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Quoli Aab Chakan

Royesh: Let’s return to your family issues, Ustad. You mentioned that you came from Quoli Aab Chakan to Qala’eh Shadah. Did you own a house in Quoli Aab Chakan, or were you renting?

Musafir: My father and his brothers had purchased a two-story mud house in Quoli Aab Chakan. The bricks used were similar to those used in the double-story buildings of old Kabul city. Our house was about 150 meters from the asphalted road, and the conditions were good. However, my father and brothers preferred to live in the western part of Kabul among their friends and acquaintances.

Royesh: During your childhood in Quoli Aab Chakan, I imagine the population must have been relatively few.

Musafir: Indeed. When my father – may God grant him peace and blessing – told me stories, he often spoke of how few people there were in Kabul. He would recount how they would go to the Royal Orchard to eat fruit, and from the branches of the trees, they would watch the King’s entourage strolling through the orchard. When my father was twelve or thirteen, he threw a stone at the car of Shah Mahmoud Kha, the King’s uncle. The authorities arrested my father and took him to jail, but after paying the fine, they released him.

Royesh: Why did your father throw a stone at Shah Mahmoud’s car?

Musafir: I’m not sure, but, Perhaps, political or social issues contributed to it. The elders held a negative view of Shah Mahmoud. My father may have also thrown the stone at his car under the influence of these issues.

Royesh: What are your recollections of your childhood and Quoli Aab Chakan? If you pay a look as a painter and photographer, what perspective do you see in Quoli Aab Chakan of those times?

Musafir: When my family left Quoli Aab Chakan, I was only four or five years old. However, my mother, may she rest in peace, would often sit me by the window to watch the passing cars on the road, and those images gradually took root in my mind. Honestly, though, I don’t have a clear picture of that place.

Royesh: After moving to Qalayi Shada, did you have the opportunity to revisit Quoli Aab Chakan?

Musafir: Yes, once, when my father’s uncle’s wife passed away, and her grave was in Quoli Aab Chakan, we went to that region. Haji Barat, a local official at Poli Sokhta, was my cousin and my sister’s husband. He was older than me, and the story I tell you is from fifteen years ago. He showed me the house we lived in Quoli Aab Chakan. We did not go inside. We saw that it was a duplex house, and I took a picture of it. It was in an excellent location, and I was amazed at how my father and uncles could buy a house in that good location and why they sold it.

The story of Quoli Dareh Hesar in Sanglakh

Royesh: Ustad, you mentioned that your father and grandfather resided in the Sanglakh valley. Can you recall where their home and property lay in Sanglakh?

Musafir: As the story goes, my family traversed through Sanglakh. They had initially settled in Behsood before relocating to the Sanglakh Valley. In Sanglakh, there was a region known as Sorkh Qualah, where my ancestors had procured a residence and plot of land. However, not long after, the Sayyids noticed that my forebears were outsiders in that domain and thus decided to abscond with their assets and land.

In that region, there lived a man who was widely considered to be mentally unstable. The Sayyids would kill him and throw his corpse behind the gate of my grandfather, warning him that if he escaped during the night, there would be no repercussions, but if he failed, they would hand him over to the government forces.

As a result of the dangerous and unstable conditions in the village, my grandfather and others were forced to flee and escape to Yakawlang. Upon arriving there, my father was taken into military conscription and dispatched to work in the tunnel between Lataband and Nangarhar. Sadly, my father fell ill and passed away while working there.

After my grandfather’s death, my grandmother, two uncles, and my aunt made the arduous journey on foot from Yakawlang to Kabul to visit her brother, Ayuob.

My mother’s aunt once revealed that I did not hail from Behsood but rather from the Dai Chopan tribe. Her words stirred my curiosity, for I had long sensed that my father and his kin kept secrets from my siblings and me.

