Hameed Nizami started posting Nawa i Waqt as a bimonthly newspaper on March 23, 1940. Four years later, it became a major daily.
At the time, Urdu newspapers had limited circulation due to lack of funds and low literacy rates among Muslims, although followers of other religions were also comfortable reading Urdu script. . In addition, the Hindi newspapers were more critical and witty in their opinions.
Among the weeklies, Nairang-i-Khayal, Shiraza and Alamgir were popular. The editions published on various festivals and the annuals brought in some additional income. Accomplished painters like Ustad Allah Buksh and Abdur Rehman Chughtai have authorized the reproduction of their paintings on the title pages of these newspapers. Thus, politics and culture have been amalgamated. Later, Humayun was published by Judge Shahdin. Adabi dunya also published a number of images which are a source of much history.
Among the English newspapers, Civil & Military Gazette was popular. It was initially an Anglo-Indian newspaper which was founded in 1872 and closed in 1963. In 1960 it was given to Naseer A Sheikh who, after desperately trying to maintain it, eventually called it a day. Today, the Panorama Center stands on its expansive grounds, in a prime location on The Mall.
Many famous writers contributed to publish articles in this daily. They included Colonel Golding who compiled these published articles in book form, titled Old Lahore. It remains the first classic story of Lahore in the English language. Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling worked on it and a plaque is dedicated to him which has mysteriously disappeared.
In the same building, Progressive Papers Limited launched its newspaper, the Pakistani weather. Its first publication was in the form of a supplement announcing the arrest of Begum Shahnawaz on January 24, 1947. On the same page, it was announced that regular publication would begin from February 4.
The post was facilitated by Mr Jinnah after the daily’s offices Dawn in Delhi were ravaged by community riots.
The Progressive Papers Limited had been touted as a left-wing body whose majority shares had been acquired by Mian Iftikharuddin, a well-known landowner from Baghbanpura whose family was also the guardian of Shalamar Gardens.
The Pakistan TimesThe first editor in chief was the esteemed poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Mazhar Ali Khan was the editor. It was soon assigned the premises of the Tribune on Rattan Chand Road, next to the Bharat building. It has grown into a very successful and respected newspaper.
The Pakistan Times soon began to publish sister newspapers and magazines. Imroze was the best Urdu paper lithographed by highly skilled calligraphers of the time. Lail-o-Nahar was a weekly with a full-color title page hand-scanned by Ashraf Ali. It contained a variety of articles, including caricatures of Zaidi and Qazi Aslam, short stories, political satires, beautiful black and white portraits. It was edited by Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi. Zaheer Babar and many other luminaries of the time worked for these publications.
Sports schedules was another weekly at the time. He would wear full figures or portraits of athletes painted by Mahmud Butt. The journalists’ room was generally empty during the day because reporters were on the go. Faiz once saw reporters hanging out. When told that there was no event going on at the time, Faiz advised them to go to the cafe.
The room would be overflowing with journalists the night the copy was being pasted. Legendary photographer FE Chaudhry would be back at sunset to develop his films displayed in the small dark room to be transformed into positives and stuck in time.
The weekly’s team included big names like HK Burki, Jameel Ahmad, Khwaja Asif, Sibte Hassan, Sufi Tabassum and Chiragh Hassan Hasrat.
Government officials were afraid of the press and tried to resolve issues highlighted in the press. In other words, the government and officers of the day were concerned that their wrongdoing would be reported. The first shock the organization suffered was the arrest of its editor-in-chief, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, in the Rawalpindi Conspiracy affair on March 9, 1951. Mazhar Ali Khan was already working as editor-in-chief, so there was no no policy change by paper.
In March 1957, the newspaper proudly celebrated its 10e birthday. On the occasion, a large buffet lunch was organized for all staff, both serving and retired, at Shalamar Gardens. The print order for the day was 50,000, the highest in the country.
Two months later, the centenary of the uprising of May 1857 is commemorated by the four publications. A portrait of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, holding his sword, alongside his wife, Zeenat Mahal, has been released. The various events of the episode were also printed as a verbal part of the oral history.
The Progressive Papers Limited was a caring organization. They were both good teachers and good payers, that is, they gave their staff respect and a good salary. Staff could get ahead during the month.
There was a fairly large room that served as a recording room, with two large tables. It can be used to browse old copies / files. Along the walls, open shelves held bound volumes in two months each, stacked vertically for easy removal. Thus, an academic or a visiting researcher could easily consult old articles.
You could also buy old paper.
1958 was not a very good year for the PPL. The 1951 cut planned by Major General Akbar Khan may have failed, but it set a precedent for further feats. General Ayub Khan, for example, tried to stifle all opposition and have a spokesperson. The Progressive Papers were taken over with a brutal and brutal blow. Mazhar Ali Khan resigned immediately. He didn’t even let his name be used in the next day’s paper.
After a few years, Mazhar Ali Khan started Point of view, a news weekly that dared to speak the truth in the Dark Ages (more on this in later dispatches).
The Pakistan Times continued to serve as a flexible body for successive dictators, and its various editors felt compelled to be more loyal than previous ones.
To be continued
(This dispatch is dedicated to the late IA Rehman)
The writer is a painter, founding member of the Lahore Conservation Society and the Punjab Artists Association, and former director of the NCA Art Gallery. He can be contacted at [email protected]