The Tradition of storytelling in Urdu (Dastan Goi)

Arghan Div Brings the Chest of Armour to Hamza...

Arghan Div Brings the Chest of Armour to Hamza, from Volume 7 of the Hamzanama, supervised by Samad. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A folio from the Hamzanama

A folio from the Hamzanama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dastan Goi

The Old Persian legend of Dastan e Amir Hamza is the epic tale of good and evil.Amir Hamza tells the story of a Persian noble man who happens to in love with the daughter of the Persian king. King is under a lot of bad influence and tries to kill Amir Hamza through treachery but he escapes. Later through the help of his friends Amir Hamza is able to win the whole country.

The legend of Dastan e Amir Hamza is under the influence of both Persian and Islamic culture.

Mughal emperor Akbar ordered the pictorial elaboration of took fourteen years to complete this project. It included fourteen hundred Mughal miniatures apart from text to complete this project.

Tilism e hoshruba

Till eighteenth century it became a popular folklore of Urdu in Lukhnow India. Muhammad Hussein Jah and Ahmed Hussain Qamar wrote an Urdu classic based on the exploits of Umroo Ayyar and named as Tilism e consisted of vast epic spread over 46 volumes, 42,000 pages and comprising at least 25 million words.

Armies of amir hamza are now at a dead end of world known to man. The evil mister of former emperor Nosherwan has taken refuge under the arms of a very power patron Afrasyab. Tilisme e Hoshruba is a whole realm of supernatural world. It is ruled by the emperor Afrasyyab who is himself great sorcerer and through his magical powers control the squadron of wizards and human armies. Amir Hamza sent his army under the command his one of the grandson the noble prince Asad to recover the fugitives.

This large-scale painting depicts the Battle o...

This large-scale painting depicts the Battle of Mazandaran. It is number 38 in the 7th volume of the Hamzanama, as inscribed between the legs of the man in the bottom center. It depicts a battle scene in which the protagonists Khwajah ‘Umar and Hamzah and their armies engage in fierce battle. Originally, the faces were depicted; these were subsequently erased by iconoclasts, and repainted in more recent times. text on verso (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Umroo Ayyar and his four pupils fight alongside the princely army to defeat the Afraaysab .They also have the help from the newly converted and dissatisfied faction of Tilism e Hosruba.  


Demons, ghosts and jinee and a whole lot of sorcery are involved in this epic battle. To fight the supernatural come the special breed of warriors known as Ayyars. Ayyars are different from chivalrous, virtuous and honarable protagonist of medieval era .Umroo Ayyar is the best of lot. He is a highly intelligent trickster and spy. Umroo Ayyar makes a balance for the supernatural realm with his cunning and charms to always manipulate the situation in his favor in this epic saga of good vs. evil. Umroo has got many tricks, he has a voice of an angel, his ability to take role of any person and most importantly his Zanbeel, a small bag where he can gather all the treasures of the world make him uniquely qualify to be the right hand of Amir Hamza The relationship between Umroo and Amir Hamza get strained when Umroo ayyar try to start a successful rebellion against his former lord Amir Hamza. But after some time Umroo realizes his mistake and patch things up with his benefactor. Amir Hamza is kind of a patron to him.

Contemporary Dastan Goi

Contemporary dastan goi in Pakistan is focused on children story books. Mazhar kaleem M.Aand Zaheer Ahemed have written of vast collection of Umrroo Ayyar novels. These novels only present glimpse of the original version but they were still able to preserve the legend in the minds of younger generation. These novels are published under the banner of Yousaf brothers

In 1970 Ferozsons published abridged and simplified version two series of original Dastan e Amir Hamza and Tilism e Hoshruba.

Musarraf ali Farooqi has translated the original version of Tilism e Hoshruba into English in 2007.