In Sanglakh, an area was known as “Shah Qalandar Agha”. During the reigns of King Zahir and Dawood Khan, when schools were closed, my family and I would travel there with all our necessities, set up tents, and enjoy ourselves.

I recall being reminded of my “Nazrband’ (sacred omen) in Shah Qalandar Agha. They would tie a string around my neck as a reminder.

Close to Shah Qalandar was a pedestrian path that had to be traversed by foot for an hour through a narrow valley to reach the area where some Hazara people lived. There was no motorway, not even a motorcycle or bicycle path. The area was called “Quoli Daraye Hesar”.

I visited the valley during childhood, where my cousin was married. I was someone known as Shaahbaala (companion of the groom). My last visit there was in 2007 when I researched my past and ancestors. My mother informed me that she was born there. Their lands were purchased by an uncle, who still resides in the area. I encountered my mother’s uncle in the village. He had acquired land that belonged to my mother and others.

Both my maternal grandmother and great-grandaunt told me that we belong to Urozgan. They grew up and lived in that narrow valley and wed there. My maternal aunt relocated to Sari Kariz in Kabul, while my grandmother lived with her children in Karteh Sakhi. My mother’s cousin still maintains ownership of land in Quoli Darayi Hesar Valley and has erected a house there, despite owning a house in Kabul too.

In 2007, during my visit to the valley, I observed people with large, arresting eyes, high noses, and foreheads, which struck me as distinctively resembling the people of Urozgan. Later, I learned that my mother, my aunt, and my mother’s aunt had all survived the war led by the tyrant Abdul Rahman and had eventually settled in Behesood and then in a narrow valley called Quoli Darayi Hesar. It was a place so remote that hardly anyone believed people lived there.

Upon their arrival in the area, they discovered an abundance of water. They proceeded to carve out the land from the mountains, plant trees, erect homes, and cultivate prosperity in the region. When my mother’s aunt pointed out that I was descended from Urozgan and Dai Chopan tribes, I conducted some research. I discovered that not only my mother’s aunt but my mother, grandmother, and many others in the area were also descended from the same group of people.

The Remnant of the Dai Chopan Massacre

Royesh: Ustad, we return once again to your family’s story. I would like to learn more about your family roots. Where do you come from, where did your ancestors originate, and finally, how did they settle in Quoli Aab Chakan? What do you know about such issues? Have you heard any stories from your father or ancestors?

Musafir: As I mentioned, my father always told us we were from Behsood, but there was always a secret. My aunt once told me the truth, saying: “Bachim (My child), you are from the Dai Chupan tribe of Urozgan.” My father was born in Yakawlang, and since his mother had told him they were from Behsood, he repeated the same to us. The real secret I have come to understand is that four generations ago, our ancestors were rulers in Urozgan.

My family’s story traces back to the dark and shameful era of Abdul Rahman, who massacred sixty-two percent of the Hazara people. Because our family did not want to risk their lives, they claimed to be from Behsood while living in Kabul.

Royesh: Did your family ever discuss what had happened to those affected and how they became displaced? When your mother’s aunt recounted this story to you, did she provide any additional details about what had happened to others in the area? Were they involved in the war or taken prisoner? Did they flee the war? What did she share with you?

Musafir: No, she did not provide further information, but the story left an indelible impression on me. She shared this account with me in either 1996 or 1997. The reason for divulging this long-kept family secret, initially concealed by my great-grandmother, was to prevent the traumas of that dark period, including war, displacement, and the Abdul Rahman massacre, from adversely affecting the minds and psyches of her children and grandchildren.

My great-grandfather hailed from Dai Chopan in Urozgan. He fought in the wars of Urozgan and made significant contributions to them. He ultimately lost his life as a martyr in these conflicts. His family, unable or unwilling to move to distant locations such as Iran or Quetta, Pakistan, remained optimistic about the future and settled in Behsood. From there, they eventually relocated to the “Sanglakh” Valley near Maidan Wardak and purchased land there.

