Ashfaq was a poet and wrote verses in Urdu. A couplet form of versification in Urdu is
called the 'Sher'. Composing and singing these couplets is popularly known as 'Mushaira'.
The proprietor of the firm in which Ashfaq worked was very fond of 'sherg'. When he came
to know that he composed and sang 'shers', he became fond of Ashfaq and felt proud of him.
At a 'Mushaira' organized there Ashfaq sang a few 'shers' of his own composition. The
people who heard him were delighted and there were exclamations of joy. The proprietor was
also so pleased that he raised Ashfaq's salary.
such an encouraging atmosphere Ashfaq improved his knowledge of Hindi. He also learnt
Bengali. Besides singing Hindi and Urdu songs, he began to sing Bengali songs. If Ashfaq
wanted only to escape arrest, he could have lived happily at Daltonganj for the rest of
his life. But this long and forced rest became tiresome.For a moment he wished he could go
to some foreign country. He felt it would be more useful to him and the country if he
So he went to Delhi to find out how he could go abroad, and to make preparations. He met a
Pathan friend from Shahjahanpur. They had been classmates at school. He was happy to meet
Ashfaq after a long time. He took Ashfaq to his room and ordered a nice meal for him. They
went on talking about old times till 11 o' clock at night. Then Ashfaq went back to his
The next morning Ashfaq was sounds asleep. Suddenly there was a
loud knock. Ashfaq was still sleepy-eyed as he opened the door. And at once he fell into
the hands of the police! Friendship, duty and even the feeling of belonging to the same
place - none of these could check the Pathan's greed for money. The Pathan had fed him,
talked to him in a very friendly way and then had betrayed Ashfaq to the police.
The police wanted to use Ashfaq to suit their plans; they tried
very hard to do so. There was an army officer in the police department; his name was
Tasadruk Khan; he had rendered useful service as the British agent in Arabia during the
First World War. He was one of the few Indians who had risen to the post of the Superin-
tendent of Police. He met Ashfaq in prison and tried to reason with him. His main aim was
to make Ashfaq agree to give evidence against his former friends. He said, 'The Hindus are
fighting to win back their kingdoms. Why should the Muslims become involved in this
affair? Why should we face danger when there is no benefit to us? The Muslims should not
take any part in it. Even now I can find a way to help you if you can understand what pays
you and what does not." This is how Tasadruk Khan tried to mislead Ashfaq. But Ashfaq
did not like his advice. He was tired of hearing the evil advice. In the end he told
Tasadruk to his face: "Khan Sahib, I am quite sure that Hindu India will be much
better than British India."