Today’s Pashtuns are in such a state that makes many of us feel embarrassed about our identity and our culture. It seems as if everything is standing against us, and we’re constantly being destroyed, not just by others but by our own people (Pashtuns) as well. There seems to be almost no reason for us to feel pride in ourselves, and so many of us have turned a blind eye towards working to improve ourselves and our image. However, amidst all this, we forget that perhaps a step toward working for a better future for ourselves and our people is for us to study, understand, and appreciate our past–for many reasons, including learning from it and being inspired by it. We have had some beautiful leaders throughout our history, leaders who can and should inspire us with their activities and beliefs and achievements.
This idea to introduce a major, influential Pashtun personality to my readers (both Pashtun and non-Pashtun) will inspire us all to take the time to appreciate our past and learn something from it. Understand that what we are going through today is only a page in our history; it doesn’t have to destroy us and our children. Please understand that what I write about these personalities is intended only to spark the reader’s interest, not to discuss the leader’s entire life history and achievements.
Feel free to suggest your favorite Pashtun leaders, any Pashtun who makes you feel proud of being Pashtun. These people can be: political/social leaders, poets, singers/musicians, someone you know who has done someone beautiful and inspiring but who has not yet been recognized. Anyone. Anyone at all. We all need inspiration, and it’s time to seek it by acknowledging and thanking those who can give it to us.
Let me also point out, of course, that some of the leaders this series will cover are contemporary; they’re living right among us. Humans have a habit of celebrating and romanticizing their past and turn a blind eye towards the living legends among them, so I hope to introduce some of the influential leaders of our time as well.
I understand that many of these personalities fall under more than one category, but I have placed them under the category for which they are most appreciated and recognized.
So far, we’ve already introduced the following.
Ghani Khan (died 1996) (philosopher, poet, artist)
Khushal Khan Khattak (d. 1689) (political leader, poet)
Malalai of Maiwand (d. 1880) (may be identified as a military leader)
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (d. 1988) (political leader, spiritual leader, social activist)
Samar Minallah Khan (contemporary) (anthropologist, activist)
Bushra Gohar (contemporary) (politician)
Begum Nasim Wali Khan
Masoma Esmati Wardak
Social Activists / Humanitarian
Dr. Saba Gul Khattak
Academic and Literary Figures
Nazo Tokhi (Nazo Ana)
Dr. Salma Shaheen
Dr. Shaheen Sardar Ali
Mehmood Khan Achakzai
Academic and Literary
Dr. Rajwali Shah Khattak
Rehmat Shah Sail
Sardar Ali Takkar
* Suggestions for other categories and personalities are welcomed.*
[to be continued weekly. Please give me time to do this as frequently as time will permit me. Thank you for your understanding]