Tuesday May 28, 2024

Remembering Mir Javid Rahman: the legacy lives on

By News Desk
March 31, 2023

Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman, an enigma of a man, one of the greatest pioneers of Urdu journalism; his contributions to the field cannot be counted and his legacy cannot be questioned. And what is a legacy without anyone to carry it? Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman remains immortalised through the work that was carried on by his sons, Mir Javed Rahman and Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman. It has now been three years since Mir Javed Rahman passed, but just like his father who is remembered regularly even 31 years after his death, Mir Javed Rahman will not be forgotten for his services for the field of journalism

Through a career in journalism spanning over half a century, there is not much Mir Javed Rahman hasn’t participated in. Becoming the publisher of Jang Media Group after Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman’s passing, Mir Javed Rahman fostered the Urdu magazine Akhbar-e-Jehan, which is one of the modern literary representatives of the language, as well as the English fashion magazine MAG The Weekly. This alone showed his range: a pioneer of the Urdu language and a household name in Pakistani fashion. It is said that Mir Javed was directly involved in all aspects of the production of these magazines, from the designing to the printing process. Besides expanding on the fields Jang Media Group covered, Mir Javed supported the general print media community of Pakistan, being an active member of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), where he served once as President, once as Vice President and twice as Secretary. Not once did he stumble over the weight of his father’s legacy, instead he carried it most gracefully, bringing Jang Media Group to unforeseen heights.

Such company expansion can only come from a man with great foresight and high intelligence. Mir Javed Rahman was short on neither of these features, as is best seen by his fascination with astrology. It is said that upon meeting someone for the first time, he would often ask them their star sign. He had a vast collection of books on horoscopes and analysed the star signs of public leaders to best predict what contributions they would make under their rule. Perhaps it is an odd quirk, but there are few interests that could suit a visionary like Mir Javed more than studying star patterns.

Mir Javed Rahman’s employees and friends held great loyalty with him and that’s because beyond his credentials as an editor and journalist, he was a man with a good heart. He supported his employees in occasions of poor health and celebrated with them in their victories as well as their happy occasions. Despite being someone who did not partake in social gatherings with a lot of enthusiasm, mostly keeping to himself, there are numerous instances of him attending the funerals of his employee’s loved ones or personally congratulating them for their achievements. His reserved nature did not come in the way of his displays of kindness. A give way of his affectionate nature is the story of how he quit smoking out of the request of his son. He was both a responsible employer and father.

Perhaps the most impressive fact about Mir Javed Rahman was his direct involvement in all areas of his work. When an important issue was to come out, he would research on it himself, buying books on the topic and distributing them between his underlings. An avid reader and a fan of many personalities, he was quite proficient at doing an in-depth analysis of the people he would end up writing about. He would tell his reporters to get to the source of the news, regardless of whether they had to travel to many different cities in Pakistan to do so. On the occasion of the dismissal of Benazir Bhutto’s government, with Mumtaz Ali Bhutto being appointed caretaker chief minister of Sindh, Mir Javed personally came down to the floor of the reporters and asked them to interview Mumtaz Ali Bhutto. This was a remarkable decision on his part, especially considering the tense political situation in the country at this time. But Mir Javed never gave into political pressures when it came to work - this is evident with how he led Jang Media Group during the time of Zia-ul-Haq’s stringent media control. No matter what, Mir Javed Rahman remained dedicated to the truth. Besides the process of covering news, he also remained heavily involved in the treatment of his employees. He would often be found striking up a casual conversation with the staff and during the announcement of any new journalistic Wage Awards by the Pakistani government, he would open up exactly what the government announced and immediately change the salary structure of his employees to abide by it.

Mir Javed Rahman embodied all the traits of a good journalist and an exemplary leader, being able to maintain his personal popularity within his employees and expand the popularity of Jang in general. He remarkably lived up to his father’s legacy, while also making a name for himself.