Pharaoh and Haman – A Pashto poem

Poet: Bari Jahani; English translation: Faraz Jamil Kakar

Long time ago

On the bank of Nile

Stood the castle of Pharaoh

His kingdom spread across the world

His might respected by all Sultans

All kings would send him precious gifts

His army had soldiers from all nations

But the Pharaoh had one wish

One desire deep in his heart

To be invincible in this universe

To become God

So people could build temples in kingdom

To worship him

All worlds would bow before him

People would trust

That sun and moon also obey him

And sky is filled with his miracles

Pharaoh had a wise counsellor named Haman

Known for his wisdom and his knowledge

Pharaoh shared his wish with Haman

His heartfelt desire, his sincere longing

Haman said:

O mighty King…

My life be laid at your feet

Till the time your kingdom has

The wise and brave, speakers and scholars

Schools and students, teachers and mentors

Path showing guides and learned scholars

There will always be a threat

To your kingdom and my life


First ensure that

Your kingdom has no thinking minds

No skill, no knowledge

No school and learning

No teacher, logic and no books

Haman said:

I have heard from learned scholars and the virtuous

Eating beans is bad for wisdom

So this crop is good for King

If there is shortage of wheat and maize for 7 years

People will buy beans

Beans will fade their skills and wisdom

The kingdom will become a jungle

A herd of animals

Full of mindless naives

And very few scholars

Naïve accept humans as Gods

They turn the city into kingdom of the dead

You will rule them like herd of sheep

As their king and as their God

All heads will bow before you

They will give alms and will make temples in your name

And worship you

The great Pharaoh ordered farmers of his kingdom

Not to grow wheat in their farms

Nor to store it in their homes

They will grow beans in their farms

Not wheat or maize

Because wheat is bad for wisdom

That who grows wheat is ignorant

For seven years

Farmers grew beans

And filled their stores

Teachers and students became all farmers

Working in bean farms

Teachers would carry heavy loads on their backs

Schools were turned into bean stores

Seminaries of the city were closed

Symbols of ignorance were lightened

One day

There was noise in the city

That turned in to big chaos by the evening

A dispute between two brothers

Was brought to the people of city

And the city was divided between two sides

Some siding the elder brother

Others favouring the younger

The younger said:

I want to build a room

For ten cows and twenty sheep

And will sell cheap milk to city

And will earn a lot of money

Will become wealthy in short time

The wealthiest in Egypt

The elder said:

I don’t accept you having cows

The sharp horns of all your cows

Can pierce the bellies of my kids

As you don’t care about my children and my family

I won’t allow your herd in home

Both of them were soaked in blood

Both had fought with sticks and daggers


The younger brother had no money

To buy food for evening meal (let alone a herd of sheep)

The elder brother had no family and no kids

And no money or belongings back at home

Younger brother was the king of his own dreams

In which he dreamed owning a herd

Elder, too, has kids in dreams

And would imagine pointy horns

Haman smiled hearing the story

He bowed down to the Pharaoh

And said:

”Your stars of luck have started shining

Kingdom is full of mindless naives

People fight over their dreams

Schools are closed

Teachers in dungeons

That time has come

For you to become God

The young and old in every house

Are ready to bow before your feet

To accept your word as will of God”

This entry was posted in Poetry on by .

About farazjamilkakar

Faraz Jamil Kakar is from Pishin, a small town in Pakistan near the Afghan border. He translates Pashto poetry into English in his free time and has translated some work of famous Pashto poets such as Ghani Khan, Bahauddin Majroh and Bari Jahani. He believes that the literary work of such great scholars is the best intellectual resource that can challenge and counter the ideological roots of the menace of religious extremism, racism, tribalism, casteism, nationalism, patriotism and religionism in this region. His interest in poetic work of great poets like Ghani Khan and Bahauddin Majrooh lies in the fact that their work symbolise and carry forward the centuries old tradition of mystic poetry in the Pashtun society. Faraz Jamil Kakar is reachable at:

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