Zafar Agha- A Journalist Par Excellence

You are Here: Tweet, Like, Share, Comment, Subscribe…be the Voice of Free Press!

The India Observer, TIO: On March 8th when I last called late Zafar Agha, he promised me to bring Kapil Sibal with him in the evening for my book release event at Gandhi Peace Foundation, Delhi.

 I had a renewed conversation with him a week ago as I was looking for names to be the guests for my book release event in Delhi. He suggested to me the names of Prashant Bhushan and Kapil Sibal and gave me their numbers to contact them directly referring to his name.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: Dara Shikoh is Our Hero; Let Ram be Yours

While Prashant Bhushan remained noncommunicable, Kapil Sibal responded to my calls and recognized Zafar Agha well saying yes I know him well. Although both did not turn for the event that day, I felt a bit bad but now when I heard the news that Zafar Bhai is no more a stream of memories of him gets refreshed in my mind and thoughts.

I have known Zafar Agha since around 1990 when I was studying at JNU. It was the bug of journalism that brought me close to him. I met him at the Patriot / Link office at ITO where I used to give my write-up for publication. The edited version of my article found a place in the link magazine and that gave me a boost to dabble in journalism.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: Mukkaram Jah, the grandson of the last Nizam of Hyderabad no more

Zafar Agha was a regular staff member there and I used to meet him regularly. My wish to become a working journalist got encouragement from him. He used to send me to some or other big names in English journalism seeking jobs. It is with Zafar Bhai’s contacts I had access to many who are in English journalism in Delhi.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: Dr. Kalbe Sadiq: The Man Who Walked the Talk

Then Zafar Bhai shifted to Economic and Political Observer and then to India Today where I used to go to meet him regularly.

Despite the best of his efforts, I could not find any employment in English journalism in Delhi but Zafar Bhai remained a constant source of inspiration to me.

In 1994 I eventually got my first job in Hyderabad and I left Delhi. In the last 30 years or so, I remained in touch with Zafar Bhai on the phone and he used to recognize my voice instantly.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: New Jersy Imam fatally shot dead outside mosque amid rise in Islamophobia

I owe my achievements to Zafar Agha bhai because he has inspired me to the path of journalism. It was quite late before I realized that mainstream Journalism is a go-zone for Muslims in India.

Zafar Agha

No matter how much a Muslim has caliber, English journalism is a privileged profession reserved for Brahmins who either belonged to Kerala or Bengal.  In such closed coteries,  Zafar Agha making an entry into the field of English journalism is a remarkable feat.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: Gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed, brother Ashraf shot dead in Prayagraj; three detained 

It needs to be said that Zafar Agha came from the Hindi heartland of Allahabad and made his name in English journalism at a time when there was limited print media and limited job avenues.

Zafar Bhai wrote his copies only in English and that was translated into other languages. This makes him an outstanding journalist.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: Book Review: Dr. Ambedkar and Democracy: An Anthology

I admire Zafar Agha because had a seminal role to play in shaping my career as a journalist. To me, Zafar Bhai is certainly a person worthy of admiration and adulation.

Also Read more from this Author: Anti-Muslim rhetoric to increase in the run-up to the 2024 election

Edited By Adam Rizvi

Curated and Compiled by Humra Kidwai

Articles written by contributors have different viewpoints. The views expressed in the articles are the author’s own and not necessarily supported by TIO, The India Observer its affiliates, staff, or the management. Our Articles can be reproduced, with the following conditions, (1) No alteration to the content, (2) Visible, and full credit is given to the Author & Editor. (3) Citing, The India Observer, TIO. In the case of online or electronic media, a link to the original article must be given. Rules are strictly enforced. Any questions, email the Editor at: Or

All Copyrights reserved. Please be guided.

Syed Ali Mujtaba

Syed Ali Mujtaba

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a Sr.Journalist, Author based in Chennai, India. Writes frequently for the USA based News Portal, TheIndiaObserver. He is author of the book Soundings on South Asia, New Dawn Press (2005). He can be reached at or TIO, at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *