He professed that the script be a 19th century copy of an anthology of Pashto poetry written in in Kandahar by Shah Hussain Hotak. The anthology is a compilation of works of hitherto unknown poets dating back to the eighth century. Habibi published the manuscript as a facsimile in but did not make the original document available to the public. Reception The earliest known document written in Pashto is dated to the sixteenth century. The poems compiled in the Pata Khazana therefore extend the history of Pashto literature by about years. The claimed discovery of the manuscript thus caused a controversy, its authenticity was disputed from the beginning.
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In the notes and annotations of the book attention is drawn to the qualitative significance of some words and historical background. These explanations enables the readers to appreciate the significance of the book from the point of literature and history and to recognize its benefits.
Here, I would like to dwell with the prose style of the author and to clarify the importance of the book from the point of view of literary prose. To clarify the issue, it would be fruitful to glance shortly at the history of Pashto prose first, and later discuss its historical significance. Pashto prose before H. This document represents the oldest Pashto prose available to us.
I found these pages five years ago. Before that, all those who studied the Pashto language, told me that the half-poetic prose of Akhund Darweza and his likes was the oldest sample of Pashto prose. The style of Sulaiman Maku, who wrote in Arghasan of Qandahar, is different from present day prose. However, it shows that before the rhythmical prose of Khair-al- Bayan Blessed Discourse and Makhzan-al-Islam Islamic Treasure our language had 7 The Hidden Treasure a fluent and interesting style of writing, which was closer to speech and distant from the artificial style of writing of later days.
During the time of the Mongols an overly adorned and unattractive style of prose became popular in Persian. This style of writing prose was devoid of the excellencies of the fluid composition of the past. In the rhythmic prose the lucidity of past composition was lost.
This destructive movement also affected Pashto prose and authors started imitating the Persian writers of the Mongol period. After H. Pir Roshan wrote Khair-al-Bayan in this crude style using rhythmical prose with liberty. Toward the end of the book he has rhymed his sentences. Akhund Darweza also followed this style in Makhzan-al-Islam. This mode of writing was prevalent for a period of years.
The first person who realized its fallacy was Khushal Khan Khatak, the father of the Pashto language. He adopted the classic style of Pashto prose in his works. Forty years after the death of Khushal Khan an illustrious writer lived in Qandahar who wrote Pashto prose in a fluid and simple style; thus he was able to revive the classic style of his ancestors.
After this revival, his style is clearly reflected in the works of authors who followed him; and it can be said that it has been used by Pashto authors for the past three and a half centuries after H. Mohammad Hothek is thus considered the master of the present style of Pashto prose. Khushal Khan Khatak did try to deviate from the unattractive rendering of Khair-al- Bayan but did not succeed in eliminating the obstacles altogether and in fact he slightly became under its influence.
However, the famous author of Pata Khazana, successfully managed to free Pashto prose from the shackles of rhythmic prose. This literary victory 8 The Hidden Treasure is attributed to his writing genius, despite the fact that that style was common in Pashto literary circles of the time. In the construction of sentences, Sulaiman Maku appears to be under the influence of Arabic prose.
When we read his prose it looks as though a Pashtoon is talking to us. He explains the issues in a simple manner and his penmanship is free from the influence of others. It cannot be said that thw work of Mohammad is not completely free of defects, but in comparison to other authors his style of prose is clear and lucid, its meaning is understandable, the prose is easy to follow and void of any complexity of past authors. A worthy author is one who does not follow others in order to express himself.
Khushal Khan has said: "One who breaks his own pot will be in need of others. The first sentences with which Sulaiman Maku starts his book reveals that he is not following rhythmic prose and the wording is not artificial. However, his style deviates from that of speech and a semblance of the effects of Arabic prose is seen in it. Khair-al-Bayan was written three centuries after Sulaiman wrote his book.
Although the book is meant to be in prose, in reality it is not, as some of the sentences are poetic in form, and towards the end of the book the sentences rhyme. The style of writing of Khair-al-Bayan developed around H. Akhund Darweza who lived 9 around H. Despite that he was not able to free his penmanship from the accepted style.
As mentioned earlier the first author to break away from this unacceptable style was Khushal Khan. He laid the foundation of the simple form of writing devoid of rhythmic prose. However, the influence of Persian can be detected in his writing.
His prose resembles that of Sulaiman Maku and there are no traces of Khair-al-Bayan in it. The style created by Mohammad is excellent in composition and lucid in expression of thought. It holds an esteemed place in contemporary Pashto prose and that of the past. He can be considered the inventor of the contemporary style of Pashto prose.
Later Ahmad Jan of Peshawar followed the same style of writing passing it on to the present times. From the comparison of Pashto literature of the past, it is clear that Mohammad Hothek simplified Pashto prose extensively.
