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The one who fought the freedom movement with his pen and used it as a unifier for burgeoning the required nationalism in the Muslim community will be remembered as the father of Urdu Journalism. January 18, 2013 marks the 140th birth anniversary of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan. Maulana continued the legacy of his father, after taking charge as the editor of ‘Zamindar’ by converting it into a revolutionary press (initially the paper was published keeping in view the farmers). With the irrefutably powerful art of rhetoric he also served as an exemplary spokesman for the Muslim community. There is a remarkable contrast in the various phases of Urdu journalism that evolved since 1911, strictly, to preserve the legitimate rights of the Muslims in sub-continent. Regardless of where they stand today, Pakistani journalistic ambitions were based on sincerity, devotion, truth and a visionary mirror for reflecting ‘community opinion’.
There was no important incident (involving the Muslisms) that was left unattended by the veteran journalist. All the historical events that brought Muslims as a minority against the ruling British or the majority Indians, before the creation of Pakistan, received Zamindar’s glare. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan was a part of the formidable chain of ‘militant Muslim journalists’. Khanpur mosque agitation in 1935 combined with Maulana’s effective persuasion made ‘mosque’ the symbol of ‘community identity’. Khilafat movement also received a wide range of coverage by Zamindar. His bold stance ensued the ‘nationalistic flare’ that resonated among the literary and poetic circles as well. He championed the cause of Muslims by transforming Urdu poetry into idioms of political expressions. The most interesting aspect of his poetic verses was that they were understood by the unlettered in Punjab province. Moreover, he attracted Muslim youth of the Punjab. In light of Maulana’s influential verbal communication, it wasn’t a surprise as to how Zamindar’s circulation reached 15.000 (unprecedented for an Urdu newspaper at that time) even when it was ‘the most’ persecuted newspaper of sub-continent.
Undoubtedly, Zamindar, under the editorship of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan remained irresistible and an ‘organ for the Muslims’ to vent out their feelings. It reached the zenith of glory for its unique way of reaching the Muslims hearts via doorsteps. The reason. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan is regarded as the father of Urdu journalism is that he established the traditions of sacrifice, perseverance, boldness and devotion towards social responsibility in journalism. Zamindar knocked at the door of common man and played a pivotal role to build an enthusiastic lot of newspaper readers among the Muslim people. This intrepid journalistic standard helped the Pakistan movement to gain momentum, which thwarted any insurmountable barrier.
The father of Urdu journalism has left an immutable model that was based on the dialectic of inclusionary nationalism and exclusionary communitarianisms that moulded Muslim mindset. It was rather an intellectually wise way to equip the Muslims with the ability to recast the ideas of ‘community’ and ‘nationalism’. Journalism at that time was a perfect example, proposed by Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, to be emulated. An example that urges:
Even if you die, keep the flames of Truth alive
This is the way to earn Sawaraj (sovereignty), your single aim in life
Maulana Zafar Ali Khan in his poem sovereignty [Sawaraj]
Originally written for the Voice of Youth by the same author: http://thevoiceofyouth.com/2013/01/18/maulana-zafar-ali-khan-father-of-urdu-journalism/
Also posted in The News International Blog http://blogs.thenews.com.pk/blogs/2013/01/maulana-zafar-ali-khan-father-of-urdu-journalism/
In connection with the 140th birth anniversary of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, the Institute of Communication Studies, University of the Punjab in collaboration with Maulana Zafar Ali Khan trust, arranged a seminar on January 17, 2013. Director of the Institute of Communication Studies (ICS), Professor Dr Ahsan Akhtar Naz hosted the seminar. Khalid Mehmmod (Chairman Maulana Zafar Ali Khan Trust), Sajjad Mir (T.V anchorperson), Jamil Ather (President of Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors), Asif Balli, Mujeeb ur Rehman Shami and other members of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan Trust also attended the seminar. Unfortunately, the Vice Chancellor of University of the Punjab couldn’t attend the seminar due to a busy schedule and the Chief guest for the seminar Majeed Nizami wasn’t in good health to make his presence certain.
