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Hindko Mushaira planned to mark Defense Day

September 3rd, 2006 (11:01 am)

Press Release

PESHAWAR: Gandhara Hindko Board, a literary, cultural and social welfare organization, has arranged a Hindko Mushaira (Poetry recital session) here on Tuesday (September 5) to mark the Defense of Pakistan Day that falls on September 6.

The literary sitting will be held in the central office of the board, situated at Kareemi Plaza, New Rampura Gate, Peshawar city at 7 pm.

A prominent Pushto poet, writer and Resident Director of Pakistan Academy of Letters, Dr Mohammad Azam Azam, will be the chief guest on the occasion while a noted Hindko poet and researcher, Sabir Hussain Imdad, will preside over the event.

The poets will pay tributes to those people of the soil who defended the frontiers when a war was imposed on the motherland on September 6, 1965.

It needs to be mentioned here that Gandhara Hindko Board holds special activities to commemorate important events in the history of the country. The September 5 Hindko Mushaira is being held as a part of permanent activities of the board.

Senior Hindko poet Ashraf Rohaila passes away

August 30th, 2006 (02:58 pm)

By Aftab Ahmad

PESHAWAR: A senior Hindko poet, Mohammad Ahraf Ulfat Rohaila, died here on Monday night.

The funeral procession was taken out from his residence at Haider Colony, near Choona Bhatti, outside Ganj Gate on Tuesday and he was laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard, the same day.

A large number of relatives, friends and Hindko poets, writers and researchers attended the last funeral rites of the deceased.

Six sons--Iftikhar Ahmad Rohaila, Mukhtiar Ahmad Rohaila, Sajjad Ahmad Rohaila, Aijaz Ahmad Rohaila, Ishtiaq Ahmad Rohaila and Imtiaz Ahmad Rohaila -- survive him. He was father-in-law another Hindko poet, Hidayat Hussain Azmat.

The late Rohaila was a seasoned Hindko poet who was famous for Harfis, a genre of Hindko poetry. Aside from composing scores of Hindko couplets, he had learnt by heart the poetic compositions of several classic Hindko poets. He was a disciple of Ustad Gulam Rasool Ghail, a noted Hindko poet and active member of Bazm-e-Shaoor-e-Hindko who got his Hindko poetry published in 1930s.

Ashraf hailed from a very a poor family and led a very tough life. He remained bed-ridden in the last days of his life in a small house adjacent to Gunj graveyard.

Meanwhile, a literary and cultural organization, Gandhara Hindko Board, has condoled the death of the veteran poet. The board termed his death a loss to Hindko language and literature. The organization urged the Pakistan Academy of Letters and NWFP Cultural Department to extend financial help to the family of the poet.

NWFP Governor Ali Mohammad Jan Aurakzai has condoled the death of the veteran Hindko poet. In a handout issued from the Governor’s House on Tuesday, Mr Aurakzai aknowldged the contribution of the late Mohammad Ashraf Ulfat Rohaila to the Hindko language. He offered sympathies to the bereaved family and prayed for the eternal rest of the departed soul.

Hindko poets revisit Independence Movement

August 15th, 2006 (10:58 am)

Open-air Mushaira attracts audience

By Aftab Ahmad

PESHAWAR: A literary, cultural and social welfare organization, Gandhara Hindko Board, arranged a grand open-air Hindko Mushaira (Poetry recital session) here on Monday (August 14) night to mark the Independence Day.

The poetic sitting started at 9:00 pm on the lawn of the Gor Gathri, a historic monument in the heart of the walled city of Peshawar, and continued till late night.

A prominent trader and former senior vice-president of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Mr Sharafat Ali Mubarak, was the chief guest on the occasion while a senior Hindko folklorist from Hazara and first translator of the Holy Quran into Hindko, Mr Haider Zaman Haider, presided over the event. Peshawar District Nazim Haji Ghulam Ali attended the event as the guest of honour.

A total of 40 Hindko poets from different parts of the province, including Peshawar, Akora Khattak, Kohat and Hazara paid poeticized tributes to those Independence Movement leaders and workers who struggled hard under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah to win freedom from the British 59 years back.

General Secretary of the Gandhara Hindko Board, Mohammad Ziauddin and Ahmad Nadeem Awan co-compered the programme that was watched and enjoyed by a considerable number of people. Women and children were conspicuous by their presence.

Addressing on this occasion, the district nazim saluted the Independence Movement leaders and workers. “ It is because of their struggle that now we are living a free life. Freedom is a blessing and we should protect it at all costs”, said the young Ali.

The district nazim said Hindko was an ancient and important language of the region that needed attention. “ The District Government will take all steps for the preservation and promotion of Hindko language and revive the glory of Peshawar,” he pledged while handing a cheque for Rs 100,000 to the Gandhara Hindko Board.

Mr Sharafat Ali Mubarak, Gandhara Hindko Board Vice-Chairman Assistant Professor Dr Adnan Gul, General Secretary Mohammad Ziauddin and Haider Zaman Haider also made brief speeches.

It may be mentioned here that holding of an open-air Hindko Mushaira on the Independence Day is a regular feature of the Gandhara Hindko Board activities. Two such poetry recital sessions were held at Chowk Yadgar in year 2003 and 2004 and one in Gor Gathri, last year.

Gandhara Hindko Board is a non-profit and non-governmental organization that has been working for the preservation and promotion of Hindko language and Hindkowan culture since 1993. It seeks respect for and due attention to all the languages of Gandhara --NWFP).

Open-air Hindko Mushaira on August 14

August 12th, 2006 (02:54 pm)

Press Release

PESHAWAR: A literary, cultural and social welfare organization, Gandhara Hindko Board, has arranged a grand open-air Hindko Mushaira (Poetry recital session) here on Monday (August 14) to mark the Independence Day.

The poetic sitting will start at 8:30 pm on the lawn of the Gor Gathri, a historic monument in the heart of the walled city of Peshawar.

