‘What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul’, a man blurted out a proverb when this scribe approached a popular Pashto comedian, Mirawas, who offered a joyful session over a cup of tea in Peshawar at a private wedding ceremony where he was invited for a live performance.
“Around 6,000 copies of my newly-published title are selling like hot cakes, the next edition of the same book is re-titled as a remedy for mental worries,” he said as he sat down to shed light on his past career as comedian.
Born in 1955 in Tangi tehsil of Charsadda district, the stand-up Pashto comedian, Hayat Khan aka Mirawas, has recently published his second book after 30 years drenched in rich giggles and jokes.
The book titled ‘Gap da Mirawas’ with subtitle ‘Haqiqat pa Toqo Toqo ke’ (The gossip of Mirawas – facts in a light vein) recently hit Pashto bookstands not only in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata, Karachi and Quetta but also in Kabul. The 311-page book contains parodies of famous Pashto and Urdu songs, satiric and humorous poems, touching variety of topics.
"I take great pride in being an artist who educated hundreds of drug addicts to quit using drugs especially young students through my sugarcoated jokes. My mission is to decorate similes on the slump faces to reduce their tension for awhile,” says Mirawas.
About his career, he said that he was born with a talent to crack jokes to bring smiles to the faces of grief-stricken people. He said he was in 9th grade when he became an instant joke cracker where every week children from even surrounding schools would gather to enjoy his show. To Pakhtun audience, the appearance of Mirawas on TV screen or stage always meant a rich laughter as his well-attended comedy show never went without a round of applause.
Hailing from a farmer family, he grew up working in the fields and used to entertain daily wagers and poor farmers around him.
Some three decades ago, he even had brought out a booklet containing anecdotes crafted by him. Mirawas soon became a star stand-up comedian and during 80s he for the first time launched a campaign against drugs addiction on PTV.
Being a recipient of numerous awards for his performance, he has over 800 comedy Pashto albums to his credit.
He has toured about 20 countries in connection with his shows. “I take great pride in being an artist who educated hundreds of drug addicts to quit using drugs especially young students through my sugarcoated jokes. My mission is to decorate similes on the slump faces to reduce their tension for awhile,” Mirawas said.
The comedian said laughter could cure various ailments. He said jokes came to him naturally. Sharing an instant joke, he said an aged man was crying in front of a labour room where a passerby asked him for the reason, the man turned and replied Allah had blessed him with a son after 10 years, but that too was a small baby.
About the art of arousing laughter, he said comedians carried a sad heart, but they were blessed with the talent to make others laugh. He said every joke was not just a meaningless prank, but it carried an important lesson.
Mirawas shared a joke: “One day a young soldier came up to him and said why not you join army. I replied yes, but only on one condition; you would grant me long leave whenever a war breaks out.”
“A real stand-up comedian would always make people laugh over their follies so they could correct them instantly. These days, people are dipped in depression and have no time for fun. I believe an hour of fun would drive away depression and fatigue of months. Unfortunately, even small kids go to schools with slump faces as educational institutions provide no opportunity to them to smile,” the comedy master noted.
Mirawas shared another joke and said: “One day a young soldier came up to him and said why not you join army. I replied yes, but only on one condition; you would grant me long leave whenever a war breaks out.”
He recalled a quotation about laughter which said; “An optimist laughs to forget, but a pessimist forgets to laugh.”
Originally published in Dawn, January 1st, 2018