Before the seminar commenced, Adil Barki mesmerized the audience by singing praise of the Holy Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that was composed by the poetic verses Maulana Zafar Ali Khan. The praises were selected from a CD that contained a collection of the praises of Holy Prophet (PBUH) written by Maulana and it was released in India and Pakistan simultaneously. While addressing the audience, Prof Dr Ahsan Akhtar Naz mentioned the success stories of his Institute. He challenged those who blindly called the ICS, a futile Institute that was producing good-for-nothing students. “This Institute adds to the glory of Punjab University, students of the ICS outweigh others in co-curricular activities,” said the Director. He advised the students to follow the journalistic standards of Maulna Zafar Ali Khan that were based on explicit truth. He recalled that how his teacher, Dr Miskeen Ali Hijazi taught him about Maulana Zafar Ali Khan. “Late Dr Miskeen always urged the students to perform in an outstanding way,” said Prof Dr Ahsan Akhtar Naz.
The Director’s senior batch fellow and a former student of the ICS, Asif Balli also shared his views. He informed the students that they were way ahead and it is a matter of pride that they are winning international accolades for Pakistan. Balli suggested that Maulana Zafar Ali Khan should be taught as a subject instead of a chapter in the press history of the sub-continent.
President CPNE, Jamil Ather informed the audience that he witnessed the creation of Pakistan and journalists like Maulana Zafar Ali Khan delivered Quaid’s message from door-to-door. Sajjad Mir appreciated the tradition of holding seminars for highlighting the achievements of worthwhile personalities. He mentioned that during Maulana’s time, Muslims faced threat from anglo-saxon imperialism by the British and the second threat was from the Hindus. Sajjad was of the view that today the situation is same, only the United States has replaced the British.
Khalid Mehmood opined that duty without responsibility doesn’t hold weight. He told the students that Maulana Zafar Ali Khan was a man of actions. Khalid lamented that our leaders, politicians and literary figure pay homage to Maulana, but do not implement what he used to. “Not following his actions and prostrating before foreign powers, denegrates the personality of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan. The seminar was concluded by Mujeeb ur Rehman Shami who said that Maulana Zafar Ali Khan remained a part of the Muslim League since its establishment and always remained aligned with the cause of the Muslims. He advised the students to bring maturity to their thoughts and build opinions with wisdom. The seminar was followed by a cake cutting ceremony.
By Mansoor Syed
Director ‘Canada Beyond Borders’
Canada Beyond Borders (CBB) “World Developmental Relief Organization” is a Canadian Not for Profit group helping under privileged communities around the world. It’s a group of professionals from all walks of life and background providing knowledge based innovative solutions to communities in need within their local environment around the world.
CBB Core Values include; “Respect Humanity, Harmonize Prosperity”. All are welcome to join CBB. and chip in your share in Education, Health, Safe Drinking Water, and socio-economic, self propelled sustainable development. Capacity Building.
I salute those Christians and Muslims who still follow, honour and practice declaration of Mubahila signed between Prophet of Islam (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the elders (Christians scholars) of Najran some 1380 years ago on March 16, 632 AD. Learned wise Muslims and Christians deserves our appreciation of keeping spirit of the declaration alive till today which has harmonized the human society. Prophet of Islam (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when asked about the human relationship in this context has clearly given a charter to humanity. I quote “Either you are brother in Faith or brother in Humanity” unquote. How beautifully the harmonic balance of equality, responsibility and obligation towards each other has been created in society – that’s why- every Muslim is duty bound to protect the life and property of their Christian brother’s specially living in Muslim governments. Since that day only and only camouflaged Muslim (terrorists) – those who do not have an understanding of Islam, the spirit of Mubahila and have no respect for Prophet of Islam (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) are killing innocent human beings, Christians and Muslims alike around the world. That is one of the reason Europeans cried in the past that Islam was propagated in Europe with the power of sword. It’s a historical depiction of those camouflaged Muslim terrorists. Those terrorists are culturally Muslims by their tribal tradition and have nothing to do with Islam. Westerners should read and understand the Arabic cultural history and should restrain labeling every Arab cultural act as Islamic.
As an example I quote, recently the Niqab issue in the Canadian Court. Niqab is an Arabic cultural tradition of a specific tribe. Recently, I wrote to my friend Jason on this issue and reproduced here FYI. I quote “Jason thanks for understanding – I very much appreciate your clarity between religious and cultural jurisdictions. I am afraid, mostly followers of Islam do not have that Clarity: I will definitely share your thoughts with my folks!. Judges are right in making their judgments within the legal framework. However, I remind to all, loud and clear that it has nothing to do with Islam. Niqab is an Arabic Cultural and tribal tradition. Please restrain to contemplate this issue with Islam. The dress code of women in Islam is exactly or somewhat similar what Mom of Jesus – Isa Iona Merriam (peace be upon her) wore and is being practiced by nuns in churches. There should be no Confusion; we Canadians don’t see room for criticism to any cultural practices. Nevertheless legal civic requirements should not be compromised.” Unquote.
