Intikhab-e-Kalam: Zafar Ali Khan
This is a representative selection of Zafar Ali Khan’s Urdu poetry. He was a fearless journalist, a writer of crisp prose, a political figure, and an orator who knew how to draw the crowds, Zafar Ali Khan at the same time was a poet who played with words masterfully but never neglected to convey a message. The literary gatherings and the company of scholars such as Shibli Naumani and Prof Thomas Arnold, who were among his teachers at the Aligarh University, broadened his mental horizon. Often inspired by some political incident, he would compose —rather dictate — poetry extemporaneously. Pungent satire and repartee being his weapons, he would often lampoon the politicians he did not agree with. In fact, if put in chronological order, his poems can retell the political history of the subcontinent in the 1920s, through to the 1940s, and beyond. His poetic collections are Baharistan, Nigaristan, and Chamanistan, Habsiyaat, Armughan e Qaadiyan and Khamistan e Hijaz. This selection of his poems would definitely be of interest for many, including students of Urdu literature since it is a part of the syllabus in many universities.
Dr Rauf Parekh has an MA and PhD from the University of Karachi. He is a critic of Urdu Literature and regularly contributes to the daily Dawn, Karachi. He is a former Chief Editor of the Urdu Dictionary Board. Presently, he is teaching at the Department of Urdu, University of Karachi. He is the compiler of the first Urdu slang dictionary.