By Fazal Amin Beg (Based on an interview on March 3, 2013, Rawalpindi)
Though, well-known before the public as Amanullah Nachiz, his actual name is Imanullah Baig who is the older son of Salikat Shah son of Khuram Shah of Ghulkin, Hunza valley, Northern Pakistan. He was born in his home village in 1950. He belongs to the Arbobon lineage group of Buduley clan of Gulmit. When he was 8 years old, he was, for the first time, sent for the elementary education in the Diamond Jubilee School in Gulmit.
After qualifying his primary level education, his parents wanted to sent him to central Hunza (baltit) for the middle level education but then were hesitant of their son being too young to be sent to someone’s house as Iman Ullah Baig was the only son at that time of his extended family. On the other, Iman Ullah Baig was also very naughty and his family members were also concerned that he may be in trouble in an alien place.
When Iman Ullah Baig was 19 years old, he was recruited in the military in 1969. On 14 August this year, he got his appointment in the military force (Karakoram Scout). He served the force for 22 years. 11 years of his services Imanullah Baig rendered in Skardu. In 1970, Imanullah Baig was sent to Olding (a military post) in Baltistan.
During the time of 1971 War between Pakistan and India, Imanullah Baig was serving on a post in Kafir Paharr (Infidle Mountain) in Baltistan. He fought in Kargil by serving the Signal Section. “The posts in Kargil we had occupied at that time but due to a Bangali spying major, we could not succeed to the extent we had to go”, states Iman Ullah Baig.
There was a very sturdy JCO (Junior Commissioned Officer/Subedar) of Ghizer district named Sher Wali. When a Balti soldier serving the Signal Section was killed, his assignment was given to Imanuallah Baig. Out of 170 soldiers, only 80 could survive and rest of them were killed in the battle, Imanullah informs. This tragic incident occurred at that time when the forces were asked to get retreat. The survivors however reached at their defense position.
Afterwards, Imanullah Baig was transferred to 8 NLI (Northern Light Infantary). He got his retirement from NLI when he was in Dudunyal (Kashmir) as Havaldar. When he served 21 years, his documents were sent to the higher officials for promotion as JCO but his father did not allow Iman Ullah Baig to serve further the military as there were also domestic challenges. Imanullah Baig is not happy with his father’s decision/consent regarding his promotion hurdle. He thinks that he must had rose to the position of Subedar Major as there was no senior Havaldar in his Unit except him.
In the field of singing, Imanullah Baig entered in his youth when he was 19 or 20 years old. Although, Iman Ullah Baig had composed one of his Wakhi poems but the Adolat-e Kũrsi became very famous when in the 1990s, the Wakhi Tajik Cultural Association (WTCA), Hunza, had organized a festival and Imanullah sang it in the grand audience in Gulmit. So far, Imanullah Baig has composed almost 40 poems, mostly love songs.
Imanullah Baig has the practice of composing his songs after acquiring a melody on any theme. He says that it becomes difficult to compose a poetry if there is no melody first. “Poetry is like an ocean and we may not be termed as poets”, states Imanullah Baig. A poet needs to be knowleadgeable enough and has the capacity of weaving the concept whether in Farsi or Urdu or Wakhi or other languages. Imanullah Baig is also a musician. He can play wind and string instruments (e.g., flutes & sitor) as well drums like damal, dedang and the like.
Iman Ullah Baig thinks that these days the quality of poetry has increased as compared to the past (old age) during the time of the Princely State of Hunza. Previously, there used to be more enthusiasm but the quality of poems were not improved. He recommends that the native language speakers should take in in further improving their quality of poetry and music.