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CHARASADA: Renowned Pashto poet Ikramullah Gran Bacha passed away due to cardiac arrest here on Thursday. He was 73.

He left behind his widow, two sons and one daughter. He was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard in Yaseenzai, Prang. The funeral prayer was led by Jamaat-i-Islami provincial chief Prof Mohammad Ibrahim and attended by a large number of writers including Rehmat Shah Sail, Prof Abaseen Yousafzai, Dr Khaliq Ziar, Aziz Maneriwal and others.

A delegation of poets and writers from Afghanistan led by Akber Jan Fulad also participated in the burial rituals of the late poet. A large number of local poets, writers, fans and people from Peshawar, Nowhsera, Mardan, Swabi, Bannu and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa attended the funeral of the late poet.

Born in 1941, at Yasinzai village of Prang, district Charsadda, Ikramullah Gran was widely known among Pashto literary circles for his mastery over ghazal writing. Baba-i- Pashto ghazal Amir Hamza Khan Shinwari had once called late Gran Bacha ‘the youth of Pashto ghazal’.


A large number of writers and fans including a delegation from Afghanistan attend his funeral


Gran Bacha won several awards and certificates for his standard and popular poetry. He was nominated two-time for pride of performance by the then presidents Zialul Haq and Pervez Musharaf.

Baba-i- Pashto ghazal also wrote an epithalamium on the occasion of Gran’s wedding ceremony in early 60s in which besides praising his qualities, Hamza Baba had predicted the young poet’s high status in Pashto literary circles.

Peace, tolerance, humanism and love were some topics that found fine expression in Gran’s poetry. Poetry of Gran Bacha was quite popular among people decades ago before its publication. Almost all noted singers have sung his numbers. A down to earth, Gran Bacha was a favourite bard and household name for Pakhtuns.

The late ghazal maestro had to his credit only one poetry collection ‘Zama Ghazal’ published in his life time way back in 2002. He had set another collection of his poetry titled ‘Zhwand Da Khial Pa Ayeena Kay’ for publication next year which now will be published posthumously.

Gran Bacha qualified only 9th grade from government high school Charsadda and left education incomplete because extreme poverty and mysterious illness but he was determined to educate his children. “Educating his children was great desire of my father. I am serving as English lecturer in Islamabad. My elder brother is an engineer while my sister is a qualified medical doctor. I am proud of my visionary father,” his younger son Abuzar told Dawn.

He intends to translate selected poetry of his legendary father into English. “I have made up my mind to render some selected poems of my Baba into English once his own poetry gets published next year. He had collected specimen of his poetry and wanted to bring it out but unfortunately death overtook him before his poetry could see light of the day,” Mr Abuzar said.

Gran Bacha had a large number of fans in Pakistan and Afghanistan among Pakhtuns.

While still young he had received appreciation from literary critics and contemporary poets because of his distinct style Salim Raz, senior Pashto writer, said that Gran Bacha was a distinct voice. “Great literary figures like Hamza Baba, Ajmal Khattak, Qalandar Momand and Ghani Khan could not eclipse his widespread fame. It is indeed an irreparable loss to Pashto literature,” he added.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2014