Saturday, August 2, 2014

MAJID NIZAMI: END OF A JOURNALISTIC ERA

Majid Nizami and my father Bashir Hussain Nazim had not only enjoyed unconditional friendship spanning over four and a half decade but also had a similar personal traits, i-e love for motherland, ideology of Pakistan, philosophy of Iqbal, political sagacity of Quaid and last but surely not the least their resistance against dictatorial regimes. 
P.S: Both left this mortal world on sacred days of Islamic calendar. Bashir Hussain Nazim was laid to rest on 27th Rajab (Shab-e-Meraj) June 17, 2012 while Majid Nizami was handed over to his maker on 27th Ramadan (July 26, 2014).   

With the passing away of Dr. Majid Nizami, chief of the Nawa-i-Waqt group of publications, has come to end an important era in Pakistan's history of journalism. Majid Sahib, as he was popularly known, took over the paper after the demise of his elder brother, Hameed Nizami, founder of Nawa-i-Waqt and a pioneer of independent journalism in this country.

In his professional career spanning well over half a century, Dr Nizami made a name for himself as a highly-respected editor. This did not come easy in a country where press has always been under pressure from military rulers, even civilian governments. True to a quotation his paper carried each day on its masthead "telling the truth to an oppressive ruler is jihad", he never hesitated to speak truth to power.

Unlike many in the profession who change colour with the changing times out of self-interest, Nizami always firmly stood by his convictions. Throughout his life he remained an ardent advocate of the 'Ideology of Pakistan', and helped found the Nazria-i-Pakistan Trust, an institution dedicated to the promotion and projection of the "Ideology of Pakistan as enunciated by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Mohammad Iqbal."

Equally zealously he supported the Kashmir cause, and argued for continuation of a confrontational policy towards India. He was also a strong proponent of a nuclear Pakistan. When it came to issues pertaining to India he could be the most hawkish of hawks. He was as uncompromising on the question of normalisation with India without resolution of Kashmir as he was on what he called 'slavery of military overlordship'. Clearly, on the former score, Majid Nizami was out of tune with the times.

Quoting an incident while fixing my date of wedding in the month of April (2012), my father (Bashir Hussain Nazim) straightaway shifted the date of April 21 to April 28 because of an annual function held under the aegis of Nazria Pakistan Trust where he had been reciting Kalam-e-Iqbal for the last 40 years. In this regard he was conferred upon “Iqbal Gold Medal” at Lahore in a ceremony.    

Strong views elicit strong reactions. Not only did Majid Nizami Sahib have a loyal following in some sections of society, he was arguably revered by country's military establishment. But he also had many critics because of his views on the controversial 'ideology of Pakistan' and a belligerent stance on India. To give him his due, he practiced what he believed in. Even though there are few takers left of his views on India, he stuck to them. The consistency with which he dealt with various other national issues and concerns commanded respect. He will long be remembered for the contribution he made to the cause of democracy as editor of a popular Urdu daily.

Majid Nizami will be missed as an upright editor who always wrote and said the right thing under the most trying circumstances. He will be remembered for his legacy of high standards of journalism and proprietorship. May his soul should rest in eternal peace.

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