Omantribune
Oman Tribune
Omantribune
Omantribune Search News
Web Oman
    Google Search Button
      Tribune
- Oman
- Soccer World Cup
- Other Top Stories
- Middle East
- Business
- Sports
- India
- Pakistan
- Asia
- Europe
- Americas
- Columnists
- Editorial
- Oman Mirror
- Special Features
- Cinema
- PDF Pages
- Weather
- Travel
- Currency Rate
- Hospitals
- Pharmacies
- Services
- Flight Timings
- Museum Timings
Omantribune Home Omantribune About Us Omantribune Advertising Information Omantribune Archives Omantribune Subscribe-Form Omantribune Jobs Omantribune Contact Us
Wednesday, July 23, 2014  

Afghanistan fights to reclaim cultural heroes, restore heritage
KABUL Interred a quarter century ago in Pakistan, the remains of Afghan poet Ustad Khalilullah Khalili now lie in a forlorn corner of Kabul University, brought here to be reburied so that no one else can lay claim to the revered poet-philosopher.  

He has no epitaph; only a few wilted bouquets lie at the grave of Afghanistan’s most prominent 20th century poet. Three policemen guard the site.  

But if President Hamid Karzai - who ordered the remains be disinterred from a grave in the Pakistani city of Peshawar last month - has his way, the reburial will become an assertion of Afghan culture over encroachment by Pakistan and Iran.  

“We brought him back from Pakistan because he was our poet and scholar,” said Mohammad Hussain Yamin, head of the Persian and Dari department at Kabul University. “We don’t want someone in future to say that he belonged to Pakistan just because he lived the final years of his life there.”  

The assertion of cultural sovereignty is part of an effort to unite Afghanistan and prove it can stand on its own after most foreign troops leave at the end of 2014.  

The government says it wants an end to “foreign interference”, usually a reference to Pakistan, but also Iran with which it is locked in a fierce debate over ownership of some of the greatest poets and philosophers in the region.  

Poetry is big in Afghanistan, from the time of the kings of the 10th century to the present day, permeating every level of society from children in school to warlords and even the austere Taliban who study long works of classical Persian poetry as part of their education in religious schools.  

It’s the thread that runs between Afghanistan’s often warring ethnic groups whether Tajik, Hazara, Pashtun, Uzbek, Turkmen, Nuristani, Baluch, or any of the many other sub-groups and clans.  

But along with the death and destruction of the past three decades, Afghans say they also lost a chunk of their rich cultural heritage with Iran, Pakistan and even Turkey claiming parts of it.  

Many, like Khalili, left the country to escape the wars and died in faraway lands which slowly began to claim them as their own, Afghanistan says.  

Now it aims to get its heritage back. “Iran wants to show the world it had a glorious past. This has been going on for years, they have been claiming many of our literary figures as their own. We cannot remain silent,” said Jalal Noorani, an adviser at the Information and Culture Ministry.  

Debate has long raged over Rumi, arguably the greatest Persian poet, but now as Afghanistan begins to stand on its feet, the claims and counter-claims have intensified not only over him but also others.  

Rumi, known as Mawlana Jalal-ud-Din Balkhi in Afghanistan and Mevlevi in Iran, was born in the 13th century in Balkh which was at the time an eastern part of the Persian empire of Khorasan but is now a province in northern Afghanistan.   

His family moved and they eventually settled in present-day Turkey where he wrote some of the greatest mystic Sufi poetry in Persian. Today, all three countries regard him as their national poet even though his poetry itself transcends borders, religion and ethnic divides.    

Reuters
NEWS UPDATES
Oman
NDC marks graduation of defence course batch
Sultanate, Japan hold talks to boost relations
ROP warns against use of firecrackers
OCCI hosts Futaisi
68m-rial road projects awarded in ’14
Other Top Stories
Israel onslaught leaves no place safe for Gazans: UN
15,000 displaced after Boko Haram raid in Nigeria
Slow progress in N-talks worries IAEA
‘Casablanca’ piano to be put up for sale in NY in Nov.
HM gets greetings for Renaissance Day
India
Pak firing at positions on LoC leaves soldier dead
IAS couple sacked after finding illegal assets worth $58.83m
Proposal to set up anti-terror hub shelved
Prasad blames UPA in judge row, Parliament rocked
232 teeth extracted from teen
Plan afoot to set up centres to help women distress callers
Middle East
Yemen Al Qaeda in bid to set up ‘emirate’
16 die as militias clash with troops in Benghazi
Mers virus found in Saudi camel barn air samples
Five girls injured in Pak acid attacks
Asia
Widodo clinches Indonesia poll with 53pc votes
China meat scandal hits US chains
S. Lanka probes gang rape of girl by sailors
Business
Five Omani banks get stable rating from Fitch
Apple asks suppliers to make 80m large-screen iPhones by year end
HSBC Oman logs 5.7m-rial profit in first half of year
S. Arabia to open up bourse
Sensex soars 311 points, crosses 26,000 mark
Axis Bank net rises 18%
Apple stocks turn sour for fund managers
ARM posts 9% rise in second quarter profits
Iata calls for review of global airspacesc
Credit Suisse posts huge loss as US tax evasion fine bites
Europe
Putin vows to aid crash probe
France defies US, Britain to sell warship to Russia
Turkey arrests dozens of top cops for wire-tapping, forgery
British probe finds efforts to enforce radical Islam on schools in Birmingham
Sports
Friendly city set for Friendly Games
Pakistani wrestlers rule out chances
Cook comes under fire to step down
Indian PM, Sachin praise Sharma’s heroics
Cook will never improve: Ponting
Real sign Golden Boot Rodriguez
World Cup in Qatar will not be held in summer: English FA chief
Rogers claims maiden stage victory
Zadran’s quick-fire 24 seals Afghanistan win
MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail geared up for UK race

Sports


International

© 2013 Oman Tribune. All rights reserved. Best viewed in 800 X 600 resolution