In my view the characteristics of his prose are: 1. Mohammed is the first person who managed not to follow the style in vogue. He managed to write prose closer to speech than previous authors. He was able to express himself in a simple manner and did not use difficult vocabulary and knotted sentences. His sentences are short and stand out; and he managed to express his thoughts lucidly.
His use of alternate words and structuring of sentences are not disagreeable. The influence of other languages is minimal in his style of writing.
Khushal Khan Khatak was the first writer who returned to the style of our ancestors and hoisted the banner of correctness, and his descendants carried his torch forward.
Mohammad Hothek set us free from the vicissitudes of rhythmic prose. Around H. Maulavi Ahmad Jan wrote his glorious prose that remains a precious offering to contemporary writers of the Pashto language. Pata Khazana, which in reality is a treasure of the jewels of our national language, removed a considerable number of obscurities that engulfed the literature of the language.
It proved that this ancient language had eloquent poets during the early part of the Islamic period, and that it was a language of kings some of whom wrote poetry in it. The most outstanding document illuminating the history of Pashto poetry is the martial poem by Jahan Pahlavan Amir Krorr Suri. From the viewpoint of vigor and style, pure Pashto words, meter and rhyme, it is a magnificent example of our literature.
The characteristics of this poem can be summarized as follows: 1. It is an ancient document that proves that Pashto literature existed around H. It shows that the language was refined during the first century of the Islamic era to the extent that magnificent martial poetry was written in it. From this it can be deduced that it was not a new language.
It was probably at least five 12 centuries old at the time of Amir Krorr and had a profound literary background to reach such eminence. This poem proves that the language of some of the people of Ghor at the beginning of Islamic era was Pashto and that the Pashto spoken at the time was pure and free from foreign influence. The rare words used in this poem are our ancestral legacy. These words used by Amir Krorr were common before the literary invasion of the time.
In meter and rhyme this poem is also unique and is a treasure of our literature revealing the mature state of our ancient literature and culture. From the viewpoint of message, we see that the writer speaks of valor exaltingly. He describes his battles and conquests with pride and on the other hand shows love and kindness toward his subjects. Khrasboon and Ismail lived around H. Their works represent the literary triumphs of that era.
After this era, Shaikh Mathi lived around H. Then came Sultan Bahlol and a poet of his court, Neyazay, around H. The poets mentioned chronologically are ones who have been referred to in Pata Khazana. Now, I would like to scrutinize and analyze, under different titles, these ancient poems from the point of view of their historical significance.
The influence of environment It has been proved that the effect of environment, i. The poet is drawn by the power of creation to express his feelings and talk about his environment and picture it in his lyrics. The poet of the mountainous regions extols the ruggedness of the mountains and that of the plains describes the beauty of the green lowlands.
If we glance closely at the literature of surrounding nations we will often come across such descriptions. This characteristic is also evident in the poems cited in Pata Khazana and can be described as follows: I. Those poems that were written in a particular kind of native environment are close in form to one another with regard to the usage of pure words, meter and rhyme.
A good example is the poem of Jahan Pahlavan Suri that does not resemble later works in its meaning. Its words are purely Pashto, its meter and rhyming are 14 particularly Pashto in character, and it is not tainted by the influence of other languages of the region. The poems of Amir Reza and Nasr Ludi were written away from the environment of Ghor, but the influence of Persian and Arabic had not affected their language, thus they are also pure Pashto.
But the poem of Hashim Sarwanay, even though it was written well before the time of the Ludis, has Arabic influence in it. This is because the writer was a student of Arabic, spent a large part of his life in Arab countries, studied Arabic literature, and translated Arabic poetry into Pashto. Despite this it is an important work of Pashto literature because the use of words from other languages was not customary at that time.
Later around H. Subsequently, the Ghorid kings were also attracted by this trend. Thus from to H. In adornment, style and use of words, meter and rhyme they show the typical pure Pashto flavor and are not cast in a foreign mold.
Examples are the works of Khrasboon, Ismail and Shaikh Mathi, which are pure in form. The poems written and recited in royal courts and near centers of civilizations form another category.
In the notes and annotations of the book attention is drawn to the qualitative significance of some words and historical background. These explanations enables the readers to appreciate the significance of the book from the point of literature and history and to recognize its benefits. Here, I would like to dwell with the prose style of the author and to clarify the importance of the book from the point of view of literary prose. To clarify the issue, it would be fruitful to glance shortly at the history of Pashto prose first, and later discuss its historical significance. Pashto prose before H. This document represents the oldest Pashto prose available to us.
Pata Khazana - Hidden Treasure
Discovery[ edit ] The Afghan scholar Habibi claimed to have discovered the manuscript in He claimed it was a 19th-century copy of an anthology of Pashto poetry written in in Kandahar by Shah Hussain Hotak. The anthology is a compilation of works of hitherto unknown poets dating back to the eighth century. Habibi published the manuscript as a facsimile in but did not make the original document available to the public.