Thursday, July 14, 2016

Arzani Kheshgi


By Khan Barmazid


1814's Water-colour painting by Seeta Ram of Shrine of Arzani Kheshgi in Patna



Mullah Arzani Kheshgi was a Pashtun Sufi poet of Roshniya movement and originally belonged to Kasur (Punjab) where Kheshgi tribe of Pashtuns had settled in the times of Babur. Arzani Khesghi belonged to the Zerzai sub-tribe of Kheshgis. He was a profound scholar and a prominent figure in Pashto literature. He is the earliest known Pashto poet after Shaikh Isa Mashwani. He was the first poet to compose his "Deewan". He was a closest associate and follower of Bayazid Ansari (Pir Roshan). Mullah Arzani returned to India to propagate Bayazid Ansari's mission there. After a long residence in Patna , he died there in 1623 and is buried there. His tomb is in the Sultanganj area of Patna city. According to Patna Gazetteer, 1924(page-381), "A Mausoleum is erected over the remains of Shah Arzani, an Afghan by birth, who died here in 1623. His shrine is frequented by Muhammadans and Hindus alike  and in the month of Zikad an annual fair is held at the place , which lasts for three days and attracts five thousands votaries."


Arzani Kheshgi says that he has composed his poetry in four languages (Arabic, Persian , Pashto and Hindi)



The words Pashto Pashtun and Afghan are abundantly found in his poetry'




Akhund Darweza (who was strong opponent of Roshniya movement) states ;
 "Mullah Arzani came from India along with his two brothers , Mullah Omar and Mullah Ali, and joined Bayazid Ansari's company. They belonged to the tribe of Khwayshgi, Afghani. Mullah Arzani was a great poet. He composed verses of heresy , and heterodoxy in Persian , Arabic and Pashto".

Halnamah writes;
"After that (When Khalifa Yousaf came from "Badakhshan" after meeting Suleiman, and delivering to him Bayazid's book "Fakhr-at-Talibeen")  Bayazid deputed Khalifa Mullah Arzani to India to propagate his mission there , and the people could learn from him the knowledge of unity of God and gnosis"

Some of the couplets from poetry of Arzani are given below;


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Book consulted:

1- "The Roshnawite and Pashto literature", by Yar Muhammad Maghmoom Khattak, 1994 (Phd thesis)

2- Source of Photograph: British Library