‘Death is not the end of life’: Abdul Ghani Khan: The poet, philosopher and politician

Published: August 29, 2014
PYO gathered to honour the Pukhtun treasure; more events will be held throughout the year. DESIGN: MUNIRA ABBAS

PYO gathered to honour the Pukhtun treasure; more events will be held throughout the year. DESIGN: MUNIRA ABBAS

PESHAWAR: The government should have issued a postal stamp to commemorate the 100 years of poet, sculptor and philosopher Abdul Ghani Khan, said people at an event organised by the National Youth Organisation (NYO) on Wednesday night.

Held at the Bacha Khan Markaz, the evening was held in honour of Ghani Khan’s 100th birthday and the services he rendered for Pukhtuns and Pashto literature.

Ghani Khan was born in Charsada in 1914 to Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan, the prominent leader of the Khudai Khidmatgar Tehreek. Ghani was well-educated, trained at the Rabindranath Tagore’s Shantiniketan Academy in painting and sculpturing. He died in 1996.

Like all great poets, striving for an eternal existence through his aesthetics, Ghani Khan wrote, “Do not convince me, O friend / Death is not the end of life.” His words reflect the recalcitrance of an idiosyncratic rebellion against everything.

Ghani’s lyricism is rich, his thoughts philosophic and his tone rebellious. His critics have even termed him a mystic, whose imagination gives a lone flower in a desert a voice and then compares it to his own life. And while the flower is “Unfortunate to have fallen from the beloved’s locks,” it’s the desert that has given the flower its importance and when that realization strikes, the flower speaks:

Ghani’s voice

Even after a hundred years, although globally recognized, Ghani Khan needs to be acknowledged by the Pakistani government in one way or the other.

The year of 2014 has been declared as the ‘Year of Ghani Khan’ by Pukhtuns across the country. Organisations like the Fikri Tarrun have planned several exhibitions and seminars to pay tribute to the man.

Awami National Party (ANP) parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak, well-known academic and poet Dr Salma Shaheen, ANP Secretary Bashir Khan Matta and a large number of youth were also present at the Markaz.

“Living nations never forget their elders,” said Shaheen while addressing the gathering. “Ghani Baba has rendered great services in politics and literature which have helped and will continue to help Pukhtuns in every situation they face.” Shaheen added, “His philosophy is a precious treasure for Pukhtuns.”

She stressed on the need to organise more events where people can enjoy Ghani Khan’s work. Shaheen said books should be published in his memory in addition to a commemorative stamp.

“Ghani Baba was not only a poet but a philosopher, a sculptor and a politician, whose services cannot be forgotten by [us],” said Babak. More of such gatherings will be held across the province in honour and remembrance of the great philosopher.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2014.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (3)

  • Hassan Ali Khan
    Aug 29, 2014 - 11:16PM

    Great man! nice but very short article.


  • bilal habib
    Aug 29, 2014 - 11:44PM

    Pashtoons will never be recognized if they keep on requests to the Punjab dominated Govt machinery or establishment. Learn from Lahorites, they are bringing the whole govt on its knees for the killing of 12 of their men. Pashtoons have sacrificed in thousands in the last eight years. In return they get banned from other provinces. They are humiliated as the ‘chowkidar or bus conductor’ in print and electronic media. From Afghan Jihad to ‘War on Terror’ and from MMA to PTI all the experiments have been done over Pashtoons. They are systematically kept away from Industrial successes. KPK provides the bulk of free electricity to the Center while the HQ of Wapda is situated in Lahore…..One thing that can unite us pashtoons is getting education and following the legacy of our elders like Ghani Khan and Bacha Khan.


  • azeema
    Jan 8, 2015 - 1:43AM

    Education in kpk is rising day by day. yes some pathans are working and earning as “chowkidaar or bus conductors” but atleast not begging on roads.they have courage to earn halal money by working hard. pushtoons ARE and WILL rise and shine.


More in K-P