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Published on 26 Sep 2012 | over 4 years ago

Ghani Khan was born in January 1914, at Utmanzai village in District Charsadda. He was the eldest son of Bacha Khan who founded the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement and who rose to prominence because of his relentless, non-violent struggle against the British rule in the subcontinent. When Ghani was five, his mother died of influenza and his paternal grandmother took charge of his upbringing. But she died in 1923.

Ghani Khan received his early education from a traditional religious teacher at an Utmanzai mosques. He was then sent to the National High School in Peshawar. After he had studied there for one year, his father set up Azad Islamic Madrassa in his hometown Utmanzai in 1921 and Ghani Khan was admitted to it. At the age of 14, he started composing poetry while he was still at school. But it was in December 1928 that his first poem appeared in Pakhtoon, a monthly journal launched by his father as the organ of the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement for the promotion of the Pashto language.

In 1929, Bacha Khan sent him to London for higher education where he also came to learn about Christianity. Even in those years of adolescence, he was able to impress others with his body and bent of mind. While in London, he got involved in a love affair with an eminent film actress but Bacha Khan did not approve of it. Ghani Khan was told by his father to depart for the United States of America to study of sugar technology at the University of Southern Louisiana.

But though Ghani Khan went to America his heart was in London. It was then that he wrote many verses on the liberalism of the western society. He also wrote about his emotional deprivation.

He did Chemical Engineering from the US and on his return was appointed in a sugar mill in Uttar Pradesh province as chief chemist.Atrocities by the state, plight of the Pathans and death of his only son gave his poetry a philosophical colour which became a hallmark of his literary persona.
Ghani Khan's first poetic collection was Da Penjery Chaghaar (Chirpings of the Cage) which he wrote from 1947 to 1954 while he was in jail. His other books include Palwashey (Beams of Light), Panoos (Chandelier), Latoon (Search) and Kulyat-e-Ghani (A collection of Ghani's poetry).Apart from Pashto, Ghani Khan also wrote in English. His first English book, The Pathans, was published in 1947. It is a description of history, culture, traditions and customs of Pakhtoons. It also depicts their feuds, enmities and their attitudes to life. "Pathan is not merely a race but in fact, a state of mind; there is a Pathan lying inside every man, who at times wakes up and overpowers him," he once wrote. He was very proud of his being a Pakhtoon and thanked God that he was born among Pakhtoons.

Ghani Khan died on March 15, 1996 in Peshawar and was buried by the side of his mother in his ancestral graveyard near Utmanzai.....(Zafar Ali Yousafzai)

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