“I am a lover, and I deal in love. Sow flowers,
So your surroundings become a garden.
Don’t sow thorns; for they will prick your feet.
We are all one body,
Whoever tortures another, wounds himself.”
― Rahman Baba
One aspect highly neglected in the turmoils of today’s challenging life is the connection to artists, poets, people in their history, who advocated for peace, love and tolerance in their whole life. The Nangarhar cultural container consistently works to bring back the thoughts of renowned Pashtu pacifist poets to the public today.
People including female and male, local elders, poets and scholars had attended the event to have a look back to the life and legacy of Rahman Baba. The first part of the event was speeches around the life, poetry and thoughts of Rahman Baba. Speakers, including the director of Information and Culture Department of the province, explained how his thoughts can be useful for a peaceful life today. Abdur Rahmān Bābā (1653–1711) who was living towards the end of Mughal era, has written 343 poems collected in an anthology of his poems. Born in a remote village near Peshawar, Rahman had developed an understanding that emphasized on peaceful side of local culture.
As it is well-mirrored in his poems, the philosophy of his works is to live a satisfactory and content life where no one is to harass another human being. He preferred a simple life and said: “Though the wealthy drink water from a golden cup, I prefer this clay bowl of mine.”
Basir Ahmad Faisali said at the poetry event: “Everybody knows Rahman Baba and has information about his poetry and personality. That’s why he is given the title Baba (spiritual father) by the people so we should not forget what he has left behind for us.”
These events are always accompanied by artistic activities aimed to support local culture in a symbolic way. Local poets read their new poems and Rahman Baba’s poems were also recited in declamatory voice that was echoing in the space like a song of peace. Pointing to the cultural nature of its activities, the container also screened videos of Ipso’s different activities.
Also the container gifted the new governor a Pashtun traditional head cover and asked for his support in cultural field.
“Sow flowers to make a garden bloom around you,
The thorns you sow will prick your own feet.
Arrows shot at others
Will return to hit you as they fall.
You yourself will come to teeter on the lip
Of a well dug to undermine another.
Though you look at others with contempt,
It’s you whose body will be reduced to dust.
Humanity is all one body;
To torture another is simply to wound yourself.
Make your path straight now, by the bright light of day;
For pitch darkness will come without warning.”
― Rahman Baba