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The man of many qualities
By Mudassir Mirza
Translated from Urdu by S A Haleem

Those people are really very fortunate who are at the very onset of their career in any profession; enjoy the patronage of the top intellects in their respective fields. In this perspective, I feel I am highly honoured to have worked under the patronage of one of the most eminent personalities of journalism, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman. Anybody who had the opportunity of meeting Mir Saheb even for a few minutes, deemed it a great honour for himself.

When I joined Jang in the year 1986, as a shift-incharge I would meet Mir Saheb at least once a day, often such meetings were not pleasant. At six in the evening, a peon from Mir Saheb would call Younus Riaz (News Editor), Nasir Chughtai (Dak Edition in-charge), and myself (Local edition in-charge) for a meeting with Mir Sahib. Entering his chamber, one could easily understand that Mir Sahib had thoroughly scanned the contents of the newspaper while comparing it with other newspapers.

At times he asked about a certain error in the paper and as to who was responsible for the lapse, and what action was taken against that particular person. Mir Saheb was very sensitive about any missing news item and he was not prepared to accept any 'excuse' in this respect. On certain occasions he did not hesitate to deliver a harsh reprimand. But when he reprimanded in a harsh tone, he also knew how to compensate, because he was well aware that if his workers had to work with any tension or bitterness in their minds, and did not have any peace of mind, they were open to making more mistakes with perturbed minds, in the issues of the newspaper coming on the next day. He knew fully well that the message, which he had intended to convey, was well received and served the purpose. So in order to bring the temperature down, he used to change the topic and mode of his speech, and started speaking over some other light topics, not necessarily related to the newspaper. On such occasions, he provided more opportunities to the audience present before him to express themselves and would listen to their remarks. At times when he had scolded his workers to a great extent, he would invariably offer them drinks like tea etc before ending the meeting.

Mir Saheb was fully cognizant of the fact that his workers required to work with ease and without tension. Sometimes, when he had to see any guest suddenly after he had scolded any staff he would ring back, and speak in a way, which could eliminate the unpleasantness in our minds.

Mir Saheb would educate us about the fine points, which are relevant in connection with "headlines" or 'texts' of any news item, and the one who heeded his fine points; surely could achieve the zenith of his profession.

Speaking about the humility of Mir Saheb, suffice it to say that no visitor who met him for the first time could have thought him of being the owner of such a highly reputable newspaper. If anybody came to him with any issue, he would very patiently hear him, and then he would call the in-charge of the department concerned, and tell him that the complainant was an important person and since the in-charge did not know him, he should pay more attention to the news sent by the complainant. However, if the complainant, while taking the benefit of the situation, ever intervened to say something directly to the in-charge, or started giving instructions to print his news item in any preferential manner, Mir saheb would unhesitatingly tell him not to interfere in the work of the in-charge, as it was his sole prerogative to display any news item at any place he deemed fit. Mir Saheb would also tell the complainant point-blank that he himself never interfered as regards to the placement of any news item. He would tell the complainant that the job was purely within the jurisdiction of the in-charge. Mir saheb's action invariably increased the prestige of the in-charge and discouraged others from dictating his staff directly.

If someone wanted to see Mir Saheb, but he found him speaking over the telephone, and stood waiting for him to get free after the phone call was over Mir Saheb would ask him after finishing his telephonic conversation or sometime during the conversation: "My dear brother, why are you standing on my head. These chairs are kept here for you to sit comfortably?"
Mir Saheb was also not very happy to be called repeatedly with the word "Sir." He used to tell the caller that he was not a school teacher who had to be addressed always with "Sir."

Looking back even to this day, about the life and manners of Mir Saheb one has to admit what a great man he was and those who got the opportunity to work with him were indeed very lucky.

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