Maulana Zafar Ali Khan’s Role in Journalism

Every age has its tendencies. The period after the War of independence of 1857 was a period of the dearth of great man Several important personalities were born in that era like Maulana Zafar Ali Khan. He was born at Karamabad (Wazirabad, District Gujranwala). After matriculation, he joined Muslim University, Aligarh. He passed his B.A. Examination in 1894 in the first division. He was appointed Private Secretary to Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk in Bombay. He got a good reputation for his translation of books from another language into Urdu.

There was so much anxiety and confusion in India at that time, that nobody heeded a low voice. A leader like Sir Syed, according to the tendencies of the period, gave a lesson to the Muslims to talk in a low voice. By 1905 the circumstances were so changed that it was useless to talk with the force of logic Now to convey a message to the government with enthusiasm and ardor was needed. In that period the Muslims needed a fiery leader who could convince the government by his forceful speech. Zafar Ali said, “If the Government understands a matter with force, it should talk in the same language”. He created agitation in the land of Punjab with his writings and speeches. He urged the Muslims to come to the battlefield so that their rights might not be usurping. He possessed several qualities. He was the greatest national poet, the most successful militant journalist, the greatest literary figure, the greatest statesman and the best speaker and scholar He is called the father of journalism because he gave to journalism a new terminology.

The Zamindar

Maulvi Siraj-id-Din father of Maulana Zalar issued a Weekly “The Zamindar” from Lahore in 1903 Vulana Zatar Ali Khan was employed in Hyderabad Deccan at that time and he was the editor of “The Deccan Review”. He took the editorship of The Zamindar” after the death of his father in 1909. At that time it was published from Karamabad. Later on, on the advice of his father’s friend Chaudhry Shahab-ud-Din. it was transferred to Lahore on 1911. Its office was situated in a house at Tavali Gate It was turned into a daily newspaper in October, 1911 Maulana became very famous in the field of Journalism. He criticized the government vehemently and consequently and he had to face several difficulties during that period. “The Zamindar” was closed several times. He was released on bail several times. The masses collected the amount for bail 10 reopen “The Zamindar” The article of the Zamindar together with Maulana’s ardent poems and writings 11X only developed the taste for newspaper reading but also made the readers realize the vital importance of unity II became so popular that when “The Zamindar” reached the frontier area, the Pathans bought the newspaper for one Anna and gave one Anna 1o the person who read it out to them. When “The Zamindar” reached Cawnpur, the agent closed his shop so that the people would not snatch the newspaper impatiently. Its daily circulations was thirty thousands which no other newspaper had by 1949. About the role that Maulana Zafar Ali plaved in journalism at that time. Muhammad Ali Johar wrote in “The Conrade” of 2 March 1912 as follows.

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“The newspaper reached the climax because its editor was a very capable person. He was a graduate from Aligarh lle had experience of administration int more then one province of India. He knew modern culture and politics. He was very efficient in English He had bright style in Urdu prose. He had a thorough command over the art of Urdu poetry Maulana published the War nens of the First World War The newspaper this closed on that account He was imprisoned at karamabad in 1914. During imprisonment he wrote lo the Punjab Governer General Edwine to allow him to publish a literary magazine After obtaining permission he issued in 1916 “The Sitara-i-Subha” which was purely a literary magazine. It articles were censored hetore publication In a period Maulana wrote against majities in name only and the saints. He exposed their drawbacks. In 1920 he again got the permission to issue “The Zmindar.

The Zamindar played a prominent role in the Khilafat movement Later on worked for the Muslim League. The Maulana died on November 27. 1956.

Maulana’s Journalism and its Characteristics

Maulana spent most of his potentialities and energies in fighting against the slavery of the English His pen was unflinching Michal Edwine wrote about the Maulana in his book “India As I knew It”

“The Zamindar is the spokesman of those people who believe in Pan Islamism Maulana reduced the fear of Government by virtue of masses. Maulana according to the need of the time, was not prudent. He was always ready to fight against his opponents It was personal journalism at that time the masses read the newspapers by virtue to his name That was in the editorials were written with names. Maulana was it man of great will power. That was why he never gave in but his viewpoint was accepted by the masses “The Zamindar? prompted popular journalism The circumstances of the country were mentioned by the ordinary Urdu Newspapers. It was done by “The Zamindar” Maulana wrote in “The Zamindar” in support of the Muslims and against the English when the division of the Bengal was canceled He wrote with great courage and boldness.”

Zafar Ali Khan gave many new things to journalism. He developed political issues and journalistic poetry. The Zamindar was the first newspaper that benefited from the news agencies. It received news from Reuter and, to balance it, extracts were also given from the newspapers of Islamic World. He changed the system of arrangement on the pages of the newspaper. Earlier there was one column headline of the news. He began to write two-column headlines. The headlines were given in great number so that they did facilities the readers. He was a literary figure. Journalist, Poet, and Speaker at the same time All these qualities were present in his journalism.

1. Courage and Boldness

His writings were full of truth and boldness. His writings invited lighting. His pen was like a sword. This sword was mostly used against the English. Whenever he wrote no national atlas, he wrote without using any expedience and with great courage.

2. The use of Poems and Verses

Maulana was not only a journalist and literary figure but also a poet of the highest rank. He gave place to poetry in his prose writings in this way, he made these writing more beautiful.

3. Dignified Language

Maulana was an essayist. Apart from the expression of personal feelings and ideas, language played an important role in the formation of his style. He had command over several languages. His knowledge of language made several additions in journalism He gave to Urdu Journalism new idioms and terminology. We find grand and dignified words in his writing.

4. Emotion and Reason

There was no difference between his literary and journalistic writings Sometimes he wrote a point in a complicated manner. But in most of his writings, he expressed his view with great enthusiasm, emotion and boldness. His writings are a beautiful blend of argumentations and emotions.

5. Comprehensive Thesis

He was a national leader, politician, literary figure and a poet. On whatever topic, he wrote, he wrote in the manner of a comprehensive thesis.

6. Challenges and Attacks

We see more of challenges and attacks on the English in his writing according to his nature. On serious problems he talked less and challenged the opposite group to a fight He regrets their attitudes.

7. Orator

There is a little oratory in his journalism in the beginning. Later on, it became very prominent. As a matter of fact, he was a politician and adopted the same style in speech and writing.

8. Introduction

Maulana introduced a topic before talking on it. He came to the real subject and topic later on.

9. Length Editorial

He wrote lengthy editorials. He introduced reviews (criticism) with a literary touch in his editorials. He drew a new map of the editorial page. He started his writings in the Arabic language and then tried Persian. He used Arabic and Persian words in Urdu. His language was thought authentic at that time.

10. His Editorial Writing

He made editorial effective and impressive. Nowadays editorial is written on different topics. The editorials are mostly base on newspapers. The problems of that period were limited and they were written on till the problems were solid Maulana’s editorial was mostly about Islam and the Muslim te was himself a literary figure and thoroughly knew the problems in which the masses were interested, Therefore, whatever he wrote had the interest of the masses. He was a great personality and his writings are oratorical.

In his editorial, there was less detail of events but it expressed, in a better way, the emotions of the masses At that time the editorials were By-lived. The name of the editorial writer and written at the top. Since he was mostly in prison when the masses saw the name of Zafar Ali Khan at the top of the editorial, they said it was written by their leader. The editorials of that lime were not brief like those of today, but lengthy Thus were printed in several installments.

His editorials were more impressive than the editorials of other newspapers because he had command over the language le also had held a high position in prose Sometimes there were editorials and reviews in the form of poems.

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