Zafar Ali Khan

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Zafar Ali Khan
Tomb of Mulana Zafar Ali Khan.jpg
Tomb of Zafar Ali Khan
Born 1873[1]
Kot Mehrath, Wazirabad Punjab
Died 27 November 1956[1]
Wazirabad, Punjab
Occupation Poet, journalist

Zafar Ali Khan (1873– 27 November 1956) (Punjabi: ظفرؔ علی خانẒafar ʿAlī Xān), also known as Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, was a writer, poet, translator and a journalist[2] who played an important role in the Pakistan Movement against the British Raj.[3][4]

Early life

Zafar was born into a Punjabi Janjua family at Kot Marth, a small village named 'karmabad' near Wazirabad, which at the time was part of British India. He received his early education at Mission High School, Wazirabad, Gujranwala District.,[5] matriculated (10th grade) from Patiala, and passed his intermediate (12th grade) from the Aligarh College. Next, he worked in the postal department of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the same place where his father worked, but resigned over a row with his seniors.[5][6] He rejoined Aligarh College and gained his BA degree from there.[6]


After graduation, Khan was appointed secretary to a Muslim political leader Mohsin-ul-Mulk, then in Bombay. Then he worked for some time as a translator in Hyderabad, Deccan, rising to the post of Secretary, Home Department. He returned from Hyderabad and launched his daily Zamindar newspaper from Lahore which was founded by his father Maulvi Sirajuddin Ahmad.[6][7]

In the 1930s he started writing against the Qadianis and waged a campaign against them in his daily Zamindar newspaper.[8]


He chose to write in Urdu, instead of his mother toungue Punjabi. Khan's interest in poetry began in his childhood. His poems have religious and political sentiment.[4] He was specially versed in impromptu compositions. His poetical output includes 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.[9]

Most popular Naats

  • 'Voh shama ujala jis ne kiya 40 baras tak ghaaron mein' sung by Mehdi Hassan, a Radio Pakistan production, a popular Naat written by Zafar Ali Khan[10]
  • 'Dil jis se zinda hai woh tamanna tum hi tau ho' sung by Muneeba Sheikh, a Pakistan Television production, a popular Naat written by Zafar Ali Khan[11]


He died on 27 November 1956, in his hometown Karamabad, near Wazirabad, Punjab. His funeral prayer was led by his companion Mohammad Abdul Ghafoor Hazarvi.[2]

Memorials and legacy

Sahiwal Stadium, а multi-purpose stadium in Sahiwal, Punjab, was renamed as Zafar Ali Stadium in his honour. Іt іs used fоr football and cricket games. The stadium holds 10,000 people.[12]

He served the Pakistan Movement and is acknowledged as the father of Urdu language journalism.[3] It has been said of him: "he was the father of Urdu journalism, … the Zamindar newspaper, when Zafar Ali Khan was the proprietor and editor, was the Urdu newspaper for the Muslims."[8] Recognising Zafar Ali Khan's contributions to the Pakistan Movement, the Punjab government in Pakistan established a 'Maulana Zafar Ali Khan Trust' that initiated the 'Zafar Ali Khan Award' for outstanding journalists to be awarded every year.[13] A Public degree college in Wazirabad is named after him as Government Molana Zafar Ali Khan Degree College.[14]

Pakistan Post issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in its 'Pioneers of Freedom' series.[1]

See also


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 person 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 their voice as Hindus dominated most of the newspapers in the old Punjab before 1947. A large procession led by Lal Din Qaiser reached the office of Zamindar newspaper which was the only hope for the Muslims at that time and succeeded in getting newspaper coverage for their event.


  1. ^ a b c, Profile and commemorative postage stamp image of Zafar Ali Khan, Retrieved 30 March 2017
  2. ^ a b Khan, Zafar Ali (19 November 2012). "Pakistani writers show renewed interest in Zafar Ali Khan's works". Dawn News. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Profile of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan – the history maker". newspaper. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Markus Daechsel (1 June 2002). Politics of Self-Expression. Routledge, Google Books. pp. 64–. ISBN 978-1-134-38371-9. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Maulana Zafar Ali Khan [1873–1956], Profile of Zafar Ali Khan on website, Published 1 Jan 2007, Retrieved 12 June 2016
  6. ^ a b c "Profile of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan (1873–1956)". Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Ayesha Jalal (2000). Self and sovereignty: individual and community in South Asian Islam since 1850. Routledge, Google Books. pp. 184–. ISBN 978-0-415-22077-4. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and British rule over Muslims of India". Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  9. ^ K. C. Kanda (1 January 2005). Masterpieces of patriotic Urdu poetry: text, translation, and transliteration. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, Google Books. pp. 161–. ISBN 978-81-207-2893-6. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  10. ^, a popular Naat written by Zafar Ali Khan on YouTube, Retrieved 12 June 2016
  11. ^, Zafar Ali Khan's Naat sung by Muneeba Sheikh on the internet, Retrieved 30 March 2017
  12. ^ "Sahiwal". Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  13. ^, 'Zafar Ali Khan Award' for outstanding journalists initiated, The Nation newspaper, Published 18 Jan 2012, Retrieved 12 June 2016
  14. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help);
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