Ali Sardar Jafri was born into an aristocratic family in Balrampur,Uttar Pradesh,where he spent his formative years.His early influences were Josh Malihabadi,Jigar Moradabadi and Firak Gorakhpuri.In 1933, he was admitted to Aligarh Muslim University where he soon got exposed to Communist ideology and in 1936 he was expelled from the University for ‘political reasons’. However, he graduated in 1938 from Zakir Husain College, but his subsequent postgraduate studies at Lucknow University ended prematurely following his arrest during 1940–41 for writing anti-War poems, and for taking part in political activities organised by the Indian National Congress as Secretary of the university’s Students’ Union.
His important works as a lyricist include Dharti Ke Lal(1946) and Pardeshi(1957).Between 1948 and 1978 he published eight poetry collections, which include, Nai Duniya Ko Salaam(1948), Khoon Ki Lakeer, Amn Ka Sitara, Asia Jaag Utha(Asia Awakes)(1951), Patthar Ki Deewar(1953), Ek Khwab Aur, Pairahan-i-Sharar(1965) and Lahu Pukarta Hai(1965).These were followed by Awadh ki khak-i-haseen,Subhe Farda, Mera Safar and his last anthology entitled Sarhad, which the then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee carried with him on his bus journey to Lahore in 1999.The prime minister had invited Jafri to accompany him on this trip but ill health prevented him from doing so. Sarhad is also an audio album dedicated to Indo-Pakistan amity produced by Squadron Leader Anil Sehgal and composed and sung by “Bulbul-e-Kashmir” Seema Anil Sehgal. Atal Bihari Vajpayee made history when he presented Sarhad, as a national gift, to the then prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif,during the historic Lahore Summit, 20–21 February 1999. It was also a milestone in Jafri’s life.