A JOURNALIST WITH
Muttahir Ahmed Khan
is, once again, a matter of great honour for me to write about and
to pay tribute to Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman, one of the most excellent
journalists of the 20th century, on his 20th death anniversary.
I have always dubbed Mir Saheb as an institution in himself and
a great source of learning and training for his successors and disciples.
When we look back on his personal and professional life, we come
across a man of dedication, will power, courage, hard work and well-defined
goals. Journalism was not a job, an employment, a business or a
source of livelihood for him; instead, raising voices for the masses’
issues was his passion, commitment and social responsibility. During
his long career as a proficient journalist, many times, he had to
set his life, family, health and wealth at stake in the line of
his devotion to continue struggle for social justice and humanity,
but he never got shaky or disheartened and braced bravely against
all odds of life.
was dubbed as the Benjamin Franklin of Pakistan, by many scholars
and journalists, for his services for the society and the social
rights and masses’ development. Like Benjamin Franklin who
succeeded in making his newspaper possibly the best in the British-ruled
colonies in the New World of that era, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman enjoyed,
within a few years, extraordinary success in making his Jang the
largest-circulating Urdu daily in West Pakistan and further developed
it into Pakistan’s biggest newspaper empire.
the whole world of media has been revolutionised and unprecedented
progress and expansion, in this field, has taken place in the modern
century, Mir Sahib is still counted amongst the most shining stars
in the galaxy of Asian media. Factually speaking, today’s
media groups or even a single small newspaper possesses exclusively
qualified business managers, promotion managers and marketing managers
etc., in addition to its editorial staff, but Mir Sahib was a combination
of all these ventures and developed a big media group by performing
all the duties himself from marketing, accounting, analysing to
writing and advertising. It was possible only on the basis of his
dedication, well-directed objectives and vividly guided course of
he launched Jang from Delhi in quite difficult circumstances, he
was not in possession of healthy budget or high fortune, but he
had full conviction in his talent, dedication, will power and hard
working nature. Generally a huge amount is required to launch an
independent newspaper, but Mir Sahib overcame his economic deficit
with the help of his creative abilities, talent and practical approach
and set an example for the future journalists. He was a man of so
many God-gifted qualities like foreseeing things going on around
him, feeling the pulse of the society and evaluating the capabilities
of each and every journalist working under his command. He would
himself judge, evaluate and train every new candidate in order to
provide his institution with skilled individuals and every individual
with a solid platform and flourishing department.
Saheb was a man of iron nerves and great courage for he had to bear
many socio-political as well as economic pressures and crises on
the basis of his objective journalism and strict adherence to “the
Professional Code of Ethics”. Senior journalist Arshad Imam
has written about the legendary journalist, “Mir Sahib ran
the largest news network of the country. And as we all know that
the press and the government are natural adversaries. It was near
to impossible for him not to face difficulties with the people in
the helm of the affairs. But even in those times of crises Mir Sahib
never let things go out of his hands.” During Zulfiqar Ali
Bhutto’s regime, he had to face the anger of the state and
the government for siding by the people and their struggle for basic
rights and battle against injustice and inequality.
being the owner of a premier print media group of the country, Mir
Sahib never thought himself to be a Chief Executive or a special
figure, but he always felt and proved to be a professional journalist
whose first and the foremost duty was to work hard on collecting
current news and information for his readers. Qutubuddin Aziz, well
known scholar, educationist and journalist describes an incident
about Mir’s devotion; “In 1986, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman
was in the media group which accompanied the then Prime Minister
Mohammad Khan Junejo during his official visit to the USA. I was
then Chairman of the semi-Government National Press Trust (NPT)
in Islamabad, running nine dailies, five weeklies and a monthly.
After a visit to the White House, I noticed that Mir Sahib made
a beeline for his room in the Hilton Hotel near Dupont Circle in
Washington D.C. I presumed that he was overawed by sleep; most of
us did feel tired after a very busy day. The next morning he told
me that he devoted most of the night while writing a copious despatch
for his publications. ‘My readers come first and they must
get the news quickly’, he said to me at breakfast.”
