is invariably called "The father of Pashto Ghazal".
In this all his
critics are unanimous.
It is not because he
is the exponent of the Ghazal form in Pashto litrature.
The Ghazal is as old, in fact older than Pashto literature itself.
It is because he
has given it new dimensions and a new sense of perfection; which was somehow lacking in the entire Pashto Ghazal before him.
As it might have been pointed out before, the Ghazal form as such came to Pashto via Persian.
Murad Ali Shinwari, Hamaz Shinwari's only son and a poet and writer in his own right, writes about Hamza Shinwari, "The poetic intuition of Hamza Shinwari and his inborn inclination towards Ghazal, could not tolerate that the scope ofGhazal should be so constricted that it could not express his national or patriotic feelings through it.
For a brief outline of the Pashto Ghazal and the place of Hamza Shinwari
in it we should turn to Professor Yar Mohammad Maghmoom.
not only teaches Pashto literture but is also an admirer (if not a student as well as a disciple) of Hamza Shinwasri.
, however, explains, "The Roshanite Movement (of Bayazid Ansari) gave birth to a poet like Mirza Khan Ansari, who adopted Ghazal for his
poetic effusions; and when this unbroken chain reached Kazim Khan Shaida, the Ghazal had somewhat come of age.
Shaida undertook new experiments in Ghazal, which became the basis of its maturity.
But Shaida undertook new experiments in Ghazal, which became the basis of its maturity.
But with the Ghazal of Hamza Shinwari
this maturity attains perfection.
If the characteristics of both the above poets could be combined in the Ghazal of one poet then it is Hamza
and Hamza alone.
It cannot duly define the Ghazal of Hamza if I call it Pakhtoon Ghazal because even the mysticism of our poet is Pakhtoon.
Pointing out the distinguishing characteristics of the Ghazal of Hamza
, Noor Mohammad Zigar points out, "Hamza Baba has given to Ghazal new words and terms (and he has listed a number of them which we might as well overlook).
In this connection Tahir Kulachvi writes about Hamza Shinwari
"It will not be out of place (here) if I call Hamza
the Ghalib or Khwaja Hafiz of Pashto literature.
expresses even love and passion in artfully philosophical way.
Perhaps that is the reason that his
poetry is somehow above the common run; only the cultivated (or the initiated_) can appreciate it fully.
It would be more proper to call him the poet of a particular taste.
In the same, vein Dr. Raj Wali Shah Khattak maintains, "The art of Hamza
poetry and particularly Ghazal in poetry.
How far he
has succeeded in the art of Ghazal can be judged from the fact that he
is called the father of Ghazal.
As the father of Ghazal he
has taken Ghazal to perfection.
The credit of the perfection of the Pashto Ghazal goes to Hamza
So, Hamza is the perfect artist of Ghazal.
carries all the requirements of Pashto Ghazal; rather he
can be said to have created "The Pashto Ghazal" in Pashto.
This doesn't at all mean that Hamza
has been influenced by either Urdu or Persian or both and that he
has consciously or unconsciously tried to imitate their great poets to achieve a similar greatness for himself in Pashto.
On the contrary he
has been influenced by none.
has but limited study of both Urdu and Persian, although he
has written books in Urdu and has also done extensive Urdu-Pashto translations. / Only among the Pashto poets he
has been inspired, to a certain degree, by Khushal Khan Khattak and Kazim Khan Shaida which he
Yet even their influence on him is minimum, indeed invisible.
might, in the same way, have read all the great Urdu poets but has never been visibly influenced by an Urdu or Persian poet.
Farigh Bokhari has pointed out this fact by saying; "A glaringly noteworthy characteristic of Hamza Shinwari
is that he
has been least influenced by Urdu or Persian poetry because of his
very limited study thereof".
It may well be an inborn greatness, attained by the compulsions of his
own elemental genius, unadulterated by the undercurrents or crosscurrents of alien poetry or poetic traditions.
It would not be out of place here to discuss them controversial issue of "art for art's sake" and "art for life", in the context of Hamza Shinwari's
By coming across some of his
new poems, some of his
critics have mistakenly concluded that Hamza
has also fallen a prey to the lure of art for art's sake.
is, therefore, branded as an idealist, a utopian or at best an escapist.
I think it is a very wrong and self-deluding assumption.
It is at best a rude irony because of all the Pashto poets Hamza
is the least escapist; indeed if he
abhors anything it is the inherent absurdity in the theory of art for art's sake.
Once I turned his
attention to this question and in his
usual curt manner he
replied indignantly, "If art is for art's sake then where does man come in.
has translasted two of Iqbal's works in Pashto verse.
He acknowledges the depths of Iqbal's thoughts and the urgency of his message and has addressed a number of poems to him, as he has devoted an equal number of poems to Khushal Khan Khattak, another poet with a powerful message.
"There was no purpose or object in Ghazal
before Hamza; whether it was Persian Ghazal or Urdu Ghazal, its axis was beauty and its untiring praise from various angles, a mere gratification of the aesthetic impulse.
did not adopt a contrary course from the main stream Ghazal
and its inherent spirit but he
did insert Pakhtoon elements into it".
felt that as long as it was not given a direction or a transfusion of an aim or object there could be no question of a healthy literature in Pashto.
looked at Ghazal
with the eye of an artist, he
soon came to know that as long as the spirit of Pakhtoon was not infused with its spirit, it could not be called a Pashto Ghazal of Hamza
It is interesting to see how Abdur Rahim Majzoob has compared Hamza Shinwasri with Khushal Khan, Rehman Baba and Ali Khan and has pointed out their certain shortcomings which he
claims to have been rectified by Hamza.
writes, "In the Ghazal
of Khushal Khan there is amorous pleasure, cheerfulness and romance; but his
Ghazal sounds incomplete, imperfect and artificial.
The love that Khushal has depicted belongs to the lower, carnal attractions.
beauty is nude although his Ghazal
is well polished.
is the founder of rhymes and rhythms, yet his Ghazal
is incomplete from the point of view of subject matter.
On the contrary, the love and beauty that have been extolled in the Ghazal
of Hamza Shinwari
are pure and divine.
But this lack of mysticism on the part of Ali Khan was more than made up by Hamza
It was Ghazal which bestowed upon Hamza this coveted title of Baba-e-Ghazal but only because it was Hamza who established Ghazal in Pashto literature so firmly that it sounds on more alien, a mere borrowed entity, encumbered with a host of artificial conventions.
It now more than seems a part and parcel of pathan psyche, reflecting his
own surroundings and his
own inner urges in a forthright, faithful manner.
gave it such a perfect finish and such a glittering glass that it can now be said to have become the envy of both Urdu and Persian Ghazal
In this process he
also happened to erase a recurrent inferiority complex from the mind of subsequent Pathan poets.
has done for Pashto Ghazal
from technicasl point of view can not be denied by even a confirmed Hamza denier.
has more than proved that Pashto has vaster ground for Ghazal
than all those languages which alone have been boasting about good Ghazal so far.
Of course he
means Urdu and Persian.
At the end, we will quote this highly amusing criticism of Hamza
and the Ghazal
form by Abdur Rahim Majzoob.
writes, "It was perhaps Hamza
who stretched his
old muscles in the beginning of the twentieth century.
is old; he
is not to blame.