Qalandar Momand Life and struggle | Biography

By Shaheen Buneri
The eminent Pashto writer, poet, playwright, linguist, critic, research scholar and the patron chairman of the Peshawar Press Club, Prof. Habibur Rehman Qalandar Momand, devoted his whole life to the promotion of Pushto language and development of critical thought among the budding Pakhtun writers and poets.

Qalandar was born on 1st September, 1930. After passing his matriculation examination with distinction, he got admission at historic Islamia College. From his early days, he had a special flair for literary and research pursuits. He was a true revolutionary who worked all his life for the social, political and cultural emancipation of his people. He got his MA in English literature and LLB degrees from the University of Peshawar with distinction.

He started his practical life as an employee in the agriculture department, but his restless soul did not allow him to stay in one place and soon he switched over to Angus Robertson, a private construction company.

Qalandar remained the secretary of the famous literary organization, Ulasi Adabi Jirga. In 1962, he launched another representative literary organisation by the name of Da Saho Lekonkyo Maraka and worked as the secretary general of this organisation till his death. This organization introduced a number of new trends in the Pashto poetry and criticism and encouraged a large number of budding writers in their literary activities.

Later on, his literary taste impelled him to join teaching as a profession. He performed his duties as a dynamic and versatile teacher of English at the Government Colleges in Peshawar and Abbottabad. In 1980, Qalandar was appointed as the principal of the Law College of the Gomal University, Dera Ismael Khan.

In 1983, he devoted himself to the compilation of the first authentic Pakhto dictionary, Daryab, and accomplished this task in 1993. He was not only a versatile writer of Pushto, Urdu, Hindko, Arabic and Persian but also a bold journalist who contributed numberless articles to the well-known English dailies.

He started his journalistic career as a reporter with the daily Al-Haq. He also worked in different capacities with the dailies Anjaam, Shehbaz, Bang-e-Haram, Khyber Mail, Peshawar Times, Frontier Guardian, Naqeeb, Laar, Rehbar, Nangyalay, Sarhad and Masawaat.

He performed his duties as a reporter for the famous weekly magazines of the former East Pakistan like the Weekly Holiday and Young Pakistan.

As a political figure, he was the most active and enthusiastic activist of the late Bachaa Khan's Khudai Khidmatgar movement. During his struggle against Ayoub Khan's martial law regime, he was removed from service and kept at the Multan, Lahore, Nowshera and Peshawar jails as a political prisoner.

He has a large number of research and creative books to his credit, among which his two books, Gujrai of Pakhto fiction (1957) and Sabawon of poetry collection (1976) got immense popularity among the lovers of the Pakhto literature. His research works include A Critical Study of Khairul Bayan, Pata Khazana fil Mezan, Nazmiyat, Translation of the Chapter on Criticism from Introduction to the Study of English Literature by Hudson, Da Rehman Baba Kuliyat, Da Muhammadi Sahibzada Diwan, Critical Study of two books of Munshi Ahmad Jan, Hagha Dagha and Da Qissa Khwani Gup and Da Abol Qasim Diwan. Qalandar Momand was decorated with the Pride of Performance Award and Award for Democracy by the Government of Pakistan for his meritorious services in the fields of literature and journalism.

Being a multi-dimensional personality, he will be remembered for his outstanding services to the Pakhto literature.

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