My paternal grandmother once told me a story about when his family’s elders divided their wealth. They did not divide the “black money” (metal coins) by counting, but rather, they measured the money in a hat and split it amongst themselves. This act demonstrated their wealth and financial security and led them to purchase land in the Sanglakh valley, where various tribes, including Sayyids and Hazaras, resided.

I mentioned that some Sayyids of Sanglakh devised a wicked plan to murder a mentally ill or insane person and dispose of his body behind my grandfather’s castle. They then threatened my grandfather’s family, informing them that they, too, would be turned over to the government’s forces if they didn’t leave the region immediately.

As members of the Urozgan fugitives, my grandfather’s family had no choice but to flee toward Beshood and Hajigak Pass to keep themselves and their families safe. They eventually found refuge in the Nayak district of Yakawlang, where they stayed for a while. My grandfather was brought to Kabul for military conscription and sent to Mahipar in Nangarhar.

The tunnel on the Kabul-Jalalabad highway was constructed when my grandfather served as a soldier in Mahipar. Tragically, he fell ill and passed away while working on the project. After his death, my grandmother, father, two uncles, and aunt made an arduous journey on foot from the Nayak district of Yakawlang to Kabul.

At that time, my maternal uncle, Ayub, lived and worked with his family in Kabul. My grandmother moved to the Nawabad area of Deh Afghanan to be closer to him. Later, they worked hard and saved enough money to purchase a two-story mud house in the Quoli Aab Chakan area.

Regarding ethnicity, we belong to the Dai Chopan tribe of Urozgan. Interestingly, our official identity card, called a Tazkira, states that we are from the 2nd district of Kabul, and our ethnicity is Tajik. However, I later corrected this and said I was not Tajik but Hazara. The officials responsible for registering people’s identities informed me that “Tajik” was written in the corner of my Tazkira log. Nevertheless, I explained to them that it is essential to be true to ourselves and our identity as Hazara, and thus this error needed to be corrected. Although my siblings’ Tazkiras correctly identify their ethnicity as Hazara, many people within our relatives are classified as Tajik on their documents despite being Hazara. This discrepancy is meaningless; we should always remain true to ourselves and our heritage.

The Tale of Stoning Shah Mahmood Khan’s Car

Royesh: You’ve recounted an incident where your father threw a stone at Shah Mahmood Khan’s car. Can you shed some light on the reasons that led to this act? Given that your father was not affiliated with any political faction or figure at the time of the incident, it is unlikely that his actions were driven by political rivalry. Was there a deeper story behind this event? Perhaps your father was influenced by the memories of injustices that the government had imposed on the people, or maybe there were family legends about the wars during the reign of Abdul Rahman or stories of Abdul Khaliq that shaped his behavior.

Musafir: When I was younger and throughout my teenage years, my family often shared stories and conversed about different issues. For instance, a radio program in the Hazaragi language aired from Quetta, Pakistan, featured individuals with pseudonyms like Chaman Lalai and Beg Lalai, who would converse with the public. My father and uncles would eagerly listen to this program, and it became a topic of interest within our family.

My father attended school until the third or fourth grade, and he was passionate about reading books, particularly those related to politics and current events. He would often engage in discussions about these topics during various gatherings. Typically, they would discuss past wars and our people’s suffering during Abdul Rahman’s reign.

Regarding the incident in which my father threw stones at Shah Mahmood Khan’s car, it is essential to understand the context of the time. My father used to regale us with stories of their visits to the palace, where they would climb up the fruit trees and observe the officials. One such official was Zaher Khan, the King, who would stroll through the garden with his hands clasped behind his back. They could see that he could notice them from high up in the trees and often smiled in their direction. My father always spoke highly of Zaher Khan, describing him as a kind man who never treated them harshly.

Kabul’s population was much smaller back then, and cars were a rare commodity. The people’s economy was fragile, and Shah Mahmood Khan’s car was one of the few that existed. The car was black and passed by, and my father threw a stone at it.

