Samandar Khan alias Samandar was a renowned Pashto poet. He was born in village Badrashee, Nowshera in January 1901. His famous works include a book ‘Da Quran Jarha’. This book was published with the financial assistance of the Ruler of Swat, Miangul Abdul Haq Jahanzeb.
How Samandar Khan Samandar got access to the Ruler of Swat is an interesting story. He has related this episode of his life in a booklet, under the title of ‘Path’. As we know the word ‘path’ is a multi-meaning idiom of Pashto language. It describes almost all the super qualities of Pashtu’s social life that include friendship, steadfastness, sacrifice, honour, love, respect, and supreme loyalty.
He relates in the above mentioned book that during the Red Shirt Movement, the authorities decided to arrest him. He was running in hiding for his life. As he was followed by officials of secret service, so he spent his time roaming here and there. One evening, he was passing near Islamia College, Peshawar. He saw some students playing Tennis in the college ground and a young boy caught his attention. One evening a ‘Khan’ from Charsadda saw him in the vicinity of the college. The Khan was a friend of Samandar and informed him that the tennis player is a prince of Swat and is going to be the next Ruler of Swat. He further told him that the student .i.e. Jahanzeb was his friend and he stays with him in summer every year in Swat. He promised him that he would take Samandar along with him the next summer to Swat. In short, the Khan brought him to Swat and introduced him to the young prince Jahanzeb. He was warmly welcomed at the royal court. He stayed with prince Jahanzeb that summer. He was invited next year as well and so his year wise sojourn in Swat continued since then. He used to recite his poems to Wali Sahib after evening meals.
Samandar Khan Samandar wrote the State Anthem of Swat as well, which was much appreciated by the Ruler. His books were subsequently published with the financial by the State and distributed free in the territorial jurisdiction of Swat. Wali Sahib conferred upon him the title of ‘Sithara Asman-e-Abab’ meaning the Star of the sky of literature.
Samandar Khan Samandar wrote the book ‘Path’ describing the ups and downs of his relations with the Ruler of Swat. I had read this book some sixty years ago, when I was a student and visited the Hujra of Alqamuth Khan, alias ‘Ako’. The book is now not available in the market but probably exist in the archives of Pashto Academy , Peshawar.
Note: Two articles with the title ‘Path’ were published in Urdu Newspaper Daily Azadi on 12th December 2012 & 20th January 2013 respectively. Those columns may be consulted for further details regarding the close relationship between Wali Sahib and Samandar Khan Samandar.