A prominent trader and former senior vice-president of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Mr Sharafat Ali Mubarak, will be the chief guest on the occasion while a senior Hindko poet from Hazara and first translator of the Holy Quran into Hindko, Mr Haider Zaman Haider, will preside over the event.

Hindko poets from different parts of the province will pay poeticized tributes to those Independence Movement leaders and workers who struggled hard under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah to win freedom from the British 59 years back.

General Secretary of the Gandhara Hindko Board, Mohammad Ziauddin and Ahmad Nadeem Awan will co-compere the programme.

It may be mentioned here that holding of an open-air Hindko Mushaira on the Independence Day is a regular feature of the Gandhara Hindko Board activities. Two such poetry recital sessions were held at Chowk Yadgar in year 2003 and 2004 and one in Gor Gathri, last year.

Demand to implement forthwith decision on Hindko Academy

May 8th, 2006 (10:53 am)

Grand Mushaira on university campus draws 220 students
By Aftab Ahmad

PESHAWAR: The government should implement forthwith its 1987 decision of setting up a Hindko Academy to facilitate organized research on the language.

This demand was made at a grand Hindko Mushaira (poetry recital) arranged by the Khyber Literary Society at the Agha Khan Auditorium of the Peshawar University campus. The two other resolutions called for introducing Hindko in journals being brought out by different departments of the University of Peshawar and include the language in the Peshawar University Campus Radio broadcast.

Earlier, the literary function started with recitation from the Holy Quran. Followed by a Naat, Mr Mudassar Ahmad, a student of the Department of Physics, presented the address of welcome. Professor Fazle Mabood was the chief guest on the occasion while Professor Dr Sabir Kalorvi, presided over the event. An eminent Hindko writer, poet, research scholar and the first translator of the Holy Quran into Hindko, Haider Zaman Haider from Abbottabad, was the guest of honour.

A total of 150 man students and 70 woman students, drawn from three varsities -- University of Peshawar, NWFP Engineering University and NWFP Agriculture University -- turned up at the event, first of its kind in the history of the University of Peshawar. The guest poets from Peshawar, Kohat, Abbottabad and Akora Khattak (Nowshera) also captivated the audience.

Mohammad Ziauddin, secretary for a literary, cultural and social welfare organization, Gandhara Hindko Board, dwelt at length on the history the Hindko language and the areas where it was spoken. He said Hindko was from the Dardic Group of languages and was spoken in Peshawar, Hazara, Kohat, Nowshera (NWFP), Potohar and regions of Azad Kashmir.

Of the working and achievements of the Gandhara Hindko Board, he said the board had outreach to all those areas where the language was spoken. “The board has to its credit 17 Hindko books on different genres of the Hindko literature, including a voluminous Hindko dictionary. The work on a comprehensive Hindko dictionary is in full swing and a London-based scholar of Hindko from Peshawar, Professor Dr Elahi Bakhsh Awan, is carrying out the Herculean task”, Zia said proudly, adding the board had a broad-minded approach to promotion of Hindko language by stressing respect for and due attention to all the languages and cultures native to Gandhara – NWFP.

He said the board had launched a Hindko literary magazine “Hindkowan” in year 2004 for wider dissemination of the work being done for the Hindko language and Hindkowan culture. Zia said the Hindko journal had produced and promoted a new breed of Hindko writers, apart from digging out and bringing into fine print the literary masterpieces by the classic Hindko poets.

”The work on the versified Hindko translation of the Holy Quran is in final shape. The organization has also produced a Hindko audio cassette containing 10 folk songs”, he said, adding the efforts being made for the promotion of Hindko language would get a great boost if the educated young lot joined hands with those already engaged in the task.

Gandhara Hindko Board Vice-Chairman Assistant Professor Dr Adnan Gul said a language was a living library of culture, which was neither unimportant, nor imperial, adding all languages deserved due respects and needed to be preserved and developed without any bias. He said the Hindkowan culture was rich in all aspects and had survived and strengthened despite no official patronage. He exhorted the students to take pride in their language and culture.

Professor Fazle Mabood urged the students to take part in co-curricular activities as it was a must for personal grooming. Happy with the holding of a Hindko Mushaira, the chief guest said such activities helped promote the Hindko language and the culture. He said the Peshawar University would organize programmes in future as well for the promotion of other languages of the province.

Professor Dr Sabir Kalorvi praised the work being done in the private sector for the preservation and promotion of the Hindko language. “It is heartening to note that an increasing number of literary and cultural bodies are coming forward to work for an officially-neglected language”, he said, making a strong call for establishment of a Hindko Academy to conduct structured research on the language. Dr Kalorvi commended the Khyber Literary Society President Qaiser Khan, Chief Organizer Anwer Aalim and administration of the University of Peshawar for arranging a grand Hindko Mushaira on the campus.

Toledo Blade: Wedding becomes a celebration of Peshawari culture

April 24th, 2006 (10:05 am)

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060424/COLUMNIST12/604240305

S. Amjad Hussain

A wedding invitation brought me to the Jackson Heights neighborhood of New York City, where one is surrounded by faces drawn from the far corners of the world. A walk through the bustling streets of this town in the borough of Queens transports one to the exotic bazaars and markets of faraway lands. Here one could spend a lifetime surrounded by comforting and soothing mementos of one's past and not know about the rest of New York. It is a kaleidoscope of colors, smells, and tongues that would tug on the heartstrings of any Americanized desi.

The wedding was between two prominent clans of Peshawar, the frontier town nestled in the shadow of the Khyber Pass in northwest Pakistan. Over the millennia wave after wave of foreigners, some invaders and others traders, came to the crossroads of Asia and adopted the culture and the language of the ancient city. The language, Hindko, had been spoken in those parts since the first century. One could see this in the gathering in New York, where diehard Peshawaris not only celebrated the union of two young people but also their language and their culture.

In the elegant New Huntington House in Huntington Station, N.Y., the guests mingled, talked, and found that many of them were born and raised within the tiny two square miles that was the walled city of Peshawar. While every city has its star-studded list of luminaries, Peshawar has had more than its share of such people.

