Syed Ali Zaheer (1896-1983) سیّد علّی ظہیر was an Indian politician and law minister in the first cabinet formed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Early and family life
He was born as one of the four sons of Sir Syed Wazir Hasan at Kalanpur, Jaunpur. The family belonged to the Shia sect of Islam.
Zaheer began his career as a barrister in the Chiefs Court of Oudh (Awadh), based in Lucknow. He took interest in politics at an early age and joined the Indian National Congress. He selected Congress as they were leading India's struggle for independence from Britain.
In the 1930s and 1940s, actively encouraged by the policy of Divide and Rule, communalism was at its peak in India. Awadh, dominated by vastly rich Muslim landlords ruling an overwhelmingly Hindu peasantry, had become a hotbed of Muslim separatism, and indeed the main source of funding for the Muslim League, which wanted to partition India and create Pakistan.