Maulana Zafar Ali Khan MCOM 309: Media History
Early Life • Maulana Zafar Ali Khan (1956 – 1873), was a writer, poet, and journalist who took an important part in the Pakistan Movement. • He was born at Kot Mehrath, Sialkot during the time the area became partof British India. • He also played a role in the freedom movement against the British government in India. • He received his early education in MissionHigh School, Wazirabad, Gujranwala District.
Early Life • He went to Aligarh Muslim University. • After completing his intermediate at Aligarh, he joined the postal department of the state of Jammu and Kashmir but resigned over a row with his seniors. • He rejoined the Aligarh College, graduated, and served as private secretary to the vice-chancellor of the college, Nawab Mohsinul Mulk, • Who sent him to Darul Tarjuman at Hyderabad Deccan.
Early Life • Although he did sizable translation work there, he left for Bombay after developing differences with the Home Secretary of Deccan Nawab Sarbuland. • Maulana Zafar Ali came back to Deccan after going through a series of unsuccessful business ventures in Bombay. • He launched the magazine, The Deccan Review, which soon earned him fame. • At that time his father was editor of weekly Zamindar that was being published from Lahore.
Early Life • The weekly played a prominent role in Pagri Sambhal Jutta Movement aimed at asserting the rights of farmers in colonized areas. • Following his father’s death, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan moved to Lahore and took over Zamindar which became mouthpiece for Muslim anti-colonial politics. • He joined the All-India Congress Committee and emerged as a fiery and powerful commentator.
As Political Activist • With the irrefutably powerful art of rhetoric he also served as an exemplary spokesman for the Muslim community. • He was one of the supporters of the resolution, which led to the creation of All India Muslim League at Dhaka in 1906. • He was the champion of the Muslim unity and brotherhood all over the world. • This curiosity compelled him to collect funds for the Turks during Tripoli and Balkans Wars and visited Turkey as well.
As Political Activist • He played an active role during the Khilafat Movement and was elected first as secretary and later as President of Punjab Khilafat Committee. • In 1935 he started Majlis-e-Ittihad-e-Millat • In the same year he was elected as a member of the Central Legislature from Lahore. • Zafar Ali Khan struggled hard to establish All India Muslim League, which faced resistance from the landlords particularly from the Unionist Party in Punjab.
As Political Activist • Maulana Zafar Ali Khan will be remembered with great respect and honour in the political history of Pakistan due to his contribution in the all walks of life.
As Writer/Journalist • The one who fought for the freedom movement with his pen and used it as a unifier for required nationalism in the Muslim community will be remembered as the father of Urdu Journalism. • Maulana continued the legacy of his father, after taking charge as the editor of ‘Zamindar’ by converting it into a revolutionary press • Initially the paper was published keeping in view the farmers.
As Writer/Journalist • In his hands Zamindar became the most influential Urdu daily of Northern India that played a vital role in the Indian politics. • Bearing an anti-imperialist point of view, its popularity can be traced back from the fact that it has thirty thousand issues, which until 1947 no other newspaper can claim. • The newspaper was the first voice of the Muslims in the Khilafat Movement and a powerful instrument for infusing a vigorous political life in the Punjab.
As Writer/Journalist • There was no important incident (involving the Muslisms) that was left unattended by the veteran journalist. • All the historical events that brought Muslims as a minority against the ruling British or the majority Indians, before the creation of Pakistan, received Zamindar’s glare. • Maulana Zafar Ali Khan was part of the formidable chain of ‘militant Muslim journalists’. • Khanpur mosque agitation in 1935 combined with Maulana’s effective persuasion made ‘mosque’ the symbol of ‘community identity’.
As Writer/Journalist • The reason, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan is regarded, as the father of Urdu journalism is that he established the traditions of sacrifice, perseverance, boldness and devotion towards social responsibility in journalism. • Zamindar knocked at the door of a common man and played a pivotal role to build an enthusiastic lot of newspaper readers among the Muslims. • This intrepid journalistic standard helped the Pakistan movement to gain momentum, which thwarted any insurmountable barrier.
As Writer/Journalist • Maulana Zafar Ali selected the best calligraphers, writers and translators of the subcontinent for his newspaper, Zamindar. • He hired the services of news agencies and appointed his representatives in the leading cities of the Muslim world. • Before the Maulana entered in the field of journalism, the owner/editor was called a munshi. Most of them were not so educated and ignorant of the political and social environment.
