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Abdur Rahim Majzoob


Abdur Rahim Majzoob

 Dr. Sher Zaman Taizi

Life sketch
Pushto literature assumed added significance in the 20th century when the fast growth of science and technology flung open horizons of knowledge and information. Much development has since taken place in structure, form, variety, scope and taste of Pushto literature. A few poets earned credit for modification, modernisation and innovation in this field. Abdur Rahim Majzoob stands out prominently among these few innovators.[1]
Abdur Rahim was born in the house of Abdul Karim Khan on January 14, 1935, at village Nar Maidad Khel Sahib Dad, tehsil and district Lakki Marwat. This date corresponds with Jadi 24, 1313 AH (Solar).[2] Majzoob seems to be interested in horoscope as he mentioned Jadi in particular as the month of his birth in his letter. Jadi is the Arabic word for Capricornus in Greek, Horned Goat in English and Kumbha in Indian astrology. It has been translated for the Afghan Calendar as Marghomay in Pushto. The computerised Fotune-teller gives interested answers to questions related to the fortune of “Abdur Rahim born on 14 January 1935”, of which a few are quoted as under:
*          Attitude: You are an optimist. Mostly, all’s right with the world and everything’s just fine. But sometime, you do look at the dark side.
*          Field of study: Your future will be very bright if you study law.
*          Ideal profession: A clear, logical thinker with a good memory, you could rise to the top in the legal profession.
*          Arts: You have some artistic capability. You could be a reasonably good artist or musician, but never an outstanding.
*          Literature: You have always been drawn to literature. You write a lot in your spare time, but your work is unlikely to be acknowledged as truly great.
*          Religion and Philosophy: You have an inherent faith in religion.
The family tree of Maidad Khel goes back to Khawas Khel, Umar Khel, Sulaiman Khel and Bahram Marwat. One of the grandfathers of Abdur Rahim Majzoob, named Sahib Khan, had earned the title of Khawas Khan and Amirul Umara from Sher Shah Suri. Dr. Syed Charagh Hussain Shah mentions “Ghawas Khan Marwat” as one of the famous Generals of Sher Shah Suri, when he defeated Mughul King Humayun in 1539. Ghawas Khan had also joined Haibat Khan Niazi and Isa Khan Niazi in their victorious campaigns in Bengal and Bihar. He was killed in a battle for power fought by Saleem Shah Suri. Other known figures in the line were: Sepoy Khan, Asghar Khan, Sikandar Khan, Gul Khan and Nur Khan (sons of Khawas Khan), Mian Dad Khan alias Maidad Khan (progenitor of Maidad Khel), Arsala Khan, Gulrang Khan, Nawaz Khan alias Khoni Nawaz, Mohammad Yar Khan, Sur Kamand Khan and Raees Sahib Dad Khan alias Saudad Khan. They have been praised as warriors and heroes in local ballads (Da Matrato Kasroona, edited by Majzoob and published by Pushto Academy). [3]
Dr. Charagh Hussain Shah traces origin of the Marwat tribe back to its migration from Katawaz (Afghanistan) during the reign of Bahlol Lodhi, and their settlement in Daman and Tank areas. The reason of that migration was attributed to a feud caused by shelter accorded by a Marwat family to a person who had abducted the wife of Malik Azad Khan Sulaiman Khel Ghilzai. When the request for extradition of the couple was turned down, the Sulaiman Khel attacked the Marwat and forced it out of the area. The genealogy tree of the Marwat goes back to Bibi Mato daughter of Bitan and her legendary lover Shah Hussain, which brought forth the Mati tribe. However, this legend does not convince the Dr. Shah who thinks that Marwat is an old tribe.[4]
The Marwat split in two Gunds (parties), called Tor (Dark) Gund and Spin (White) Gund, after Gulrang Maidad Khel killed his rival Sardar on the bank of Tara river near Dalo Khel. People of Isak Khel and Aba Khel clans chased him and besieged him in his fortress. Ultimately Nawaz Khan son of Bego Khan arrived for his rescue. The Spin Gund comprises Bego Khel, Maidad Khel, and Mama Khel and the Tor Gund comprises Isak Khel, Ghazni Khel, Adamzai, and Titar Khel.[5]
Abdul Karim was a landlord but Abdur Rahim adopted austerity. His pen name Majzoob (a godly man) is not a mere poetic imager but it reflects his character, the way of his life and the direction of his thinking. Nevertheless, Majzoob is not an ascetic or recluse, but a practical man who loves both nature and man.[6]
As a spoiled child of an aristocratic family of the tribal order, Abdur Rahim was engrossed deep in some traditional activities and pastime. He did not lose the opportunity of egg-crashing contest on religious festivals. With a curious mind, he practiced even the fun of filling the eggshell with wax, which is, otherwise, unfair in the game. This is such a fine job that needs not only skill but lot of patience and utmost concentration as well. The eggshell is bored with a fine needle, then emptied of its substance and then filled with the liquid of warm wax and seal-wax. The egg is then buried in sand for sometime to harden the stuff in the shell. The fine hole is taped with the white refuse of reptiles, collected from walls of the house on which they crawl and hunt flies. The mastery in this process can be imagined from the fact that the egg should have the same weight and similar shape not to arouse any doubt of the other party about the change. The crashing eggs are boiled to harden their albumen and yolk. Each party has the right to check eggs of the other party. The practice of egg filling is not profitable but a fun just to overwhelm the contestant and a bid to win.
