For mental peace and spirituality

Thousands throng Kaka Sahib hills

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By Muhammad Shahid

PESHAWAR: Even the scorching  heat and a rugged, mountaneous terrain fails to deter crowds from visiting the shrine of Kaka Sahib, some 45 kilometres from the city.

Thousands of people from around the country were found hiking across the mountains in the Kaka Sahib region about 10 kilometres south of the Nowshera Railway Station at an altitude of around 400 feet.

“There is a bustle during Eid and Urs days,” said Niaz Muhammad, a tea stall owner, on shrine hill. Asked if business was doing well, he said, “We are making a bundle of money these days.”

Syed Bahadur Shah Zaffar Kakakhel, in his book titled ‘Sheikh Rehmkaar’, says that Kaka Sahib’s nom de plume was Rehmkaar due to his kindness and public welfare activities, while his real name was Kastheer – a type of flower found in the area.

He was born in 983 Hijri, in the month of Ramazan. It was the era of Mughal Emperor Akbar, and the tribal areas and NWFP were under his stepbrother Mirza Hakeem Wali-e-Kabul’s rule. Pushtoons usually call their elders “Kaka” which is why Kastheer became popular as Kaka Sahib and his family is called the Kakakhel tribe.

As his family had settled in the areas of the Khattak tribe about 200 years before Kaka Sahib’s birth, the move led them to take on the Khattak traditions, norms and values. According to locals, Kaka Sahib was also known “Ziarhey (yellow) Kaka” due to his pale complexion. He was a pious man and due to the hardships he immersed himself in prayers, became weak and his complexion turned pale. Kaka Sahib died in 1063 Hijri (June 21, 1653) at the age of 80.

For the last 350 years, his shrine houses a mosque and a langar khana (mess) where people are provided with free food, tea and qahwa. Jamil Anwar, Bahadur Shah Zaffar Kakakhel’s grandson who wrote ‘Sheikh Rehmkaar’ said that the Kaka Sahib village had a population of around 15,000 people.

“There are over 7,500 registered voters in our area,” said Anwar, who is working as an assistant at the Nowshera Election Commission Office. Anwar said that his grandfather, Bahadur Shah Zaffar Kakakhel, had written around 101 books, including the first-ever Pashto dictionary called ‘Zaffarul Lughat’. “But nobody has recognised the services of our grandfather and even the government has not set up a memorial at Bahadur Shah Zaffar Kakakhel’s tomb.”

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