By Justice ® RafiqTarrar

I­­ belong to the same land where Baba-i-Sahafat Maulana Zafar Ali Khan was born, spent his childhood and sleeping in his eternal abode after accomplishing his national responsibilities amidst a long but intrepid struggle spanning over more than five decades. Today fifty five year after his death most of his contemporaries are not alive who had complete knowledge about Maulana’s character and views on various issues. Between these years a new generation has been raised which even don’t know Maulana’s name, not of their fault at all. It is incongruity that never ever any considerate effort has been made to introduce Maulana ZAK and other national heroes to this generation. We must know that the nations which forget their national heroes are destined to evaporate in the pages of history.

Nevertheless, it is the earnest need of the present day to apprise the new generation about their forefathers who struggled valiantly against a super power in whose boundaries the sun would never set. Challenging its supremacy was like to invite one’s death. No nation on earth could have even thought of it. But it was fearless Maulana who dared to challenge its authority and launched a gallant and successful struggle, spanning over fifty years, against the British Raj through his bold writings in Zimidar Maulana wrote;

Maulana collectively spent more than twelve years in British India courts and jails at different times. During his prison days he closely observed the British system of justice and openly criticized it in his columns. 

The British had seized control of the Indian subcontinent from the Muslims and established their government. Naturally, they considered Muslims a serious threat for their illegitimate rule. So they promoted Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani who declared his false Prophethood and issued a Fatwa against Jihad. Mirza’s father had demonstrated extreme kind of loyalty to the British army during the war of independence in 1857. Maulana always refuted Mirza’s claim with calculated reasoning and wisdom.

A Portuguese beauty Ms Rufu was a regular dancer in the Cecil Hotel in Lahore during the British rule. She would entertain her fans who would throng the hotel at every weekend to enjoy her dance. ZafarUllah Khan also lived in a bungalow adjacent to the hotel building. Mirza Bashirudin Mahmood would stay in that bungalow whenever he visited Lahore. He developed intimacy with the Portuguese beauty and persuaded her to go to Qadian with him as tutor of his children. Her admirers protested against this abduction and approached Maulana who wrote a fiery poem which was published in Zimidar. Maulana fought on all fronts against the British, Hindus, Qadianees and Jagirdars and trounced them. The Hindu newspapers would attack on Zimidar collectively but they had no answer of Maulana’s writings which were always based on reasoning and held high esteem in the journalism history before Partition.

Maulana would never compromise on religious matters. He publicly supported a Muslim youngster Abdul Rasheed who had killed blasphemous ShardaNand. Once Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan and Agha Shorish Kashmiri approached Maulana and requested him to write few couplets for their newspaper ‘Azad’.  He wrote two verses for the newspaper;

It is an irony that we have not given due respect to those who struggled against the British rule in India. We have forgotten Majlis Ahrar and Khudai Khidmatgars which fought against the British rulers and faced ruler’s wrath in prisons. For the argument sake one can say that these organisations remained away from the freedom struggle but what reward we have given to Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani, Maulana Zafar Ahmed Ansari and Hameed Nizami who were closely associated with the Quaid-e-Azam in the struggle for independence. Have we established any institution after their names to keep them alive in history? The answer is a big NO! On contrary we built a dam and named it after a bureaucrat turned dictator Ghulam Mohammed. We established an Institute after the name of Ghulam Ishaq Khan who sabotaged Apex Court’s order in the Nawaz Sharif’s case.

Zafar Ali Khan will always be remembered for his services to this nation and to the Urdu language. His courage and perseverance were remarkable. I wish we had more men like him today who could stand up to the forces of tyranny and injustice. My message to the young generation is that they must learn to respect their real heroes.