Mir Gul Khan Naseer: the pioneer of Balochi revolutionary poetry
By Fazal Baloch
December 6 is marked as the 28th death anniversary of Mir Gul Khan Naseer who enjoys an unparalleled position in the pantheon of Balochi poets. With his inspirational verses, he gave a new dimension to modern Balochi revolutionary poetry in the post-partition period. Born in 1914, at Nushki, Balochistan, Gul Khan made his first appearance in the realm of literature in the early 40s during the hay-days of the Progressive Movement. He was among the few Progressive Balochi writers who stayed committed to the ideology of the said movement till their last breath. Initially, he used Urdu as the medium of his poetic expression, but soon diverted his attention from Urdu and began inking poems in his first language, Balochi. “Gulbang”, the first collection of his Balochi poetry appeared in 1951.
It is also marked as the first ever collection of modern Balochi verse. As he drew inspiration from the Progressive Movement, the poor peasant who is bereft of attire and footwear, time and again appears in his poetry, for whom he dreams of a society where injustice, cruelty, indiscrimination and suppression have no room. In Gul Khan’s poetic dictionary, one can hardly find expressions like rosy cheeks, intoxicated eyes and scented locks. Instead, it is adorned with typical expressions like hunger, empty stomach, shirtless people, darkness and oppression to mention a few. It may seem somewhat strange, yet true, that despite his close affiliations with tribal leaders, so for, Gul Khan Naseer is the only Balochi poet who vehemently condemns the deeply rooted tribal society of Balochistan. He has always viewed the tribal sardars and landlords as the tormentors of poor farmer and the ordinary masses and raised his voice for social justice, equality and, above all, reverence of humanity. A quatrain goes like:
When the world starts to constrict around the poor man His mutilated naked form is left to fend for his hungry gut
Then it’s better from this life of misery and torture If war ensues, heads roll & lavish palaces are burnt to the ground (Translated by Anonymous.)
Mir Gul Khan Naseer has rendered equally valuable contributions in the field of translation. In 1980, he translated Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Sar-i-wadi-Seena into Balochi under the title Seena-i-Keechag aa. In 1983, he translated a few selected poems of Shah Abdul Latif Bhathai entitled Shah Lateef Gosheet. His interest as a translator was not confined to literature. He has also rendered a couple of English books into Balochi. In 1979, he translated General Dyre’s The Raiders of Frontiers under the title Balochistan kay Sarhadi Chapa Mar. Similarly, in 1969 he rendered Longworth Dams the Baloch Race into Balochi under the title Kouch o Baloch.
As a historian Mir Gul Khan Naseer is an authority figure on Balochistan history. His book Tareekh- i-Balochistan is considered as an authentic source on the subject. Mir Gul Khan Naseer was a born nationalist and remained associated with various political organisations in his political career, which spans more than four decades. In 1936, he served as the first general secretary of the Anjuman-i-Isamia-i-Kalat. In the following year, he became the first vice president of the famous Kalat State National Party. After the annexation of the Kalat state into Pakistan, he joined the Pakistan National Party and the National Awami Party and served as the latter’s provincial president in Balochistan. In 1972, he served as the senior minister in the maiden provincial cabinet of Balochistan.
Mir Sahib was incarcerated on and off on various trumped up charges and he spent a total of some fifteen years behind bars. Though these years were traumatising as he underwent severe inhuman torture in torture cells, they were quite productive for Balochi literature as he accomplished most of his literary projects during the days of his imprisonment. Mir was a seasoned politician, but today he is better known for his revolutionary poetry. He enjoys the same status in Balochi literature as does Habib Jalib in Urdu. He is the first modern Balochi poet who made his oppressed people aware about their rights to liberty and self-determination. Today, from Atta Shad to Allah Bux Bozdar, almost upon all modern Balochi poets, the imprints of Mir’s poetry can easily be traced. Even the poets somewhat skeptical about Gul Khan’s poetic sensibilities couldn’t avoid his impact. In 2001, the government of Pakistan, belatedly realising the meritorious services of Mir Gul Khan Naseer, posthumously awarded him the Sitara-i-Imtiaz. According to Prof Dr Abdul Saboor Baloch, along with Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Mir Gul Khan Naseer was too nominated for the Lenin Prize by the USSR government, but the latter was not granted permission by the Ayub Khan’s regime to fly in to receive the said award. Mir Gul Khan Naseer passed away on December 6, 1983, from chronic lung cancer.
Courtesy by Daily Times