As Writer/Journalist • He was the first graduate from the Aligarh Muslim University to practically join journalism. • He had good command of the language, in addition to his comprehensive study of latest mode of economics, sociology and politics. He was a master of Islamic history.
As Writer/Journalist • The father of Urdu journalism has left an immutable model that was based on the dialect of nationalism and communitarianism that moulded Muslim mindset. • His columns, published in Zamindar, played a remarkable role in the awakening of the Muslims and in forming their political outlook. • He possessed exceptional courage and amazing spirit. • He never cared different warnings of the government and ignored them contemptuously.
As Writer/Journalist • He faced imprisonment but never bowed before the government. • The government’s abhorrence against Zimidar was actually a conflict between truth and deceit. • It was a war between Maulana Zafar Ali Khan whose pen was the custodian of the millions of Muslims and the foreign government which was suppressing the rights of the Indians with its might. But Maulana was undeterred.
As Writer/Journalist • Several times, the security deposit of Zamindar was confiscated, and in no time the Indian Muslims, who could even sacrifice their lives for him, collected a huge amount to deposit the security, so that its publication may not be terminated. • Maulana had to spend 14 valuable years of his life in jail; however, he never refrained from speaking the truth and nothing could hinder his struggle for freedom. • In, 1934 when the Punjab government banned Zimidar, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, sued and got the government orders revoked by the court.
As Writer/Journalist • Once newspapers in Lahore were put under censorship. • One day, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan 's editorial in the Zamindar was censored in its entirety. • The next morning, the paper carried just the following couplet in the columns reserved for editorials: • Iss meray leader pe heh Fazl-i-Ilahi kis qadarShosha shosha nuqta nuqta nazr-i-censor ho gaya
As Writer/Journalist • The interesting things is that the censor officer's name was Fazal-e-Ilahi who ordered the same day that calligraphed newspaper matter need no longer be submitted for scrutiny.
As Writer/Journalist • There is an article by Maulana Zafar Ali Khan in the very first issue of The Islamic Review dated February 1913, • the monthly magazine started by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din from Woking, England. • The article is addressed to the British public and is on the topic of the sympathies of the Muslims of British India for the problems of their fellow Muslims in Islamic countries.
As Activist • Maulana would never miss a chance to snub the British government and the Heavens had provided him ample opportunities to carry out his sacred mission. • Shaheed Ghazi Ilam Din had killed a blasphemous and was sent to gallows in the Mianwali jail. • The government buried him in Mianwali which infuriated the Muslims in Punjab. • They protested and made a unanimous demand to bring Shaeed’s body to Lahore but no one was prepared to give coverage to them
As Activist • A large procession led by Lal Din Qaiser reached the office of Zimidar which was the only hope for the Muslims. • The crowd shouted slogans of ‘long live Maulana Zafar Ali Khan’. • Maulana came out of his office and delivered a fiery speech that mesmerized the protesters. • Amid thunderous applause of the people he empathetically assured them that he wouldn’t sleep until Ilam Din’s dead body reached Lahore.
As Activist • Maulana gave a one day deadline to the government to transfer the dead body to Lahore • otherwise he would himself lead the protesters to Mianwali. • Sensing the gravity of the situation the government transferred the body to Lahore next day and handed it over to the Muslims who buried it in the Miani Sahib graveyard.
As Poet • Apart from his magnificent potential of journalism, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan had incredible gift of rhyme. • His poetry was a beautiful blend of religious fervor and political sentiments. • He had the ability to say spontaneous verses. • He was a passionate devotee of the Prophet and his Naatia poetry would enthrall the audience. • His poetical harvest was published in “Baharistan”, “Nigaristan”, and “Chamanistan”.
As Poet • A British magistrate Sandrus ordered death sentence to Baghat Singh Raj Guru who was also against the foreign government. • His struggle was different as he would kill the British officers for their crime to tyrannize innocent people. • He was arrested and was sent to gallows. • From the Central jail in Lahore, his dead body was taken to Ganda Singwala where his body was cut into pieces and was burnt at the bank of river Sutlaj.
As Poet • His sister Amr Kaur reached the site and collected his putrefied fingers and hands from there/his pyre. • She brought them to Lahore and led a protest procession. • Maulana also participated in the procession and read some verses