‘Poets in Waziristan aren’t free’: a conversation with Pashto poet Sheen Malang

CJ. Razia Mehsud

NORTH WAZIRISTAN: Shabir Ahmad, who is famous for his poignant poetry, lamented that unlike other parts of the world poets are not completely ‘free’ in Waziristan. Poetry is a very strong source of expression, but the 36-year-old poet who is well known in North Waziristan by the name of Sheen Malang said that here poets cannot depict actual situation and problems faced by the people.

Like other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the soil of North Waziristan is fertile as for Poetry is concerned. This district has produced a number of famous poets, who despite unfriendly conditions, has flourished their art.

Sheen Malang lamented that here poets have never been supported adding that though the government releases funds for poets and writers, it is always misused by the authorities. He also complained that the mainstream media also don’t provide coverage to their issues and poetry sessions.

‘Poets in Waziristan aren’t free’ a Conversation with Pashto poet Sheen Malang
‘Poets in Waziristan aren’t free’ a Conversation with Pashto poet Sheen Malang

Talking about his poetry, Malang told TNN that he loves poetry since his childhood. He revealed that he would compose and gave voice to Pashto tapa for which he got great appreciation from his listeners. However, he said, his poetry found a new life, after his unsuccessful love. He added that he fell in love with a girl when he was studying in class 8th but he could not express his love till 2015.

However, due to family pressure and hostile society, he failed to get his love and thus she got married to someone else, leaving for him only the memories, which he expresses through his poetry. He doesn’t blame his beloved, saying, she has waited for him for a long time; however, finally should couldn’t stand to her family pressure.

Sky blue Shalwar Qameez and blue rings in his fingers are the recognition of Sheen Malang. Talking about his name ‘Sheen’, the poet said that since his beloved eyes were green, therefore, adopted the pen name ‘Sheen’. In Pashto sheen means green colour. Malang added that besides Waziristan and Dera Ismail Khan, he has visited the entire country.

The poet said that, so far, famous Pashto poets, such as Gul Parna, Dil Raj, Waheed Achakzai, Shaukat Aziz, Said Alam Mehsud and Saud have given voice to his poetry. He lamented that the media doesn’t provide proper coverage to their poetry sessions in Waziristan and other areas of tribal districts. “The tribal elders don’t stop us from arranging poetry sessions but before giving the permission, they make it clear that all responsibility will be on our own shoulders,” said Sheen Malang. Like most of the Pashto poet, he also unable to write his poetry properly and most of the poetry, which conceived during work, erase from his minds.

Talking about freedom of expression through poetry in Waziristan, Malang said that the poetry in Waziristan, especially poetry in Mehsud dialect, is not totally ‘free’. He said that due to his critical poetry, he was stopped for three hours at a check post in Waziristan even though he has requested them that he is taking a patient to the hospital, but even then, they stopped him until the inquiry was completed.