Honorary PhD degree sought for octogenarian Pashto writer

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Prominent writers of Pashto language and intellectuals on Sunday eulogised the literary achievements of Hamesh Khalil as a writer, poet, researcher, critic, political activist, fiction-writer and columnist.

Hamesh Khalil, 84, was the name of a great era stretching from his first book written in 1948 till today, said Dr Hanif Khalil in a reception hosted in the honour of Hamesh Khalil at Saleem Raz Lecture Hall of Research Library Peshawar.

Hanif Khalil said that Hamesh Khalil had more than 66 scholarly books to his credit in his 66 years of active service to literature and it was time that he should be given an honorary PhD degree by universities of Peshawar and Balochistan.

“Hamesh Khalil is one of the pioneer builders of Pashto literature and Pashto journalism as evident from his initial journals of Dawraan (time), Jamhoriat (Democracy) and Bagaram newspapers,” the scholar said.

Hanif Khalil said that Hamesh Khalil was associated with the political philosophy of Bacha Khan; however, when the nationalist parties deviated from the simple teachings of Bacha Khan and got indulged in worldly corrupt practices, he left the party openly and devoted his full energies to scholarly research despite the fact that he spent about 10 years in prison for his political thoughts. Most of his creative work was completed in those days of prison in 1950s and 60s, he added.

World Pashto Conference chairman Saleem Raz talked about his 50-year association with Hamesh Khalil. “Despite being a strict critic and impartial researcher, Hamesh Khalil is a noble, humble and friendly man, and is free of all prejudices and biases,” he said.

He said that Mr Khalil had not only discovered, edited and compiled the works of 12 classic poets and brought to light the unpublished works of Khushal Khan Khattak, but also wrote excellent critical reviews and biographical sketches of modern poets and writers.

“It is a pity that the senior most Pashto scholar has been ignored by Pashto media and coloumnists,” Mr Raz said.

Dr Perveiz Mahjoor said that Hamesh Khalil’s works should be compiled into different volumes. He requested Hamesh Khalil to write his autobiography which would be a fair account of the political and literary history of Pashto and the Pakhtuns of 20th Century.

Dr Fasihuddin, the founder of the library, said that Hamesh Khalil’s work needed to be translated into Urdu as it was full of creative thinking and trend-setting examples. He praised the recently published ‘Pashto-Writers Directory’ by Hamesh Khalil introducing the Pashto poets from 1800 to 1975.

Shahab Aziz Arman said that the recently completed PhD thesis on Hamesh Khalil by Dr Javed Iqbal of Balochistan University should be published.

Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2014