The Indian matinee idol Yusaf Khan, aka Dilip Kumar, who dominated Indian films for more than 50 years, was born in the city in an alley called Meat Sellers Market. While at the pinnacle of his career in Mumbai he was always longing for the city of his birth. Prithivi Raj, also an Indian movie icon, and his sons would always pour a bag of Peshawar dirt in the foundations of their new homes.

There was Pitras Bukhari, an English professor turned diplomat, who could with ease and facility talk about Shakespeare or discuss the thorny issue of Kashmir. More often than not he presented his arguments at the United Nations, where he represented Pakistan in the early 1950s, in the most poetic language. There were many others as well who were born and raised in that city who excelled in such disparate fields as music, poetry, sports, religion, and politics. Ahmad Faraz, the greatest contemporary Urdu poet, grew up in Peshawar.

At the wedding I met one-time television producer Atiq Siddiqi, who has two advanced degrees in English and journalism from Columbia University and runs a motel in upstate New York. He is also a well-known columnist and writes for some of the leading Urdu language newspapers in this country. I also met Hayat Shah, a mountaineer par excellence, who had accompanied many expeditions to the Himalayas and the Karakorum Mountains in the 1950s. In 1956 he was stranded at 26,000 feet while attempting to reach the summit of K2. He spent the night in a bivouac and survived to tell the story. The irony is that Mr. Shah is blind in one eye due to a childhood accident and, despite the handicap, also excelled in tennis, soccer, and athletics.

And then there was poet-writer Irshad Siddiqi (no relation to the inn keeper) from New Mexico. He joined the U.S. Navy as a civilian officer and served in many facilities around the world. When his ship finally came into port at his retirement, he picked up the pen. In the short span of five years he has written two critically acclaimed novels and a score of other books. Today he is considered one of the leading Urdu fiction writers.

At our insistence Mr. Siddiqi recited one of his landmark poems about Peshawar and its gradually disappearing language and culture. Part lament, part nostalgia, the poem paints a vivid picture of a city that once was, and in many ways still is, part of our collective memory. The New York wedding was the reaffirmation of our roots and the celebration of our language and our culture.

(Dr. S. Amjad Hussain is a Toledo surgeon whose column appears every other week in The Blade.)

Gandhara Hindko Board remembers martyrs of 1930

April 23rd, 2006 (09:59 am)

Conference held, rally staged & procession taken out

By Aftab Ahmad

PESHAWAR: Glowing tributes were paid here on Sunday to those sons of the soil who laid down their lives at Qissa Khwani Bazaar, Peshawar on April 23, 1930 during struggle for freedom.

A literary, cultural and social welfare organization, Gandhara Hindko Board, arranged “Shaheedan-e-Peshor Conference” at the Archives Hall, staged a rally in Qissa Khwani Bazaar and took out a procession to mark the occasion.

The Nazim of Town II Peshawar Mr Mohammad Sharif Was the chief guest on the occasion while a senior journalist, Sharif Farooq presided over the event.

The speakers highlighted the importance of the sacrifice offered in Peshawar on April 23, 1930. Those who expressed their views included Gandhara Hindko Board Chairman Professor Dr Zahoor Ahmad Awan, Vice-Chairman Assistant Professor Dr Adnan Gul, Secretary Mohammad Ziauddin, Khwaja Yawer Nasser (Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians), Hakim Abdul Waheed (Naib Amir of NWFP chapter of Jamaat-i-Islami), Haji Mohammad Haleem Jan, Professor Dr Anwaar Fazil Chishti, Sharafat Ali Mubarik (Pakistan Muslim League), Mohammad Sharif, Dr Mohammad Salahuddin and Shareef Farooq,

Professor Dr Zahoor Ahmad Awan said the history of the freedom movement was incomplete without mentioning the countless sacrifices rendered by the people of this part of the subcontinent. He saluted those people who laid down their lives in Qissa Khwani, Peshawar on April 23, 1930 while resisting the Colonial oppressive rule He called for highlighting the event as it was a turning point in the Independence Movement.

Assistant Professor Dr Adnan Gul said the brave Hindkowans of Peshawar, Kohat, Hazara, Pothwar and Kashmir regions struggled for Pakistan, but were always ignored by the successive governments after independence. Recalling the services of the Hindkowans to the province, he said a Hindkowan chief minister gave first university to Peshawar, but deplored that there was no Department for Hindko Studies in the same university and Hindko Academy or a Hindko Adabi Board at the official level which was an injustice to an ancient native language and its speakers.

Mohammad Ziauddin said Pakistan was achieved after tremendous sacrifices by the brave sons of Peshawar and other parts of the province. He said it was strange to note that while the Jalyianwala massacre was known to all and sundry, but people were intentionally kept unaware of the blood of the 400 people spilled in Peshawar on April 23, 1930. He said the today’s function was held to inform our present generation of the great sacrifices offered by our forefathers for the cause of freedom. Zia said apart from making efforts for the preservation and promotion of Hindko language and Hindkowan culture, the Gandhara Hindko Board considered it as its sacred duty to remember with reverence all those freedom fighters who struggled for Pakistan.

Hakeem Abdul Waheed said the people of Peshawar should relive the spirit that they had exhibited on April 23, 1930 and work with unity for the prosperity of this City and its inhabitants. He asked the youths to emulate their forefathers.

Haji Haleem Jan praised a former mayor of Peshawar Mr Saeed Ahmad Jan who erected monuments in early 1980s to honour the Qissa Khawani martyrs. He said majority of those martyred on April 23, 1930 were the people of Peshawar, and offered to produce documentary proof to substantiate his claim. He requested the audience to work for the promotion of the Hindko language and extend help to the Gandhara Hindko Board which was working towards that end.

At the end, three resolutions were passed that urged the government to include the Qissa Khwani firing case in the course of studies at schools, construct a grand monument in Peshawar in memory of those 400 people who embraced martyrdom on April 23, 1930 and facilitate research at the university level to dig more information on the firing incident.

Earlier, the programme started with recitation from the Holy Quran. Sikander Hyat Sikander and his team paid poeticized tributes to the martyrs of 1930. Fawad Jahanzeb and his mates recited a naat. Syed Iqbal Hussain Shah led prayers for the martyrs of April 23, 1930.

The office-bearers and workers of the Gandhara Hindko Board placed floral wreaths on the monuments erected in Qissa Khwani. Speeches were also made at the rally staged in Qissa Khawni bazaar. A procession was taken out that reached the Archives Hall after passing through various City bazaars.

Tributes paid to great Hindko mystic poet Sain Ahmad Ali Peshawari

April 11th, 2006 (10:06 am)

Seminar demands chair at Peshawar University for more research

By Aftab Ahmad

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a seminar held here on Sunday paid rich tributes to a great Hindko mystic poet Sain Ahmad Ali and urged the government to set up a chair in the University of Peshawar to carry out in-depth research on his work.

The event was organized jointly by the literary, cultural and social welfare organization, Gandhara Hindko Board and the Cultural Committee of the Peshawar Press Club to mark the 69th death anniversary of the sufi poet. Syedul Hassnain Gillani (Syed Agha), a scion of the religious family of Peshawar, was the chief guest on the occasion while Professor Mehrab Khawer of Potohar, presided over the event.

The literati remembered the great mystic of the 19th century who chose Hindko language to disseminate the message of love, peace and brotherhood in this part of the Subcontinent and Potohar region. Those who spoke on the occasion included Mohammad Ismail Awan, Sabir Hussain Imdad, Dr Salahuddin, Haji Mohammad Haleem Jan, Syedul Hassnain Gillani, Mohammad Ziauddin, Dr Shabir Ahmad Awan, Ms Nourin Iqbal, Sadiq Saba, Farooq Jan Babar, Professor Mehrab Khawer and Professor Dr Zahoor Ahmad Awan.

Gandhara Hindko Board Chairman Professor Dr Zahoor Ahmad Awan (Tamgha-i-Imtiaz) shed light on the life and work of the great mystic whose poetic compositions ran into thousands, but only a fraction of those could reach this time through oral traditions.

He said every year the death anniversary of Sain Ahmad Ali was observed with great reverence. The devotees visit his tomb to pay their respect. However, the anniversary function this year had added significance as the Gandhara Hindko Board had won the honor of publishing two books on Sain.

Giving the details, Dr Zahoor said the first 230-page book titled “ Peer Sain” had been complied by Secretary for the Gandhara Hindko Board and had researched-based articles and poetry of the celebrated Hindko mystic. The second 580-page book, he added, had been compiled by the Senior-Vice Chairman of the Gandhara Hindko Board Mohammad Ismail Awan and was captioned “ Kulyaat-e-Sain.” He said the bulky publication had been divided 18 sections and had 550 poetic compositions. He was all-praise for Mr Ismail Awan and his team of researchers who collected, compiled and published the work recently.

Gandhara Hindko Board Secretary Mohammad Ziauddin sought official patronage to Hindko language as it was the second largely spoken language of the province. He asked the government to give Sain Ahmad Ali the kind of attention it had been giving to sufi poets of other languages.

Zia emphasized the need for bringing into fine print more work of Sain Ahmad Ali. He said Gandhara Hindko Board had published the work of Sain, but it was not the end. “The government should come forward to dig out and publish the rest of the work of the great Hindko mystic, adding this could be done by setting up a chair at a higher seat of learning such as University of Peshawar to carry out a thorough research on the work of Sain.

The Gandhara Hindko Board secretary demanded of the government to officially celebrate Sain Ahmad Ali Day, construct a befitting tomb of the sufi poet outside Kohati Gate and implement the City District Government decision of naming the Gubahar Chowk after him.

Later, a total of 24 poets from different regions paid poeticized tributes to the illustrious mystic of Hindko language, who, apart from NWFP, also has a considerable following in the vast area of Potohar.

It may be mentioned here that Sain Ahmad Ali was born in the Walled City of Peshawar in 1842 AD. His harfis (poetic verses) are recited with utmost respect. The sufi poet died in Peshawar on April 13, 1937 at age 95 and was laid to rest outside Kohati Gate.

A picture of the seminar and Mushaira (Courtesy: Media Wing, Gandhara Hindko Board). http://img224.imageshack.us/img224/2628/ira6yn.jpg
L-R: Syedul Hassnain Gillani (chief guest), Professor Mehrab Khawer (Hindko researcher and expert on Sain Ahmad Ali from Potohar), Professor Dr Zahoor Ahmad Awan (Chairman, Gandhara Hindko Board), and Haji Mohammad Haleem Jan (Chief Organizer, Gandhara Hindko Board)].

Gandhara Hindko Board observes Mother Tongue Day

February 22nd, 2006 (10:37 am)

Govt urged to patronize all languages of NWFP

By Aftab Ahmad

PESHAWAR: The government should patronize all the languages spoken in the NWFP and make arrangements for imparting primary education to children in their respective mother tongues.

This demand was made at a seminar arranged by the literary, cultural and social welfare organization, Gandhara Hindko Board, in collaboration with the Frontier Languages Institute at the Archives Hall to mark the International Mother Tongue Day (February 21) here on Tuesday.

A member of the NWFP Assembly from Swat and speaker of a lesser-known Gauwri language, Malik Ameerzada, was the chief guest on the occasion while an eminent Hindko writer, poet and research scholar, Khatir Ghaznavi (Pride of Performance) presided over the event.

Representatives from 19 different languages of the NWFP – Pushto, Hindko, Kohwar, Oshojo, Palula, Klasha, Goujri, Urmuri, Batairi, Domaki, Dumaili, Balti, Wakhi, Waneesi, Pahari, Sheena, Torwali, Gawri and Pashai -- ­­­­­turned up at the event to stresses importance of their respective languages in the light of Mother Tongue Day and urged the government to give proper attention to all the 24 languages native to NWFP, known in history as Gandhara.

