PESHAWAR: In Imran Rashid’s death, Peshawar has lost a chronicler of this city’s illustrious past.
Imran died of cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) on Monday at the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC). He was 42.
Hiss writing career spanned over a decade during which he penned three voluminous books on Peshawar’s history. His first book Peshawar Saddar Tarikh Ke Ainey main, (Peshawar Cantonment through the ages) was printed by the Sarhad Conservation Network back in 2002. In 2006, he wrote Baghat-e-Peshawar (Gardens of Peshawar) and earlier this year he published Peshawar Faseel-e-Sheher aur Darwazy or Peshawar’s city walls.
“It was back in 2001 when I first come to know Imran, while we were setting up the Sarhad Conservation Network (SCN) following the demolishing of Deans Hotel,” Dr Adil Zareef, a founder member of the SCN, told The Express Tribune. Zareef recalled the writer’s columns on the city’s history and culture in local Urdu dailies.
Imran had stressed himself out while working on his last book. “He was diagnosed with enlarged heart, but he continued to work on his book tirelessly,” Zareef said, adding “Peshawar was his love and he lost his life and health for it.”
“His death is an irreparable loss for Peshawar. He was an encyclopedia about the city,” Zareef said. He added that SCN will translate his books into English for their immense archival value.
However, Dr Zareef regretted that the writer was not accorded due patronage from the government. “He wanted the tourism corporation to support him in his latest writings on the city’s wall, but he was given a cold shoulder.”
Kamran Rashid, his elder brother and a mathematics lecturer at Air Force Inter College, said that his father immigrated to Peshawar following the creation of Pakistan from Jalandhar, India.
Imran received secondary and higher secondary education in Peshawar after which he went to the University of Peshawar for a Journalism degree. After graduation, he joined a local newspaper but later left the profession to devote himself to fulltime research and writing. “He was inclined towards writing from his school days and was the school’s magazine editor,” Kamran said.
He added that Imran was diagnosed with a heart problem some six months back and hospitalised two weeks ago.
“If fate had permitted him to live longer, Imran could have made a huge contribution,” Zareef said. He was the only person in this city who devoted himself to explore and write about the city’s glorious past. “Some people only live in legends and Imran will remain alive through his work.”
He leaves behind a widow, three daughters and a son.
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