[BRITISH INDIA / IMPORTANT URDU PERIODICALS] Wakil: The Vakil Amritsar. 52 issues in one volume. 1896, 6 April - 1897, 29 March. Edited by Maulvi Insha Ullah Khan, Sheikh Ghulam Mohammad, Maulana Abdullah Al-Imadi, and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

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KHAN ATA MOHAMMAD KHAN, (Owner), (1846-1925), The Wakil Amritsar, Amritsar, British India, 1896.

Contemporary half leather. Marbled boards. Folio. (32 x 25 cm). In Urdu. 52 issues in one volume.

Two issues are numbered incorrectly (such as 66 [17], 10 [9]); Deccan, Agra, Bombay, and censorship "refused" postal stamps on some issue covers, stains and slight tears; the first four pages are missing the 24th issue, a tear on the last marginal page of 37th issue affected the corner of text; some handwritten notes in Urdu around the decorative headings in the period, margins of blank pages of the first and the last issues have some wormholes. The first issues are 14 pages, and the issues after no. 30 are 18 pages, Otherwise, the text on thin papers and binding are clean. Overall a good copy.

Exceedingly rare early volume including 52 issues (complete second year) published between 1896, 6 April - 1897, and 29 March, an important and significant bi-weekly Urdu periodical, shaped Indo-Islamic political, religious, and cultural values during its publishing period (1895-1931) in the Sub-continental British India (British Raj), published by Khan Ata Mohammad Khan, who was a prominent Punjabi writer, intellectual and political/religious activist.

This newspaper was started by Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi's father Khan Ata Muhammad Khan in 1895 and published until about July 28, 1931. The first editor of the newspaper was Mirza Hairat Dehlavi but separated after editing two pamphlets.

After the fall of the Mughal Empire, British influence began to rise quickly and some Muslims felt that the Indian subcontinent’s Islamic and Indian heritage was being replaced by English values. The Muslim community also seemed demoralized and detached from the overall political struggle for freedom. The newspaper Vakil, which was owned by Khan Ata, was launched in 1895 in order to provide a voice for Muslim political thought. The newspaper was published by Rose Bazar Press in Amritsar (British India) and had different editors (including Maulvi Insha Ullah Khan, Sheikh Ghulam Mohammad, and Maulana Abdullah Al-Imadi) from time to time. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad also joined Vakil’s editorial team at about age fifteen and remained part of the said team for the next five years. He was under the tutelage of Khan Ata before launching his own newspapers and literary works and entering politics.

The Vakil emerged as a highly reputable and prominent newspaper and had subscribers in India and abroad. In 1900, the annual subscription fee with mailing charges for Vakil was six rupees for Indians and ten shillings for overseas subscribers (Vakil, Sept. 17, 1900). The newspaper carried a variety of content as well as some commercial advertisements. At the same time, its book depot published materials on the Ottoman Empire along with Allama Mashriqi's works Tazkirah and Khitab-Misr (Mashriqi’s speech at the first global Khilafat Conference in May 1926 in Cairo).

The newspaper was at the forefront of safeguarding the political rights of Muslims. For example, the newspaper actively reported on the Khilafat Movement in India as well as the Turkish Ottoman Empire, the First World War, and the activities of Muslims in various parts of the world. In 1900, Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II sent an appeal to Muslims of the world to support the construction of a railway connecting Damascus to the holy cities of Medina and Mecca. Khan Ata was at the forefront of promoting this effort and, through his newspaper, launched a campaign asking Muslims to donate to the project. The people responded and a considerable amount of money was donated.

As Vakil gained prominence, the newspaper faced its share of challenges. During the First World War, censorship of the Vakil was ordered. And again in 1919, an order of pre-censorship was passed against Vakil. Khan Ata provided strong leadership during these times and the newspaper was able to make it through the adversity and remain at the forefront of Urdu journalism for decades. (Source: Khan Ata (Allama Mashriqi’s Father) & the Historical Newspaper, The Vakil Amritsar, Yousaf).