Sahib never liked or chose to seek socio-economic shelter or political
space under the umbrella of any influential state tycoon or swaying
political party, and remained neutral, unbiased and honest in his
life and career and earned everlasting wealth of respect and tributes
that is still multiplying after two decades of his death. If he
sided with any political party, it was All India Muslim League and
he did that only for the sake of the Muslims as a community. After
the creation of Pakistan, he never developed any bent of mind or
tilt towards any party including Pakistan Muslim League. Driving
home the point, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman will always be remembered as
a beacon light of objective journalism and a vindicator of social
justice and welfare and, in the history of journalism, his name
will blink as a legendary and epoch-making figure for ever.
writer is an educationist
force to reckon with
Allama Iqbal said: “The highest art is that which awakens
our dormant will-force, and nerves us to face the trials of life
manfully. All that brings drowsiness and makes us shut our eyes
to reality around us, is a message of decay and death.”
in the footsteps of Iqbal, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman with his absolute
will force, single handedly raised an empire known to us today as
Jang Group of Newspapers. It was due to this achievement that he
received the title “Father of Urdu Journalism”, from
his many admirers.
Khalil-ur-Rahman was a self made man who nurtured his newspaper,
Jang, from extremely modest beginnings, but later made leaps and
bounds and reached the pinnacle of journalism. It is impossible
to talk about Urdu journalism without shedding some light on the
life of the undisputed king of modern journalism, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman.
Khalil-ur-Rahman’s legacy in Pakistan is the well established
Jang Group of newspapers which is published from all major cities
of Pakistan. Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman’s journalistic career spanned
over an unprecedented 52 years. He was not only the owner and editor-in-chief
of the well-established Jang Group of Newspapers, but also became
a committed reporter in his fervent pursuit of journalism, as and
when it was required. One can witness his complete devotion towards
his profession with the fact that because of financial constraints
in the beginning, he would himself circulate newspapers, traveling
from one corner of the city to another.
a newspaper, Jang was devoted to the cause of the Muslims freedom
struggle. Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman stood shoulder to shoulder with the
Quaid-i-Azam in the freedom movement and in his quest to make this
newspaper prominent among Muslim readers; he countered the organised
Hindu press which was determined to incapacitate Pakistan movement
and opposed the Quaid-i-Azam.
were never easy and he had to face immense hardships including getting
arrested and thrown in jail. Whereas his press was burned down by
fanatic anti Muslims Hindus in 1947. But he never bowed down to
the whims of the British colonists until Pakistan appeared on the
world map with its full splendour. Almost losing everything in Dehli,
later in Pakistan, he started his newspaper from a scratch and through
his sheer hard work; dedication and above all national interest
steered and elevated “Jang” to its current position.
his long and illustrious career, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman carved a niche
for himself in the arduous history of the struggle for press freedom
a known fact that state, politics and journalism are not always
on good terms with each other but Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman worked moderately
not being overly critical yet not becoming a “yes-man”
to the government actions. After independence, when the Quaid-i-Azam
was greatly delighted on hearing that Mir Khalil started his publication
worked tirelessly for a free and fair press which reflected a sense
of balance and fair play. He followed a meticulous policy of presenting
news and reviews in lieu of all shades and opinions, making him
an impartial professional.
Khalil-ur-Rahman was a firm believer in Pakistan and was a thorough
patriotic person. True to the ideology of Pakistan, he always spoke
out and wrote strongly to defend the country’s ideological
basis and its destiny as a Muslim nation. He loved Pakistan with
the passion of a devotee and he always wanted his newspapers to
be Pakistan’s heralds of good news.
Khalil’s institution was like an academy and many people including
poets, intellectuals, authors and analysts had the privilege to
write for this prestigious newspaper. No other newspaper had given
such freedom to their writers to speak their mind out without any
hang-ups. Plus many established and esteemed journalists later went
on to make their own newspapers and magazines, emerging as leaders
in their respective fields. Hence, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman played a
critical role in development of print media in Pakistan.
Saheb is not merely the name of an individual but the name
of an era, who dedicated his life to the promotion of journalism.
