At a first glance, Shaheen Buneri‘s book seems to be a medley of random thoughts but it is a well-connected story from the pen and brain of a young man .There are people who while finding no solution to the problems they are facing with, soon they begin narrating narrate it to others in order to mitigate their sense of being helpless.
But the problems never end, rather they get multiplied. However, a powerful narrative technique gives a new twist to it. True to the great Pashtun poet Khushal Khan Khattak’s words- [Born on the day of chaos / I am frequented by an endless unrest], the land of Pashtuns has been the battlefield down the ages. The ultimate sufferers are the Pashtuns; the beneficiaries are always the faceless monsters. The culture of Pashtun is peace,
The ultimate sufferers are the Pashtuns; the beneficiaries are always the faceless monsters. The culture of Pashtun is peace, tolerance and love but still his narrative is being projected to advocate violence and extremism –means ‘culture’ is indigenous but ‘ narrative’ is borrowed. This unusual phenomenon puts Pashtuns in jeopardy and in a deep identity crisis.
Shaheen Buneri a young restless soul, a poet and journalist is experiencing the same dilemma through which collective consciousness of Pashtuns passing through. He appreciates the unravel beauty of Swat, Malakand, Buner, Kohistan and Dir valleys. He explores past history and glory of Gandhara civilizations and judges the role of Pashtuns in this region. Nostalgia takes him deep down in the annals of history where fairies reigned over the highlands, rivers, lakes and plains of Pashtuns for centuries. He envisions the land of Pashtuns as the abode of permanent peace, love and tolerance, where the skilled residents carved out images of the ever –smiling Buddha.
Born in the lap of nature and nursed by the nature, Pashtuns lived a simple, hard but comfortable. He was trained only to sing and smile, only to sow the seeds of love to reap peace. He spoke one language and walked one path.
Shaheen Buneri like many others raises numerous questions which he believes have no answers. He walks in dreams to grapple with the harsh realities of Pashtuns but when he wakes up he finds himself sleeping a deep slumber to which Hamza Baba has referred to in one of his couplets. Baba says, I thought my cries would wake my people from their sleep but it dawned upon me that I, myself was sleeping a deep slumber.
He begins his story with Swat and takes readers to remote times and captions every important occasion and event with a beautiful tapa –three imbalanced liner poetic genres –reflective of our glorious past encompassing everything related to Pashtuns. Everybody knows that a narrative always is based on culture of the people. The strange thing is that Pashtuns disown their indigenous culture and own the borrowed narrative. Shaheen Buneri bemoans this very tragedy of Pashtuns.
Diwal Sara Khabaray of Shaheen Buneri is a must read for its fluent and interesting style of narration in Pashto.
By Sher Alam Shinwari
Sher Alam Shinwari is a writer and critic based in Peshawar.
THE PASHTUN TIMES