In his boyhood, Abdur Rahim was fond of keeping birds also. His most favourite bird was the quail. Although the veterinary service was not much known in the area, yet he had learned enough about diseases of the quail and kept curative medicines for their treatment, including drugs for injection and syringes. He also kept fighting fowls. These are common hobbies in the area.
There is, however, no clue to participation of Abdur Rahim in games like camel race, horse riding, tent pegging, tatty etc. Tatty is still a popular game in areas inhabited by Khattak and Marwat tribes. Young men of good health, stamina and nerves who know the tricks of touch and run can play the game. The match is arranged normally between two villages or two communities, which turn up with drums and surna (pipe) and a large number of spectators.
Either Abdur Rahim was prevented by his family from indulgence in risky games and gets injured, or his own health and mind did not allow him to take part in games which need strength and will.
Nevertheless these hobbies contributed a lot to shaping of the mind and refining of the trend of Abdur Rahim in his full age, which ultimately bridged the gap between his poetry and the people to fit the description given by Wordsworth that “the poet is to express himself as other men express themselves. His language should be a selection of the real language of men.”[7]
Majzoob describes his early life as; "My father was one of a landed gentry of the Marwat. He wanted to provide facility for good education to his children. I was given elementary religious education at the home-mosque, and was supposed to learn meanings of the Holy Quran also. But that was difficult for my tender age." In the meantime, he was enthralled more by tales of fairies and monsters told by his grand grandmother (grandmother of his father). He also attended to one of his aunts who studied religious books, including Rasheedul Bayan. As he was reading the Holy Quran (in naskh script), he did not feel any difficulty in reading Pushto books in that script at home. His father hired a tutor for him for sometime [8]
Abdur Rahim learned Bostan and Gulistan of Sheikh Sa'di, Yusuf Zulekha and Sikandar-nama in Persian from Maulvi Alam Shah Langar Khel. The tutor himself was well versed in the knowledge of prosody, particularly of Persian odes, and tried to impart the knowledge of structure and pattern of Persian poems to Abdur Rahim. In his secondary classes, Abdur Rahim took interest in verses of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib and Dr Allama Iqbal in Urdu and Persian, and of Rahman Baba, Khushhal Khan Khattak and Ali Khan in Pushto.[9]
Following the advice of his father, Abdur Rahim studied Science and Drawing at the secondary level. He passed his matriculation from High School, Naurang, district Bannu, in 1950, and got admission in the first year in the Government Degree College, Dera Ismail Khan. He was so well in Persian that he taught Persian to students at Intermediate level. There he developed aversion to Science subjects. Later he migrated to Government Degree College, Bannu, and changed Science subjects with Arts. There he had the chance of meeting Rahmatullah Dard and Taqweemul Haq Kaka Khel, who inspired him to give more attention to Pushto. The FA syllabus then included a book on Greek Mythology. Abdur Rahim passed FA from Bannu and BA from the Islamia College, Peshawar. On the advice of his father, he got admission in the Law College of the Peshawar University and did his LL.B. from in 1956, having secured second position in the class and first class LLB.[10]
As a student of BA, Abdur Rahim felt an irresistible impulse to read English poetry and imitate the pattern and form of odes, ballads and epics in composition of his nazm in Pushto. He read Odyssey and Iliad of Homer and Aeneid of Vergil. His brother Professor (Economics) Mohammad Naseer is also well versed with Greek mythology. These factors refreshed and held up his aptitude for Greek mythology. He took interest in study William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord George Gordon Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, Robert Browning and Lord Alfred Tennyson. He noted allusions to those epics in the poems of Milton, Shelley and Keats. However, his works denote that he was impressed more by Shakespeare, Wordsworth and John Donne. In Urdu poetry, he admires Sahir Ludhianvi, in Pushto Hamza Shinwari for his ghazal and Ajmal Khattak and Qalandar Momand for their nazm.[11]
In the meantime, a hostel-fellow named Anwar, a student of Economics, introduced him to Sahibzada Idrees known as Idrees Bacha, who was teaching Economics in the Islamia College. Recalling that event, Majzoob says that when Idrees Bacha came to know that he was composing poetry, he invited him to his residence. Idrees was crippled and was not able to walk. Majzoob used to go there in the afternoon. He met Amir Hamza Khan Shinwari, Qalandar Momand, Mir Mehdi Shah Mehdi, Yusuf Khan and Dost Muhammad Khan Kamil in Peshawar.[12]
When Majzoob joined the Law College, Ajmal Khattak and Ahmad Faraz joined the Persian Department, Qalandar Momand and Saeed Akhtar joined the English Department, Dr Israr and Mohammad Azam Azam (Ph.D.) got admission in the first year of the Islamic College. Majzoob was living in Hostel No 1. Qalandar Momand visited him almost daily. In 1957, they formed an association in that room in the name of Zalmee Leekwal. The moving spirit of that association was Qalandar Momand and President Arbab Saifur Rahman. Ghufranullah Javid, Azam and Majzoob were also its members. They held combined mushairas of Pushto and Urdu. [13]