Khalil-ur-Rahman was constantly on the look out for state-of-the-art
technical facilities. While he shifted his office to Karachi, fast
paced Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman could not deal with the slow and time
consuming printing machines. Unable to deal with this sluggishness
anymore, at last he in 1952 spent considerable amount of money on
importing modern printing machines, cameras and scanners from Germany,
the United States, Great Britain and Japan.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s execution is one apt example where despite,
Islamabad bureaucracy refraining him to publish the news, he went
ahead with his job. Another befitting example can be Lal Bahadur
Shastri’s death in Taskent few hours after signing the Taskent
declaration. Same goes for Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman’s copious
and factual reportage from China in the Jang’s columns which
laid the foundation of Sino-Pakistan friendship. All thanks to Mir
Khalil-ur-Rehman for giving second to second vivid picture of the
calamity struck Indian camp. It was his brisk way of journalism
that played a critical role of building Jang into a whole empire.
but not the least; despite the power and prestige Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman
acquired in Pakistan, his life was a model of simplicity and humility.
Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman is known to be a very humble and a much grounded
persona whose philanthropic works are recognised within organisation
and out of it. He kept a very good rapport with his workers and
colleagues and acted as motivating force to present something exclusive.
played an active and useful role in the publishers’ and editors’
organisations in Pakistan such as the APNS and the CPNE. Such are
his great merits.
it was his complete honesty with his cause that made the great man
that he was. When asked how his publication became such a huge success,
Mir sahib answered “it’s all because we believe in delivering
the best and for us, the quest for betterment is of paramount importance.”
A treasure of information
Abdul Hameed Chhapra
20th death anniversary of renowned and most respected journalist
of the Indo-Pak Sub-continent and founder of the Jang Group of newspapers
and journals Mir-Khalil-ur-Rahman will be solemnly observed on Wednesday
25th January, 2012.
is a mortal being, However, those individuals who dedicate their
tireless efforts for the well being of their relatives, friends,
colleagues as well as the society at large, are remembered for generations
after generations, even after they depart to their heavenly abodes.
is an established fact that Mir Saheb during more than 50 years
of the 20th century contributed a treasure of information. Time
and again this has been recognised by eminent personalities like
veteran poet, banker and columnist Jamiludidn Aali, famous journalist
and information minister in Pakistan’s embassy (High Commission)
in London. Qutubuddin Aziz, well known journalist and former chief
of the Mass Communication Department of Karachi University Professor
Dr Nisar Ahmed Zuberi, veteran journalist Farhad Zaidi and famous
journalist and poet Shafi
scribe had the good fortune of serving and learning from Mir Saheb’s
generosity for more than quarter of a century between mid-1960s
to 1990s as senior reporter of Jang and columnist of Akhbar-e-Jahan
and the Mag.
Khalil-ur-Rahman was a collector who loved and strived to gather
journalistic gems and jewels in his organisations. People like Syed
Mohammad Taqi, Yusuf Siddiqui, Raees Amrohvi, Ather Ali, Inam Aziz
and Shafi Aqeel are to name a few. Mir Saheb launched Daily Jang
from Delhi, the then capital of the British India, during the Second
World War (1939-1945).
who were lucky to learn from Mir Saheb, admit that Mir Saheb used
to study a lot to keep himself abreast of the inventions and innovations
in the field of printing and related technologies. It was due to
this reason that Jang Group of newspapers and journalists were in
the forefront and first to introduce latest developments in all
fields of print industry.
was due to his devotion and well mannerism that Mir Saheb was liked
by almost every section of population since he used to keep himself
in constant contact with people at the helm of affairs and also
with ordinary citizens to learn about the problems faced by common
Khalil-ur-Rahman embarked on his mission of informing people after
23rd March, 1940’s Pakistan Resolution. Under the influence
of the Pakistan Resolution presented on this date, the Muslims of
India started the movement for the creation of Pakistan under the
leadership of the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
movement was ruthlessly and fearlessly opposed by the leaders of
Indian National Congress like Pandit Javahar Lal Nehru and Sardar
Walhab Bhai Patel. At that time Mir Saheb’s contribution for
the creation of Pakistan was commendable. He bravely faced all odds
and even he was arrested and put behind bar.
his life, Mir Saheb worked hard to achieve the level of perfection
that he desired and wanted for his newspapers and journals.
staffers and regulars like this scribe are witness to the fact that
Mir Saheb used to work almost 16 hours daily. He would monitor almost
all newspapers and magazines.
