Anti-imperialist Josh

Published December 20, 2021

THIS is with reference to the Literary Notes column “Western imperialism and Zafar Ali Khan’s Urdu poetry” (Nov 29). Dr Rauf Parekh is a well-known and reputed literary writer and critic. His insightful writings have earned him a large number of followers who thoroughly enjoy his unique style.

While commenting about the book of Dr Subhanallah in the said piece, he discussed in detail the content and analysed the work minutely. While praising the author for his painstaking work, the column highlighted some factual errors as well.

We all know that Zafar Ali Khan was an advocate of freedom of expression and he never bowed down before anyone, be it the power of a person or of the government. He penned a number of fiery poems against the tyranny of the British rule, and earned the respect of one and all.

In the said article, at one stage a few names having anti-imperialist inclinations were mentioned. The names presented in the list along with Zafar Ali Khan are those of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Altaf Hussain Hali, Akber Allahabadi, Shibli Nomani, Hasrat Mohani, Allama Iqbal and Shorish Kashmiri. All these names without any doubt deserved to be in the list as they were known for defying and denouncing the colonial era.

To my utmost astonishment, however, the list did not have the name of Shair-i-Inqalab Josh Malihabadai, whose creativity produced the most powerful poetry against the brutal tyranny of the British rule.

Most critics are of the view that it was Josh Malihabadi who led the poetic scenario during the freedom movement. Any list of anti-imperialist poets cannot be considered complete without the name of Josh Malihabadi.

Dr Syed Qamar Abbas

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2021


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