Remembering Mir Javed Rahman and his life of purpose
  • 27 Mar - 02 Apr, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Tribute

Journalism is not a job for the weak-hearted or the money-seeker. Any writer will tell you that. Despite that, it is not hard to find courageous and passionate journalists. One such man who carried forward his father’s legacy, upheld its values, and played a huge part in revolutionising Urdu journalism with Pakistan’s oldest weekly magazine Akhbar-e-Jehan and gave 12 years of his life to English journalism with Pakistan’s first fashion and lifestyle magazine MAG, was Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman’s eldest son, Mir Javed Rahman. Immaculate and a precisionist, Mir Javed Rahman was a journalist who wanted to come as close as possible to the heart of the world. For budding journalists like us, Javed Sahab is a role model who inspires us towards greatness. Whether demonstrating excellence in his field, innovating writing styles or giving a voice to the voiceless, he was a journalist who gave new meaning to the word distinction.

As we remember him on his first death anniversary, we recall him and his life of purpose with fond memories. His departure from this world is indeed a loss that shall be felt for a long time.


by Tehmina Khaled

My association with Jang Group was almost 18 years long. Earlier in my career, I knew Mir Javed Rahman as Shakil-ur-Rahman’s elder brother who was known as a very tough task master but whenever we met, he was always affectionate towards me and often complimented my fashion shoots and editorial work. According to him, he followed my work on a regular basis. After working 17 years under the leadership of Shakil-ur-Rahman, suddenly Javed Sahab became my boss when he inherited this publication. According to him, when Shakil Sahab asked him, “What all you require for MAG in terms of office setup,” his answer was, “I just need MAG with its editor Tehmina Khaled.” He had confidence in me that I alone can manage the publication by building a new team and starting from scratch, which I did.

Javed Sahab was one publisher so sincerely involved in every aspect of his publications; he would take keen interest in editorials, layouts, graphics, marketing, printing and distribution. He was a true journalist at heart, well-trained by his late father, the honourable Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman and knew the pulse of his readers. The commercial success of his brain child Akhbar-e-Jehan speak volumes about his vision as a publisher as well as an Editor-in-Chief. He had very strong likes and dislikes, if he liked you, you were the luckiest person, he would treat you like royalty and if he disliked you, then only God be your saviour. People like Mir Javed Rahman live on through their legacy and he had so many. It is rightly said that a man never dies unless he is forgotten and Javed Sahab, you will be remembered for eons.

by Ambreen Asim

“Mir Javed Rahman wants to meet you!” It was February of 2009 and I was working in Jang’s evening newspaper, Daily News. I could not fathom as to why ‘The Javed Sahab’ wants to meet a sub-editor. My first meeting with him is vivid like it was just yesterday. I still remember suppressing my urge to have a detailed look at the magnanimous collection of books and magazines that neatly aligned the walls of his office.

Working with Javed Sahab was one of the richest experiences that I have had in my life. What I value the most is how to meet deadlines under pressure without compromising on work ethics. Before joining team MAG, I was told stories about Javed Sahab’s strict nature. But all of this proved wrong once I got to work with him and started to know him as a boss and then as a person.

The very first thing that I noticed about Javed Sahab was his availability to everyone, be it a dear friend, an office colleague or a peon. To him, his stature was not important, humanity was. He was an avid reader and wanted his team members to be well-informed and well-read. He would go to any length to subscribe to the best magazines from around the world for his team at MAG and Akhbar-e-Jehan so that a literary environment is created in the office. Whenever he travelled, he would return with hoards of books and magazines. He knew that I had a penchant for reading; he would always send most of the magazines my way.

Yes, he was strict as a boss but then bosses are designed that way. But at the same time, he was very lenient, I believe. I worked with him for almost 10 years and to tell the truth, it was a roller coaster ride, never a dull moment, especially for those who were close to him and I was privileged to be.

I enjoyed a good camaraderie with him and always envied his punctuality. He never skipped office without strong reasons. There was a fire once in Jang building and the entire building was evacuated. Suddenly, Javed Sahab arrived, and despite knowing about the fire, he just went straight to his office on the third floor like nothing had happened and we all followed.

As I write, the memories pour in; his discussions with us like a boss, sharing ideas with us like a true leader, laughing with us like a friend, and breaking bread with us like a family member. He used to say, ‘You all are my family,’ he didn’t just say it, he meant it. He was there in our bad times, trying to meet our financial needs… such a big heart he had.

