Collection of Poetics of Mir Zahid


Divan-i Mir Zahi Afghani Muhashi (Collection of poetics of Mir Zahid) is a collection of Pushto poems of Mir Zahid Afghani Muhashi. There is no information about this person other than his name, which appears in this collection. It is not known whether Mir Zahid is the author or the compiler. The collection is a lithographic publication, printed in Lahore in 1915. The contents and genre suggest that it is most likely a copy of an older work of Pushto language and literature. The work is in five sections. Section one (pages 1‒19) is organized by the Arabic alphabet and includes one or more poems starting with each of the 28 Arabic letters. Section two (pages 19‒45) follows no order. However, the poems contain similar themes, such as the importance and value of unity in a society, the power and immortality of God, and other ethical and doctrinal themes. Section three, the longest section (pages 46‒168), is organized according to an old Pushto alphabetic order, made up of 39 letters rather the current 45. One, or several, poems in this section starts or ends metrically with each of the Pushto alphabetic letters. Section four, which is only two pages, has few a Pushto rubayat (quatrains). Section five, also about two pages, has random verses from the poet, which seem to have been added by the publisher. All five sections contain various discourses about ethics, philosophy, knowledge, education, and related themes, major concerns of the Muslim literati classes, including Pushto poets, at the turn of 20th century, as well as earlier in the modern era. The collection has a number of distinctive, and even unique, characteristics. The poet or a later compiler has provided extensive commentaries and interpretations in the footnotes and margins. While the verses are in Pushto, the commentaries are almost entirely in Persian. In addition to its literary value, the book is an important source for intellectual history and for Pushto literary materials, which have remained unknown among scholars of Pushtun societies. The work has the official Afghan governmental emblem on its cover, but it also lists private sponsors. The first two patrons are introduced as “booksellers of Qandahar.” The third person, the designer of the cover page, is identified as Abdul Rashid Mahboob; his name appears on the bottom right-side of the cover page. This lithographic edition is 172 pages in all. The pages have clear Arabic numbering. A Persian handwritten verse note on the second blank page of this copy invokes a religious discourse from the medieval Persian poet Abu Said Abu al-Khair and states that the writer of the note, either the compiler or a later owner, wishes to live until the year 2015 or 2017.

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Title in Original Language

ديوان مير زاهد افغانى محشى

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Physical Description

172 pages ; 25 centimeters

Last updated: January 10, 2018