Qalandar Momand was then attached with Rahbar and Lar, and Wali Mohammad Toofan with Karwan. These magazines were published from Peshawar. Qalandar published some poems of Majzoob in those magazines.[14]
Majzoob was acquainted with Maulana Abdul Qadir, Director Pushto Academy, and did some translation of Persian works into Pushto for him. That translation impressed Maulana Qadir who offered a job of lecturer in Pushto Department to Majzoob but he declined that because his father wanted him to become an advocate.[15]
Recalling those days, Majzoob noted with an air of pride that he had worked in the field of law with Dost Mohammad Khan Kamil, who, by the way of affection, used to ask him for Kuri Charg (a long-necked and bright feathered game fowl used in cock fighting).[16]
Qalandar invited Majzoob, while he was a student of 3rd year, at the residence of Sahibzada Idrees, to meetings of the Ulusi Adabi Jargah. Then he started going every Friday along with Professor Ghufranullah Javid Kaka Khel to attend those meetings. They used to go to the city early to enjoy tea in a teashop. Mahmood Qalandar (Sultan Mahmood Qalandar) also went there and read to them some of his poems on the metres of Rahman Baba. Majzoob read his romantic poems in meetings of the Jargah, but was reluctant to present them for critical evaluation.[17] However, some researchers contend this statement of Majzoob, and consider him an active member of the Jargah. On February 18, 1955, Faizi (Faizur Rahman, brother of Qalandar Momand), Majzoob and Sharif Khan opposed a suggestion from Hamza Shinwari for amendment of a hemistich of a poem presented by Latif Wehmi for critical evaluation.[18]
Latif Wehmi mentioned in proceedings of the meeting of UAJ of October 29, 1954, that one or two guests, whose names were not known, had attended the meeting. It might be a reference to Majzoob and Javid whose names appeared in proceedings after that. This information establishes the fact that the first meeting of UAJ that Majzoob had attended was that of October 29, 1954. [19]
Almost all the prominent figures of Pushto literature of the 20th century attended meetings of the Ulusi Pushto Adabi Jargah. They included; Amir Hamza Khan Shinwari, Samandar Khan Samandar, Fazal Haq Shaida, Ajmal Khattak, Qalandar Momand, Mir Mehdi Shah Mehdi, Wali Mohammad Toofan, Hamesh Khalil, Lateef Wehmi, Ayub Sabir, Saifur Rahman Saleem, Abdur Rahim Majzoob, Ayaz Daudzai, Hassan Khan Soz, Qamar Rahi and a number of others.[20]
After receiving degree in law, Majzoob began his practice in civil law at Bannu in March 1958. When courts were set up at Lakki Marwat, he shifted to that place permanently in 1963. Majzoob intended to move to Peshawar and join the High Court Bar, but his father was then involved in a murder and he pursued his case for a long time, which blurred that idea in his mind.[21]
When Majzoob and Safaraz Uqab Khattak were practicing law at Bannu, Tahir Kulachvi formed Adabi Tolana Bannu, which still functions. Uqab Khattak and Majzoob formed another association in the name of Tanqeedee Tolana Bannu. That also survives. Members of the former association had no taste and patience for critical evaluation. Of all the members of these two associations, there were only two who participated in meetings of both Tolanas - Majzoob from Tanqeedee and Matiullah Qureshi from Adabi. Since Majzoob did not entertain any prejudice and was fair in critical appreciation, he was liked by Tahir Kulachvi also. Uqab Khattak was patron of Tanqeedee Tolana for all the time. He himself selected president and secretary. This Tolana held meetings on every Sunday at the residence of Majzoob till his shifting to Lakki Marwat. Saadullah Jan Barq also attended those meetings.[22] This story seems more credible than the other two because its author Nadim Khattak is associated with Majzoob and other literary figures of Bannu and Lakki Marwat.
Hamesh Khalil and Master Khan Gul circulated a letter to poets and writers on January 25, 1969. Consequently, a meeting was held in the office of daily Bang-i-Haram, Peshawar, on January 31, 1969, which formed Pushto Adabi Taroon. Abdul Khaliq Khaleeq chaired that meeting. In the first meeting Master Khan Gul was elected patron, Khaleeq president, Hamesh Khalil general secretary and Ashraf Durrani press secretary. Next meeting was held in the Municipal Hall, Peshawar, on February 16, 1969. Khaleeq chaired that meeting also. With election to other offices, the cabinet comprised; Master Khan Gul patron, Abdul Khaliq Khaleeq president, Abdur Rahim Majzoob first vice president, Wali Mohammad Toofan second vice president, Hamesh Khalil general secretary, Aasi Hashnagaray first joint secretary, Matiullah Nashad second joint secretary, Ashraf Durrani press secretary and Ashraf Hussain Ahmad finance secretary.[23] That association did not survive for longer, but it shows the status and stance of Majzoob in literary circles of Pukhtunkhwa and his love for development of Pushto language.
Majzoob has many qualities, some being contradictory. People know him as a Khan of the Marwat tribe, who is supposed to be cruel and oppressor, but in the literary circle he is Majzoob, a poet and earnest thinker. By profession, he is a competent lawyer, but he abandoned, on the outset of his career, pursuit of all the one hundred and twenty cases filed by his father against his tenants, and proved that he was not progressive by letters only but by action as well.[24]
Abdur Rahim Majzoob has ___ brothers, ___ sisters, ____ sons and ____ daughters. His brothers are:







His sisters have been married to:







Sons of Majzoob are:






His daughters have been married to:






Political affiliation

The main theme of the poetry of Abdur Rahim Majzoob is the class struggle, the theme that is popular among the progressive writers. Leading figures of the progressive movement in Urdu are Israrul Haq Majaz, Akhtar Sherani, N. M. Rashed, Mirajee and Ayub Sabir, and in Pushto Ayub Sabir (the same) and Saleem Raz. Although Majzoob is not attached with any ideological movement of literature, yet his articulation is, probably, more forceful and impressive than any of the poets in the field. Ayub Sabir had aptly discussed this aspect of his life in his comment on Zear Guloona. He says that style, articulation, voice and diction are important factors in poetry, but there are only a few Pushto poets who are known by their respective voices. It would be a great literary dishonesty, if Majzoob were not counted among those few poets.[25]
Similarly Majzoob does not take active part in politics, yet his express ideas speak of his literary inclination that he is a staunch nationalist, as evident from his poems titled Pushto au Pushtun (Pushto and Pushtun; Zear Guloona, p. 33), Koh-i-Murree (Murree Hill; p. 46), Chandanro Tsange! (Sandal Twig! p.55), Da rame shponkia tse shwe? (Where you are, O, the shepherd! a reference to Bacha Khan; p. 71), Shaghele Meene! (O, Dear love! p.80), and others.

Creed

In an interview, Majzoob admitted that he was not a religious man, but to another question he answered that he was Fadheli (it may be tafdheeli which is interpreted as the creed of giving preference to Ahle Bait – the family of Hazrat Ali – over other companions of the Holy Prophet PBUH) and not Rafedhi (heretic).[26] Ayub Sabir substantiates this idea in his euphemistic articulation, as: “Majzoob is a real standard bearer of humanity. He has not divided the mankind in to Muslims and Kafirs. He does not sympathise with the Muslims of Pakistan only, but pays respect to the Kafirs of Vietnam also.”[27] In a poem, titled Nazar Hazrat Ali Karamallaho Wajhu (Offer to Hazrat Alikw; included in the Kulyat on pages 90-91)), Majzoob considers Hazrat Ali equal to Prophets and leader of Saints, and addresses him as Maula (Master) and Mushkil Kusha (Resolver of difficulties). In spite of this, he does not profess Shia'ism and considers himself Tafdheli. He claims that he composed his treatise – Da Noor Mazharoona - in response to atheism, but Nadim Khattak doubts his claim and even his faith. In his opinion, Majzoob himself is at the threshold of atheism.[28] However, this claim is belied by the poetry of Majzoob in which he expresses without any reservation his faith in God and the Holy Prophet (PBUH). It is his doctrine that makes his creed doubtful.

Literary achievements

Majzoob is not known and admired as a Khan of the Marwat tribe. There are many other and bigger Khans, some holding influential positions in the bureaucracy whereas the others have joined the club of the richest families of Pakistan. Majzoob has earned his fame as a poet of a singular diction and specific style. While his ideas and approach are appreciated without any grudge, his diction has aroused a controversy just like that initiated by Wordsworth and Coleridge - friends-cum-foes of the Movement of Romantic Revival of the 18th and 19th centuries. In this debate Majzoob is so far on the weak end with only a few amateur writers. Brushing aside involvement in this debate, we would try to discuss literary works of Majzoob.

