Aristotle once said, “No great genius has ever existed without a touch of madness.” That is exactly why Khan Abdul Ghani Khan is regarded throughout history as an iconoclast, maverick, and philosopher who was intellectually insane. His poetry is very versatile, touching on a variety of subjects like mysticism, compassion, romance, and philosophy. In fact, he is a trendsetter who has railed against Pushtoon Culture’s rigid norms, cruelty, and feudalism.
His efforts were bolstered by the fact that he alone grasped the significance of our culture’s and our society’s intellectual flourishing.
Ghani’s literary depth, distinctiveness, diversity, and imaginative colour are the unrivalled self-indulgent qualities that he alone possessesd.
A mad philosopher?
By embodying the socio-religious abstractions, he took on the powerful forces of society and the state and their entrenched social symbols, cliches, and religious norms.
In the annals of Pashto literature, the endeavours to regain an educated society and a tolerant youth stood out among all the divergences from his poetry. He was a philosopher who predicted criteria for constructing nations and glorious social cleaning. He was futuristic philosopher and a visionary.
As his poetry offers a unified picture of themes as disparate as love and loss, struggle and revolution, war and peace, mysticism and Sufism, allegory and satire; to sum up, his work defies categorization. His body of work exemplifies why humans are, as nature so wisely put it, the “paragon of animals.”
Although Einstein discovered the incontrovertible fact that time is relative, at least within the scope of particle physics, but for poets, time takes on new meaning and behaves in novel ways.
Poets have the ability to peer into the future and articulate what they perceive, but the non-congruence between time and space gives their poetry the appearance of incoherence to the rest of society, earning them the label of “unintelligible geniuses.” If you read Ghani Khan now, you will be enjoying a masterpiece from the far future.
Ghani Khan opposition to contemporary social and religious norms
He settled his debts with the deposited allegories of religious cliches. Using faith to strengthen community ties was as common then as it is now.
As a first modernist, he distinguished between the two; and engaged in extensive discussion about how religion was used politically and tribally to influence society and its citizens.
At the heart of his satire was the widespread practise of religion for the sole purpose of adding to people’s bewilderment about how to connect with God and worship the symbolic clerical deities.
His poems sparked a massive awakening movement toward understanding the nuances of religion as a system of beliefs and the variety of its socio-cultural orientations, but they were prohibited and his poetry is still mostly disregarded by religious conservatives even today.
Socio-religious compromises entangled with culture and religion were clearly decoupled from people’s exposition.
For him, religion was an issue of pure personal purity that centred on treating every individual with the respect they deserved and showing them compassion.
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According to his extrapolation, there was no need for mediators or middlemen between the Creator and his creation, which cut off the stakeholder groups that used religion to advance their own interests.
His poetry developed in a fertile environment that was rife with brutal tribal rivalries, protracted killings, socioeconomic stratification, the advent of modernity, and an appalling level of social intolerance.
In contrast to this, his poetry was a revolt against the accepted norms of the status quo that had permeated the entire community.
This went hand in hand with the overarching themes of social tolerance and adaptability, with respect for everyone’s rights in society, especially those of women. His use of imagery in his poetry bears witness to this outreach.
Recognizing the rights of all creatures that live in a society on an equitable and equal basis is a prerequisite for a human person to reach his full potential and reach the degree of achievement that would allow him to realise his full potential.
Instead of looking outside of ourselves for answers about providence and the supernatural, we should have first sought out the goodness that already resides within us. The Mad Philosopher fiercely criticised the established order of controlling society from within the confines of religion.
Ghani Khan fierce attack on the clergy
It is no secret that Ghani had some harsh words for molvis. He did not hold any ill will toward them on a personal level. His main beef with them was the rigidity and inaccuracy of their beliefs.
He felt their emphasis on the hereafter was misplaced. The poet’s work explored molvis’ obsession with “Hoora.” According to Ghani, molvis are hedonistic consumerists. Not only did they fail to pass on accurate information, but they also failed miserably at awakening people’s moral compass.
Even though they preach that music is forbidden in Islam, he says a molvi can bring a rabab and perform it for a hundred rupees.
The only thing that separates me from a molvi is that he believes that God is Jabbar and Qahhar, whereas for me, God is Rehman and Rahim, he stated with his characteristic candour. Ghani was forthright in stating that he visited a mosque and offered the molvi his heart, but that man declined, claiming that since it was neither “Halwa” nor “firney,” he could not accept it. This was Ghani’s explanation of the molvi’s desire (or, to be more accurate, lust) for material possessions.
The remnants of Ghani Khan’s writings urge the development of a society in which each person contributes something positive and there is mutual exchange of ideas. This could help to shape a society that is based on mutual respect for one another, one that is free from radical approaches, means, and techniques, and one that is not divided along lines of religion or culture.
When dissenting opinions are settled by gunfire rather than by ballots, a society built on intolerance is forced to intellectual asphyxia. The extremism in society has reached an intolerable point where the dignity of man is the first thing to be lost to nullity, followed by all other undesirable societal consequences.
The words left behind by poets such as Ghani Khan and the chest full of diamonds need to be disseminated in the same way as missionary fathoms and trends do.