Remembering Tanveer

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Tanveer ul-Ahad, the fine journalist from Kashmir Valley, breathed his last on May 11.
Tanveer ul-Ahad, the fine journalist from Kashmir Valley, breathed his last on May 11.

It could only have been divine providence that brought us together; how else does one explain the accidental meeting of two completely unknown individuals desperately needing each other. It was 2010, and I was walking down the road in the heart of city when I accidentally bumped into a young man who was walking ahead and had suddenly stopped for some reason.

However, the fault was entirely mine as I was the one who was walking absentmindedly being preoccupied with the anxieties that haunt a man trying his hand at a new venture. In my case things appeared to be a bit more serious because even though I was trying to live out my childhood dream of publishing my own newspaper, I had no inkling of how exactly to go about doing this job. Even before I could apologize, the young lad respectfully begged forgiveness and enquired if I was feeling fine. Due to some bitter experiences in the past, I had my own misgivings about the younger generation and felt they were ill-mannered, selfish and insolent.

Seeing this young boy behave so politely was quite unexpected but was also a welcome shock and I asked the stranger who he was. He introduced himself as Tanveer-ul-Ahad and as we both started walking besides each other, I struck a conversation with him talking about mundane things that people usually discuss. As we came close to ending our conversation, I casually asked Tanveer what he did for a living and to my utter surprise he told me that he was a ‘newspaper designer’ and was looking for a job. I was really dumbstruck!

Just imagine, here I was blaming bad fortune for my inability to get hold of a newspaper designer despite vigorously searching for one, and the person I was looking for so desperately happened to be walking right beside me. I told him that I intended to a start a newspaper and he boosted my sagging morale by not only assuring me that he was willing to join me but also use his contacts in the media to promote my newspaper.

We met again and teamed up together and thanks to Tanveer’s indefatigable spirit, I was able to launch my newspaper (Brighter Kashmir news daily) on September 10, 2010. As time passed, our association became stronger than ever and soon we had gone much beyond the level of formal employer-employee relations. Being new to media, the initial going for me was far from smooth and there were times when I felt that I couldn’t handle the multifarious challenges and threats that a newspaper publisher has to face.

It was during such depressing times that Tanveer stood by me and became my pillar of strength. I can never forget that I and Tanveer spent upto twenty hours together on several days. Tanveer’s strong point was that besides being far more mature than people of his own age, he had exceptional clarity of thoughts and an uncanny ability for putting things in the correct perspective. I strongly believe that the version of all parties involved in any event or incident should be honestly presented, but doing so in a conflict zone can at times prove to be risky. It was in such situations that Tanveer used to jokingly tell me, “we may be able to swim or we may sink, but we’ll do so together!”

Tanveer’s support gave me the courage to cover news, views and opinions of every colour and hue. As time went by, Tanveer also proved his expertise in news reporting with an innate ability to elicit news from even the most tight-lipped officials and public personalities. Seeing his extraordinary skills, I suggested that he should consider fulfilling his dream of having a New Agency of his own. He accepted my suggestion and by putting his whole heart and mind into this job, was able to establish his own news agency which he named ‘Global News Service’ (GNS). Due to his diligence and eye for detail, GNS came to be widely respected as one of the most credible news aggregators in J&K.

Almost every newspaper, whether big or small, relies on GNS for news because of its accuracy and the wide range of news coverage of J&K. But despite this success, Tanveer decided to put his excellent journalistic skills to the ultimate test by starting his own newspaper and beating all odds succeeded in publishing his own daily named ‘Kashmir Glory’. Within no time this newspaper earned its name and is considered amongst the leading dailies being published from the Kashmir Valley. If there was anything that exceeded his professional abilities, it was his character qualities and his genuine desire to help others.

Tanveer came from a remote village named Muqam Shahwali in Kupwara and his spectacular achievements reflected his sustained struggle and passion for fair and objective reporting. He served as a source of inspiration for others. He also helped and guided numerous budding journalists who shall always remain indebted to him. Tanveer’s untimely demise on May 11, 2020 came as a big shock for news readers of Kashmir in general and to the journalist community of the Kashmir Valley in particular. For me, it’s not the loss of a former employee or colleague but that of a real brother which can never be made good and there will be many in the Valley who would be feeling the same way.

But along with heaping accolades, let’s also pledge to keep Tanveer’s memory alive by following his cherished ideals of truthful reporting and taking a principled stand even it was likely to invite the wrath of wrongdoers on both sides of the fence. Tanveer, I will always miss you. May your soul rest in eternal peace.

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