Raja Asad Ali Khan Baba-e-Sahafat Zafar Ali Khans 55th death anniversary is being observed today. The nation will remember the great political leader, journalist, author and poet for his immortal services. He was born in 1873 at Kot Marath, near Wazirabad. His father Maulvi Sirajuddin Ahmed - a close associate of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan - was a man of considerable ability and talent. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan received his early education from Mission High School. Then he was sent to Mahindra College, Patalia, where his uncle, Professor Abdullah Khan, taught Arabic and Persian. He graduated from the Aligarh Muslim University in 1892, after which he established himself as a well known writer of both Urdu and English literature. His articles were published in Makhzan, Zamindar and other leading English newspapers. In 1906, Zafar Ali Khan went to Bengal to participate in a meeting held by the All-India Muslim League. He was appointed Assistant Home Secretary of the then princely State of Hyderabad Deccan. During his tenure, the Maulana made great efforts for the promotion of Muslim culture, and that is why his activities were often monitored by pro-British elements in the government. In 1909, a culture group from Europe visited Hyderabad for a stage performance. The Maulana was asked to represent the State at the function. At the end, he was asked to appreciate the groups performance, but instead he bluntly criticised it and remarked: My conscience does not allow me to appreciate such a vulgar show, which is against the norms and values of Islam. After this, the British administration ordered him to leave the State within 24 hours; such was the spirit of Zafar Ali Khan for Islam and the Muslims. It was a turning point of his life; he thereon completely committed himself to freedom struggle of the Indian Muslims. He remained a member of the Central Legislative Assembly of India for 10 years. He participated in the Khilafat Movement, Islamic Bazaar Movement, Tehrik Masjid Shaheed Gunj and many others. He was the only leader in the subcontinent, who spent the maximum time of his life in jail, for delivering speeches against the British Raj. In 1910, he was appointed as editor of Daily Zamindar, which was launched by his father. With the passage of time, it became the true voice of the Muslims of the subcontinent and world over. Due to the newspaper, he was able to establish the Turkey Fund during the Trabalas and Balkan War. He went all the way to Turkey to present the collected money to the Sultan. Against this backdrop, the British government imposed restrictions on the Indian press in 1913. Maulana Zafar went to England and delivered a speech in the House of Lords and distributed a booklet titled The Indian Press Act, which was written by him. He logically presented his case and described the act as discriminating and unethical. In addition, the editorials published in Zamindar helped the Indian Muslims, to a great extent, in their freedom struggle. Due to this, the newspaper was closed down by the British government on a number of occasions. He was so committed to achieve his objective, i.e. a separate homeland for the Muslims, that every political leader honoured him for it. For example, Altaf Hussain Hali wrote several poems in his honour. In 1936, during a public meeting held at the Badshahi Mosque, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah praised him in these words: If I am given a few people of Zafar Ali Khans stature, I assure you that no one can defeat the Muslims. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan fell ill and died on November 27, 1956. He was laid to rest in Karamabad. In his honour, the Punjab government has done a great job of establishing the Zafar Ali Khan Trust. Besides this, Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has allocated land for the construction of the Zafar Ali Khan Museum. The writer is a freelance columnist.