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Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and British rule over Muslims of India

Maulana Zafar Ali Khan was a most famous Urdu journalist in pre-partition India, being editor of the newspaper Zamindar, and a campaigner for Muslim political causes.

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 paper for the Muslims.”

(See this webpage. This is the opinion of Syed Amjad Ali, who held high state posts in Pakistan during 1947–1967, and was involved in pre-partition Muslim politics in the Punjab.)

Before 1920 Maulana Zafar Ali Khan had co-operated with Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din in some of the work of the Woking Muslim Mission in England. However, during the 1930s he turned against the Ahmadiyya Movement and waged a virulent campaign against it in his newspaper.

(For two examples of his anti-Ahmadiyya writings, see The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, chapter 11 and chapter 12).

There is an article by Maulana Zafar Ali Khan in the very first issue of The Islamic Review dated February 1913, the monthly magazine started by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din from Woking, England. The article is addressed to the British public and is on the topic of the sympathies of the Muslims of British India for the problems of their fellow Muslims in Islamic countries. The image of the first page of this article is displayed below.

Note that Maulana Zafar Ali Khan opens his statement above by describing himself as:

“a British Indian Muslim who has the proud privilege of looking upon the Empire … as a political structure in whose stability Musalmans [Muslims] are as much interested as Englishmen”

In the second paragraph he begins by saying that Indian Muslims look upon the British Government as:

a divine dispensation”,
in other words, sent and established by God!

He then goes on to add that Indian Muslims regard the British Government as:

“a tolerably fair substitute for a Muslim Government.”