The roots of those culturally Muslims are very strongly in the region of former USSR. One has to be very careful in tracing historical movements of the past, as the terrorists’ roots will lead to planes of Mubahila. We have seen episode of 9/11 terrorist attach conspired and reflection of their past. In Russia movement is taking roots for banning these Muslim terrorist groups.
Note: This comment was given in connection with the post https://fakihahassanrizvi.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/quote-of-the-day-from-a-japanese-newspaper/
Before I plunge into this ‘seemingly’ irrelevant contrast. I would like to state that there is no justification for the way Bengalis were alienated due to the disparities in the economic structure and political participation of the Eastern and Western half of Pakistan before 1970. There were various factors for this abrupt division, starting from geography and ending at the notorious, concealed media propaganda. Political immaturity of the politicians and ruling Generals tore away the Bengali bud from Pakistan. Disputes of this nature are often a blessing in disguise for the neighbouring rivals. The Indian involvement and intervention was the immediate cause for the creation of Bangladesh, therefore it cannot be ignored. The one who instigates the perpetrator is equally responsible. This is the reason that young trainees of Al Qaeda are not blamed entirely for their transgressions, the organization that instructs them shares the blame with them.
In a recent, but redundant demand by the Bengali foreign ministry that seeks an apology from Pakistan over the ‘perceived Bengali genocide’ in 1971, Bangladesh needs to adopt a rational approach. An apology for the ‘Operation Searchlight‘ conducted by Yahya Khan to track down the conspirators hatched with the help of India’s RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) first requires an apology from those responsible for creating ‘Mukti Bahini’. Those behind ‘Agartala Conspiracy’ should also share the shame for this disaster.
Why a ‘Perceived Bengali Genocide’?
I used the word ‘perceived’ because the Indian propaganda aimed at creating a negative international public opinion about West Pakistan had played a pivotal role. The Bengalis were seen as victims and the Western wing as a brutal butcher. Closely look at the picture above. ‘Operation Search Light’ was turned into a war being aided by the Indian military. The number of deaths were misreported and the situation was amplified by the Indian government to muster the support of other states. A tactical manipulation gave the impression that ‘Muslims are killing Muslims’.
Genocide of the Rohingya
Approximately 800,000 Rohingya Muslims live in Myanmar, forming 4% of the Burma’s total population. Apart from these official estimates, the Muslim population in Myanmar is double according to neutral sources. These Muslims are commonly known as Rohingya Muslims and have never been given the legitimate citizenship of Myanmar despite living there from the 8th century.They are subject to racial discrimination as “Bengalis”, and, under a 1982 law, are denied citizenship.The discriminatory prosecution against them accelerated since 9/11, but it has surpassed all the previous brutality since June 2012. They are being slaughtered mercilessly and images on social media shook the world to view the plight of these innocent victims.As a result, some of them took refuge in Bangladesh. However, the Bangladeshi government seems to be apathetic about the Rohingya Muslims.
Open this link to watch a video by Al Jazeera http://www.aljazeera.com/video/asia/2012/07/201272265714376776.html
The Bangladeshi apathetic attitude towards Rohingya Muslims should make the Bengali foreign ministry think that who will feel sorry for these stateless and innocent victims who are lying at the border of Bangladesh?
As images of the twin tower collapsing flashed on the television screens, Al Qaeda was alleged for carrying them out. The world was segregated into ‘evil’ and ‘bad’ by the president of a hegemonic state. Muslims forcibly had to wear the tag of ‘terrorist’. The ‘war on terror’ was against all those who were with Al Qaeda and its leader, world’s most wanted man, Osama Bin Laden.