My father often attended inter-ethnic events, such as weddings or parties, where he would engage in political arguments and discussions. Given his tendencies to engage in such conversations, I believe that my father’s stone-throwing at Shah Mahmood Khan’s car was deliberate, and he must have felt compelled to do it.

Royesh: How did your father, at ten or twelve, likely in the 4th or 5th grades of school, find the motivation to take action in the Quoli Aab Chakan area? Have there been stories at home affecting his mindset?

Musafir: Children absorb everything said in their family after the age of six or seven. When women talk amongst themselves or my grandmother tells a story, there’s no doubt that my father would have listened in and heard things like “Your father died in the military” or “Your grandfather did this,” among other things. Stories of oppression and injustice would also have been shared, albeit not the harshest or most humiliating parts that might negatively impact a child. But such stories are rarely hidden, and children inevitably learn of them.

My father may have been influenced by the political views and stories he heard. Perhaps that’s why he threw a stone at Shah Mahmoud Khan’s motorcycle. Later, when he was arrested and imprisoned, the authorities’ preferred method of torture was to withhold food rather than kill people outright. That’s why he was imprisoned and fined before being released at a young age.

The Story of Abdul Khaliq

Royesh: As you mentioned, another point worth considering is the story of Abdul Khaliq. His family was one of the refugees from Dai Chopan and Dai Folad who fled Hazarejat and reached Kabul. Later, Abdul Khaliq killed Nader Khan. Back then, the news of Abdul Khaliq’s murder was widely spread among the people who shared stories about him as rumors. People said that the government was exaggerating the story of Abdul Khaliq’s murder to scare people into how they tortured him, for example, biting him with teeth, cutting his body into pieces, and mutilating him.

Another part of the story is based on historical documents about Abdul Khaliq. However, this story was widely circulated at the time, particularly among the people of Kabul. People had a bitter memory of it, particularly during Hashim Khan’s reign.

Do you believe that Abdul Khaliq’s stories impacted your father’s mindset? Do you recall your father ever recounting a tale about Abdul Khaliq? Was there any discussion of the story in your family?

Musafir: I must tell you again about a radio station we used to listen to called “Chaman Lalai,” which aired from Quetta, Pakistan. The station was especially interested in Abdul Khaliq’s story and enthusiastically talked about him. The radio recounted the tale of his bravery, heroism, and pride, which my father always spoke of with admiration. My father said that Abdul Khaliq was a student at Najat High School, only seventeen or eighteen years old at the time, a great and fierce fighter for freedom against tyranny and despotism.

My father used to say that Khaliq lived with the Charkhi family. Khaliq’s father was named Khudada, I assume. Cahrkhi held an essential role in Nader Shah’s government and encouraged Abdul Khaliq’s studies, and he was a hardworking and diligent student. However, as he studied, he began to witness the oppression and injustice of Nader Shah and his brother Hashem Khan. He also held in his mind the image of Abdul Rahman, whom he had heard about from his father’s stories. Abdul Rahman was responsible for a massacre in which sixty-two percent of the Hazara people were massacred simply for defending their region and resisting the aggressor. This left a deep impression on Abdul Khaliq’s mind.

Abdulkhaleq was a healthy and cheerful boy. In addition to his academic pursuits, he was also a talented football player. Despite many achievements, he harbored a deep-seated desire for vengeance against the treacherous Nader Khan. In the company of his friends, he shared his intentions to bring Nader to justice, even expressing his desire to kill him. It’s been said that whenever Nader announced his whereabouts, Khaleq would move to the location with his gun, hoping to catch him off guard. Though he made many attempts, Nader always managed to elude him, and Khaleq was never able to achieve his goal.

Royesh: Did your father share this story about Abdul Khaliq with you and with family members? Was it a conversation circulated through the mouth?