War on Terror


The Beginnings

Soviet Russia occupied Afghanistan in 1977 at the pretext of helping the elected government. People of Afghanistan rejected the claim of soviet authorities and considered this act as foreign invasion. Muslim world was predominantly in support of retaliating against Russian military venture in Afghanistan. American aid both in the form of financial and military was provided to Afghans with the help of Pakistani government. A new class or religious warrior or Mujahids was imported from all over the world to fight in Afghanistan.

The role of Pakistan Army

In the era of General Zia ul Haq Pakistan army was very much eager to support the freedom fighters in Afghanistan with the military and financial aid of America to fight against the Russia. Pakistan had strategic interest to support the Afghans in eighties. Ideological basis for military Islam were build to have a constant supply of mujahids (religious soldiers) to fight this war. This led to the spread of ideological basis for terrorism.

Emergence of Taliban

After the downfall of Russian federation whole world left Afghanistan on its own. A young group of fighters called Taliban which literally means the students were able to take control of most of the Afghanistan by force after eliminating all their enemies in a civil war. Taliban enforced a strict religious orthodox sharaia law in Afghanistan. Due to their extreme steps like the demolition of two Buddha statues in bohemian led to their alienation in the community of nations.

9/11 and war on terrorism

9/11was the day when   Osama Bin Laden undertook unprecedented terrorist attacks on American heartland by bombing the twin buildings of world trade center.   Mulla Omer the leader of Taliban provided the refuge to Osama Bin Laden. America was able gain the support of international community and the whole world condemned these barbaric attacks against the civilian population. United Nation passed a resolution condemning these attacks.

US led coalition attacks Afghanistan

American is now on mission of vengeance. NATO also supplied its troops against the war with Taliban. There was no comparison in military contest between the allied troops and Taliban fighters. Allied forces were equipped with the latest military technology and an organized army. On the other hand Taliban were mercenary guerrilla fighters with little or no weaponry as compared to their opponents. After a little struggle allied forces were able to get rid of the theocratic regime of the old Taliban government.


Opposition to US forces came from three fronts

1.       Taliban

2.       Pashtun National elemen

3.       Mujahidin

There was not much resistance offered by governing regime of Taliban. They were readily overwhelmed by the US forces. But the main resistance came from the Pashtuns. Pashtuns are a proud race and have always responded to foreign military invasions with their full power. The third opponents are Jihadists groups. The battle cry to save the brother Muslim emirates of Afghanistan was raised again in Pakistan and all over the Muslim world. This time it was not the official propaganda of military establishment in Pakistan but rather it was the ghost of former jihadist allies.

Role of Pakistan

Pakistan is totally and utterly a victim of this unfortunate situation. Pakistan is being blamed for helping the terrorists is a total misunderstanding. Pakistani paramilitary forces are hunting down the terrorist elements in Pakistan.

Who are the good guys?

The long standing invisible bond between military and these religious organization was now broken. In the center of the capitol of Pakistan, a mudrassa religious institute declared the dead terrorists as the true martyrs .Pakistani media and military establishment and government were not ready to compromise the official verdict. A military action was taken against Jamia e Hafsa a religious conservatory for girls. It was manhandled and was the cause of lot of bad PR

The role of Pakistan Army

Pakistani army went into FATA federally administered tribal areas near Durand line (Pak Afghanistan border line) .Pashtuns are the major ethnic group in FATA which shared common heritage with the Pashtun tribes on the other side of the border. In response to international pressure Pakistan army went in those areas to prevent the infiltration of guerrillas from Pakistan to Afghanistan. This military venture of military regime of General Musharraf backfired.


Swat is district located in the province of KP. It is a mountainous region .Swat was once tourist attraction spot. Sufi Naik Muhammad is religious leader in swat who made a pact with the government of Pakistan to ensure the sharia law (orthodox). After only a few days a military struggle was launched against the state by son in law of Sufi Naik Muhammad .Pakistani army responded in a full retaliation mood. Army was able to take back the control of the city after fierce struggle with so called Pakistani Taliban. Many of the leading commanders of Pakistani Taliban fled to Afghanistan. This has made Pakistani authorities rethink about the relations with Afghanistan.

