was the son of Malik Shahbaz Khan Khattak from Akora, Mughal ruled India (now in Nowshera District of Kyber-Pakthunkhwa, in Pakistan). His grandfather, Malik Akoray, was the first Khattak to enjoy widespread fame during the reign of the Mughal King Jalal-ud-din Akbar. Akoray moved from Teri (a village in Karak District) to Sarai Akora, the town which Akoray founded and built. Akoray cooperated with the Mughals to safeguard the trunk route and was generously rewarded for his assistance. The Akor Khels, a clan named after Akoray, still hold a prominent position in the Khattak tribe. The Khattak tribe of Khushhal Khan now lives in areas of Karak, Kohat, Nowshera, Cherat, Peshawar, Mardan and in other parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Khushhal Khan’s life can be divided into two important parts — during his adult life he was mostly engaged in the service of the Mughal king, and during his old age he was preoccupied with the idea of the unification of the Pashtuns.

He was an intelligent and bold person from childhood.His first involvement in war occurred when he was just 13 years old.Apart from the fact that he was a scholar, thinker, philosopher and boisterous poet he was a prince and leaders of his tribe simultaneously. His forefathers were since the 16th century officers of the Mughal Empire.After the death of his father Shahbaz Khan Emperor Shah Jehan appointed him as the tribal chief and Mansabdar in 1641 at the age of 28 The Mughal king shah Jahan appreciated his principality.After the death of shah Jahan His Tensions created with Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb arrested Khushal Khan Khattak . In 1658, Aurangzeb, Shah Jehan’s successor, threw him away as a prisoner in the Gwalior fortress.[3]. There he had as a prisoner or later and-Delhi-spent under detention in the mountains prison.When he returned, he dissociated himself from the Mughal Empire slowly and started with his resistance later. He took contact to other Pashtoon tribes and with support of his people he started a systematic resistance against the Mughals.

[edit] Family Background

Khushal’s grandfather Malik Akore Khan was a chief of his tribe but when he died his son Shahbaz Khan Khattak became the chief of Khattaks. Shahbaz Khan Khattak was a prominent soldier in Mughal army. He was a brave man who fought many wars against Yousaf Zai tribe. This brave man is the father of Khushal Khan Khattak. He also proved his bravery in fighting with Yousaf Zai and later on with Mugahl army that he got the name of swordman. Khushal Khan was the elder son of Shahbaz Khan Khattak. Once a battle was fought among Khattaks and Yousaf Zai at this time Khushal Khan was only thirteen (13) years old even then he joined this battle with his father. It means he was by birth a swordsman a necessary skill for a chieftain/ leader. We find the names of his ancestors and their qualities in one of Khushal’s poem:

“My Father Shahbaz Khan was like Hatim in generosity, and was lionhearted and greater than Rustum in bravery. He was very honest, truthful and devoted to sharia. Though he was not literate yet he was rich in wisdom. And what will I say about grandfather Yahya Khan. May God bless him; he was just like Yousaf (the Prophet) in beauty. Even when on foot he was as tall as a man on horseback was. This was his physical structure; in bravery, he was also very great. My other forefather was Akore Khan who was outstanding among the Khattaks.”

[edit] Khushal’s Early Education

Khushal Khan got his early education at home. Perhaps in those days the formal system of education did not exist. Therefore, the rich and prosperous people used to hire teachers to teach their children at home. His father was also economically prosperous because he was on a prominent position in Mughal army. Moreover the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan had given a lot of land to his father. Due to which he could easily afford the educational expenses of his son. Therefore, he also hired the services of some teachers to teach his son at home. We found two names of them through his poetry. One is Maulana Abdul Hakeem and the other is Awais Multani. In a poem, he praised Maulana Abdul Hakeem with the following words.

“Maulana Abdul Hakeem is a physician of religious and worldly knowledge. He did respect even Hindu ascetics. Someone made objection on his action but he replied, you do not understand. Good treatment with everyone is Sirat-e-Mustaqeem (straight way or path of religion”.

