One day Zimindar would thrash someone the other day it would praise him. Maulana’s verses had become Tabarrak then. One day I entered in the office of Zimindar to seek details of some news which had already broadcasted on the Radio. I was flabbergasted to see the terrible condition of its office. I had seen offices of English newspaper Statesman in Calcutta and had visualized the office of Zimindar.

 

 Mukhtar Masood

Maulana Hassrat Mohani and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan had many common traits. Both hated the British rulers of the Indian sub-continent and faced copious imprisonments. The difficulties of jail couldn’t deter them from pursuing their poetry work. Some of their poems written during prison were banned by the government. Their properties were confiscated. However, both had different but opposed personalities as well.

Maulana can be compared with Maulana Mohammed Ali Johar. Both were scions of the same educational institution. Both attained popularity in oratory, journalism and for their revolutionary writings against the British Raj in India. Both struggled for the rights of Turks. Both were part of the Khilafat Movement which failed. Both had glamorous cult in their personality, liked adventurism and remained a prominent figure during their life but death separated their paths. Maulana Mohammed Ali Johar was buried in Jerusalem while Zafar Ali Khan was buried in his hometown.

Some opine that if Maulana had not involved himself in politics he could have become another Allama Mohammed Iqbal. This is simply wrong as every individual is destined to play his role which the Creator has written for him in His script. Humans are the same but no one can take others’ place. So we should avoid making comparison amongstvarious personalities and giving opinions.

Maulana Zafar Ali Khan was a fine poet. He changed the style of Musharas where poets would recite their Kalam indoor. Maulana staged his Musharas in public meetings. His political poetry would have been a biting satire on the policies of the government and in Natiya Kalam he devoted his self in the love of Islam and Prophet (Peace of Allah be on Him). Maulana possessed the passion that was required to say Natiya Kalam. In fact his Natiya Kalam was denial of his political poetry. Most of his Naats were meaningful and easy to understand. My father commanded me to learn one of Maulana’s Naat by heart in my school days.

I learned his famous poem “The light which He lit in the caves for forty long years”. In my mature age when I studied Islamic history I came to know the meanings of that verse. In his love for Prophet (Peace of Allah be on Him) Maulana had reached to a stage where one could only say: “My heart only beats to get Your attention”.

I wouldn’t read Zimindar frequently because of my official postings in various places where the newspapers would reach after two or three days. You can leave a fast and keep it afterward but there is no Qazza in the publication of a newspaper because it is considered waste after two or three days of its publication. Later on when I started reading Zimindar daily it had turned into a waste because of its poor language and printing. It had no policy and become a tool in the hands of affluents. One day Zimindar would thrash someone the other day it would praise him. Maulana’s verses had become Tabarrak then.

One day I entered in the office of Zimindar to seek details of some news which had already broadcasted on the Radio. I was flabbergasted to see the terrible condition of its office. I had seen offices of English newspaper Statesman in Calcutta and had visualized the office of Zimindar. After some years the Zimindar newspaper was transformed into Zimindar Hotel. In the corridors, where once Allama Niaz Fatehpuri, Maulvi Waheed-ud-Din, Salim Panipati, Ghulam Rasool Mehr, Abdul Majeed Salik and Chirag Hasan Hassrat would sit for hours for their creative and thought provoking work to be printed in the newspaper, cooks and waiters were roaming about.   

I first saw Maulana in the Union Hall of Aligarh. I had heard a lot about him. He was a guest speaker. When he was called to speak the entire Hall roared in jubilation after all Maulana was the product of Aligarh Muslim College. He spoke on the Pakistan Resolution, passed a few months ago in Minto Park, Lahore. I was a school student then but had only gone to the University to listen Maulana’s speech. After the speech I went to get his autograph. He looked at me and wrote on my autograph book: “Don’t fear anyone but Allah, Zafar Ali Khan 28th August 1940”. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan had all the right to advise because he feared none but Allah. Many other renowned speakers were also present on that day but I only chose Maulana for the autograph. As I extended my hand to take back my autograph book, Maulana gave it to another person sitting in the Hall. He read Maulana’s writing and added “Hope, Endeavour, Truth” with his pen and returned it to me. Till now I couldn’t know as who was that person.

I last saw Maulana last time in Murree. He stayed in his residence near the Commissioner House. I saw him sitting in a cart which two porters were dragging. He was a shocking silent soul. I was lost in my thoughts about Maulana, the cart speedily passed by me.