Those who spoke on the occasion included Malik Ameerzada, Irshad Ahmad Siddiqui, Abdussalam Noori, Prefessor Dr Zahoor Ahmad Awan (Tamgha-e-Imtiaz), Shamsur Rehman Shams, Khwaja Yawer Naseer, Dr Salahuddin, Masoom Shah Masoom, Ismail Awan, Sabir Hussain Imadad, Sardar Azam and Mudassar Ahmad.

The Secretary for the Gandhara Hindko Board, Mohammad Ziauddin, and a researcher at the Frontier Languages Institute, Inamullah Torwal jointly conducted the progarmme which is held every year.

In his welcome address, Mohammad Ziauddin said that all the languages were an asset to humanity and deserved due respect and attention. “It is lamentable to note that smaller languages of NWFP have always faced official neglect by the successive governments. This injustice needs to be done away with by extending fair treatment to all the languages,” he added while requesting the different delegates present in the hall to work with dedication for their mother languages till the time the government realizes it duty and come forward to do the needful.

Mr Inamullah Torwal talked of the steps the United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was taking for saving the endangered languages. He said this year theme of the UNESCO for the Mother Tongue Day was “Cyber space and language”. He disclosed that there were 6000 languages in the world, but only a handful had monopoly over the Internet (Cyber space), which, he believed, was leading to cultural tension and inequality. “This can be contained by making arrangements to make the lesser known languages accessible to Internet so that the works of scholars of these languages become accessible to a maximum number of people,” he argued.

The event was well-organized. The Archives Hall was decorated with placards inscribed with greetings in 19 languages of NWFP. The participants and organizers also held a walk to highlight the importance of the day. The presence of children with placards attracted the attention of all in the walk that started from the Archives Hall and ended at the Governor’s House.

It is worth mentioning here that the NWFP is a multilingual and multicultural province which is home to 24 languages. The Gandhara Hindko Board is an active body that has been working since 1993 for the preservation and promotion of Hindko which is the second main language of the province.

The board has to its credit 15 Hindko books on different genres of the Hindko literature, including a voluminous Hindko dictionary. It has a broad-minded approach to promotion of Hindko language by stressing respect for and due attention to all the languages and cultures native to Gandhara – NWFP.

With current membership standing at 462, the board has an outreach to all the areas where Hindko language is spoken – Peshawar, Hazara, Kohat, Nowshera (NWFP), Potohar (Northern Punjab) and Azad Kashmir.

The board has already launched a Hindko literary magazine “Hindkowan” in the year 2004 for wider dissemination of the work being done for the Hindko language and Hindkowan culture. The Hindko journal has produced and promoted a new breed of Hindko writers, apart from digging out and brining into fine print the literary masterpieces by the classic Hindko poets.

The work on the versified Hindko translation of the Holy Quran is in final shape. The organization has also produced a Hindko audio cassette containing 10 folk songs.

The board has revived the tradition of open-air Hindko mushairas (poetry reading session) which used to be a common feature of the Walled City of Peshawar in the early part of the 20th century.

a snapshot of the event: http://img131.imageshack.us/img131/2710/motherlanguageday7ja.jpg

Seminar to mark Mother Tongue Day on 21st

February 20th, 2006 (11:46 am)

By Aftab Ahmad

PESHAWAR: The Gandhara Hindko Board, a literary, cultural and social welfare organization, will hold a seminar on Tuesday (February 21) at 3 pm here in the Archives Hall to mark the International Mother Tongue Day.

To be organized in collaboration with the Frontier Languages Institute, representatives from different languages spoken in NWFP, including members of the provincial assembly will express their views on the cultural and social development of their peoples. Papers will also be read out on the occasion.

The participants and organizers will also hold a walk to highlight the importance of the day.

It is worth mentioning here that the NWFP is a multilingual and multicultural province which is home to 24 languages. The Gandhara Hindko Board is an active body that has been working for the preservation and promotion of Hindko which is the second main language of the province.

The board has to its credit 15 Hindko books on different genres of the Hindko literature, including a voluminous Hindko dictionary. It has a broad-minded approach to promotion of Hindko language by stressing respect for and due attention to all the languages and cultures native to Gandhara – NWFP.

With current membership standing at 462, the board has an outreach to all the areas where Hindko language is spoken – Peshawar, Hazara, Kohat, Nowshera (NWFP), Potohar (Northern Punjab) and Azad Kashmir.

The board has already launched a Hindko literary magazine “Hindkowan” in year 2004 for wider dissemination of the work being done for the Hindko language and Hindkowan culture. The Hindko journal has produced and promoted a new breed of Hindko writers, apart from digging out and brining into fine print the literary masterpieces by the classic Hindko poets.

The work on the versified Hindko translation of the Holy Quran is in final shape. The organization has also produced a Hindko audio cassette containing 10 folk songs.

The board has revived the tradition of open-air Hindko mushairas (poetry reading session) which used to be common feature of the Walled City of Peshawar in the early part of the 20th century.

Migrants from NWFP rue absence of their heritage at Patiala festival

February 17th, 2006 (04:50 pm)

http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=170331

No encouragement to keep alive Hindko.

Express News Service

Patiala, February 17: THE culture and heritage of people who came from North West Frontier Province (NWFP), now in Pakistan, and were relocated in Patiala in 1947, was being ignored at the Patiala Heritage Festival, complained some writers here today.

Eminent novelist, writer and critic of Punjabi Prof S.Soz said Patiala Heritage Festival was incomplete without the involvement of the people who migrated here during the partition and settled in Patiala on the call of late Mahraja Yadavindra Singh. Prof Soz has written over four dozen books in Punjabi and about a dozen novels in Hindko language.

Hindko is one of the main languages spoken in NWFP. Prof Soz said over 5 lakh persons from Mardan, Rawalpindi, Multan, Jalalabad, Peshawar, had settled in Patiala district and they wanted to get linked to their roots in some way but no government in Punjab and elsewhere had respected their sentiments.

He said even the languages department and Punjabi University has made no separate arrangement for the upliftment of their language and culture.

