PESHAWAR: Renowned Pashto ghazal singer, poet and fiction writer Ikramullah Gran, commonly known as ‘Gran Baba’, passed away on Thursday morning due to cardiac arrest.
He is survived by his three children, Mian Abuzar, Mian Ihtisaam and one daughter.
His funeral prayers were offered by Jamaat-e-Islami K-P Ameer Professor Mohammad Ibrahim Khan. A large number of writers, poets and politicians attended the funeral.
Gran has been billed as the pioneer of modern Pashto ghazal. He was born in Prang Yasinzai tehsil of Charsadda in November 1941. Although he was unable to study beyond eighth grade, he managed to carve a niche for himself in Pashto literature. Throughout his life, Gran Baba worked as a farmer in his village and wrote poetry as a hobby.
He penned three books. Out of these, two were poetry anthologies entitled Zama Ghazal and Jwand da khayal pa Aayeena ke. Gran Baba’s third book, Spogmai, was a collection of short stories.
Unfortunately, he was only able to publish Zama Ghazal, a compilation of 153 ghazals. Living in extreme poverty, Gran could not afford to publish his other books. Moreover, no one was willing to publish his work.
“He did not plead to any department or private organisation to have his book published,” said Mian Abuzar, his son. “Now that he is gone, his work is admired by Pukhtuns from across the world.”
Hamesh Khalil, a prominent Pashto scholar and writer, told The Express Tribune Gran’s body of work provides critical commentary on the inequalities and injustices which plague society. He also wrote about romance, peace and spirituality.
“Gran Baba has left for us some great gems of Pashto poetry,” Khalil added. “His work will always be the pride of Pashto poetry and ghazals.”
In thoughts and memory
Gran received many plaudits for his poetry. Zama Ghazal was widely appreciated for his distinctive style which set him apart from all other Pashto poets of his time.
Several renowned poets from his time, such as Hamza Baba, Ghani Khan, Ajmal Khattak and Rahmat Shah Sail, sang praises for his work and continued to encourage him.
A large number of Gran’s poems have been adapted into songs by famous Pashto singers. Haroon Bacha, Sarfaraz Khan and Gul Panra have produced soulful renditions of Gran’s poetry.
According Abasin Yousufzai, a senior academic and writer, Gran’s death is a great loss to Pashto poetry.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2014.