Sajjad Zaheer

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Sajjad Zaheer
Born (1905-11-05)5 November 1905
Lucknow, India
Died 11 September 1973(1973-09-11) (aged 67)
Alma Ata, Kazakhstan, then USSR
Occupation Urdu poet, writer, dramatist, Marxist
Nationality Indian, Pakistani (brief while)
Citizenship Pakistani
Genre Ghazal, Nazm, Drama
Literary movement Progressive Writers' Movement
Notable works Angaray, London Ki Ek Raat, Pighla Neelam
Spouse Razia Sajjad Zaheer
Children Najma Zaheer Baquer, Naseem Zaheer Bhatia, Nadira Zaheer Babbar, Noor Zaheer

Syed Sajjad Zaheer (Urdu: سید سجاد ظہیر ‎) ( 5 November 1905 – 13 September 1973) was a renowned Urdu writer, Marxist thinker and revolutionary.


Famously known as Bannay Mian, Zaheer was born in Lucknow, in the former state of Oudh, British India on 5 November 1905. He was one of the four sons of Sir Syed Wazir Hasan, former Chief Justice of the Oudh Chief Court.[1] Following in his father's footsteps he studied law at Oxford and became a barrister. His brother Syed Ali Zaheer was India's Ambassador to Iran. His nephew Professor Saiyid Nurul Hasan was the Union Minister of State (with Independent Charges) of Education, Social Welfare and Culture, Government of India and the Governor of West Bengal and Orissa. He was one of the founding members of the Communist Party of India and later in 1948, the Communist Party of Pakistan, along with Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Both were later jailed in Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case along with Mohammad Husain Ata, Zafarullah Poshni and others. Major General Akbar Khan was allegedly the main conspirator. Sajjad Zaheer was extradited to India in 1954 by the Government of Pakistan, and revived his activities in India through Progressive Writers' Association, Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) and Afro-Asian Writers' Association. Sajjad Zaheer was also a founder and leading figure of the three associations. 2005 was observed as his birth centenary year.

A collection of short stories, Angaaray, which had stories by Sajjad Zaheer, Ahmed Ali, Rashid Jahan and Mahmud-uz-Zafar was published in 1932 and was immediately banned in India by the British Government in 1933, "for hurting the religious susceptibilities of a section of the community."[2] This gave rise to the All-India Progressive Writers' Movement & Association of which both Sajjad Zaheer and Ahmed Ali were co-founders. The first official conference of the Association was held in Lucknow in 1936 which was presided over by Munshi Premchand.

His wife Razia Sajjad Zaheer, was an Urdu short story writer and novelist and they had four daughters. The eldest daughter, Najma Zaheer is a Professor Emiretus of Biochemistry at JNU and is an expert in Diabetes. His second daughter, Naseem Bhatia, is an academic. His third daughter, Nadira Zaheer is a leading theatre artist in India and is married to the Bollywood star-turned politician Raj Babbar. Arya Babbar and Juhi Babbar are his two grandchildren from Nadira Zaheer. The youngest daughter, Noor Zaheer is a trained Kathak dancer and author of the best seller My God is a Woman. His grandchildren from her are Sanjog Gupta, Pankhuri Dasgupta, Anuran Dasgupta and Surdhani Dasgupta.

Sajjad Zaheer died on 13 September 1973, at the age of 68, while attending a conference of Afro Asian writers at Alma Ata, Kazakhstan (then one of the republics of USSR).

Literary contributions[edit]

  • London Ki Ek Raat- a novel.
  • Roshnai, a collection of essays on progressive writing and the progressive writers movement.
  • Zikre Hafiz, his research based book on Persian poet Hafez.
  • Pighla Nilam, his last book,a collection of his poetry.



  1. ^ Sir Syed Wazir Hasan Profile
  2. ^ "Angaaray". Penguin Books India. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]