Translation

Beside imaginative works, Majzoob demonstrated his talents in translation of some pieces of literature mainly from English. His selection makes it clear that he takes keen interest in metaphysical art like John Donne. What T.S. Eliot found in the works of Donne “a blend of emotional and intellectual quality which was an example and an inspiration in the revivification of the poetic tradition”[29] is just true about the works of Majzoob.
Da Meene Tenda is in form of masnavi (couplet-poem), translated from Venus and Adonis. At the beginning of its manuscript, Majzoob has given a short note in English that “the copy of this manuscript has been sent by me to some other institutions also. Sd/Abdur Rahim Majzoob Advocate.” At the left-side bottom of the title page, the poet has written a couplet of Dr. Israr that demonstrates well the art of meaningful pun, saying;
Da Meene Tenda Me De La Khwakha Da,
Zeka Me Khwakha Da, Che Sta Khwakha Da!         
I like more your thirst for love,
I like it, because you like it!
There is another short note at the end (page 68) of the manuscript that “the book was translated by me somewhere in the year 1958 AD/1999. Sd/Abdur Rahim Majzoob.” This note establishes the fact that this work is translation, otherwise it has been composed in a way that it suits the cultural and social environment of the poet, and a common reader would not feel any hesitation in considering it ingenious. The Arabic name of Venus is Zuhra, which is common in Pushto and Persian as such. Majzoob used the name of Zuhra for Venus (at some places Vena, the name of a famous and graceful actress of the Indian screen), and the name of Adonis has been made Pushto as Idani that again suits the dialectal accent of the Khattak and Marwat tribes. The language is simple, style fluent, diction regional and the rhythm is that of badala (versified story like the ballad). Another point that strikes the mind is that the poet was then only 23 years old. This means that he was so brilliant that he not only understood the poetry of William Shakespeare but rendered that into Pushto verse as well. Critics of Pushto literature consider this Pushto version as excellent.
Venus and Adonis is probably the first published work of Shakespeare. The poem tells the mythological story of the love of Venus, the Goddess of love, for a human being by the name of Adonis. Venus detains Adonis from the chase and woos him but cannot win his love. She begs him to meet her on the following day but he plans to hunt the boar. She tries in vain to dissuade him. When the morning comes, she hears his hounds and, filled with terror, goes to look for him and finds him killed by the boar.[30]
S.T. Coleridge has discussed this work in Chapter XV of Biographia Literaria, saying; “In the Venus and Adonis the first and most obvious excellence is the perfect sweetness of the versification; its adaptation to the subject; and the power displayed in varying the march of the words without passing into a loftier and more majestic rhythm than was demanded by the thoughts, or permitted by the propriety of preserving a sense of melody predominant.” In the same paragraph, he says, “`The man that hath not music in his soul,’ can indeed never be a genuine poet.”[31] These remarks are true in case of the translation. For example, a few lines of Shakespeare with translation by Majzoob are placed below:
With this he breaketh from the sweet embrace
Of those fair arms which bound him to her breast,
And homeward through the dark runs apace…
Look how a bright star shooteth from the sky,
So glides he in the night from Venus’ eye.
(Da ye o,we samdasti tre na pa sha sho,
Khwage khwa da khkulo laso ye juda sho,
Tore shpe kshe sho rawan da kor pa lore,
Vena pate shwa pa zae shmari de stoori,
Tore shpe kshe pa falak laka shahab zee,
Da Zuhra da seeme dase pa shitab zee). [32]
A remarkable achievement of Majzoob in the field of translation is the versified Pushto version of Sura-i-Rahman of the Holy Quran. It may be noted that Pir Roshan had also selected the same chapter of the Holy Quran for imitation in his writing for the treatise, titled Khairul Bayan. It is not certain whether Majzoob followed Pir Roshan or did it on his own. This poem covers five pages (85-89) of the Kulyat (manuscript) which is in process of publication, and is considered beautiful, fluent and simple that astonishes the reader to the competence of Majzoob in this art.[33] Only a scholar who knows meaning and purport of the Sura and understands the poem of Majzoob as well could make fair assessment of this work.
Majzoob translated in verse a poem in Persian of Qiratul Ain also.[34]
In prose, Majzoob translated a short story of H.G. Well under the title of Khaista Suit (The beautiful suit). The idea of this story is based on a superstition. It was published in monthly Naurang[35]

