|It is difficult
to define the versatile qualities of Mir saheb who still
amazes me with his personality that took every detail,
planned carefully and carried it to completion with a
precision and care that was the hallmark of his character,"
says Jamiluddin Aali, Urdu poet, critic, playwright, essayist,
columnist and scholar who was associated with Mir saheb
for more than 35 years.
Aali, an octogenarian, beams with the memories of Mir
saheb, a 'godfather' to an unbroken string of journalists,
poets, writers and common men-- all beneficiary of Mir
saheb's generosity and compassionate nature. "Mir
saheb was different. He was far ahead of his times with
his vision and management qualities. It was very turbulent
times during the nineteen-forties when the Indian National
Congress and Indian Muslim League were struggling for
freedom from the British crown and for Muslim League it
was double the struggle for getting independence and carving
a homeland for the Indian Muslims. Mir saheb's foresight
assessed the need of a newspaper in Urdu that could be
the mouth organ of the Muslims' aspirations. It was how
the daily Jang emerged on the journalism scene.
Mir saheb had firm belief in the labour of love and he
entered the field of journalism with conviction and devotion.
He was never deterred by the tactics of his competitors
in the field. I remember him saying once that he was not
afraid of the government closing down Jang for providing
space to the opposition. Several owners of the Urdu press
succumbed to the pressure from the military dictators
like Ayub Khan and Zia-ul-Haq but Mir saheb never did
that", his monologue about Mir saheb is captivating.
Mir saheb, according to Jamiluddin Aali, had his eyes
on all the details of the printing process of Jang and
other publications. It was customary for Mir saheb to
come to the office twice even if he had left the office
quite late at night. Once I could not control my curiosity
and asked him if he had some doubts about the efficiency
of his editorial and allied staff. He laughed and said
that it was not the case. "Jang and other publications
are my children. I go to the office to ascertain that
their nourishment and upbringing is going well",
"Some people who were not in the inner circle of
Mir saheb might consider him a bit parsimonious. But parsimonious
he was not, not at all. It was not known to many, even
in the inner circle of Mir saheb that he was the patron
to many poor families. He would silently pay monthly stipends
to such families without even letting his close associates
know about it. It was like he was conforming to the Prophet's
(PBUH) saying that asks to give the alms in such a way
that one hand is given and the other hand remains unaware
of the dealing", says Aali.
Mir saheb had the knack to sieve news from even seemingly
unimportant facts and figures and often such news retrieved
proved to be the breaking news. He was a practical journalist
who, despite being the owner of such a big group of companies
knew most of the functions of his trade. He was a reporter,
an editor and even knew pasting and page making.
Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman had a phenomenal memory and often
he surprised other editors with it. At one instance while
with a head of a state he was able to reproduce the entire
press conference without taking notes.
One of his many great traits was his impartiality towards
the religious sects or ideology. He was a practising Muslim
but had no problem in generating news from liberal or
other sources. News was judged on its merit and not on
its background. Yet another great achievement of Mir saheb
was the establishment and cementing of journalism in Pakistan.
In this regard, many of the journalists who are now dispersed
in various corners of the world are a product of the Jang
Group. These journalists were trained, pruned, trimmed
and chiseled to perfection. This is simply tremendous
and shows the depth and never-ending will of Mir saheb
for the journalism. There is no denying it.