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aaj ik aur baras biit gayā us ke baġhair

jis ke hote hue hote the zamāne mere


Author : Sajjad Zaheer

Edition Number : 001

Publisher : National Book Trust, New Delhi

Origin : Delhi, India

Year of Publication : 2005

Language : Urdu

Categories : Novel

Sub Categories : Romantic

Pages : 136

ISBN No./ISSN NO : 81-237-4563-X

Contributor : Jilani Bano Library And Research Center

london ki ek raat
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About The Author

Syed Sajjad Zaheer was born on November 5, 1905 in Golaganj, Lucknow, and his father's name was Sir Syed Wazir Hassan. His grandfather Syed Zaheer Ahsan was a Tehsildar and his father was a well-known lawyer of his time, who started practicing law in Pratapgarh but later moved to Lucknow. He was not only a lawyer but also very interested in politics. He later became a judge in the Awadh Chief Court and was later promoted to Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court. Wazir Hassan was married to Sikandar Fatima, daughter of a landlord called Sakan. One of his five sons was Sajjad Zaheer.

Sajjad Zaheer matriculated from Jubilee High School in 1921 and FA in 1923. He obtained his BA degree from Lucknow University in 1926. He wanted to pursue higher education in England, so he moved to England in March 1927. He enrolled at Oxford University and received his MA. There, he became ill and contracted tuberculosis. He had to go to Switzerland where he was treated in a sanatorium. But during his illness he returned to India and formed the "Majlis-e-Talaba-e-Hind" with a select few Indian students such as Mahmudul Zafar, Zain-ul-Abidin Ahmed etc. And that’s where the idea of the publication of ‘Angare’ was conceived. He received his Journalism Cod Diploma from London and returned to London in 1935 to pursue a degree in Barrett Law. He also published a magazine for Indian students from Oxford University, Bharat.

Sajjad Zaheer had formed an association of progressive writers in London and also established a literary circle. The aim was for the progressive movement to flourish in India in a formal form and for the writers here to be full of progressive ideas. He also had a background. There was a wave of awakening in India now. The political atmosphere in Europe, too, had a profound affect on him. Sajjad Zaheer himself explains the political consciousness that was created in response to the conditions of that time as follows:

“We were gradually turning to socialism. Our minds were in search of a philosophy that could help us understand and solve the growing complexities of society. We are not satisfied that humanity has always had and will continue to have troubles and disasters. We began to read books by Marx and other co-authors with great interest. As we expanded our study, debated with each other, and solved historical, social, and philosophical problems, our minds became brighter and our hearts became calmer. It was the beginning of a new endless acquisition of knowledge after graduating from university.”
In this way, the progressive movement became a prospect. The first progressive manifesto was held in London. Apart from Sajjad Zaheer, Malik Raj Anand, Jyoti Ghosh, KS Bhatt, S Sinha and Muhammad Din Taseer were the signatories. The main point of this manifesto was to establish writers' associations in different provinces of India, to liaise with other associations, to establish literary parties, to promote progressive ideas, to emphasize translations, India. Let the letter be an endorsement of the national language, let there be freedom of expression and let the writers help each other.
Thus, in December 1935, a meeting was held at the Bharatiya Sahtia Parishad, Nagpur, in which a manifesto was presented, signed by Jawaharlal Nehru, Narendra Dev, Maulvi Abdul Haqq and Munshi Prem Chand. The first conference of progressives was held in April 1936. The declaration called for the publication of progressive literature, the writing and translation of progressive articles, the mutual support of progressive writers and the freedom of thought. In this conference, Prem Chand's famous sermon came to the fore which sparked a debate on literature and utility and emphasized the need to create an atmosphere in India where open literary debates could take place. The definition of beauty- aesthetics- was challenged, and thus called for a revamp; an idea which was postulated by Sajjad Zaheer himself.

He took an active part in politics as an activist of the Allahabad Indian National Congress during his stay in Allahabad. He worked side by side with Nehruji as the Secretary of the Allahabad City Congress Committee. During this time, he formed the All-India Kisan Sabha and during this period of activity he came in contact with active communist leaders like PC Joshi. At the same time, he became associated with many newspapers and magazines in politics. Promoted progressive ideas through ‘Chingari and ‘Naya Adab’. In 1956, he was appointed editor-in-chief of the ‘Awami Daur’. Later the same newspaper "Hayat" was published which is still being published under the editorship of Shamim Faizi. On September 10, 1938, he married Razia Dilshad, daughter of Khan Bahadur Syed Raza Hussain, who became known as Razia Sajjad Zaheer or Razia Aapaa. The journal was declared a "Qaumi Jang" in 1942. Earlier, when World War II broke out in early September 1939, Communist activists opposed the war and decided to make their arrest. He likened the war against the British to imperialism. Thus, Sajjad Zaheer was arrested in March 1940 and sent to Lucknow Central Jail. He was released two years later in March 1942.

Sajjad Zaheer moved to Bombay in 1942 and from there launched the "Qaumi Jang".ince his father was ill in Lucknow, he moved there in 1947. His father died on August 31 of the same year, but the Communist Party made a decision that led him to move to Pakistan in 1948. But there he had to stay underground for three years. Finally, in 1951, Rawalpindi was arrested in a conspiracy and remained in various jails for about four years. After his release, he came to India. He also obtained Indian citizenship with the help of Nehru. In 1958, he attended the first Afro-Asian Writers 'Conference in Tashkent and became the secretary of the Writers' Association. From 1927 to 1973 he traveled to various countries such as Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba.

It should be noted that "Angare" was published in 1931. There were ten stories in it. The book was labeled mutinous and suggestive, and the UP government confiscated the book and the Indian government also banned it.

But Sajjad Zaheer's novel " London Ki Ek Raat" is very important. This book was published in 1938. Its importance in terms of content and technique is undeniable and its status is a milestone in the history of Urdu fiction. It is not only an attempt to mark the changing theory of the individual and society, but also its intellectual and psychological system. Some young people and their dreams are romantic but have a deep psychological background. It also uses the technique of mindfulness. Although it may be debatable to relate this to William Jones's related concepts or to some of the novels of Tristrom Shendy or Joyce and Virginia Woolf. The story of just one-night carries with it many mysteries of life. This is the distinction of this novel.

Sajjad left London at the end of August, and after a stay in Moscow, he arrived in Asma. The proposed conference was scheduled for September 4-9. He was having breakfast on the morning of September 6 when he had a heart attack. The doctor came, he advised rest. He bravely faced the adversity, and fortunately, began to recover. On the morning of September 11, he fainted and did not regain consciousness until the last moment. In the same condition, on Thursday, September 13, 1973, at 11:30 in the morning, he was declared dead. Sajjad Zaheer’s mortal coil reached Delhi by plane on the morning of Saturday, September 15, and he was laid to rest in the Jamia Nagar cemetery of Jamia Millia Islamia.

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