Poetry

Said Rasul Rasa, Ghani Khan and Abdur Rahim Majzoob are the three great poets of nazm of our age. Majzoob established his position well with a unique style and singular diction, and a fine blend of realism and romanticism. He has such a command on the language, particularly his own dialect, that he feels no difficulty in objectification of his feelings and multidimensional ideas, which swing between romantic love and romantic mysticism to make a rainbow of Pukhtuns culture, religious affinity, humanitarian concern, Greek, Vedic and Pukhtun mythologies. He is adept in pushing enrichment of meaning by amplification, overtone and frequent cross-reference to an extreme stage in some of his works, such as: Za che zoo teare dee! (Let’s go, it’s dark!) Miss Parveen, Har saray day sareekhor! (Every man is man-eater!), Da rame shponkia tse shwe! (Where are you, O, shepherd!), Ode to Sheikh Badin hill, Banogai (a female name) etc. Profuse figures of speech, particularly allusions and cross-references, made Majzoob the “master of allusions”.
Whereas Rasa is very particular in structure of poem and is direct in purpose, Majzoob is not much worried, like Ghani Khan, about the structure and takes to express his ideas in figurative tone with symbols, references and allusions. The main attribute of his works, again like Ghani Khan, is the use of his own dialect, which has triggered a controversy with regard to the “language of poetry”. Main protagonists of this trend are Ghani Khan alias Lewanay Falsafee (late) from Charsadda and Abdur Rahim Majzoob from Lakki Marwat. Both of them are well educated, highly qualified, resourceful and, belong to blue-blooded families. Their assumption is intentional and purposeful. Ghani advised poets in his cheerful mood, “Write the language that the people speak.”[36] Critics of their works have common arguments, just as the Coleridge’s, but no one denies the fact that they stand prominent among the most popular poets of the century.
During his College days, Majzoob developed fraternity with Habibur Rahman Qalandar Momand. Both of them vowed to set new trends in Pushto literature with introduction of Western romanticism, objectivism and newness, and upgrade Pushto poetry to the level achieved by English poetry of romantic revival of the 19th century. Majzoob preferred romanticism and tried to compose verses with all attributes of romanticism.[37] Although Majzoob made several experiments in composition of nazm, yet he has not forsaken interest in ghazal and has composed a number of good ghazals as well.[38] In addition to ghazals included already in his three books, forty-eight more are included in the Kulyat.
Karim Baryalay analysed evolutionary phases of the poetry of Majzoob. According to him Da Marwato Apollo ta Khitab (Ode to the Apollo of Marwats) was, in fact, composed under the influence of the hero of a novel of Rider Haggard.[39] Majzoob himself introduced this poem in these words: “On seeing of a boy who had blond hair like a Greek, sitting under a reed tree on the roadside, I composed only this one poem in a time from 1974 to 1977. After that, by accident, another phase of my poetry took start. Most of the poetry of that phase is included in this book (Darul Auham). In the preface Yau tso khabere (a few points), Majzoob explains, “I had given up writing poetry in 1974. In 1977, I composed only one ode under the title of Da Marwato Apollo ta khitab! (Address to the Apollo of Marwats!). A deceased friend of mine who was a friend of Apollo also took that ode from me and kept it. For the ode of Apollo, either the legend of Apollo and Daphne that I had read in the 12th class was lying in my subconscious, or the appearance of that boy was Greek, he was sitting under the ---- tree, and I took him as the hero, whose name was also Apollo, of the novel of Rider Haggard, and I might have composed this ode. Anyhow, the influence of that ode appeared in the death of a friend of mine which shook my nerves and compelled me to resume writing.”[40]
In the beginning, Majzoob was under the spell of Greek literature and his odes were thematic. Later he adapted to romanticism for expression of the “beauty and being” in a way that was called romantic mysticism. Miss Parveen, which was composed under the influence of Noora written in Urdu by Israrul Haq Majaz, is a masterpiece. Majzoob himself introduces this poem as “Somewhat like Noora of Majaz, somewhat different, somewhat like those features, somewhat thirst of the poet.”[41]
In the second stage, Majzoob employed allusions to characters of bhikshu (Hindu beggar), along with Bhudda and Greek mythology. In Darul Auham, the music of European literature is heard in Pushto. This anthology has more of the romantic mysticism than the other two. For expression of progressive ideas, too, Majzoob banks on his knowledge of Greek and European literature to enrich the realm of Pushto.[42] References and allusions to Greek mythology are the conspicuous traits of the poetry of Majzoob. It was discussed in a few articles appeared in monthly Palwasha, Karachi. The names appeared in this debate were Abu Kulsoom Khattak (Nadim Khattak), Ayaz Daudzai, Faridun Shah Sahar and Saeed Gauhar.[43] A point in this debate was note-worthy that such an allusion, reference, symbol or ambiguity which needs explanation of the poet is not a good quality. From this short debate, it comes out that Majzoob uses “language of the people for ideas that are alien to the people”.
Hamza Shinwari considered verses of Majzoob as Maluk-ul-Kalam (Master Speech), and judged him as peerless in the field of nazm, and his nazm as reflector of new trend. In a letter to Dr. Syed Charagh Hussain Shah dated April 28, 1984, Hamza noted that he had first met Majzoob at the residence of Sahibzada Idrees and found that he was “ghazal from top to toe”. God had bestowed him with abundant aesthetic sense. He would definitely give more attention to writing of ghazal. But, contrary to that opinion of Hamza, Majzoob diverted his attention to nazm. Dr. Charagh Hussain Shah had sent a ghazal of Majzoob to Hamza. On reading that, Hamza speculated that had Majzoob given attention to ghazal, he would have become soon the “father of ghazal”.[44]
Majzoob has written a good deal of ghazal. Unlike the common practice that each couplet of ghazal should have a separate idea, Majzoob expresses the same idea throughout his ghazal. Such a poem is called ghazal-i-musalsal (the ghazal that has continuity). This is the form of poetry which needs proper and delicate make up with figures of speech. In a self-admiring closing verse of a ghazal, Majzoob passes on judgement on his own ghazal, as:
Wayee Qalandar che ghazal cherta day!
Khe wayee, Majzoob ta ghazal pate day.
Qalandar asks, where is ghazal!
True, but ghazal is left to Majzoob.
A rivalry had once cropped up among poets of ghazal and, at least, three contestants were in the field. They were Hamza Shinwari, Saifur Rahman Saleem and Qalandar Momand. Majzoob also joined that competition as the fourth one. However the lot favoured Hamza Shinwari who had been crowned as the “Emperor of ghazal”. That title was later changed to the “father of ghazal”.[45]
Three anthologies of the poetry of Abdul Majzoob have been published so far. They include:
Ø                  Zear Guloona (Yellow Flowers, February 1975),
Ø                  Lal Au Kuti-lal (Ruby and red berry, November 1975),
Ø                  and Darul Auham (House of Whims, 1980).
In addition to these anthologies, Da Meene Tenda (Thirst for love) has also been published in August 1979)[46]
These works are compiled now in one volume as Kulyat, containing about a hundred pages of his unpublished poems in various forms also.
Ayub Sabir has written a critical note on Zear Guloona, with many quotations from his excellent purpose-poems, which reflect conditions of life in Pukhtunkhwa. Some poems are satirical with a tinge of criticism, such as:
 Some eyes are official,
They are used to courts,
They are blind for power,
They lack faith and faithfulness,
They serve their own cause,
They can’t gulp its own saliva without lie and deception,
I am buyer of eyes, but which type of eyes you want![47]
Majzoob composed poems in any form that could accommodate his idea cozily and maintain unity of thought. It seems that he gives more attention to his idea than the form, as he is curious more about the spirit than the body. Still he maintains well whatever form the poem takes. The dirge that he composed on the death of his grand grandmother (1972) is in form of a song that has no particular form and size of stanzas and refrain, yet the flow of words presents a picture of a zigzag hilly steam rolling in tides over stones with its own music.[48] The second dirge that he composed in masnavi is in memory of his young niece Porneema (daughter of Professor Naseer). It says:
Why did You create the beautiful doll?
That You, O, Nature! Broke it again![49]
Prose
Abdul Majzoob had written many short stories. Many of them have been published in magazines.[50]
The only book in prose that he has compiled is in the process of publication. It has been titled Da Noor Mazharoona (Manifestations of the Light). This scribe has written preface to that treatise. Abdur Rahim Majzoob gathered pieces relevant to religion, mythology, monasticism, mysticism and philosophy from sources related to Vedas, Geeta, Avesta, Torah, Bible and Quran, and many other books and tracts, named and unnamed, and put them in this book of 400 pages. Something of this book is incomprehensible and something controversial.
Moral values of all the religions, creeds, communities, philosophies and ideologies are almost similar. Differences occur in spiritual beliefs, i.e. faith is in invisible and mysterious objects. The tale related to the creation of Adam and his posterity is a religious parable, which forms a part of the Divine religions i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The parable given in the existing Torah with regard to the birth of Adam and his posterity has details that have not yet been accepted and confirmed by other sciences. Quran has some information in scattered form that God created Adam, angels prostrated before him, Iblis, being proud of his knowledge, refused to bow before him and was, thus, cursed.
According to Majzoob hundreds of thousands Adams had been created, because the life of the human-being since the birth of Adam, according to Torah, spans only a few thousands years. But according to relics unearthed by archaeology the life of man stretches over millions of years.
Abdur Rahim Majzoob has taken lot of trouble to gather so much information on monasticism and mysticism and evaluated them by standards of spirituality, logic and philosophy. He has discussed some delicate and controversial topics also. But for the knowledge about the life of man, this treatise seems a resume or a guidebook. Most of events and information are incomplete and some have been repeated. Therefore, this treatise could benefit only those readers who have some background knowledge. It would be difficult for the new readers to understand.
In short, Abdur Rahim Majzoob belongs to that cadre of poets whose love for Pushto could not be curtailed by high education. They not only continued reading and writing in Pushto, but also introduced English patterns and European ideas into Pushto.
Translation of a poem of Abdur Rahim Majzoob, titled Subh-i-Kazib (False Morning), is placed below. This translation had been done by this scribe for daily the Frontier Post, Peshawar, (September 30, 1995), and was selected for the brochure published for the “4th Convention On Peace”, held in Nishtar Hall, Peshawar, on 21-22 November, 1998, under the auspices of the “Pak-India Peoples Forum For Peace And Democracy”,