Musafir: Yes, that’s right. I heard these details from my father, who told me that Abdul Khaliq had been yearning to meet with Nader Khan, but circumstances never aligned in his favor. As an exceptional student with top marks at the Najat school, Abdul Khaliq was invited to a ceremony at the royal palace where Nader Khan intended to award certificates of appreciation and prizes to outstanding students.

My father’s stories were things he had heard from prominent family members or acquaintances who were historians and knowledgeable about the events and were passed down orally. The story that my father had in mind at that time was fascinating.

He recounted that when Abdul Khaliq entered the palace, he noticed that one of his friends had arrived there by bicycle. The screening and body search of people had not been strictly done. Abdul Khaliq saw an opportunity and borrowed his friend’s bike, telling him that he would go to Cinema Pamir and return soon. Abdul Khaliq quickly went to Cinema Pamir, where his uncle sold ice water. I recall that even these areas near Kabul used to sell water mixed with raisins and other commodities.

According to people’s tales, Abdul-Khaliq’s uncle Qorban-Ali kept the pistol. Abdul-Khaliq discreetly positioned the gun so as not to arouse suspicion and returned to the royal palace. After parking his bicycle, he stood in the second row, where two accomplices joined him. Abdul-Khaliq instructed them to move away from each other when Nader Khan was in their line of sight, giving him a clear shot at his target. Nader Khan came to award the students, mostly the children of high-ranking government officials, such as ministers, directors, and the like.

It is said that Nader Shah showed up and delivered a short speech for the students and others. His speech was not scholarly, nor did he speak like a learned president or a wise king. He shook hands with some of the students, gave certificates to others, and as he approached Khaleq, his two accomplices opened the way for Khaleq, who fired three shots; the first at the King’s forehead, the second at his heart, and the third in his mouth or throat. Khaleq then attempted to fire a fourth shot, but his gun jammed. No, no, he fired the fourth shot at one of the King’s companions or guards, but his gun failed in the fifth one. Afterward, he struck his gun on Nader Shah’s corpse and stood motionless in a place like a hero.

It is said that Zahir Shah was only seventeen years old, and his cries and moans could be heard. The guards and other bystanders were afraid and did not come near until they saw that Khaleq’s gun had failed and he was not shooting. They then approached and arrested Abdul Khaleq.

It is said that Abdul Khaleq was put under indefinite torture, the details of which are too gruesome to recount here.

Royesh: So, did your father or close relatives used to tell you these stories? Does that imply that these stories were widely aired among the people and passed down orally?

Musafir: Yes, they would talk about these stories, which were very popular among the people. Back then, there was no internet, YouTube, or television. Many people did not even have the means to buy a radio, and the best entertainment and exchange of information were stories like this. People remembered stories like Layla and Majnun or Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh so well that they felt part of it.

Abdul Khaliq’s most tragic and painful story is when he and his companions are taken to Dehmazang.

Let me share something more: in addition to Abdul Khaliq, seventeen other people were taken in that group, including his classmates, his maternal uncle, his uncle, and his seven-year-old sister named Hafiza. That day in Dehmazang of Kabul, they brought Abdul Khaliq and the others to be executed, and while sixteen people were hanged, Abdul Khaliq’s noose remained empty.

On that fateful day, it is said that Sayed Sharif, a court flatterer willing to do anything for power and money, was present. Overwhelmed with grief, he approached Abdul Khaliq and accused him of killing his father and leaving him fatherless. He asked Khaleq which finger did he shoot with. In response, Abdul Khaliq showed him the finger he used to drag the trigger. Sayed Sharif, consumed by rage, drew a knife and cut off Abdul Khaliq’s finger in front of the horrified onlookers.

Interestingly, despite the small population of Kabul, they say that there were more than five thousand spectators on the spot. People had come to see Abdul Khaliq and this brave Hazara boy who had killed the King. It is said that when Sayed Sharif cuts off Khleq’s finger, Khaliq does not raise his eyebrows and utter an “Aakh” because he is so tortured that he doesn’t care much about cutting off his finger.

