Writer, poet, journalist and freedom champ, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan was born at Kot Mehrath, District Sialkot [Punjab] in 1873. He received his early education in Mission High School, Wazirabad and graduated from Aligarh Muslim University. Thereafter, he was appointed secretary to Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk who was then in Bombay. He worked for some time as a translator in Hyderabad, Deccan and rose to the post of Secretary, Home Department. He established a literary reputation by his editorship of the Deccan Review and authorship of a number of books of high literary merit.
In 1908, he came to Lahore and took over the charge of the daily Zamindar, which was founded by his father Maulvi Sirajuddin Ahmad in 1903. He is considered as the father of Urdu journalism, and Zamindar was at one time the most important paper of the Punjab. The Zamindar was an Urdu newspaper launched for the Muslims. It played a great part in the awakening of the Muslim masses and in forming their political outlook despite the fact that it had limited circulation since the Muslims lacked industry and commerce with the result that the advertisements were too meager to cope with the funds needed for the paper. Sometimes he couldn’t pay his staff. Maulana started his career as journalist in extremely odd and unfavorable circumstances. Lahore was center of Urdu publications and all the three well-established newspapers: Partab, Mehrab, and Vi Bharat were owned by Hindus. However, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and Zamindar rendered matchless services to the Pakistan Movement. The pioneering work of Comrade (started by Maulana Muhammad Ali) and Zamindar has intrinsically to be duly acknowledged. In 1934 when the Punjab Government banned this paper, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan who invariably possessed remarkable courage and mettlesome spirit, sued and got the government orders revoked by the court. Next day he was thankful to God and wrote the a long poem starting from the following verses:
In the Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan, Dr. S. M. Ikram writes: He 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 a 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 and 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 Laukhnauw, Punjab played a great rule in promoting Urdu language. In this respect the book, Punjab main Urdu,