Saheb who started from scratch was recognised as the most successful
newspaper magnate about two decade before his demise. When the first
dictator Gen Ayub Khan shifted Pakistan’s capital from Karachi
to Rawalpindi Mir Saheb also launched Jang’s Rawalpindi issue
along with Jang, Karach.
Saheb launched English evening Daily News from Karachi which in
a short period of time became the largest circulated eveninger beating
the old eveningers like The Leader, Evening Star and The Comment
in circulation as well as the readership.
the early 1970s, Mir Saheb started publication of Roznama Jang from
the capital of Great Britain London. Hence Jang became the only
newspaper published simultaneously from Asia and Europe.
of Daily News for the past 23 years S M Fazal was among those journalists
who joined the newspaper in 1962.
journalist Yunus Riaz who joined Jang in 1964 and served it in various
capacities, praised Mir Saheb for his devotion and knowledge.
Urdu journalism owed a lot to stalwarts like Maulana Abul Kalam
Azad, Maulana Mahboob Alam and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan. Since partition
of India on 14th/15th August, 1947, Jang’s contribution to
Urdu journalism is incomparable and was praised by Pakistanis both
locally and settled abroad for their monetary gains. Dr Nisar Ahmad
Zuberi who served Jang group for more than two decades ranks Mir
Saheb as undisputed “King of the Jang Empire”.
daily in the morning session Mir Saheb used to guide his staff members
that Jang does not belong to any political party; he wants that
every event in Pakistan, particularly in Karachi, should be covered
in the newspaper, since its policy is to give coverage to every
segment of the society. Mir Saheb used to say that Jang’s
policy is to redress the grievances of the masses. It is not in
favour or against any political party or group.
Group had to pay for its independent policies. On the instruction
of military rulers and civilian despots the bureaucracy, used to
pressurise Jang Group to toe the official line. From first dictator
Gen Ayub Khan to third dictator Gen Ziaul Haq’s reign, Jang
had to brave intimidation almost every day. But Mir Saheb never
compromised on principles and always stood for truth.
journalist S M Fazal who enjoys the decades of experience said Mir
Saheb had the ability to attract those who had a natural desire
to serve the field of journalism. In this connection he specially
mentioned names like Shamim Ahmad (first Editor of Daily News),
Khawaja Ibtisam Ahmad, Suleman Ahmad Minai, M T (Mohammad Tayyab)
Bokhari, Zamir Niazi, Muhammad Ali Siddiqui and Wajid Shamsul Hasan
(who remained editor Daily News from 1968 to 1988).
Saheb had an excellent memory and he remembered the names of all
workers of Jang Group whose number had increased to four figures
with the passage of time. He used to redress the grievances of all
workers and financially obliged everybody in their hours of need.
bless Mir Saheb (Aameen)
writer is a senior journalist
my grandfather’s footprints
Khalil-ur-Rahman’s 16-year-old grandson Yousaf Rahman spelled
out his admiration so eloquently that his teacher wrote commendable
remarks as she could actually feel the sincerity and hear his voice
on the written words. Even though Yousaf has never seen his grandfather
but the anecdotes of great respect and veneration his grandmother
and parents feel for Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman are enough to make Yousaf
aspire to follow his footsteps! His English teacher, Mrs Elizabeth
Pelosi, who is an amazing inspiration for him to write, feels that
Yousaf possesses the sincerity and voice required to be a successful
person is inspired by at least one person who leaves a major impact
and that person becomes his or her role model. For me that person
is my grandfather, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman. Through the power of words,
he transformed millions of lives in Pakistan who were and are still
gravitating in the stagnant waters of illiteracy; his whole life
is an inspiration for me as he started from the grass root level
and planted a whole forest for generations to come. He started from
scratch and was a self- made and dignified man; through the power
of his words he was able to enlighten millions and millions of people
in Pakistan including me.
he passed away before I was born; however I have heard numerous
stories about my grandfather, each one carrying its own legacy.
