Selections from the Poetry of the Afghans, by H.G. Raverty, , at sacred-texts.com
Æabd-ul-Ḳādir Khān, son of Khushḥāl Khān, Khattak, and brother of Ashraf, the subject of the preceding notice, was born in the year E. 1063 (a.d. 1652), and is the most eloquent writer and poet of all Khushḥāl's sons, several of whom were poets of no mean ability. Although his father had little reason to be very partial towards his sons generally, on account of their very unnatural conduct, and unfaithfulness towards himself, on too many occasions; yet, upon the whole, Æabd-ul-Ḳādir appears to have been a favourite, and to have shared considerably in his father's affection.
Æabd-ul-Ḳādir was as good at the sword as at the pen; and in the battle with the Mughal troops at Kottah, a place in the vicinity of the Peshāwar district, the victory of the confederate Afghāns was chiefly owing to the skill displayed by the poet on that occasion; and it was he also who led the assault against that fortress, which, after three hours of severe fighting, he captured. He afterwards distinguished himself; in like manner, in the war of Bangash, during which operations he was wounded; and the successes gained in the war were celebrated in his name.
When his father abdicated the chieftainship of the tribe (as related in the notice of Khushḥāl and his writings), and the sons were each struggling to supplant each other, and grasp the vacant authority, Æabd-ul-Ḳādir did not hold back. He tried very hard
to gain the chieftainship, but fortune was unpropitious; and Ashraf, who, as the eldest son, had certainly the best right, was chosen by his father and the tribe to succeed him. When Ashraf was betrayed into the hands of the Mughals, and sent by Aurangzeb into the Dakhan as state prisoner, "Bahrām the Malignant," the brother, who had betrayed him, seized the chieftainship; but, subsequently, Afẓal Khān, the son of Ashraf, became chief of the clan.
To pay obedience to this nephew appears to have been extremely difficult and bitter for Æabd-ul-Ḳādir, who wished to hold the authority himself; and although the whole of his brothers, then living, sided with him in his ambitious designs, it was of no avail; for the tribe were unanimous in favour of Ashraf's son Afẓal, in whom was the hereditary right, as previously stated. The upshot, however, was, that Afẓal, the nephew, saw no other practicable solution of the difficulty, according to the custom of those days, than to get rid of all rivals; and, accordingly, Æabd-ul-Ḳādir, together with ten of his brothers, and a number of their sons, were put to death, at the village of Zamān Garraey, in one day, and buried in one grave; thus escaping the sorrows and troubles of chieftainship.
The poems of Æabd-ul-Ḳādir, which are deeply imbued with Ṣūfi mysticism, are thought very highly of by the Afghāns; and his language is extremely polished. His chief works, now known, are a Dīwān or Collection of Odes, from which the following poems are taken; a translation of Molawī Jāmī's celebrated poem of Yūsuf and Zulīkhā, from the Persian, which is rendered by the translator into the most difficult style of Eastern poetry, and is considered the most perfect of its kind in the Afghān language; the affecting love tale of Adam and Durkhāna’ī—which three or four other authors have written on, both in verse and prose—together with translations of Shaikh Saædī's Gulistān and Bostān, from the Persian
[paragraph continues] He is said, by his descendants of the present day, to have been the author of about sixty different works; but with the exception of a small volume on enigmas, charades, and verses of mysterious meaning, even the names of them are now unknown.
Specimens of his Odes in the original Pushto, together with a portion of Yūsuf and Zulīkhā, and the first part of the Gulistān, will be found in the "Gulshan-i-Roh," or Selections in the Afghān Language, published by me last year.