This war has covered a time period of 11 years and after a decade of blood shed Osama Bin Laden had been killed in a secretive operation by the US NAVY SEALs. If this is what the US wanted then the world must have been converted into a peaceful abode. The terrorist groups must have been eliminated by now and Muslims all around the world wouldn’t have been suffering from such discriminatory tortures. Every bearded man or a Pakistani wouldn’t have been stigmatized for his adherence to the injunctions of Islam. The ‘war on terror’ has inflamed the world by using ‘hate speech’, ‘psychological manipulation’ and ‘unethical stereotyping’. It’s not just the Muslims now, one of the world’s most tolerant states was literally shaken when at least 87 were shot dead by an eccentric Christian at Oslo, back in 2011. Anders Behring Breivik underwent a psychological check up and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
Cemil Çiçek told a session on intercultural dialogue as part of the Third Consultation Meeting of the Parliamentary Speakers of the G20 Countries in Riyadh that:
“As people in North Africa and Middle East risk their lives to fight an honorable struggle that highlights the joint values of humanity; in Europe racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia are on the rise with the economic crisis. It is of great concern that political parties portraying migrants as a source of security concern, unemployment, crime, poverty and other social problems are increasing their support.”
This year we saw outrageous demonstrations against an anti-Islam film by Muslims all around the world. Things have gone beyond the poor and unjust notion of ‘Islamophobia’- which doesn’t imply a good picture of the world at all.
Rick Jacobs in his op-ed contribution for The New York Times discusses ‘The Sin of Sowing Hatred of Islam’ on September 25, 2012. According to him:
“The American Freedom Defense Initiative is the group spearheading this provocative anti-Islam campaign. In July, a federal judge in New York ruled in favor of the group in a freedom of speech case, forcing New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority to place an ad that denigrates Islam in subway stations, and now, time may have run out for further appeals. It reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
Those ads went up Monday.
What is the message of this ad, directed at the multitude of subway riders of countless faiths and ethnicities?
By using the term “jihad” in the context of a war against savages, the ad paints Islam as inherently violent, evil and bent on overthrowing the Western democracies and their key ally in the Middle East, Israel — even though, for the vast majority of Muslims, “jihad” refers to a spiritual quest, not the more politicized idea of holy war.
Yes, these ads are lawful. But they are wrong and repugnant”.
It’s an alarming incident. The dichotomy of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is getting more distinct. Where evil is being used as a synonym for the Muslims. Flawed and irrational concept of Islamophobia is burgeoning up as Islamorealism. It is just another well organized attempt to sling mud at the world’s fastest spreading religion. While the Arab world is engulfed with Syrian massacre and calls for self-determination, if Muslims won’t properly react to this strengthening ‘propaganda’ against them, then more anti-Islam films will be released soon.
One of the very first visitors, after the inauguration of this latest religion wing in the museum, registered his comments.
According to him, the exhibition depicts that ‘Islam is a refined and peaceful civilisation’.
This is the swift impact which art can generate on the minds of the recipients. It’s a feasible and effective tool for making religious principles more comprehensible. The Islamic world needs to change the gear for countering actions that openly aim at denigrating Islam.
Islamic calligraphy and art itself is renowned and lauded all over the world. Any form of art should be considered for utilisation to target both believing and non-believing audiences. An anti-Islam film calls for elucidating and clarifying religious injunctions with a motive of communicating their true essence.
Comparing this aesthetic medium with the grotesque protests in the streets of Pakistan in the name of ‘Day of love for Holy Prophet (peace be upon him)’ makes one think that ‘artistic manifestation’ of religion is far better.
This can have a longer and profound impact of a religion that is a symbol of peace. Muslim countries across the world need to react unanimously and with prudence. Even if they label it as propaganda, then an intelligible ‘counter-propaganda’ is required.
Art is among the long list of peaceful ways of propagating Islam, as it is. A more sensible attempt was made by ‘Discover Islam UK’, a non-profit organisation working to promote a better understanding of Islam and Muslims.
After the release of anti-Islam film, this organisation started to distribute large numbers of copies of books, which reflected the correct version of Holy Prophet ’s life.
Islam is a peace-loving religion and it does not need burning tyres or remonstrating mobs to claim that we love the torch-bearer of this religion.
Those who chant slogans of jihad must carefully look at its forms as well. One of the forms, known as ‘Intellectual Jihad’, demands that the arguments raised by non-believers are answered carefully. For that Muslims should accoutre themselves with weapons of intelligence, reason, truth and logic. In my opinion, art can make ‘Intellectual Jihad’ much easier.
Originally published in Dawn newspaper, September 28, 2012.