False morning

When dawn kisses the forehead
of the east,
Like crimson shyness of a flower,
Like a shadow of scarlet scarf
on a bride's face,
Spreading quietly inside the palanquin,
On rooftop, roused a sleepy
large-foot Kochi in a dream,
Shrieked, as his mouth
 more probably, erred,

I was wrong!

I imagined Zoroaster appearing on the horizon,
I was wrong,
I thought Yazdan was reborn,
Now, plains and hills will see the light, alike,
There will be life; the world will have a spirit,

I was wrong!

I was wrong, but a voice rose
from within my heart,
O stupid! Be down
at rest and peace,

It is false morning!

It's false light,
distrustful is this light,
Followed by the darkness of night,
All weary souls still wait for the morning,
The night is long
 and no hope of its breaking,

It's a false morning;
Real morning
has not yet dawned.
(Courtesy; Celebrities of NWFP; Vol I & II; ed. Dr Parvez Khan Toru and Dr Fazal-ur-Rahim Marwat; Pakistan Study Centre; University of Peshawar, NWFP, Pakistan; 2005.)



[1] Frontier Post, (Abdur Rahim Majzoob: a pioneer of modern nazm by SZT), Peshawar, July 23, 1994.
[2] Abdur Rahim Majzoob, undated letter received by this scribe on Mar 26, 1999.
  Majzoob, Zear Guloona, [Preface, titled Azeem Fankar (The Great Artist) by Tahir Kulachvi), Feb, 1975, p. 10
[3] Palwasha, monthly (Da Majzoob pa Zhwand au Fan Ajmali Nazar by Habib Afghani), Karachi, Dec 1995, p. 14.
   Dr. Charagh Hussain Shah, Dood-i-Charagh, Syed Khadim Hussain Shah Khwaja Khel, 1980, Pp. p.24 - 30.
[4] Dood-i-Charagh, op.cit.,  Pp. 24 - 31.
[5] Ibid., p. 36. The incident of the clash between Gulrang and his rivals has been recorded by Sher Mohammad Momand, Deputy Commissioner, Chitral, for a book that he is compiling for publication (18 March 1999).

[6] Frontier Post,  July 23, 1994.

