PESHAWAR: One of the leading ghazal poets of southern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Rahmatullah Dard, passed away on Wednesday after a prolonged illness in his home village of Masti Khel in Lakki Marwat.
His funeral prayers were is offered in the evening on the same day and a huge number of poets, academics and writers gathered.
Dard was born on December 4, 1937. He was one of the few senior poets, who along with late Ikramullah Gran and the late Shamsul Qamar Andesh, gave a fresh perspective to the Pashto ghazal, known as jadeed ghazal.
After the death of Amir Hamza Khan Shinwari, whose poetry had a more mystic influence, these poets took the lead in taking Pashto poetry ahead.
“He laid the foundation of the modern Pashto ghazal,” said Hayat Roghani, a Pashto poet. Dard’s work is for the common person and is known as Ulasi poetry.
His literary efforts spread over several decades and almost all of his work was published in the form of a Kuliyat. It was known as Kuliyat-e-Dard and was compiled by Umar Daraz Marwat.
His first poetry book was Ghazal, while the second one was Dard. In total, he published seven ghazal books.
Although the late poet taught Urdu literature in different colleges of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, all his poetry is in Pashto and he did very little in terms of Urdu poetry. He retired as the principal of the Government Post Graduate College in Bannu.
“His whole life was dedicated to Pashto ghazal,” Dr Muhib Wazir told The Express Tribune. “He was a modern Pashto ghazal poet whose style was fluid, simple, eloquent and represented the feelings and suffering of his people.”
His simple words adorned ghazals with beauty of thought and imagination, said Wazir. He added the exalted thoughts were moulded into words and became so awe-inspiring that they had an eternal effect on readers.
As far as the topic of his poetry is concerned, Wazir said Dard expressed the sorrows, pains and sufferings of the area through words in such a way that every Pukhtun could relate to his poetry.
According to Layyeq Zada Layyeq, a senior Pashto poet and writer, the southern area of the province has its own beauty which is totally different from other parts of K-P. He added there was a unique rhythm and style in Dard’s poetry. “There was more simplicity,” said Layyeq. “He expressed his noble thoughts in unambiguous words – adorned each verse with eternal beauty and this was more interesting to read.” He added that like other Pukhtun poets, nationalism could be found in his poetry.
Dard’s poetry was given a voice by all renowned singers, especially the late Rasool Bacha, Damsaz Marwat and Sardar Ali Banosi. In the early days of his poetry, the late Ustad Sher Afgan Niazi and Dilfaraz Niazi started singing his ghazals through Radio Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2016.