Zaheer, Sajjad Syed

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Zaheer, Sajjad Syed


Born Nov. 5, 1905, in Lucknow; died Sept. 11, 1973, in Alma-Ata. Indian and Pakistani public figure and writer. Wrote in Urdu and Hindi. Member of the Communist Party of India (CPI) from 1932 and member of the party’s Central Committee from 1943 to 1948.

Zaheer graduated from the University of Lucknow and Oxford University. In 1929 he joined the Communist Party of Great Britain. He was persecuted by the British authorities and was imprisoned in 1936 and 1937 and again from 1940 to 1942. In 1935 he began participating in the work of the Indian National Congress and from 1936 to 1939 was a leader of the Socialist Party Congress. Zaheer also helped found the Association of Progressive Writers of India in 1936. He published the Urdu-language newspaper Nava zamana.

In 1948, after the formation of Pakistan (1947), Zaheer became general secretary of the Communist Party of Pakistan. He was imprisoned from 1951 to 1955. After returning to India in 1956, he translated works by European writers and edited the newspaper Avami daur (from 1959) and the Urdu-language organ of the CPI, Hayat (1963–73). In 1958 and 1961 he was elected to the National Council of the CPI.

Zaheer was a prominent figure in the movement seeking independence for the Asian and African nations. He was an organizer and participant in five conferences of writers from the Asian and African countries.

Zaheer was also a short-story writer. The collection Red-hot Coals (1931), to which he contributed, was banned by the authorities. His chief works are A Night in London (1937), the play The Invalid (1936), a work of historical and literary research entitled In Memory of Hafiz (1956), a book of memoirs called Ray of Light (1956), and the verse collection Molten Sapphire (1964; Russian translation, 1968). His works have features of socialist realism.


Nukush-i zindan. Delhi, 1951.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe. Afterword by M. Salganik. Moscow, 1960.
”Indiiskie pisateli ν bor’be za razoruzhenie.” In the collection Dorogoimira. Moscow, 1962.
”Vol’nye ritmy.” In Postup’vremeni. [Moscow, 1970.]


Husain, Saiyid Ehtesham. Istoriia literatury urdu. Moscow, 1961.
Glebov, N., and A. Sukhochev. Literatura urdu. Moscow, 1967.
Jafri, Ali Sardar. Taraqqipasandadabi, 2nd ed., Aligarh, 1957.
Azami, Khalilur Rahman. Urdu men taraqqi pasand adabi tahrik. Aligarh, 1972.
”Sajjad Zaheer edishin.” Afkar, no. 45, December 1974.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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