Departure of a Torch-Bearer of Journalism

Economic Review, January 1992 | Go to article overview

Departure of a Torch-Bearer of Journalism


The demise of Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman the founder and editor-in-chief of the Jang Group of Publications is being described as an end of an era which spanned over 70 years from his birth in Gujranwala. His demise has created a void that will leave everybody associated with the industry definitely poorer because the vacuum that has been created will be impossible to fill. From humble origins, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman rose to dizzying heights of success.

The founder of the Jang Group of Publications had his early education at a religious Madressah (institution) and completed the reading of the Holy Quran by the time he was seven years old, following which he shifted to Delhi with his father, Mir Abdul Aziz, who was a government employee.

After attending Fatehpur High School, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman graduated from a Delhi College and started working as a typist-cum-stenographer with a private firm. But, with his heart clearly in journalism, he joined a friend of the family, Ishrat Dada, who was publishing a film magazine called |Nigar Khana.' This was a period of extreme turmoil in the Subcontinent and winds of change were blowing. Fired by the zeal of a freedom fighter and inspired by the fearless leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Mir Sahib quickly detached himself from Nigar Khana to launch the |Jang', in 1941 as an afternoon paper, in order to provide the Muslims with a voice. And no matter how humble, here were the origins of what would turn out to be one of the biggest success stories of the print industry in the region.

In a small rented office, Mir. Sahib singlehandedly wrote this success story and founded, albeit on a modest edifice, what would eventually be an empire. He functioned like a one-man task force. From the basics of production like translations, radio monitoring, editing and pasting, to taking the copy to the press - all was accomplished by his solitary self. This was not all. For, as soon the copy was printed, he would distribute it himself too. With an unflinching belief in the need for a separate homeland for the Muslims of the Subcontinent, Mir Sahib ensured that the |Jang' articulated the views of the Muslim masses and, thus made an invaluable contribution to the cause of Pakistan. Although he was even incarcerated by the British authorities on charges of writing a |seditious editorial', he continued on his path undeterred.

By the time the dream of independence was realised in 1947, the Delhi |Jang' had become a successful newspaper. Amongst the staffers were such luminaries as Syed Muhammad Taqi. Independence found him in Karachi, where he rented a shop on McLeod Road (now I.I. Chundrigar Road). And with a 5,000-rupee loan from his father-in-law, Mr. Mohammad Sultan,. he launched the |Jang' from Karachi on October 15, 1947.

With names such as Syed Muhammad Taqi, Rais Amrohvi, Shaukat Thanvi and Ibrahim Jalees associated with it, Mir. …

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