Khushal Khan Khattak was very fond of hunting and swordplay. In this regard, it seems that he has strong bent for hunting than education. As he, himself says in the following couplet: “knowledge of the world would have been mine, had I not indulged in the hobby of hunting”.

[edit] Rebellion and the Moghul Empire

His father Malik Shahbaz Khan Khattak was killed in a tribal clash against the Yusufzai tribe in 4th January, 1641. After his father’s Malik Shehbaz Khan Khattak death ,Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan appointed him as the tribal chief and Mansabdar in 1641 at the age of 28 The Mughal king shah Jahan appreciated his principality.After the death of shah Jahan His Tension created with Aurangzeb Shah Jehan’s successor. Aurangzeb arrested Khushal Khan Khattak In 1658.threw him away as a prisoner in the Gwalior fortress. There he had as a prisoner or later and-Delhi-spent under detention in the mountains prison.He later release from captivity in 1668.After Khushal Khan was permitted to return to Pashtun dominated areas (Eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan),Khushal had been deadly shocked by the unfriendly treatment, he received from Mughal authorities and king Aurangzeb whose indifference and coolness towards his plight had wounded Khushal’s ego. He used to say, “I had done nothing wrong against the interests of the king or the empire”. Mughal authorities continued to offer him with temptations in order to reclaim him to their service but Khushal resisted all such offers and made it clear to the Mughals that “I served your cause to the best of my honesty, I subdued and killed my own Pakhtoons to promote the Empire’s interests but my services and my loyalty did not make me a Mughal”. According to Khushal, he was burning from inside for exacting revenge but preferred to keep silent. Nevertheless the Mughals were not inclined to bear his aloofness and therefore he was challenged either “to be friend or foe” as the interests of empire knew no impartiality. Khushal decided to be a foe and joined Darya Khan Afridi and Aimal Khan Mohmand in their fight and wars against Mughals.He dissociated himself from the Mughal Empire slowly and started with his resistance later.he incited the Afghan tribes to rebel against the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.He took contact to other Pashtoon tribes and with support of his people he started a systematic resistance against the Mughals.[4] Khushal Khan joined a rebillion of Khattak, Momand, Safi and Afridi tribes against the Mughols. In Mughal Empire The Pashtun tribesmen of the Empire were considered the bedrock of the Mughal Army. They were the Empire’s from the threat bulwark in the North-West as well as the main fighting force against the Sikhs and Marathas. The Pashtun revolt in 1672 under the leadership of the warrior poet Khushal Khan Khattak.Revolt was triggered when soldiers under the orders of the Mughal Governor Amir Khan allegedly attempted to molest women of the Safi tribe in modern day Kunar. The Safi tribe retaliated and killed the soldier. This attack provoked a reprisal, which triggered a general revolt of the most of tribes. The Mughol King Aurangzeb ordered the Safi tribal elders to hand over the killers. The Safi, Afridi, Mohmand, Shinwari and Khattak tribe came together to protect the Safi men accused of badal.Attempting to reassert his authority, Amir Khan in orders of Aurangzeb led a large Mughal Army to the Khyber Pass,where the army was surrounded by tribesmen and routed.Afghan sources claim that Aurangzeb suffered a humiliating defeat, with a reported loss of 40,000 Mughal soldiers and with only four men, including the Governor managing to escape. In a Battle he lost his Dear and Trustworthy friends Emal Khan Mohmand and Darya Khan Afridi.Khushal greatly praised the bravery and courage of Darya Khan Afridi and Aimal Khan Mohmad who had destroyed the entire Mughal army in Khyber in 1672. As he said about his these two close companions.

“Aimal khan and Darya khan from death God preserve them, Never have they failed me at the time of need”.

After that the revolt spread, with the Mughals suffering a near total collapse of their authority along the Pashtun belt. The closure of the important Attock-to-Kabul trade route along the Grand Trunk road was particularly critical. By 1674, the situation had deteriorated to a point where Aurangzeb himself camped at Attock to personally take charge. Switching to diplomacy and bribery along with force of arms, the Mughals eventually split the rebellion and while they never managed to wield effective authority outside the main trade route, the revolt was partially suppressed. However, the long term anarchy on the Mughal frontier that prevailed as a consequence ensured that Nadir Shah‘s Khorasanian forces half a century later faced little resistance on the road to Delhi.[5]

[edit] Death and tribute

Khushal continued to resist the Mughals on war fronts. These wars according to historians shook the foundations of the Mughal Empire.Khushal gave a romantic touch to his nationalist ideology, he visited the far flung areas, met with Pakhtoon tribal chiefs, particularly the Yousafzais, negotiated with them to bring about unity in Pakhtoon ranks against Mughals but failed in his efforts and returned broken hearted.After failing to unite the pashtoon tribes 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.Upon his retirement, his 57 sons began fighting for leadership. Meanwhile the Mughals had bribed his son Behram Khan to arrest or to kill Khushal. About this state, Khushal says, “my one demerit devours all my merits that I am Behram’s father and Behram is my son”.Behram 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, alongwith his only two brave sons, Nusrat Khan and Gohar Khan(only those two sons accompanied him till his death) and drew his sword and called out; “Whoever are men amongst you, come to the sword 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 Assisted by his two sons Nusrat Khan and Gohar Khan.Khushal Khan passed away at the age of 78 on Friday, the 20th February 1689 at Dambara.many years after attempting to unite the various Pakhtun tribes together. It is believed that Khattak had gone on an expedition to “Tirah”, a rugged mountainous area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where he died.People searched for him and found his dead body a number of days later with his sword and the carcass of his horse (known as “Silai” in Pashto, which means Wind). His death symbolises his courage and his love for his Afghan (Pakhtun) motherland.

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

He desired before his death that he should be buried in a place where the dust of Mughal horses’ hoofs may not fall on his grave His whishes were carried out by his friend and his remains were laid at‘Esoori’ village in the Akora Khattak in Khattaks hills, where many Pashtuns continue to pay tribute and visit his tomb. His grave carries the inscription:Da Afghan Pa nang mai watarala toora, nangyalai da zamanai Khushal Khattak Yam. “I have taken up the sword to defend the pride of the Afghan, I am Khushal Khattak, the honorable man of the age.” [6]The Khushal Khan Khattak desired before death was copied by Allama Mohammad Iqbal in his Book Bal-e-Jibril “[[Allama Iqbal Poetry کلام علامہ محمد اقبال: (Bal-e-Jibril-160) ‎KHUSHAL KHAN KI WASEEHAT“.

Kahun tujh sai ai ham'nasheen dil ki baat Wo madfan hai 'KHUSHAL KHAN'ko pasand Urha kar na laye jahan bad-e-koh Mughal sheh'sawaron ki gard-e-Samand

Allama Muhammad Iqbal was the only poet in the whole subcontinent who came to know about Khushal through the translations done by some orientalists. He not only highly appreciated his poetry but also developed a great respect for him. Iqbal called him the Hakeem and Tabeeb (physician) of Afghan Millat and Afghan Shanas. Maj: Roverty and certain other orientalists say that Khushal was not only Afghan Shanas but like Goethe and Shakespeare he was also a great Insan- Shanas (one who knows man) Iqbal expressed his desire that if he knew Pushto he would have translated Khushal’s poetry into Urdu or Persian. This is really a great tribute to a great Man by another great Man. Khushal Khan was a practical man. He manifested all those qualities in his living conduct which he wanted to see in a man. Allama Muhammad Iqbal the great philosopher said about Khushal Khan Khattak: “That Afghan shanas (Khushal Khan Khattak) said well,

He expressed what he saw save any hesitation. He was the Hakeem (Philosopher) of Afghan nation. He was the physician of Afghan cause. He stated the secrets of nation boldly. He was rendering and said the right very wisely.

At another place he commends Khushal Khan Khattak in these words:

“I am tribal and am lost in the unity of nation.

To elevate the name of Afghans

I love these young people who puts the halter on stars

This son of mountains is never less than the Mughals

O’companion! May I tell you the secrets of my heart?

Khushal Khan likes that grave where the dust of Mughal’s horse’s boots could not fall.

Khushal lived a life of misery and afflictive, but he never bowed to Mughals,he never compromised on principles, he remained committed to his ideal that even a poor independence is better than a kingdom.Few men in the history better deserve to be acclaimed as national heroes as Khushal. He is not only the Firdousi of Afghans but he also plays the role of Rustam in the Afghan history. Only very few personalities around the world may be a parallel to him. He was indeed a wonder personality. Khushal’s critics differ about his greatness: some consider him the greatest with reference to his poetry. some consider him to be the greatest warrior, others confirm him to be the greatest Philosopher and statesman and still others consider him the great preacher of love and amity. He loved humanity, he loved Pashtoons, he loved knowledge and beauty in all its forms whether of mountains, trees flowers, birds and women. Born almost four hundred years ago (1613) he still lives in the memory and history, the time never ever seems to be able to humble his thoughts and vibrant personality, as the providence intends to keep him living.While expressing his nationalist theory and unfolding his philosophy of Pashto, he often resorts to seek help from his ideal man as Jangyal (Warrior), Toorzan (Bold and courageous), Miranay (Brave) Mard (the man) and Nangyal (committed to Nang-honour).Khushal Khan Khattak 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.Khushal faced the hard Life. The victim of old age, the hard life of wars and worries and his head on collisions with the Mughal imperial power had indeed eroded his strength and energy but his courage, bravery and perseverance was intact.. His major and principal aim and target was to snatch independence for Pakhtoons from the Mughals whose incentives and biog and attractive offers to reclaim him had repeatedly failed in breaking his will power. Khushal says: ” That on becoming free I became impatient for revenge. All of a sudden disturbance appeared on this land and I also thought of retaliation. I converted the mere spark into a blazing fire and set it to the house of the Emperor Aurangzeb”. However the Mughal diplomacy, bribes and intimidations succeeded in dividing the Pakhtoon tribes. The Mughals repaired their broken image and obviously Khushal had lost his war for independence. And the Mughals had win The disunity in Pakhtoon ranks helped in restoring the Mughal superiority. The great Khushal cleanly and unambiguously defined the Mughals hostile approach towards Pakhtoons.

[edit] Struggle for Peace and National integrity

Khushal Khan Khattak’s struggled for peace gradually changed in to national integrity. He expected that his struggle will ultimately bring peace in the region and his own nation (Pushtoons) will get freedom form the Mughal emperors. For this purpose, he tried to unite Pushtoons owing to this he traveled from the mountains of Tirah to Swat. To some extent, he seems successful by uprising the name of Pushtoons. He says about them in the following couplet: If I have girded up my sword against the Mughals I have revealed all the Pushtoons to the world . He further says about his tribe that due to his struggle they got recognition in the world: ‘Of what worth, of what value were the Khattaks (but) I have made them to be counted among the tribes”. The above couplets make it clear that Khushal’s war were not based on his personal greed or enmity. Fighting for the defense of motherland and for the rights of his compatriots is the struggle of peace and that is a noble cause.He fought up to the end of his life for the rights of oppressed people and for thefreedom of his mother land. Thus, all of his struggles were for the establishment of peace.

[edit] Published works

Khushal Khan’s poetry consists of more than 45,000 poems. According to some historians, the number of books written by Khattak are more than 200. His more famous books are Baz Nama, Fazal Nama, Distar Nama and Farrah Nama’.

H. G. Raverty was the first translator of Khattak into English; Selections from the Poetry of Afghans (1862, Kolkata) has ninety eight poetic pieces. This was followed by Biddulph’s translation Selections from the Poetry of Khushhal Khan Khattak in 1890 published in London. Evelyn Howell and Olaf Caroe jointly translated and published The Poems of Khushhal Khan Khattak in 1963, from the University of Peshawar. Another translation was that by Dr N. Mackenzie Poems from the Diwan of Khushhal Khan Khattak published from London in 1965.

Dost Mohammad Khan Kamil was the first Pakhtun scholar to initiate research on Khattak along scientific lines. He wrote two important and comprehensive books, one in English called On a Foreign Approach to Khushhal and the other in Urdu titled Khushhal Khan Khattak published in 1952. Diwan-i-Khushhal Khan Khattak was published under the directive of H .W. Bellew in 1869 (Jail Press, Peshawar), the manuscript of which was provided by Sultan Bakhash Darogha, an employee of the British government. More recently his poetry has been translated again.[7][8]

In October 2002, a book on Khushal Khan Khattak, Khushal Khan, The Afghan Warrior Poet and Philosopher, has been published. It is sponsored by Pashtun Cultural Society and Pashto Adabi Society of Islamabad/Rawalpindi. The book is written by a well known writer and scholar, Ghani Khan Khattak, who is reputed for having established the literary and cultural societies, and for promoting Pashto literary and cultural activities in the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad. The significance of the book lies in that this is the first book in English on Khushal Khan. Most of the written material available on Khattak is either in Pashto or in Urdu. Although orientalists have always given importance to Khattak in their findings but they have not ever presented a detailed life story of Khushal Khan.

[edit] Quotes of Khushal Khan Khattak

  • 1- I will be owning only one of two available options i.e. either to turn my face towards Mecca (to devote my self to worship),for ever or wage a war against Mughals.
  • 2-if Pakhtoons agreed to join hands with each other, who the woman born will have the courage to face them.
  • 3- A Honourable has only two tasks to perform, either he will give up his life or will achieve the target.
  • 4- “O’ Khushal don’t eat that sweet which is acquired by humble request.Dry bread is far better than it.
  • 5- Khushal feels happy at that time,When the light of the white swords reflect from the arms-coat.
  • 6- If a Man struggles with sincerity, I guarantee him Of triumph in the struggle for a mission.
  • 7- If you repeatedly dive it will come to your hand Who said that there is no pearl in the ocean.
  • 8- Only when the rust is removed from steel gradually,An arrow can be formed from decent steel.
  • 9- If there are Men in the world, they are those Who throw themselves in hardships and embrace troubles.
  • 10- This is a matter of wonder if you see it,That crows are attacking eagles,This is also a matter of wonder if you see it,That Mughals are attacking Afghans (Pushtoons),This is also a matter of wonder if you see it,That, Jackals are so fat and lions are dying of hunger.
  • 11- No fly am I or vulture, that over kill should be my hover My heart rejoices as a Falcon or an Eagle in its own prey Would that other sincere people had been like me,But since in this they have no part, in grief is my heart now plunged.
  • 12- Like the Hawk has been my flight along the mountains,Many a partridge there has been my prey The Hawk whether young or old, seeks the quarry,But the swoop of the old Hawk is the most unerring
  • 13- If you become diver and forget about the fear of head,Then, there are many Pearls scattered in the sea The love of a moth further increases When the flames of fire spread off.
  • 14- The Man in the world is he,Who embrace the hardships.
  • 15- The knowing , the perceptive man is he who knows about himself,for in self knowledge and insight lies 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 Qur’an by heart.
  • 16-Life’s no life when honor’s left;Man’s a man when honor’s kept Nation’s honor and nation’s fame On life they have a prior claim.With thoughts of these I do remain;Unvexed with cares of loss or gain.
  • 17-Now are we in the lists, no third between:Either the Mughal power in ruin falls Or the Pakhtuns in suffering lie low.
  • 18- A deceptive heart is destructive specially if it’s heart of a leader,such leader defame himself and destroys the nation.
  • 19- If you repeatedly dive it will come to your hand Who said that there is no pearl in the ocean.
  • 20- Eagles never struggle for dead to eat This is the job of crow and vulture.
  • 21- The Eagle that attacks sparrows, may be an eagle but behaves like a vulture.
  • 22- I despise the man who does not guide his life by honour. The very word “honour” drives me mad.
  • 23- If I have girded up my sword against the Mughals I have revealed all the Pushtoons to the world.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links



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