Peshawar  -   Poets, writers and scholars gathered on Monday to mark 16th death anniversary of noted poet, critic and journalist, Sahibzada Habibur Rahman alias Qalandar Momand (1930-2003).

Scholars presented research papers on various aspects of life and services of Qalandar Momand who had contributed to more than one discipline of Pashto language and literature. 

Organisers also launched fourth edition of Qalandar Momand’s celebrated poetry volume ‘Sabawoon.’ Asma Ikhlas, a young girl from Malakand was the lone poet who paid poetic tribute to the poet.

Speakers said Qalandar Momand was a close companion of Bacha Khan and suffered rigorous imprisonment due to his radical views and stood up in strong opposition to general Ayub Khan’s one unit policy. 

He raised objections against anthology of Pashto titled ‘Pata Khazana’ (Hidden treasure) believed to be the first ever book of Pashto and earned worst criticism from stalwarts of Pashto literature. 

They termed Qalandar Momand as Dr Johnson of Pashto literature because of his close similarity with English literary critic because of his extensive study and influence on the readers.   He was a true spirit of the age, they added.

Being a trendsetter, Qalandar Momand gave a new dimension to Pashto poetry when he brought out his maiden poetry collection ‘Sabawoon’ way back in 1976. It was followed by his short collection ‘Gajray.’

He found his own literary organisation ‘Sahu Leekunkio Adabi Maraka’ in 1962 and produced many poets, scholars and literary critics. 

Noted writer, and general secretary of SLAM, Mushtaq Majrooh on the occasion said that he and his colleagues brought out several books under the auspices of Qalandar Momand Research Cell.

He was still respected and considered a great source of inspiration by young literary circles. 

Born and bred in Peshawar Bazid Khel village, Qalandar Momand did masters in English literature and joined teaching profession but was removed from the job owing to his political activities. He had mastery over English, Arabic, Persian, Hindi and Urdu and wrote about 19 books.

Momand also served as founding president of Peshawar Press Club and used to contribute articles to different English, Urdu and Pashto newspapers and journals. Salim Raz, Mushtaq Majrooh, Dr Israr, and Prof Fazal Rahim Marwat also spoke at the event.