Home Bookselling Flood renders Pashtun poet bedridden homeless – Newspaper

Flood renders Pashtun poet bedridden homeless – Newspaper

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PESHAWAR: Like thousands of others, the recent flood added to the miseries of bedridden senior Pashtun poet Akmal Lewanai as his home was washed away by flood waters.

Akmal Lewanai, 76, once a stockbroker rich in laughter through his humorous and satirical couplets, now looks up to rescuers and his die-hard fans to come to his aid in the twilight of his age. “Old age and frail health forced me to seek help from my fans and government aid workers in these difficult times,” he said in a hushed voice.

The author of more than a dozen books, he has served Pashto for more than five decades with his unique poetic expression and his skills as a mobile bookseller where he used to motivate the public to develop a taste for reading.

The octogenarian poet told this scribe over the phone that despite his efforts, no relief aid was given to his family. Being bedridden, he could not move to approach rescue workers in the area, he added.

About four years ago, the acclaimed poet, once a traveling bookseller, was bedridden following major spinal cord surgery in Islamabad which devoured much of his personal cat. Recent flash floods washed away his two-room mud house, leaving no space for him to rest.

“I need urgent hospitalization because living in the rubble of a collapsed house has become extremely difficult for me. I have also exhausted my cash. As a result, my condition is rapidly deteriorating. I am calling philanthropists and aid workers to provide medical and financial aid in times of destitution,” he said in a sobbing voice.

Mr Lewanai said he had a rare collection of books and pamphlets in Pashto and Urdu that his family could save from being swept away by the roaring floodwaters in a corner of the house. He said the books could be purchased for public libraries who would earn money in return.

“The collection is no longer in my personal use and if the government were able to buy it, a reasonable price would help in return in some way. My only son is a renter without resources to pay for my medical care and take care of me. Relief volunteers should turn their attention to my position of helplessness,” he said.

Posted in Dawn, September 2, 2022