One of the stories that I hear quite often and which really inspires
me is about the time when my grandmother and grandfather were newly
married; in their prime of youth, somewhat poor, and did not have
much to spend. My grandfather was fairly educated and decided to
start a small newspaper business in Delhi, India. He had limited
income and scarce resources but still managed to carry on. My grandfather
needed some capital so he contacted his uncle who was a noble man
in India. His uncle saw his determination and agreed to lend him
some money. He gave my grandfather Rs 5,000 which was a ton of money
at that time. After getting the money my grandfather prepared the
necessary arrangements of starting a newspaper called Jang which
meant war and symbolised the public voice. He named it against war
and for all the people that were fighting in Hindustan for freedom
from the British. He used to work day and night trying to gather
news. He had his own bicycle, and after every night of continuous
handwriting since there were no computers at the time, he used to
gather all of the newspapers, and sell it to everyone in his society.
He was highly determined and plus he had a passion for journalism
which made him never give up.
the time India got its independence my grandfather had got a lot
of fame. He had many people who had joined his newspaper and many
other supporters as well. So when my grandparents migrated to Pakistan,
my grandfather was able to successfully transfer his business as
well. He set up a new industry in Pakistan and since many people
knew about Jang from before they supported him. My grandfather’s
willpower and dedication to his work made him succeed. I would never
be me if it weren’t for my grandfather. He has, still, and
always will influence and inspire me.
find myself in his life since he is my role model. At times when
I’m too lazy to work or when I just want to give up; I think
to my self that “what would my grandfather do?” and
immediately I get motivated and do what needs to be done by excelling
in the particular work. I manage to get rid of my laziness and pull
my self together in stressful times and give my best. To excel because
I know that he is out there watching me and I do not want to disappoint
him. My grandfather’s profession was journalism and he excelled
in it. I do not know what my profession will be as yet but what
ever it will be I will put in the same effort in it as my grandfather
once did in journalism.
hope to one day continue the work that he started in erasing the
illiteracy that continues to paralyze our nation. I intend to enter
into our country’s growing media industry and use the path
of TV channels such as ‘Geo’ and ‘Aag’ to
convey my voice and views to the struggling population of Pakistan.
My grandfather’s voice was a firm, powerful one which reached
millions and the work that he began many years ago is what I dream
of continuing. At a time when Pakistan is in dire need of reformation,
I would feel proud to continue his legacy and make a difference
in the lives of the people. I want to reach them. Educate them.
grandfather’s personality was also one of a kind. According
to my grandmother, my grandfather was a thrifty and sensible man.
Sometimes when my grandparents used to go abroad for a vacation,
my grandmother told me that he used to bring some money with him
to spend just on her; he barely bought anything for himself. He
was a down to earth man and still considered himself a common man.
My grandmother said that she would be the one to splurge in jewellery
or hand bags. Sometimes when she would get my grandfather something
he used to get angry at her since he did not need it. His personality
is highly commendable and really inspires me.
grandfather’s non-extravagant nature inspires me. My grandmother
told me that after each day, when he was about to sleep, he used
to make sure that all the lights were switched off so that electricity
may be preserved. He also used to keep track of all the things in
his position including his business. He never took advantage of
the capital he had. My father told me that he and his six other
siblings can live on the wealth that he earned by putting in his
life and effort but my grandfather did not want his children to
do so. He knew the importance of education for growth and prosperity
and wanted his children and grandchildren to be highly educated.
He also used to advise his children to work hard as he was also
a very hard working man.
my grandfather, I also try to keep track of things that are going
on in my house. Once when I was young I found out how much it cost
to run the air conditioner in my room and I turned it off for about
2 days so I could save money. I try to be like him because I respect
him a lot and because he is my role model; however, my own heart
leads me to the other way and I do things that I should probably
not by doing or buy really expensive things without any consideration
about where that money actually comes from.
grandfather’s sacrifices for us are unimaginable; we are what
we are today because of him. Without him being the way he was, my
personality, my beliefs, my values in life, all would be so different,
the life I have right now would not exist. Sometimes when I find
myself lacking I remember how dignified and respected my grandfather
Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman was and immediately react and think to myself
whose grandson am I? And suddenly everything comes back rushing
through my brain and I prevail.
all I believe that behind everyone there is at least one person
that inspires them the most; for me it is Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman who
started from scratch and ended up, through the power of pen and
printing press, changed the lives of millions in Pakistan. He wrote
fearlessly, he spoke only the truth and made sure everyone became
aware of the truth. I too believe in honesty and spreading truth.
He was a self-made and dignified man who I love and want to follow.