By Abdul Hai Habibi
I knew Alama Abdul Ali Akhundzada Khanozai Kakar since 1920. I was ten years old when I heard a singer from Kandahar, Baghi Akhundzada, singing the poems of Abdul Ali in the Arghandab orchards with his titillating voice. I remember well a song he sang one night:
Why is the tyrant turning her face from me?
The world is full of sunshine, why does she hides it from me?
These lines were written by the great scholar and poet, Abdul Ali from Pishin. Another piece of poem by this poet instilled the thought of philosophy in me. He says:
Passing through the garden, the birds were crying for me,
The flowers lamented over my sorrow all over.
Why do you, Abdul Ali, complain about the volupltious every minute?
I wish this cruelty was manifested earlier on me.
When I was on my way to India in the winter of 1935 I met the sage Akhundzada in the Quetta bazaar in front of a medicine shop. At the time I was the editor of Tuloo Afghan newspaper and he received the paper regularly.
When he saw me he greeted me with utmost kindness. This was the first time we had me in person and had the chance to talk to each other.
Four years later while I was publishing some pages regarding the Pashto literature I received a message from Abdul Ali in which he stated he had found an ancient manuscript of Pashto and asked if it was possible to get it published in Kandahar he would send it to me. This message was a godsend to me as I was desperately looking for evidence of old Pashto literature. I told him I would personally visit Quetta to see the document myself.
Given the circumstances and a busy schedule I was unable to visit him immediately. In 1940 I moved from Kandahar to Kabul and became the head of Pashto Tolana (Pashto Academy) and was totally immersed in official duties for a number of years. Finally in the spring of 1943 I visited Quetta and met my old honorable friend, Abdul Ali Akhundzada. He showed me the promised book. When I saw the book I learned it was the Hidden Treasure, which neither I nor anyone else had seen earlier. I told the learned elder it was indeed a hidden treasure and if he would give it to me I would get it published so the whole world would see and read its contents. God bless the soul of the Akhundzada. He was pleased to hear what I told him. He smiled and address me: “I had saved it for you, take it and get it published. But it is a difficult book and requires annotations and explanations. It should be published in a way so everybody may understand its contents.”
I managed to publish this Hidden Treasure several times, a book which dates back Pashto literature to one thousand years. The original of the manuscript is now preserved in the manuscripts library in Kabul.
For personal reasons the sage Akhundzada requested that his name not be mentioned in the publication of the book. I kept his words and did not name him while he was alive but after his death if someone asked me about the book I did not conceal Akhundzada’s identity as the founder of the book. I am writing these few lines in memory of Abdul Ali Akhundzada. I must admit if he had not found this book in Pishin, we would have been devoid of this historical wealth of Pashto literature.
I do not know the reason why the God blessed Alama did not want his name to be mentioned in association with the book. But while he was alive I was obliged to keep my promise and did not mention his name in association with Pata Khazana.