Then Sayed Sharif says you must have spotted the target with your right eye. Abdul Khaliq confirms, and Sayed Sharif pulls his right eye out of his skull with the tip of his knife. After that, they attack Abdul Khaliq from four sides with quadrangular rifle barrels, whose barrels are about 40 to 50 centimeters long. Most were flatterers and charmers of the court, for example, to prove their friendship to power to receive rewards and money.

It was said that people saw a bloodied corpse three or four times, which was being torn to pieces by the carrion. It was a tragic and sad scene, and it was whispered among the people of Kabul that you were a great man; you shot the King and did not run away.

Some claimed that the government intended to sully the noble work of Khaleq. According to them, the decision to act was not Khaleq’s own, but rather, he was incited and led by others, such as Charkhis’ family, to seek retribution.

As the tale goes, the individual who had sheltered Khaleq in his home was assassinated by Nader Khan. Rumors began to spread among the people, suggesting that Charkhi’s wife had urged Abdul Khaleq to seek revenge against Nader for her husband’s demise. However, those who knew Khaleq intimately and historians alike have attested that Abdul Khaleq was a warrior at heart, and his actions were meticulously planned and executed for his reasons.

Royesh: When your father recounted stories about Abdul Khaliq, what was his opinion of him? Did he believe that Khaliq acted alone, or was he possibly instigated by someone else?

Musafir: My father was convinced that Abdul Khaliq, acting alone and without assistance, assassinated Nader Shah. He used to speak of Khaliq as a true warrior in every sense of the word, who made his own decisions and achieved his goals. Khaliq held many meetings and discussions with his fellow fighters and confided in his closest companions that his target was Nader Khan. He stated that he needed to remove Nader from the scene, which was his ultimate objective.

Khaleq’s Portrait; The Smile of Victory

Royesh: During an exhibition in Mazari Sharif between 1996 and 1998, you painted a portrait of Abdul Khaliq that was not based on reality but on a story you had imagined. Your painting was rich with symbolism, including an empty noose, seventeen flowers, and some moving towards Khaleq with spears. There is a smile on Khaleq’s face. Were these symbols inspired by stories and tales that you had heard from your father about Abdul Khaliq?

Musafir: While in Mazari Sharif on the third anniversary of the martyrdom of Martyr Baba Mzari (Rah), people from the city were drawn to the painting and its intricate details. I was teaching painting at the Foundation and shared my experience and knowledge with them, including what I had learned from my professors at the Faculty of Fine Arts. The Baba Mzari Foundation was open to all, including individuals from diverse ethnic groups such as the Tajik, Pashtun, Sayyid, Uzbek, and Turkmen communities. Girls also attended art classes, including painting.

Regarding the painting portrait of Abdul Khaliq, during my time teaching painting, I was also responsible for the art department and film office. This painting was created on the third anniversary of the martyrdom of Baba Mazari; may he rest in peace.

Alam Joya, Babamazari’s cousin currently residing in Germany, was the head of the Foundation at the time. One day, he invited teachers and members of the Baba Mazari Foundation to his home, where the renowned artist and singer of Afghanistan, Dawood Sarkhosh, was also present. Dawood had previously performed a concert in Bamiyan.

During the gathering, Alam Joya discussed the upcoming third anniversary of Baba Mazari’s (may he rest in peace) martyrdom. He asked what they could do to make the ceremony better than last year. Each person shared their thoughts and took on their respective responsibilities. Among them, Dawood Sarkhosh pledged to compose four or five songs and anthems that would be broadcasted on Mazari Sharif TV, whose director was Paikar.

When it was my turn, I proposed to organize an exhibition of paintings, calligraphy, and artworks to commemorate Baba Mazari’s anniversary. This proposal was accepted, and everyone understood their roles.

