Of Journalism

December 14, 2008

Ziarat Ka Ka Sahib

Filed under: Uncategorized — fawadalishah @ 1:41 pm


 By Fawad Ali Shah

NOWSHERA: Some come here in quest of satisfaction, while others to contact God, indirectly, through meditation. Barren women from far-flung areas of the country come here with ‘murads’ (wishes), and beg for children.

When guests enter the premises of Kaka Sahib village, on first sight they see the tomb, raise their hands for prayers and bow their heads in respect. Those possessed by spirits are also brought here for cure.

Located in the suburbs of Nowshera Cantonment, the shrine of ‘Kaka Sahib’ attracts hundreds of visitors everyday.

Contemporary of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and Pashtun warrior and poet Khushal Khan Khattak, Syed Kasteer Gul (Kaka Sahib)’s forefathers migrated from the Middle East and settled down in this area.

He was amongst those saints of that era who preached and taught Islamic principles, both to Muslims and non-Muslims through peaceful means. His descendants are called Kaka Khels.

Since his demise, his followers have been visiting his tomb in the village named after him.

“I do not have any child, someone told me that I will have one after praying at the shrine,” Jamila, 27, belonging to Jacobabad district of Sindh province, told Daily Times. The woman said that one of her friends, who was barren, had conceived a child after praying at the shrine.

An aged man, who was forcing his young daughter to enter the shrine, said that he belonged to Mansehra and had heard from somebody that those possessed by spirits get well after visiting the tomb of Kasteer Gul. He said that his daughter had been under the effect of black magic and evil spirits.

Mudassar Shah, a resident of the area, believes that Kaka Sahib was a saint and visiting his shrine motivates people for doing good deeds.

Dr Nazeer Kaka Khel, former chairman of Political Science Department of Peshawar University, who hails from the area said that Kaka Sahib had a charismatic personality and the efforts of the saint for bringing peace and harmony cannot be ignored.

He advised that in this age of extremism when people are standing on two extreme poles, visiting such places could motivate them to live with peace and harmony.

Dr Rahat Sajjad, chairperson of Psychology department of University of Peshawar, describes people’s visits to shrines with wishes and for cure of their ailments as a part of ‘spiritual or faith healing’.

Even a chilly January Eidul Azha in the hills of southern Nowshera district failed 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 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.”

Ziarat ka Ka sahid, a legend

Ziarat Kaka Sahib, Nowshera


1 Comment »

  1. Dear Fawad, I am very glad you have done very interesting stories in the past and hope to see all such great variety of features on this site.
    Wish you best

    Comment by Jamil Khan — December 14, 2008 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

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