[7] William Wordsworth, Preface to the Lyrical Ballad, Lahore, New Kitab Mahal Urdu Bazaar, nd, p. 74.
[8]  Frontier Post, July 23, 1994.
   Palwasha (Majzoob Tsok Day by Nadim Khattak), Dec 1995, p. 6.
   Majzoob, Letter.
[9] Frontier Post, July 23, 1994.
  Akhunzada Farman Musafir, Da Pushto Adab Zalanda Stooree, Charsadda, Maktaba-i-Abaseen, Ashnaghar, Tangi road, Aug 1984, p. 526.
    Palwasha (Nadim Khattak),, Dec 1995, p. 6.
[10] Amir Nawaz Marwat, Abdul Raheem Majzoob : An Appreciation of His Poetic Elements, Mansehra, Department of Pakistan Studies, Government Post Graduate College, 1994-96, typescript,. 6-9.
    Hamesh Khalil, Pukhtane Leekwal, Vol. I, Ed. II, Peshawar, Darut Tasneef, Jehangirpura, 1961, p.387.
    Palwasha (Nadim Khattak), Dec 1995, p. 6.
    Majzoob, Letter.
[11] Amir Nawaz Marwat, op.cit., p.7.
    Palwasha (Nadim Khattak), Dec 1995, p.10.
    Majzoob, Letter.
[12] Frontier Post, July 23, 1994.
    Palwasha (Nadim Khattak), Dec 1995, p. 7.
[13] Journal of the Peshawar University (Kamil Pukhtun Kamila Pushto by Dr. Mohammad Azam Azam), Peshawar,  Peshawar University, 1990-91. p.51.
    Majzoob, Letter.
    Palwasha (Nadim Khattak), Dec 1995, p. 8.
[14]  Majzoob, Letter.
[15]  Palwasha (Nadim Khattak), Dec 1995, p. 8-9.
[16]  Pushto, (Dost Mohammad Kamil Sahib Marhoom by Abdur Rahim  Majzoob advocate), Peshawar, April 1982, p. 36.
[17]  Ibid.,  p. 37.    
[18] Akhunzada Farman Musafir, op.cit., 527.
    Abdul Kafi Adeeb, Da Ulusi Adabi Jarge da Tanqeedee Ghundo Roodad (Da Kaal 1952 Na Tar 1957 Intikhab)), Peshawar, Matboo’at “Shahadat”, Nov 1991,  Pp. 136
[19] Abdul Kafi Adeeb, op.cit., Pp. 136, 161, 176, 189, 198, 211, 212, 220.
[20] Journal of the Peshawar University  (Dr. Azam), 1990-91. p.51.
[21] Majzoob, Letter.
[22] Palwasha (Nadim Khattak), Dec 1995, p. 9.
[23] Syed Sabir Shah Sabir, Da Ranaganoo Mehfeloona, Peshawar, University Book Agency, 1994, Pp. 193-196.
[24] Palwasha (Nadim Khattak), Dec 1995, Pp. 10-11.
    Amir Nawaz Marwat, op.cit., p.10.
[25] Palwasha (Majzoob da Pukhto Yao Afaqi Shaer by Ayub Sabir), Dec 1995, p. 20.
[26] Palwasha (Nadim Khattak), Dec 1995, p.23-24.
[27] Palwasha (Ayub Sabir), Dec 1995, p. 18.
[28] Palwasha (Nadim Khattak), Dec 1995, p.12.
[29] Harry Blamires, A Short History Of English Literature, Suffolk, Great Britain, English Language Book Society & Methuen & Co Ltd., 1979, p. 115.
[30] Rafiq Ahmed Khan, S.T. Coleridge, Biographia Literaria (An Exhaustive Critical Study With Complete Text), Lahore, New Book Palace Urdu Bazaar, nd, p.437.
[31]  Ibid., p.162.
[32]  Majzoob,  Da Meene Tenda (manuscript), p. 46.
[33] Palwasha (Yau Majzoob Shaer by Ahmad Jan Ahmad Marwat), Karachi, Dec 1995,  p.52.
[34] Dood-i-Charagh, op.cit.,  p.96
[35]  Naurang, No 1, monthly, Sarae Naurang, Pushto Adabi Markaz, August (Year not given. However, since Naurang No 6 is for April 1993, Naurang No 1 should be for August 1992.), Dist. Bannu.
[36]  A casual chat with late Rahat Sial of Charsadda, a poet known for imitation of birds’ voices in poems.
[37]  Akhunzada Farman Musafir, op.cit., p. 526.
     Majzoob, Letter.
[38]  Pushto (Majzoob Da Fan Pa Aeena Kshe by Tahir Kulachvi), Nov-Dec, 1978, Pp. 163.
     Akhunzada Farman Musafir, op.cit., 526.
[39] The most successful novel of Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925) was She (1887). His other works include King Solomon’s Mines, When the World Shook, Moon of Israel, Allan Quatermain and Child of Storm.
    The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 8, Chicago, USA, Field Enterprises, Inc., 1952, P. 3227.
    Harry Blamires, A Short History of English Literature, London, English Language Book Society and Methuen & Co. Ltd.,  1974,p. 389.
[40]  Majzoob, Darul Auham, 1980, Pp. 22, 42.
[41]  Palwasha (Abdul Karim Baryalay), Dec 1995, p. 27.
    Zear Guloona, p. 35.
[42]  Palwasha (Baryalay), Dec 1995, p. 27-28.
[43] Palwasha (Abu Kulsoom Khattak), Karachi, Dec 1995, Pp. 65-73.
                     (Ayaz Daudzai), Feb 1996, Pp. 29-33.
                     (Nadim Khattak), April 1996, Pp. 39-43.
                     (Faridun Shah Sahar), Aug 1996, Pp. 27-32.
                     (Saeed Gauhar), Oct 1996. Pp. 19-23
[44] Zhwandee Khatoona, Karachi, 1997, Pp. 6, 16-17, 48-49.
[45] Qamar Zaman Qamar Taizi, Kamil; Kamil Pukhto Adabi Jargah Pabo Seema; 1989; Pp. 93-94.
[46] Pushto (Da Majzoob Inferadiyat by Dr. Iqbal Naseem Khattak), Oct 84, Pp. 6-7.
[47] Zear Guloona, p. 28-29.
    Palwasha (Ayub Sabir), op.cit., p.19.
[48] Zear Guloona, p. 125-128.
[49] Ibid.  p. 121-124.
[50] Palwasha (Nadim Khattak), Dec 1995, p.11.

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