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April 1, 2020

Mir Javed leaves behind a legacy of courage and fortitude

National

April 1, 2020

Mir Javed-ur-Rahman has left behind a void. His passing is the end of an era. It comes at a time of universal crisis. At a time when we are all searching for answers. Mir Javed would have asked the searching questions which were his hallmark. He would have fought this invisible menace with logic, reason and faith. Sadly, he lost his personal battle to cancer. He will be missed.

He was a quiet giant of the media industry working in his self effacing yet determined way for the betterment of an industry he passionately nurtured through difficult times. His passing comes at a time when his younger brother Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is in illegal custody on trumped up charges just because he refused to toe the line. The fact that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was unable to be at the bedside of his critically ill elder brother will always be remembered as yet another attempt to break the spirit of the independent media. He is a victim of a callous and cruel system bent on vendetta.

Both brothers have learnt from their father, the founder of Jang, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman, how to face adversity with grace and patience. Their struggle and sacrifices for freedom of expression will never be forgotten by the journalist fraternity in particular and civil society in general.

Mir Javed-ur-Rahman was born on 16 August 1946 in Delhi. He earned a Masters degree from Karachi University before proceeding to UK to study Newspaper Management at the prestigious Thomson Foundation Editorial Centre in Wales. He was now ready to take the legacy forward. Mir Javed-ur-Rahman was at the time of his untimely death Group Chairman, Publisher and Executive Editor of the Jang Group which includes Daily Jang, The News, Mag and Akhbar-e-Jahan amongst its publications. In his illustrious career spanning over five decades, Mir Javed served his journalistic fraternity with great zeal. He was elected General Secretary (for two consecutive terms), Vice President and President of All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS).

Mir Javed-ur-Rahman was one of the last of the great owner editors. He was interested in every aspect of the print media from the thought, to the style of writing, to the presentation, the font, the placement of stories and the photographs that were worth a thousand words. He was a meticulous editor and used the craft he had learnt from his legendary father, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman, with great success in the magazines he published. A missing story was a cause of great distress to him and he would tell reporters and sub-editors to understand the nuance and the meat of a story. He was a very fine and sensitive interviewer and would often turn in stories of events he would be present at. He had a tremendous eye for detail and was extremely inquisitive and curious about developments in the world around him. Keeping a finger on the pulse of the people, he was always in the forefront of innovation and creative change. He had a child like curiosity which never deserted him. Akhbar-e-Jahan was just an example of his eclectic interests. It was a true reflection of the world, its issues, its trends and its evolution. It catered to all ages, genders and tastes. Carefully catering to our values and subtly moving with the times. The archives of the magazine are truly the story of our cultural journey through history.

Mir Javed-ur-Rahman was able to take pressure. He had seen how his father faced dictators and pseudo democrats. The legacy of standing firm against the attacks on the press was taken forward by Mir Javed-ur-Rahman and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. He was witness to the ransacking of his offices, threats and the burning of his publications. He faced these onslaughts in a stoic manner with courage and fortitude. He quoted Orwell often: The news is what is hidden. The rest is public relations. There was a calm about him which filtered out to the newsroom. His paternal presence in times of crisis will be missed as the Group navigates through dark and turbulent waters.

Mir Javed-ur-Rahman’s love for the Quaid-i-Azam was boundless. He collected books about the great leader and was fascinated by his personality and leadership. He admired his principles and tried to emulate him in every aspect of his own life. It was his hope that our own leaders would adhere to the standards of integrity and honesty set by the Quaid. His support of the Kashmir cause was passionate and he believed that the Vale would one day be free of Indian occupation. He often referred to Kashmir as the ‘unfinished business of partition’. He was very concerned about the revocation of Article 370 and the horrific lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

There are many untold stories of Mir Javed-ur-Rahman’s generosity mainly because he believed that charity must be silently given. He was a man of refined etiquette and old world charm and graciousness and would be a presence at every occasion of happiness and grief. He was a person who called a spade a spade and was always very correct and direct in his dealings. There will be many who will mourn this quiet, humble benefactor.

Mir Javed-ur-Rahman admired the written word and the beauty of the Urdu language. He was aware that his father had gifted the people of the sub-continent with the habit to read. He was aware of the need to preserve Urdu both as a language and as the link between the people of this diverse land. He will be remembered as one of the people who preserved the flame of Urdu and helped it evolve and not ossify.

Mir Javed-ur-Rahman had a special relationship with God. He felt close to Him at all times and he had a tremendous faith in His healing powers. He was a pious man who never wore his piety on his sleeve. Many hands were raised for him when news of his illness began to trickle out. But we all have to return to whence he came. He will be at peace with his Maker. May he be blessed.