Ahmad Ali Saaien was born in the first half of 19th century in the walled historic city of Peshawar in a mediocre family, Ahmad Ali Saaien, lived in ordinary slum overcrowded city lane of Peshawar. Saaien lived in a poverty stricken atmosphere having no regular income sources. He was a born poet, always humming extempore Hindko verses. He avoided mixing up with people unless he was asked to recite something.
Being illiterate he never wrote, and never held a pen or pencil in his fingers. Once he would take a start, verses showered from his lips like a rain. When excited, his throat rumbled thunder bolts. Being a poet he was a critic too and criticized bad verses. He could catch bad, out of rhythm poetic diction of other poets. Himself being a master of rhythmic poetry he was a careful master of poetic diction, poetic rhythm, poetic musical sounds, metaphors, that could appeal to the mind and soul of human beings.
He knew the art of narration and monologue depicting images after images. He knew figures of speech, a natural gift of God bestowed upon him although he was illiterate and was unable to read and write. He was a good listener and appreciated good poetry. He attended many poetic gatherings including famous literary gathering “Bazm-e-Sukhan” an earlier get to gether of poets, writers and critics of early 20h century in Peshawar.
His personality was a strange mixture of eccentric-ism, mysticism, integrity, and trustworthiness. He was one of the mainstream poets of Hindko language, who had a high fame and place in the world of Hindko poetry and literature which needs to be reckoned. His place in Hindko poetry is unparalleled and unrivaled. He enjoyed a great reputation among all other poets not only of Peshawar but in Potohar region where he is considered to be folklore in Punjab.
Ahmad Ali Saaien was Peshori yet he could spend a part of his life in Rawalpindi. One of his disciples and devoted friend, SardarMulakha Sing, took him to Rawalpindi because of his hard rainy days. Saaien used to recite verses in the company of Potohari speaking gatherings. Potohari and PeshawariHindko had a good chance to mix up. Even today Saaien’s reputation stands high at the Potohar regional poets.
Those who have prepared personal sketches of Ahmad Ali Saaien are of the view that he was quite illiterate, but Saaien gives no chance of doubt that he could be uneducated. One can find a deep influence of Persian literary works of Hafiz and Saadi. He used Persian diction, adjectives, images, metaphors, and allegories which could be found and used frequently by Persian Poets. Mystic he was by birth and devoted Muslim who believed in the unity of Almighty.
He praises Allah and prophet hood of Mohammad PBUH and the offspring of prophet’s family. Reciting Hamd Saaien says;
He is the foremost from the world of existence
Voice of the unseen exclaimed Bismillah
The pen was ordered to write
Pen carried out the order to write Bismillah
When angels read this composition
Saaieaan, they showed their thankfulness with Bismillah
Saaien was a contemporary of Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal and it is obvious Allama used to come across Saaien’s poetry. Though Saaien’s poetry was never published in shape of book or appeared in media in his life time. His publicity had spread in poet’s gatherings. Hence, Allama called him “Ghalib-e-Hindko”.
Saaien recited poetry orally and his friends remembered couplets, quadruples by heart. Neither he could read nor write with pen yet his memory could store hundreds of couplets and quadruples. Saaien had not heard about Moulana Jalal-ud-Din’s Masnavi, Gulistan and Bostan of Saadi, Dewan-e-Hafiz yet he used metaphors that happened to be in the poetic diction of Persian poets.
Saeen’s poetry does not give an effect of illeracy. Everybody confirms that he is the master of deep knowledge, philosophy, mysticism, and above all a dedicated teacher of Islamic faith, love with Prophet PBUH and his family.
Gandhara Hindko Academy (GHA) has published a beautiful collection of Ahmad Ali Saaien titled “Ganjeena-e-Saaien گنجینہ سائیں”. More than 1000 Harfis of Ahamad Ali Saaien are gathered and collected by a young researcher Ali Awais Khyal at GHA. The book is organized in Alphabetical order. Each Harfi is associated with a proper topic e.g. Ishq, Tasawuf, Friendship, Truthfulness, Unity of God etc. At the end of the book the Index is given using which the reader can get directly to a specific topic.