Rahman Baba biography and peoetry
In the high hills of the Afghan nation, in the provincial area of Mohmand, a child was born, by the name of Abdul Rahman. Abdul Rahman would become one of the greatest poet in the history of the Pashto literature. Abdul Rahman was a man of character and great charisma. As a child, he loved to study and always occupied himself in getting a good education, no matter what it took. He spent much time and effort trying to teach himself. At a young age, he started studying and reading poetry and became fond of it. He had a gift, poetry, which he would not realize, until later in his life. As he grew older, he started having doubts upon what he was doing, which was studying and writing poetry. He felt lost and not sure about what he was writing, why he was writing and to whom he was writing. Because of this, he entirely abandoned material needs of this world and gave himself to the mercy of God.
The spiritual aspect of God's presents upon him, made him understand that the true way of life was through his religion, Islam. Living a life in solitude, he did not want anyone bothering him when he prayed to God. He had a unique and creative way of praying to God through the gift he had, poetry. He had a deep passion for God, which resulted in writing numerous poems in His honor. Through the understanding of his religion, he wrote magnificent poems, which made him famous in a short period of time.
People admired his work, from Afghanistan to Central Asia to the Indian Subcontinent. Religious scholars found the real meaning of life in his poems. National and political leaders used his poetry for independent uprisings. Musicians used his poetry in their songs. Soon everyone wanted his books, be it for political, religious or other interests and desires. Due to his popularity, Afghans gave him an honorable name "Baba" (Grand father of the nation).
One of the great religious scholar of Suwat(A city in current Pakistan), Suwat Saheeb, said:
"If any other then, the book of God, waspermissible for prayer, I would have defiantly chosen Rahman's book."
Rahman Baba published two books from his collections of poetry, which weredistributed all over the Afghan nation. Soon his work became a model for newpoets, and as a result, many people started learning his way and his direction.A school of poetry was built in his honor and many people came to study in thisschools. The Founding Father of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Baba, was one of thestudents of his school of poetry.
Shakespeare has mentioned that philosophers, poets and insane people are ofone nature. A person cannot become one of these just by trying, but they areborn that way and they have no choice other then to live by the nature of theirlife.
After looking through Rahman Baba's poetry, one comes to the conclusion thatthis great poet was born a poet and had brought the gift of poetry with him frometernal life. Readers will not understand his poetry unless they feel that whattheir reading is indeed their own thoughts. This might be hard to comprehendbut poetry was never meant to be easy. When one opens Rahman Baba's book, theyimmediately realize that their heart is speaking to them. A reader might wonderhow a book written more then four hundred years ago would have their feeling andthoughts of today. It seem as if Rahman Baba's books were written for today'sneed of literature and one can be sure, that is the case.
Rahman Baba has written difficult poetry in such a unique way that one canimmediately grasp the meaning. He has put comprehensive subject into a verylayman term. Rahman Baba wanted to teach Afghans and, through Afghans, thewhole world the real meaning of life through the love and magnificence of God.He fought against humans' greediness and mischief and promptly explains thisdevilish worship in most of his poems.
Louis Dupree, in his book "Afghanistan", pointed out to Rahman Baba'steaching: "Rahman Baba was a mystic then warrior. But his mysticism, born ofSufism, also touches the Pashtun cultural essence. Not so proud and fiercelymilitant as Khushal Khan Khatak1, Rahman Baba continually warned theambitious and proud of their base earthly origin."
Rahman Baba himself explain here:
Live not with thy head showing in theclouds,
Thou art by birth the offspring of this earth,
The stream that passed the sluice cannot again flow back,
Nor can again return the misspenttime that sped,
Consider well the deeds of the good and bad,
Whether inthis thy profit lieth or in that.
(Translated by Qazi Sarwar, Afghanistan, Louis Dupree)
Rahman Baba loved music and dancing. He specially loved to play the Rabab (anAfghan musical instrument similar to a guitar). By loving beauty of every kind,no matter if it was a human, an animal, or nature, he would describe the eternalbeauty of God as a final stage. Considering the beauty here on earth as merely small portion of the beauty to come, he always focused on eternalgreatness and beauty which to him was his love, God.
Dr. Abdul Hay Habibi PHD, a great scholar of Afghanistan, described RahmanBaba's poetic structure in these terms. He stated the following:
- In this structure a poet accepts eternal believes, which are completelydislodged with this world, and are speaking of a world, great and wonderful,with all its greatness.
- Poets are away from all the misery of this world and are speaking of peaceand humanity, and are usually away from all the troubles of this world.
- Feelings and presentation of this structure are pure and wonderful, and thewords chosen are simple and to the point.
- All types of poetry speaks of pure love and morals.
- Believe in the true love and avoid evil and use fantasy is a common theme.
- Poets believe in love being the center of human life, which depends onintellectual wisdom.
Rahman Baba's poetry is still a great value to Pashto literature and stillthere are numerous student of his structure today. His fans and students of hisschool come to his grave side in Peshawar( N.W.F.P) to remember him on his birthdate each year. Poets from all over come to honor him in this special occasionby reciting poems and speeches on his honor, and this will continue forages.