SIALKOT

The 57th death anniversary of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan was observed on Wednesday and a number people belonging to various fields of life visited and laid floral wreaths at his grave in Karamabad near Wazirabad.

A symposium was held at Sialkot Press Club to pay rich tributes to Maulana Zafar Ali Khan for his meritorious services towards Urdu, poetry, journalism, Pakistan Movement and Islam. Meanwhile, a delegation from Wazirabad was led by Zafarullah Noumani, president of the National Journalists' Forum Wazirabad, offered Fateha at his grave.

Maulana(1956-1873), a son of the soil, had highly admired the revolutionary poetry of Allama Muhammad Iqbal (RA) and wrote about Iqbal and the soil of Sialkot. Maulana had extraordinary talent. He was the father of Urdu journalism. Maulana was a writer, poet, and journalist who took an important part in the Pakistan Movement. He was born at Kot Mehrath, Sialkot during the region became part of British India. He also played a role in the freedom movement against the British government in India. He received his early education in Mission High School, Wazirabad, Gujranwala District then he went to Aligarh Muslim University, and graduated from there.

After graduation, he was appointed as secretary to Nawab Mohsinul Mulk who was then in Bombay. Then he worked for some time as a translator in Hyderabad, Deccan, rising to the post of secretary of Home Department. He returned from Hyderabad and launched his daily Zamindar from Lahore which was founded by his father Maulvi Sirajuddin Ahmad.

Most of Maulana's life was spent in politics. He was a great poet, an orator, an essayist of exceptional merit and a journalist. His interest in poetry began in his childhood and his poems were full of religious and political sentiments. He was specially versed in impromptu compositions. His poetical output has been published in "Baharistan", "Nigaristan", and "Chamanistan". His other works are "Marka-e-Mazhab-o-Science", "Ghalba-e-Rum", "Sayr-e-Zulmet" and an opera "Jang-e-Roos-o-Japan". He was a devotee of Islam and of Last and Final Prophet Muhammad (SAWW). His remains lie in Karamabad, Wazirabad.

Zamindar played a key role in the awakening of the Muslims and in forming their political outlook despite the fact that it had limited circulation since the Muslims lacked industry and commerce. Lahore was the centre of Urdu publications and all the three well-established newspapers: Partab, Mehrab, and Vi Bharat were owned by Hindus.

Thus, Maulana and Zamindar rendered matchless services in the Pakistan Movement. The pioneering work of Comrade (started by Maulana Muhammad Ali) and Zamindar have been duly acknowledged. In 1934 when the Punjab government banned this paper, Maulana who invariably possessed remarkable courage and mettlesome spirit, sued and got the government orders revoked by the court.

In 'Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan', Dr SM Ikram writes: "He (Maulana) was young, forceful and courageous, and enthusiastically responded to the new political trends. In his hands the Zamindar became the most influential Urdu daily of Northern India and his role in politics was second only to that of Ali Brothers and Abul Kalam Azad during the Khilafat Movement."

It is worth mentioning that the only province of Pakistan, which had adopted Urdu as their own and developed it as their working language was Punjab, because their own mother tongue Punjabi was mostly spoken language. Its original script "Gurmukhi" was never owned by the Muslims of Punjab because it was associated with the Sikh religious scriptures. Urdu, therefore, became the main written language of Punjab along with English.

Both were used almost equally as official and academic languages of the province. Punjabi intellectuals, writers, poets and journalists, the foremost among them being Allama Iqbal and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan followed by many other luminaries, enriched Urdu with loving care and made it the premier language of their province.

After Delhi and Lakhnau, Punjab played a great rule in promoting Urdu language. In this respect, book "Punjab Main Urdu written by Hafiz Mahmood Sheerani, is highly informative and knowledgeable. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan possessed an extraordinary talent also as an orator and was an essayist of exceptional merit.

Once as he came to the stage and tried to quote something taking his spectacles out of his pocket, he was hooted down; even a few people started yelling at him. But he remained quite unnerved, found his spectacles, and started speaking again. There was now pin drop silence and the same people who were hooting him exceedingly applauded him owing to his excellent speech and superb command on the language.

In addition to his marvelous capability of journalism, Maulana had fantastic gift of rhyme. His poems were replete with religious fervour and political sentiments.