Khan Abdul Ghani Khan

Ghani Khan (Pashto: غني خان) ‎ (1914 – 15 March 1996) was a Pashtun philosopher, Pashto language poet, artist (painter and sculptor), writer and politician of the 20th century. He was a son of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and older brother of Khan Abdul Wali Khan. Ghani Khan have been Known as Pashto: لېونی فلسفې, Romanized: Lewanay Fālsafi (Mad Philosopher).

Khan Abdul Ghani Khan
خان عبدالغنی خان
غني خان
Picture of Ghani Khan
BornKhan Abdul Ghani Khan
Hashtnagar, British India
Died15 March 1996(1996-03-15) (aged 81–82)
Charsada, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , Pakistan
Notable workDa Panjre Chaghar, "Panoos", The Pathans, Da Ghani Latoon, "Kuliat-e-Ghani":

Pashto: ده علم سمندر, Romanized: Da īlam Samander (The Ocean of Knowledge)

Pen Names of Ghani Khan: لېونی (Lewany) and غني (Ghani).


Khan Abdul Ghani Khan was born in Hashtnagar in the then North-West Frontier Province of British India, or the modern-day village of Utmanzai in Charsadda District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. He was the son of the Red-Shirt Leader Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and elder brother of Khan Abdul Wali Khan. His wife Roshan came from a Parsi family and was the daughter of Nawab Rustam Jang. He went to study at the art academy at Rabindranath Tagore's university in Shantiniketan and developed a liking for painting and sculpture.[1] He visited England and studied sugar technology in the United States, after which he returned to India and started working at the Takht Bhai Sugar Mills in 1933. Largely owing to his father's influence, he was also involved in politics, supporting the cause of the Pashtuns of British India. He was arrested by the Government of Pakistan in 1948 – although he had given up politics by then – and remained in prison till 1954, in various jails all over the country. It was during these years that he wrote his poem collection Da Panjray Chaghaar, which he considered the best work of his life. His contribution to literature (often unpublished) was ignored by the Pakistan government for much of his life although near the end of his life his works did receive much praise and as well as an award from the Government of Pakistan. For his contributions to Pashto literature and painting, the President of Pakistan, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, conferred on him the prestigious award of Sitara-e-Imtiaz (23 March 1980).


Aside from a few poems of his youth and early manhood, Ghani Khan's poetry, like his temperament, is anti-political. His poem collections include Panoos, Palwashay, De Panjray Chaghar, Kullyat and Latoon. He also wrote in English; his first book was The Pathans (1947). His only published work in Urdu was his book titled Khan Sahib (1994).

The singular distinction of his poetry – aside from his obvious poetic genius – is a profound blend of knowledge about his native and foreign cultures, and the psychological, sensual, and religious aspects of life.[2][3]

A translation (Pashto to English) of selected 141 poems of Ghani Khan, called The Pilgrim of Beauty, has been authored by Imtiaz Ahmad Sahibzada, a friend and admirer of the poet. The book was printed in 2014 in Islamabad, Pakistan. It is a joint initiative by individual donors in Pakistan and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Afghanistan. The book also contains paintings of Ghani Khan. The Pakistan launch of the book took place in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Pukhtun Festival, in March 2015. The Afghanistan launch took place on 22 February 2016 by the Ministry of Information and Culture.In 1982, At Edwards College Peshawar, Quaid Muhammad Khan(President Of Pushto Literature) familiarized Ghani Khan with Sardar Ali Takkar so that he could be able to read Ghani Khan ghazals with some music at the backgroud(Modern Day Tappy).

Political Life and Imprisonment

During a part of Ghani Khan's life, modern-day Pakistan did not exist. India was under British rule (hence called British India) and was fighting for its independence from the British. On 15 August 1947, India finally gained its independence. And a day before, on 14 August 1947, Pakistan had been born, becoming independent of British India. Hence, before all this independence, the Pashtuns who are now in Pakistan (all except the Swati Pashtuns, since Swat was an independent, princely state until 1964) were under the rule of British India before the partition of India and Pakistan. This is where and why Bacha Khan's work was significant.

As for Ghani Khan, he was initially influenced by his father's political struggles and thus worked for the independence of the Pashtuns ruled by British India. However, he later came to disagree with his father's ideologies (he stopped supporting the idea of non-violent resistance, seeing that it was not beneficial to the Pashtuns). He says, in an interview, that he left his father's political movement of non-violence, called "Khudai Khidmatgar" ("God’s Soldiers") because of some of the movement's motives that he disagreed with.

Although he was no longer involved in politics by the time of Pakistan's independence (1947), the government of Pakistan imprisoned him several times, sending him to jails from all over the country. His father spent close to half of his lifetime in jail (44 years out of his 99 years!). Ghani Khan used his time in jail to write poetry; his main work in jail is called Da Panjrey Chaghar ("The Chirping of the Cage").

Quotes and proseEdit

Ghani Khan's love for nature and the local habitat of the Pashtun people is visible in his work. He wrote

  • "Pashtun is not merely a race but, in fact, a state of mind; there is a Pashtun lying inside every man, who at times wakes up and overpowers him."
  • "The Pashtuns are a rain-sown wheat: they all came up on the same day; they are all the same. But the chief reason why I love a Pashtun is that he will wash his face and oil his beard and perfume his locks and put on his best pair of clothes when he goes out to fight and die."
  • As a progressive and intellectual writer, he wrote, "I want to see my people educated and enlightened. A people with a vision and a strong sense of justice, who can carve out a future for themselves in harmony with nature."


Khan Abdul Ghani Khan died on 15 March 1996 and was buried in Utmanzai, Charsadda.[4] After his death, in recognition of his outstanding achievements, the Government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province built a public library and park as a memorial to him on about 8 acres (32,000 m2) of land, naming it "Ghani Derai" (the mound of Ghani). The site is an historical mound very near his home, Dar- ul-Aman, and within the confines of his ancestral village, Utmanzai, on the main highway from Razzar to Takht-i-Bhai.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Ghani Khan – the poet of beautiful contradictions". The Express Tribune, 6 January 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  2. ^ Rafay Mahmood (20 April 2011) Ghani Khan: The rhythms of hope Express tribune accessed 21 April 2011
  3. ^ Ghani Khan's Twenty-one poems in Pashto and English translated by Taimur Khan [1][2][3][4][5]
  4. ^ "20th death anniversary of iconic Pashto poet Ghani Khan observed". Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.


External linksEdit

Interview of Author of The Pilgrim of Beauty - an English translation of Ghani Khan's 141 poems, by Deewa radio, Voice of America