Hospitality, as a traditional segment of Pukhtun society, is almost a story of the past, with the development of infrastructure and modern means of transportation.
Before this, a traveller or a stranger going on ‘mule tracks’, did worried about lodging if night befall him or feel hungry. He could go to any Hujra and was fed without asking for, could spent a night and leave when he wanted.
But now these traditions are almost extent. Traditional Hujras no more exist and now hotels and food spots are available everywhere. Only close intimate friends and relatives visit each other. Buner, as other parts of Pukhtun belt, was once famous for traditional hospitality. There were some Khans in each village, whose Hujras were open for strangers. It was amazing that these Hujras were known far and wide, without any propagations. Someone travelling through Elai would eventually stay at the Hujra of Shamshi Khan, Shah Raza Khan or Babar Khan because he had learnt from other travellers, their names and way of entertaining way farers.
Similarly at Daggar, the descendents of Taj Khan were known to welcome guests. In Gokand, there was Sarfaraz Khan, in Batai Naqshay Malak, so on and so forth. But the family that kept the tradition alive even in these modern times is that of Zarin Khan of Kalpanai. During my stay at Buner, I never saw their Hujra without without guests in scores of number. Zarin Khan, his son Amir Nawab Khan, brother Hazrat Umar and his nephews, Bashir Khan and Habibur Rehman (Ex Provincial Minister) were attending the guest like servants. It was said that they used 50 kg of ‘atta’ per meal time, cooked by female servants in domestic ‘ovens’ in the house.
Another such great name in hospitality was Abudl Hakim Khan of Koga. He had a large Hujra and men travelling on foot from far off places like Khadu Khel, Amazi or Mada Khel, used to flock at his Hujra for lunch. He was often seen half lying, with hands crossed on the back of his shaved skull, looking out the guests and felt satisfied within his generous heart.
After his death, his son, Musafar Khan kept the tradition alive. He was a Subedar in the road maintenance department of Swat State. After merger, he was made Road Inspector in the new setup.
Another famous Khan known for his hospitality was Yaras Khan of Gulono Bawrhai, Chagharzai. Said Karim Khan of Bajkata, Nadir Khan of Rega, Rashid Khan and Jamshid Khan of Dherai and Sayyid Sikandar Shah of Malka were known for keeping this tradition as well.