By Dr Inayatullah Faizi
Legendry personality and socio-cultural elite of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Noor Afzal Khan alias Afzal Miki, was 89 when he passed away in Chitral on Sunday. However, he was still active and smart physically as well as mentally.
He was born in 1925 in the royal family of Katoor origin. His great grandfather Mohtaram Shah II ruled Chitral state from 1788 to 1838. His grandfather Nizarab Shah was one of the brothers of Shah Amanul Mulk who is considered the most powerful and ambitious ruler of Chitral from 1854 to 1892 (38 years). In the culture of Chitral music, poetry, singing and dancing are not confined to a particular downtrodden class. These traits were enjoyed by the ruling elite as well. Accordingly, Noor Afzal Khan became famous and popular in music and singing. He was a classic player of traditional musical instrument Chitrali sitar.
Noor Afzal Khan alias Afzak Miki was the first singer of Khowar language from Chitral who performed at All-India Radio Peshawar at the age of 17 in 1942. He was sent to the radio station along with Ghulam Nabi by HH NasirulMulk, the then ruler of Chitral. Apart from other Khowar songs, he also recited praise songs of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The song was composed by Shahzada Hessamul Mulk and it reads:
Ki lash laris mit saf Maxar doyuKhuday weshkyar bando xak doyu
Translation: The moon, the stars and the flowers, all these are messengers of God. They invite you to see the glory of His beautiful creature. The Radio broadcast of Khowar song was Landmark in the literary and cultural history of Chitral. He was contemporary of popular poet’s singers, performers and cultural personalities. i.e. retired Subedar Mehboob Alam, Ajdaba Khan, Taleem Khan, Habib Gul, Mir Gul, Samaner Khan, Shah Gulzar, Ali Zahor, Afsar Khan, Rehmat Elahi, Gul Nawaz, Muhammad Hasan and Fatahuddin. He also encouraged young singers and artists. Among others Ansar Elahi, Aftab Alam, Mansoor Shabab, Shoukat Ali and Sultan Ghani were his favorite artists among the younger generation.
He was a lively and charming personality. With his sad demise, Chitral has lost one of the greatest promoters of Kho culture. His son Ahmed Afzal Khan is confident that his legacy will continue to flourish.]]>