After the meeting ended, I decided to begin working on the painting. Although its story is quite lengthy, ….

Royesh: We can discuss the exhibition details later. For now, I would like to hear your perspective on how much your family stories about Abdul Khaleq influenced your painting’s symbols and elements and how much they resulted from your imagination.

Musafir: The canvas I used to paint Abdul Khaleq had a grainy texture, and I worked with oil paint on a canvas that measured 70×100 centimeters. My inspiration came from historical stories and the tales I had heard growing up. I made a conscious effort to include critical historical elements in the painting. My reference for Abdul Khaleq’s face was a photograph I had found, where he wore a striped outfit and had a vague expression that was difficult to decipher. I had also seen another painting that someone else had created, which was beautiful to look at but marred with visible remorse and regret on Khaleq’s face. The face they had depicted had two significant folies: firstly, it was highly violent, and secondly, Khaleq looked regretful.

As an artist and painter who knows portraits and features, I often stared at that painting with unease. According to the stories my father had shared with me and a serious and worthwhile program about martyr Abdul Khaleq broadcasted on national television, I told myself that Khaleq was not a person to feel remorse or regret. On the contrary, he took immense pride in accomplishing the goal he had set for himself.

With this thought in mind, I decided to reimagine Abdul Khaleq’s face in a different light. Rather than portraying him as unhappy and remorseful, I wanted to capture his happiness and accomplishment.

In my imagination of that portrait, I envisioned Abdul Khaleq with a broad, beaming smile that revealed even his teeth.

Against this image, I set a backdrop of dark, stormy clouds illuminated by flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder. In the foreground, I painted the window of Abdul Khaleq’s prison cell, rendered in a deep, bloody red. The name “Hafizah” was inscribed in the same color on the window, barely visible unless you looked closely. The same red color had also spilled onto the ground, mingling with a field of red tulips. There were seventeen tulips, each representing one of the seventeen martyrs who had died alongside Abdul Khaleq.

In addition to these elements, I included a lightning bolt that sparkled and disappeared like a mask. This symbolized Abdul Khaleq’s sharpness, agility, and quick thinking in the face of danger. When he realized there was no screening and body search, Abdul Khaleq acted with lightning speed. He borrowed his friend’s bicycle, raced to the Cinema Pamir area to get his pistol, and then quickly returned to the palace to face his fate.

The lightning illuminated the darkness, revealing the heinous crimes committed in the prison. At the tender age of eight, Khaleq’s sister, little Hafizah, was martyred. Written in blood on the windowsill was her name, Hafizah. The blood flowed down, forming seventeen tulip flowers – a symbol of the seventeen people hanged that day, including Khaleq’s parents, uncles, and brave comrades, with the ground soaked with blood.

Lastly, the loud, furious, and harsh sound of lightning signifies the breaking or collapse of a section of the prison wall – the site of oppression and torture.

In the meantime, I had worked the three wood grains, which were the sign of the bases of gibbet, and I had worked the ring, which was also empty. My goal was that Abdul Khaliq did not reach the gibbet at all. He was martyred before it was his turn for execution. Because Sayed Sharif first cut his finger, then cut his eye with a knife. After that, the rest of the soldiers cut him to pieces with their poniards.

Then I have more words about Abdul Khaliq’s body. He had a smile on his face. While the poniards are coming towards him from four sides and have sunk into his heart, kidney, and every part of his body, symbolically, blood is flowing down of them, but Khaleq smiles. It’s like he has reached his lover and doesn’t care what happens anymore. Because he has met his dreams, and if they tear him apart, he has won the battle.

He says it doesn’t matter what happens to him. What is important is the country, its people, and their freedom. There should be no tyranny and oppression ruling over the people’s lives. Those were the words on the portrait. At the bottom corner of the picture, I wrote: Martyred Abdul Khaliq, a freedom fighter and anti-tyranny hero.

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