Z. A. Bokhari

Other names: 

Zulfikar Ali Bokhari, Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah Bukhari


Park Lane
London, W1K 7AF
United Kingdom
51° 30' 23.094" N, 0° 9' 7.9128" W
55 Portland Place
London, W1B 1QG
United Kingdom
51° 31' 15.4596" N, 0° 8' 43.6092" W
Indian Section of the BBC Eastern Service
200 Oxford Street
London, W1D 1NU
United Kingdom
51° 30' 55.8288" N, 0° 8' 24.9612" W
Date of birth: 
01 Jan 1904
Precise DOB unknown: 
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Current name country of birth: 
Date of death: 
12 Jul 1975
Location of death: 
Karachi, Pakistan
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

early 1920s; 1940-5


Before arriving in London, to become director of the Indian Section of the BBC Eastern Service, Bokhari was the director of the Delhi Broadcasting Station of All India Radio. Bokhari was in London in July 1937, where he attended a reception held by Firoz Khan Noon at India House Aldwych. He moved to London to take up the post of Indian programmes organizer for the Indian section of the Eastern Service of the BBC from 1940 to 1945. Sir Malcom Darling recruited Bokhari on the recommendation of the controller of broadcasting for All India Radio, Lionel Fielden, to set up the Indian section of the Eastern Service. Initially Bokhari and his team only contributed a weekly news report and the odd cultural programme.

Bokahri together with Darling were instrumental in recruiting George Orwell, who would be an important asset also because of his friendship with Mulk Raj Anand, who had previously rejected Darling's offer of work at the BBC.  Bokhari hoped that he would be able to persuade Anand and other Indian friends to work for the Indian Section. During his time in London he managed the contracts and programming of the Indian Section of the Eastern Service, working closely with George Orwell. He was also an accomplished broadcaster, regularly transmitting talks in Urdu to India. He accompanied Richard Dimbleby to report on the Indian soldiers stationed with the British Expeditionary Force in France in 1940. Organizing and coordinating the activities of the Indian Section of the Eastern Service, Bokhari was instrumental in the the Service’s programming and bringing together the network of free-lance talks writers based at the BBC. In 1945 he took up the position of Director of the All India Radio Station in Calcutta and later moved to Pakistan to become Controller of Broadcasting in Karachi for Radio Pakistan.

Published works: 

Orwell, George, (ed.), Talking to India (London: Allen & Unwin, 1943)

Secondary works: 

Fielden, Lionel, Beggar My Neighbour (London: Secker and Warburg, 1943)

Ranasinha, Ruvani, South Asian Writers in Twentieth Century Britain: Culture in Translation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)

West, W. J., Orwell: The War Broadcasts (London: Duckworth/BBC, 1985)

The Times (06 July 1937), p. 21

Archive source: 

BBC Written Archives Centre, Caversham Park, Reading