Alas! A glaring star fades

Shakespeare said “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Gul Nawaz Khaki had all the three to his credit. He was known to us because he preserved the classical heritage of our language, literature and specially music. Our classical music came to be known to us only through him. Both were each other’s identity, and both immortalized each other. gulThat all of us “pass through Nature to Eternity” is a reality, but very few can pass away leaving behind a legacy that makes them, in this world, almost eternal. Khaki was one of such chosen ones. Although he himself would always thank God for having lived a ‘full life’; but we, his lovers, say “would that he had lived for a few more years!” He died young. Young, because his heart never grew old. His was a uniquely versatile nature. He would feel at home with all ages and types of people. His personality was unmatchably multidimensional. He was a Sufi, a scholar, a poet, an unmatched vocalist, a writer, a researcher, a lexicologist, an activist, an orator and what not. You couldn’t help marveling ‘how can all these faculties combine in one man!’ He had a strange healing and soothing affect on his face. You might be rushing through the crowded Chitral Bazaar with a mind heavy partly with the burden of work and partly with the inexhaustible worldly appetites and pursuits; meanwhile Khaki would greet you with his peculiar smile, with his sweet and arresting way of talking, with his typical Khowar soothing expressions and motherese. Shaking hands with him, and looking at his evergreen face you would forget all your worries, stress and frustration. Leaving his hand you would go with a heart and mind lighter and more relaxed than before. Alas! The days are gone now. وقت کی چند ساعتیں ساغرؔ                    لوٹ آئیں تو کیا تماشا ہو                             His eyes had a deep impression of contentment in them, the impression that they had seen and observed a lot. They would look beyond all evil in society and people and would focus on good. His worry, if he had any, was that Chitral’s unique culture is at risk, given the growing material obsession, and our people are not realizing it. He would always stress upon people to take care of this invaluable asset. He himself was a living Chitrali-culture-and-tradition. He had enormous love and passion for Chitral’s cultural and literary heritage. As a living encyclopedia of Khowar language and literature he not only preserved the classical literature and music, but also contributed enormously to it by himself. We Chitralis owe him a lot. That he passed away is not what saddens me; what saddens me is that we could not inherit his passion. Khaki! You are not dead. You are living, and living eternally in our hearts. While you were around you were ‘Khaki’, if now you have gone to ‘Khak’ it makes but little difference.]]>

One Reply to “Alas! A glaring star fades”

  1. He asked me to tell him about Chitral, as he was planning to go to Chitral in ‘suitable time’.
    Very simple, sir; Kalash valleys, Chitral Fort, Birmoghlasht, Garam Chashma, Kaghlasht, Shandur, Boroghol….and yes, to enjoy the beauty, make sure you go there between April and August, otherwise you know, snowfal…no flight…and Lowari tunnel!!!
    Oh no dear, I have seen a lot of beautiful valleys here and abroad. In Chitral, I only want to enjoy ‘snow falls’ and the company of ‘Afzal Meki & his team’ said the head of department.
    Sir not at all, a snowfall is an amazing experience of course, (Rawlei band ki hoi tn wawoo pashis); anyway how do you know Afzal ‘Meki’ and company?
    While showing many classical Khowar music (videos) in his laptop he said; I have never seen such a cultured and exalted people. Colonel sb (from GB, who knows Khowar) and me usually watch and enjoy the captivating music. Though I do not understand the music, I can feel it and am really inspired by the liveliness of the people, particularly the elders. Please, make sure our meeting with these fascinating people.”
    I could not be more proud of my people and my culture any more! I happily suggested a few changes in the itinerary; December to March…..Anjuman-e-Taraqie Khowar….Afzal Meki, Chairman Shoukat, Gul Nawaz Khaki….Aftab, Mansur.
    Alas! Never came the ‘suitable time’ nor did we could meet those legends. So far, many of them left us behind with their charming memories—and now Khaki is a new addition.
    Paida Kahan hain aisey paraganda taba log
    Afsos, tum ko Mir say sohbat nahi rehi…
    Nobody can spare from the ultimate reality—death. Fortunates are those people, who will be remembered for their good deeds, services and love for humanity. No doubt, late Khaki was very fortunate in this regards. May Allah bless the beautiful soul with His special blessings. Ameen
    Nisar Ahmad Shah
    Garam Chashma
    November 18, 2013

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