Another writer Gurmukh Singh Sehgal, who belongs to Jalalabad (now in Afghanistan) said he had written four novels in Hindko language and complained that their heritage was lost in the changing face of society. He recalled that after some films were made in the years following partition but soon the process had stopped.

The president of Punjabi Sahit Sabha, principal Mohan Singh Prem, who had also written few novels in Hindko said the state government and Patiala Heritage Society should come forward to save this culture of Hindko diaspora.

Two days earlier, Samta party chief Jaya Jaitley had also expressed similar views and had said the heritage should not be restricted to one family and it should be by the people and for the people.

Earlier, three writers Gulzar Singh Sandhu (Punjabi), Ganga Prasad Vimal (Hindi) and Joginder Pal (Urdu), presented their work and a reading of their short stories was organised.

Hindkowan Students Literary Society launched

February 5th, 2006 (10:21 am)

By Aftab Ahmad

PESHAWAR: Hindkowan Students Literary Society was launched here on Sunday with the sole purpose of preserving and promoting the Hindko language and literature and carrying out literary activities on the Peshawar University campus.

An announcement to this effect was made at the first formal meeting of the literary society, held at the central office of the literary, cultural and social welfare organization, Gandhara Hindko Board. A total of 52 students from different departments of the University of Peshawar attended the maiden gathering.

A four-member committee was constituted for the smooth running of the affairs of the newly launched body. Ahmad Zaman of Haripur district of the NWFP was unanimously elected the convener for the committee.

Addressing on the occasion, the convener said that the literary society would work for the preservation and promotion of Hindko language and Hindkowan culture by raising awareness among the students of the University of Peshawar and arranging different literary events to achieve the stated goal.

Ahmad Zaman said that the literary society would work for introducing Hindko language writings in the journals, being published by different departments of the university. He said at present the students literary body comprised of 200 men and women, adding the membership was open to all those students of the university who were interested in working for the preservation and promotion of the Hindko language, literature and Hindkowan culture

Through a resolution, the literary society urged the government to implement its decisions of establishment of a Hindko Academy and Department for Hindko Studies that were taken way back in 1987 and 1995, respectively. “These institutions are a must to carry out organized research on the Hindko language, which is the second main regional language of the province, spoken not only in Peshawar, Nowshera, Kohat and Hazara regions of the NWFP, but also in Pothowar and Kashmir,” the resolution added.

The office-bearers of the Gandhara Hindko Board welcomed the launching of the literary society and extended it all-out cooperation to hold literary activities on the university campus.

Gandhara Hindko Board holds free medical camp at Balakot

January 29th, 2006 (09:52 am)

By Aftab Ahmad

PESHAWAR: The Gandhara Hindko Board, a literary, cultural and social welfare organization, held another free medical camp at the quake-hit area of Balakot to extend treatment to the survivors of the deadly October 8, 2005 tremor.

The two-day camp was held at the residence of a local physiotherapist, Khursheed Ahmad, who is settled in the Michigan state of the USA and has been in his hometown after the devastating earthquake hit this area and other parts of Azad Kashmir, last year. The survivors suffering from various diseases were examined and given medicines free of cost.

The in charge of the Medical Wing of the Gandhara Hindko Board, an eminent Orthopedic and Laser Spinal surgeon, Dr Shabbir Awan, led the medical team that comprised of Dr Salahuddin of the Khyber Medical College (General Medicines), Dr Abdul Shafiq (Consultant Physiologist at Lady Reading Hospital ) and Mr Taj Wali (Physiotherapist at the Fatima Well-care Center).

A noted geologist and member of the Gandhara Hindko Board, Dr Riaz Ahmad, also accompanied the group of the volunteers.

It may be mentioned here that the Gandhara Hindko Board has already held two free medical camps, one each at Balakot and Muzaffarabad on the occasion of Eidul Fitr. The second camp at the Balakot was a follow-up to the first one where both previously examined and new patients turned up to benefit from the free medical services.

Daily Jang: Time for Hindko

December 18th, 2005 (10:16 am)

http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/dec2005-weekly/nos-18-12-2005/lit.htm#1

By Raza Rahman Khan

Hindko is one of the regional languages of the NWFP that could not develop in the manner it should have. The vicissitudes of time pushed the language into oblivion, until efforts were made a few years ago to revive the language and thus its literature. The problems with Hindko have been manifold and multifaceted. Languages thrive when literary work is done in them. Unfortunately, in Hindko in the last century or so, no great quantity, let alone quality, of literature has been produced. Ziauddin, who is secretary of the local literary organisation, Gandhara Hindko Board (GHB), informed me that there are only 100-150 books of Hindko available.

This situation of the Hindko language has alarming ramifications. Because of the lack of books, avid literary aficionados, or for that matter more casual Hindkovan readers, all have reason for turning away from the language.

Of late there have been some efforts by certain literary-cum-social circles to promote the language. In this regard Gandhara Hindko Board has published some 14 books. But there has been no great quantitative and qualitative improvement in Hindko literature of the kind that might be desired. Ziauddin says the reason for the paucity of Hindko literature has been the lack of official support and the ineffectiveness of the non-governmental literary and social organisations.

Nevertheless, events like international conferences on Hindko may prove important in sensitising the Hindkovans to the state of their language. Of late, GHB, taking the lead on this front organised the World Hindko Conference in Peshawar. Peshawar, being the city in which the largest number of Pakhtoons in the world live, has been hosting the World Pakhtu Conference every second year for quite some time now.

The greatest achievement of the Hindko Conference was that it gave the Hindko literati and intellectuals the opportunity to reflect on the ability of the language to survive in the global village, and the cultural imperialism that accompanies it.

The Conference came up with some very good resolutions for the promotion of the language. The establishment of a Hindko Academy in Peshawar University on the pattern of the Pashto Academy is indeed a well-considered demand, provided the institution manages to become a hub of Hindko literature and literary figures.