Government of Pakistan in the war against terrorism

During the start of war against terrorism Pakistan was under the control of military regime of Pervaiz Musharraf. It is generally considered in Pakistan that general Musharraf was a trusted ally of Bush administration. After a long struggle against the dictatorial regime of General Pervaiz Musharraf by the civil society of Pakistan elections were held in 2008.

Pakistan People’s Party led coalition

Before the elections of 2008, one of the most popular leaders of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by the suicide attack done by Pakistani Taliban. People’s party continued the policy of former General Pervaiz Musssaraf to fight against terrorism. In KP province, the leftist liberal party of ANP replaced the ultra conservative religious alliance of MMA.ANP categorically condemned terrorism and strong action against it. Swat was a district in the province of KP which was overran by terrorists. Provincial authorities called for the help of central government to get rid of theses fanatical religious zealots. Muttahida Qaumi Movement MQM the major political party in Karachi have stated a clear policy to stop terrorism.

Pakistan Muslim League PMLN

PMLN have a clear police to establish better foreign relations with America, India and Afghanistan.


Drone is unmanned aerial vehicle. Drone technology uses an aircraft without a human pilot on board. Drone is controlled by remote stations. Drones are used by American forces as the military tactic to target terrorists in three continents. Drone can also be used for surveillance

Killing less and making more enemies

Drones are in the clear violation of the national airspace of the targeted countries. Drones are killing more and more civilians rather then attacking terrorists. This has made people of Pakistan furious against the American aggression. Another argument against drones is that every individual has the right to defend themselves in courts. But drones take this opportunity from the allegedly guilty party and play the role of both jury and executioner.

But drones are not that bad they are also responsible for killing the most notorious militant leaders wanted by both America and Pakistan for committing war crimes.

A transparent multinational policy should be made for the drone strikes. A trilateral committee should be made where civil and military leadership of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan should sit together and evaluate the pros and cons of the respective drone strike. The Local government should be made the part of intended plan of drone strike. A better system of intelligence can also lead to less collateral damage. This will help to construct better foreign relations between Pakistan and America.

  • 1.       A pre drone attack multilateral plan
  • 2.       Better intelligence
  • 3.       Targeted strikes

Role of media

International media is big time supporter of war against terrorism .Media has helped to build a public support against terrorism.

Pakistani media is predominantly in the favor of strict military action the terrorists. Major media houses have launched a full fledged campaign to mold pubic opinion in favor of launching a nationwide action to crush the terrorists. GEO, Dawn and Capitol TV are the strong advocate of not having any negotiations with the Taliban groups. On the other hand a major segment of the population believes to give militants a last chance to mend their ways and return to civilized society and if they don’t respond to peace offers only the use force against them. Government called an all parties conference on this issue in which it was decided that peace talks should be held as the last chance for peace. Most of the media simply ignores


There is no doubt that terrorism is a bad. But to fight terror with terror is an equally bad strategy

A few individuals have committed terrible crimes but this does not mean that all the Muslims are terrorists. Those individual and organizations that are responsible for terrorism must be held accountable. But the problem is it was not one person or group which was responsible against the attack on American soil. To fight the ideology of terrorism America also used its full might and power.

Imagine a world in which US Aid has been provided for the world health and education rather than fighting proxy wars or invading other countries. American has launched a worldwide hunt down of few individuals.

During the Arab spring revolution decade age old dictatorial regimes were thrown over. It was only made possible by the use of social media. That is just one of the example of what good has done the technology developed and provided by western nations .The military invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq in the twenty first century has been seen as the new era of colonialism in the name of terrorism. This war centric approach of western nation has made Muslim world suspicious of the intentions of America and its allies regarding to Islamic world.

People of Pakistan have rejected terrorism .Pakistani civil and military leadership is united to eliminate the terrorist networks from the country. But people of Pakistan do not support the element of foreign involvement in internal matters.