Selections from the Poetry of the Afghans, by H.G. Raverty, , at sacred-texts.com
Ashraf Khān, eldest son of Khushḥāl Khān, the subject of the preceding notice, was born in the year h. 1044 (a.d. 1634); and when the war, which had been carried on by his father and other Afghān chieftains, against the Mughal Emperor, died out, Khushḥāl, wholly disgusted with the world, resigned the chieftainship of the Khattak tribe in favour of Ashraf, a.h. 1093 (a.d. 1681.) The circumstances, which brought these matters about, having been related at length in the notice preceding Khushḥāl's poems, need not be repeated here.
Ashraf endeavoured for some time to carry on the government of his clan, and also to perform his duties towards the Mughal Government, by aiding the Peshāwar authorities in the administration of the affairs of that province; but he was opposed and thwarted in all his endeavours by his brother Bahrām, the same who endeavoured to take the life of his father, who styles him "Bahrām the Degenerate," and "The Malignant;" and by whose machinations, Ashraf was, at last, betrayed into the hands of Aurangzeb, in the year h. 1095 (a.d. 1683). The affairs of the Dakhan having called for the presence of that monarch, who continued in that part of India for several years, the Khattak chief was taken along with him, as a state prisoner; and was subsequently sent to the strong fortress of Bijāpūr, situated in what is, at present, termed the Southern Mahārata country, where he continued to languish in exile for the remainder of his life. He died in the year h. 1105 (a.d. 1693), and in the 60th year of his age.
Ashraf used, occasionally, to devote some of his leisure time to poetry, before he assumed the government of his clan, incited, doubtless, by the example of his brave old father, and his brothers Æabd-ul-Ḳādir and Ṣadr Khān, who were also gifted with the "cacoëthes scribendi." During his exile he wrote a great number of poems, and collected the whole, as they now stand, in the form of a Dīwān, or Alphabetical Collection. According to the usual custom among Eastern poets, Ashraf assumed the name of "The Severed" or "Exiled;" and many of his poems, written in the most pathetic style, plainly tell where, and under what circumstances, they were composed. The original Dīwān, or Collection, arranged and written by himself, at Bijāpūr, is still in the possession of his descendants, and from it the following poems were extracted; indeed, I am not aware that any other copy of his poems exists. Ashraf is regarded by the Afghāns as a good poet; but his effusions are, without reason apparently, considered difficult and abstruse.
When Afẓal Khān, his son, became firmly established in the chieftainship, he caused the remains of his father to be removed from Bijāpūr to Sarā’e—where the Khattak chiefs have been usually interred—a distance of some fifteen hundred miles.