Hindko has been a household language of the Hindkovans, but otherwise it has never been a medium for community gatherings or cultural associations. For such occasions the Hindko speakers often opt for Urdu. "It was way back in the 1970s that Hindkovans started shying away from speaking their language, and thus inflicted a colossal loss on the language and its literature", says noted writer Zahoor Ahman Awan, who is also chairman of the Gandhara Hindko Board. Any language develops only if the day to day business of the people is conducted in it. For this neglect, the Hindkovans can blame no one but themselves. "Yes, the attitude of the Hindkovans towards their language has been the main stumbling block in its development", agrees Ziauddin.

Although Hindko is widely believed to be a derivative dialect of Punjabi that came to the Pakhtoon lands only after the Sikh occupation of the Frontier in the 1830's, Dr. Zahoor Ahmad Awan is of the view that the language is 5000 years old. Tracing the history of Peshawar, which is the main centre of Hindko language, Dr Awan contends that in a city which is so old, some language had to be spoken before the Sikhs, and that was no other than Hindko. "However, the problem is that we lost all literature which had been produced in the language."

Dr Zahoor Awan is perhaps quite right in saying that "If a language has force, any kind of literature, whether political or purely literary, can dovetail into it, and can allure people to read it". But keeping in view the listless attitude of most Hindkovans, save some literary and social figures, an improvement in the quality and quantity of its literature seems the main option for its survival. It falls to the leading lights of Hindko culture and language movements, most of whom are wealthy businessmen of Peshawar, to contribute financially to these efforts.

Dr Awam and his GHB schema for the promotion of Hindko language has three levels: to create awareness among the Hindkovans about their language; to give them a platform for debate and dialogue; and to establish an academy for Hindko's promotion.

"The promotion of Hindko could be greatly served if highbrow literature from languages like Pashto, Urdu, Persian and English is translated into Hindko", said Dr Awan.

Against the backdrop of the media revolution and the contemporary trends of demassification, which bring with them media for specialised audiences with specific linguistic, cultural, ideological or infotainment interests, Hindko luminaries must try to get as much media space and time as possible. At this particular moment the establishment of a Hindko TV channel seems a far cry. The media could serve as appropriate conduits for the promotion of Hindko. Their shared experience could also eliminate the cultural differences between different pockets of Hindko speakers in areas like Peshawar, Hazara and Kohat, leading to the emergence of a standard Hindko dialect and written language.

Dawn: World Hindko Conference - Pledge to save a language

December 4th, 2005 (07:05 pm)

http://www.dawn.com/weekly/books/books3.htm

By Sher Alam Shinwari
December 4, 2005

The first ever world Hindko conference, with an aim of promoting the Hindko language and culture, was held recently in Peshawar under the auspicious of the Gandhara Hindko Board, a literary cum cultural organization. Attended by some 200 delegates who represented the Hindko speaking community in Europe, America, the UAE, the conference also attracted delegates from Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Quetta, Multan, Bahawalpur, Abbotabad, Mansehra, Kashmir, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat, Potohar and Chitral.

On the occasion linguists, researchers and scholars read out papers on the origin, history and evolution of the Hindko language and literature produced in the language. The notion that Hindko is a dialect of Punjabi was rejected as according to an epitaph written in Khurashti script that was excavated from a well in Taxila, the Hindko language is as old as 5,000 years.

Held over two consecutive days (November 19 and 20), the conference had six sessions. The NWFP Senior Minister Sirajul Haq, District Peshawar Nazim Haji Ghulam Ali and two state ministers, Dr Naseem Ashraf and Anisa Zeb Tahir Kheli, represented the provincial and federal governments ,respectively. They supported the demands of the Hindko conference organizers. Sirajul Haq announced a Rs2,50,000 grant for this sole purpose while Haji Ghulam Ali, in addition to his Rs1,00,000, also promised to allocate free land for the establishment of a Hindko academy. Similarly, the state ministers announced Rs1,00,000 each for the Gandhara Hindko Board.

Professor Dr Zahoor Ahmad Awan, Chairman Gandhara Hindko Board (GHB), while introducing the board informed the audience that the Hindko Literary Society (HLS), an active literary organization has been rendering laudable services for the promotion of the Hindko language since its inception. It had founded the Gandhara Hindko Board, a literary cum cultural organization in 1993. The main objectives of the board were to create awareness among the Hindko speaking community besides encouraging the promotion of Hindko. Being a research institution it has brought out more than a 100 books on a variety of topics including a Hindko dictionary containing over 40,000 words along with phrases and translation of the Holy Quran in Hindko. It must be pointed out here that it did this without the financial support of the government.

The GHB since then has organized numerous literary seminars, conferences and mushairas. It also brings out a monthly literary magazine Hindkowan and arranges regular critical sessions on a weekly basis under its literary wing, the Gandhara Adabi Aikhat, which was founded in 1997 to encourage young writers of the language and to improve its readership. Syed Muhammad Ameer Shah Qadri Gillani is the founding patron of the Gandhara Adabi Aikhat while Syed Zafar Ali Shah is its patron-in-chief. Syed Noorul Hasnain Gillani (Sultan Agha) is a patron of the GHB. The cabinet includes Prof Dr Zahoor Ahmed Awan (chairman), Haji Muhammad Haleem Jan (chief organizer), Dr Adan Gul (vice chairman) and Muhammad Ziauddin (secretary). The workers coordinate with the cabinet members comprising Dr Salahuddin, Zafar Naveed Jani, Ahmed Nadeem Awan, Muhammad, Rafiq Kamran, Aftab Ahmed, Liaqat Hussain, Ijaz Hussain, Khalid Sultan Khawaja, Sharif Farooq and Yawar Naseer.