Once, he visited my office when I was on a call with a banker trying to get a loan to fulfill my financial needs. He left without a word. The very same evening I was summoned to his office and he gathered all the details about my problem. The next day, the moment he stepped into the office, he came to me directly with a blank cheque. I was astonished and I am teary-eyed as I recall now. I have never seen a person as kind as him. This was Javed Sahab for me… one of the selected people whom I used to rely on in my difficult times.

We would chat over a cup of tea about politics, religion, history and journalism. Javed Sahab had keen interest in tech gadgets, latest phones, and laptops. He had the same laptop as mine and he would often say, “Mujhe yeh app se seekhna hai.” Alas! I never had the privilege of teaching him anything but I am glad Javed Sahab, that I learnt a lot from you.

by Muhammad Rahat Hussain

It was in 2009 when I first interacted with him, when I joined Jang Group, He was more of a mentor for me, than just my boss. Twice in the last decade, I left the organisation, for other pursuits, only to be brought back by Javed Sahab into the fold. Sharing his wisdom and insights every chance he got, for me to absorb, learn and apply. Many life lessons that I have learnt from him, experiences that have shaped the way I look at life now.

Over the years, as I worked for him, I learned how much of a traditionalist he was. Not just in terms of work, but also how he approached different aspects of his life. Our daily meetings would always be full of insights from the past. Despite the four decades of age difference between us, coupled with his old-school approach, I never felt that there was a generational gap between us. As editors, we always had our fair share of differences and even heated exchanges, but our relationship was deeply entrenched in trust and mutual respect. Despite our difference in opinion, he always valued sound advice and lent an ear to his fellow advisors.

He was a defining figurehead for many journalists and media professionals at Jang Group. His eye for talent, and the will to give that talent an environment to nurture, grow and shape into a fine professional is a quality that not many possess.

With MAG, Javed Sahab was very progressive. He always allowed experimentation and let it evolve during each editors’ era. Always calculative, yet impulse driven, he was a visual person. He put great emphasis on the cover pages of the magazines he looked after and always said that cover of any periodical was a debt to the subscribers. He always said, “Cover page mere qaareen ka hai, not for advertisers.” He despised the idea of monetising the titles and during the plus 50 years of Akhbar-e-Jehan's publication, there was rarely a cover page he may not have personally seen. These were the ethos based on which he practiced his profession.

Apart from his journalistic side, Javed Sahab was also an astute businessperson. Those who have closely worked with him day in and day out, would agree that from an administrative standpoint, Javed Sahab had a very different business approach towards print media. He would often share details of his time leading the APNS, on how print media was its zenith back in the days. He had a different philosophy when it came to the modus operandi of print advertisements, and always wanted to operate from a position of strength.

Even though Javed Sahab is no longer with us, his words of wisdom will always stay with us throughout our lives. His demise has left a vacuum for the journalistic fraternity in Pakistan, and an invaluable loss that will take years to overcome.

by Mariam Khan

The elevator's doors would open and we would know Javed Sahab is at work. Apart from the usual buzz at the workspace, there would be energy sprinkled on each one of us in his presence. He would greet everyone in his own unique way, his exclusive question being, 'kya haal hain'? 'Kya ja raha hai cover pay is haftay'?

When it came to the cover of the magazine, the perfectionist in him would be at work. A chair would be dragged and minutes would turn to hours. He would not settle with the magazine cover options till he got one designed keeping the aesthetics in mind, more importantly what the readers would like.

Javed Sahab savoured discussions, but even more so, he listened. His wits would bring about a hearty laugh in an art room, no matter the prevailing pressure of deadlines. One would not feel they are in the presence of a publisher, for he was a people's person.

Whatever problem one may have, he would lend an ear, breaking through the time zone barrier. On one occasion when he came to know I was having trouble commuting to work, he came and sat beside me, taking some time out from his Asar prayers and enquired what the issue was. He did not leave till he was convinced a solution had been reached. Be it days when there was unrest in the city or when rains wreaked havoc across the metropolis, he would make sure all his female staffers have reached home safely.

Javed Sahab did not shy away from compliments. The critic in him would share feedback on features, one that he enjoyed reading, he would step in the office, a copy of the magazine in hand, telling everyone about the article and what new he learned from it. Despite a human Google that he was, he was on the lookout for knowledge.

If he came to know, a female staffer is working on a feature that requires them to go to unsafe areas, he would be extremely concerned.

Javed Sahab was a print media institution. All those who signed up for his school of journalism, know his infatuation for the field. He had a charisma; one that was unmatched. There was not a single meeting with him that I left without learning. He housed knowledge within him, and was always sharing it with those around him. Journalism lost one of its purest gems.