His path was full of difficulties and unknown challenges, the political and ethnic circles of the time had an agenda that made his vision almost impossible to materialize but the man never gave up. Constantly striving to bring about a change in the thoughts and action of the Muslims of the sub-continent and to fuel the newly-initiated movement for the recognition of their rights, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman in a bold move launched the Jang in 1941 from Delhi.
The pre-independence era was a tough time for journalism and the press was far from free. All this however was to change in the years to come and Mir sahib set the wheels in motion. Though only nineteen years of age, his ambitions were anything but ordinary. The initiation of a new daily newspaper with an agenda different from any other newspaper of the time was a huge step forward in this regard. Unlike others, not succumbing to the political pressures, Mir sahib clearly declared Jang as the voice of the All India Muslim League with a mission to support the movement for independence.
From an early stage of his life, Mir saheb was a far-sighted man and calculated every move in order to strengthen the influence and power of his newspaper and consequently the Pakistan Movement. It was this support for the Movement that made him not only emerge as integral political figure of the time but also a powerful journalist through his influence over the print media.
Mir saheb’s contributions can never be forgotten after the creation of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam himself acknowledged his efforts and contribution towards establishing a free press and supporting the Pakistan movement.
The formal launch of Jang in Karachi, Pakistan on October 15, 1947, was a start of a new journey in Mir saheb’s life – a journey to take Jang to new heights and to establish the highest standards for journalistic practices in Pakistan that were at par with international principles. “Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman was the shining star of journalistic and a prominent historic personality”, comments Abdul Majeed Memon, President of Press Club.
With this goal in mind Mir saheb closely observed the workings of foreign media organisations and leant the tricks of trade. He then modified those and put forth new press based on his extensive experience and acknowledge to bring about a change for the better. Mir saheb encouraged his reporters to not only report the obvious but also to look deeper and peruse a fresh angle that had gone unnoticed before. Keeping up with changing times he also introduced new topics and areas of informatio0n in his newspaper to encourage a wider audience to read and take interest in the newspaper.
Mir saheb’s vision was to establish a state of the art news organization and for this he spent day and night trying to bring about improvements in the techniques of news reporting and also introduced new technologies, with regards to newspaper publication it seemed that innovation and revolution had become Mir saheb’s nature and perhaps the best effort in the regard was his initiative of introducing the computerized typing of newspapers.
He introduced Noori Nastaleeq in his newspaper. This definitely set Jang apart from all other newspapers that later, following the lead, adopted this technology too.
“Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman during his life time did not claim to have started a revolution instead he kept working hard silently. Today he is not among us but due to his sheer hard work and dedication, a silent revolution has been witnessed in the newspaper industry, so much so that not only newspaper readers but also the external and internal forces around the world are enjoying the fruits of the revolution”, says Khalil Malik.
Mir saheb had an untiring will and determination. He realized that knowledge was the key to success and thus began his efforts to encourage the masses to read and benefit from his newspaper. How much he succeeded can been seen from the fact that despite a literacy rate of only 3 per cent Mir saheb managed to raise his readership to a great extent.
As time passed Jang grew in popularity and soon Mir saheb launched The News, an English daily to counter the competition and to cater to an even wider audience, in the early nineties. “The products and proofs of Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman’s personal hard work, interest, intelligence and far-sightedness the Daily Jang Karachi, Lahore Rawalpindi, Quetta, Multan and London and The News Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and London today are in front of the world with the grace of God. Due to the sheer hard work and efforts of generations of employees, today the Jang Group is considered among of the biggest newspaper institution of South Asia.
From Karachi to the Line of Control, morning begins with the Jang. Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman never wished for his accounts of praise to be published in his honour. Neither did he wish for his pictures or news about him to be published in newspapers. He never let his personal views and ego interfere with his professional life. He only gave importance to the nation and his readers. He wrote what the readers wanted and said what the nation said”, says Mahmood Sham, praising the works of Mir saheb.
Mir saheb’s personality was a blend of worldly success and humble temperament. In his personal life Mir saheb was a down to earth man and kept to his family and close friends. Contrary to the stereotypical image of autocratic editors he was a man of simple habits and was not a fan of lavishly spending on himself but of simple living and was often seen giving the same advice to friends and colleagues. Easy to approach and talk to, Mir saheb always took good care of his employees and their needs. Being the man of principles that he was, he never used his authority to pressurize others or a harsh tone while taking to his subordinates. He said, “if you know how to put your point forward, then without saying the obvious and being harsh you can say everything.”
The creator of his own institution, never seemed to tire out or give up in the face of hardships. He worked hard all day long each day and made sure that his organization functioned smoothly. He would sit in the office all day long till the newspaper went into printing and then would make sure that it was picked by the delivery boys and distributed. Such was his dedication and untiring effort.
Mir saheb has left an indelible mark on the journalistic history of Pakistan. The empire that he has left behind is an asset and a source of inspiration for the nation and today, even 18 years after his death Mir saheb is still alive through his works and contributions that form the very core of Pakistani journalism.
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