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May 8, 2021

Potohar region has rich language, literature

May 8, 2021

Islamabad Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) Chairman Dr. Yousuf Khushk said the Sawan Civilisation was one of the oldest in the world as early human fossils were discovered along the Sawan River.

"The Potohari language is the language of the settlements on the banks of the Sawan River. The region covering Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal and Jhelum has a treasure of language and literature," he told an online Potohari ‘Hamdiya and Naatiya Mushaira’ organised by the PAL.

The presidium consisted of Akhtar Usman (Islamabad), Shiraz Tahir (Mandra) and Saqib Imam Rizvi (Gujar Khan). Yasir Mahmood Kayani (Kallar Syedan), Shiraz Akhtar Mughal (Gujar Khan) and Shamsa Noorin (Islamabad) were the chief guests.

The PAL chairman said Potohari, like other Pakistani languages, has a centuries-old tradition of folk literature but the written documents had been available since the beginning of the twentieth century.

He said that it was still a matter of research as to who wrote the first poem in Potohari.

"Baqi Siddiqui has the honor of being the first well-known poet of Potohari who has written poetry in Potohari as well as in Urdu."

The PAL chairman said that like other Pakistani languages, Hamad and Naat in Pothohari also started in the form of folk literature.

"Since Potohari is linguistically close to Punjabi, ‘Seraiki’ and ‘Hindko’, their linguistic and literary connections are also better. The mood of ancient poetry in Punjabi and Seraiki is mystical. Potohari poetry also painted itself with the same mystical temperament," he said.

He said since Mian Muhammad Bakhsh lived in an area where the language was Potohari, his Punjabi poetry was also rich in Potohari colors and not only did he have a mystical temperament but he also recited regular hymns and ‘naats.’

"The tradition of Potohari's famous song ‘Charbita’ has been going on for centuries. In this folk genre, which was arranged with the rhythm of a ‘sittar’ and a pitcher, the singer used to recite ‘Hamdiya and Naatiya Charbita’ in the beginning."

The PAL chairman said that most of the evolution of Potohari literature in the last three decades of the twentieth century was due to Radio Pakistan and PTV. Most of the literature in this period was written for broadcasting only.

In those days, there were regular Hamad and Naat recitations on radio and TV. From these recitations, regular Naat was sung in Potohari. From this platform, there is hardly any collection of Potohari among all literary friends from the Pothohari language and literature today. In which there was no ‘Hamad and Naat.’ ‘Hamdia and Naatiya mushairas’ are now being held regularly.

"This Mushaira is also a link in the same chain."

Noman Razzaq and Malik Abdul Saboor were the moderators.

Participants of Mushaira included Rehman Hafeez (Islamabad), Javed Ahmed (Kahuta), Zaman Akhtar (Sohawa), Abdul Waheed Qasim (Rawat), Ashfaq Hashmi (Wah Cantt), Zahoor Ahmad Naqi (Rawalpindi), Abid Hussain Janjua (Kallar Syedan), Ilyas Babar Awan (Islamabad), Shahid Latif Hashmi (Sukho), Farid Zahid (Gujar Khan), Ghulam Raza Shakir (Gujar Khan), Zakir Mahmood Zakir (Gujar Khan), Hussain Amjad (Attock), Muhammad Sharif Shad (Rawalpindi), Qamar Abdullah (Bhata), Ejaz Gohar (Wah Cantt), Faisal Irfan (Bhankali), Amir Habib (Jhelum), Nazakat Ali Mirza (Wah Cantt), Naveed Aslam (Chakwal), Sultan Mahmood Chishti (Gujar Khan), Shakur Ahsan ( Gujar Khan), Yasir Mahmood Yabi (Chontra), Sajjad Haider (Dawlatullah) and others presented Hamadiya and Naatiya poetry in Potohari language.