Speaking on the occasion, Sirajul Haq said that if they could establish departments of subcontinental languages in European countries then why can’t we do the same here by establishing a Hindko department. Dr Syed Amjad Hussain Zaidi (Baba-i-Peshawar), in his remarks, pointed out that the Hindko language suffered greatly during the British raj. Tribal wars and so were given more importance than the promotion of local culture. Sabir Hussain Imdad in his research paper revealed that the Hindko language can be traced back to Hazrat Adam (AS) and Hazrat Nooh (AS). Baba-i-Hindko, Mukhtar Ali Nayyar, said Hindko is spoken in Peshawar, Kohat, D.I. Khan, Hazara, Nowshera, Akora, Potohar, Jhelum, Kashmir (occupied and Azad) and parts of Karachi. It is taught in India and there is a separate Hindko department in Kashmir University.

Mukhtar Ali Nayyar elaborated on the workings of GHB’s well-equipped library and research cell. They are busy carrying out substantial scientific research in many fields pertaining to Hindko prose, poetry, linguistic, history and culture. “The main objective of the board is to promote Hindko language and literature and popularize the Hindkawan culture. To save the historic monuments of the walled city from further ruin is yet another important aim of the organization,” he maintained.

Prof Khatir Ghaznavi in his research paper titled “Hindko da mustaqbil” (The future of Hindko) said that Hindko was the mother and not the daughter, of other languages. He observed that the language had potential to maintain its identity in the global village.

Pointing to looming dangers, Dr Sabir Kalurvi said that Hindko was under the threat of English, Urdu and Pushto words. He maintained that language has its roots in culture and civilization which makes no language great or small. In fact, he termed the Hindko dictionary mentioned earlier as incomplete as it lacked references to local culture and different dialects of Hindko. “No dictionary could be comprehensive and complete unless it carried words, phrases and idioms used by common speakers of a particular language,” he said.

Punjabi scholar Shafqat Tanveer Mirza said that regional languages are being ignored by successive governments. He called for a formation of an All Languages Restoration Alliance (ALRA) to serve better the cause of the respective people in the country.

Dr Sabir Afaqi, a scholar of Gojri from Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir, in his scholarly paper titled “A comparative study of Gojri and Hindko” revealed that Hindko had a close linguistics relationship with regional languages especially with the Gojri language. “Gojri and Hindko in a sense are one name of the two cultures,” he observed.

Prof Dr Elahi Bakhash Awan, a renowned UK based Hindko scholar and author of 28 books, who wrote his first PhD thesis “The phonology of verbal phrase in Hindko” in 1974 from London University, in his paper observed, “The civilization of the Hindko homeland is over thousands of years old. This is not a slogan. Nor is it a sentimental statement. On the contrary it is based on strong historical, archaeological, literary and linguistic evidence. The myth that the Aryans brought civilization to this part of the world implies that there was no civilization in the subcontinent before their arrival. The fact is that the Aryans who invaded this land were ruthless enough to have destroyed the great civilization of the Hindko land when they occupied it.”

Raja, Rasalo, Dr Karimullah, Dr Ejaz Rahi, Inamullah, Prof Ghulam Ahmad Shad, Malik Safdar Awan, Mashkoor Saberi, Dr Anwaar Chesti, Muhammad Aslam Jan, Sultan Muhammad Shaheen, Sardar Khan Fana, Muhammad Jan Atif, Prof Mehrab Khawar, Wilayat Azhar, Farooq Jan Babar, Agha Anwar Gul, Prof Bashir Ahmad Soz, Haider Zaman Haider, Dr Inayatullah Faizi and Dr Shahbaz Malik read out their thought-provoking research papers on the comparative study of Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Kashmiri, Gojri, Potohari, Khowar, Torwali and Seraiki. At the end of the programme, 40 GHB awards and souvenirs were given away to the scholars and writers who contributed to Hindko language and literature.

Also, a grand world Hindko mushaira was held at the historical Gorghtree in which more than 80 prominent Hindko poets took part. Also messages sent in by the once residents of the walled city and prominent writer R.R. Chopra and Bollywood greats like Dilip Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, Prof Dr Satiapal Anand and Prof Dr Anand Pamela (Professors of comparative studies in Washington DC) were read out in which they showed their love for Hindko and Peshawar. The visitors and participants took a keen interest in the Hindko bookstalls and bought many old and newly published books on various topics in the language.

==Resolutions==

A committee comprising Dr Elahi Bakhash Awan, Prof Dr Fazil Chesti, Dr Inayatullah Faizi, Prof Dr Fahmida Hussain, Sabir Hussain Imdad and Aftab Ahmad adopted 13 resolutions which were passed unanimously by the participants. These are as follows:

1. Hindko is the second main regional language of NWFP. The government should forthwith implement its decision of setting up a Hindko Academy so that research on the preservation and promotion of Hindko language and literature is conducted in an organized manner.

2. The Department for Hindko Studies should be set up at the University of Peshawar and the University of Hazara to facilitate higher research on Hindko language and literature.

3. An Institute of Hindko Language and Culture should be set up for the promotion of Hindko language and Hindkowan culture.

4. A Hindko Adabi Board should be set up under official patronage.

5. Arrangements should be made to introduce Hindko as a medium of instruction at primary level in Hindko speaking areas.

6. The state-run radio and television should give due coverage to Hindko language.

7. The birth anniversaries of great Hindko mystic poets Sain Ahmad Ali Peshawari and Sain Ghulam Din Hazarvi should be celebrated officially at the provincial level.

8. A Sain Ahmad Ali Chair should be set up at the University of Peshawar and a Sain Ghulam Din Hazarvi Chair at Hazara University to facilitate research work on these great Hindko mystic poets.

9. The government should construct a monument in memory of Sain Ahmad Ali Peshawari at his mazar.

10. The April 23, 1930 Qisssa Khwani firing incident should be included in the course of study to pay tributes to the people of Peshawar who laid down their lives for the cause of freedom.

11. Hindko should be inserted in the mother tongue column of the census form in the next population count.

12. The important places in Peshawar, Kohat, Hazara, Nowshera, Potohar and Kashmir should be named after prominent Hindkowan personalities.

13. Hindko speaking members of the NWFP Assembly should be allowed to address in Hindko and the assembly proceedings should also be recorded in their mother tongue.

pic: http://img226.imageshack.us/img226/1747/books39ky.jpg

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