Irfan Malik: requiem for an idealist
KARACHI: The journalist fraternity lost a bright star and stalwart, Irfan Malik, 49, in the early hours of Monday to multiple health complications at the Aga Khan Hospital.
Irfan leaves an aged mother and siblings.
Renowned for his dazzling, and often scathing, features and editorials, Irfan’s immaculate journalistic career of almost three decades was largely spent with The Dawn Media Group. He began his journey with pronounced leftist leanings at The Herald magazine, working closely with former editors of the monthly, Sherry Rehman and Aamer Ahmed Khan.
In his early years as a young sub-editor, Irfan was also responsible for a literary page to encourage young voices, Room To Breathe, at The Star .
After a long innings at The Herald , where he wrote extensively on politics and sports and groomed many an aspiring writer, he moved to the editorial section at Dawn where he worked with former editor Abbas Nasir and then Zaffar Abbas.
“As a copy editor Irfan was in a league of his own. He could also be so funny with his distinctive wit; a warm friend, merciless critic and a hugely talented writer with an unparalleled command over the English language. But most of all he was a rebel who was passionate about fighting against what he saw as the unjust status quo,” says a deeply saddened Abbas Nasir.
A name synonymous with impeccable copy with an extraordinary eye for detail, Irfan was a man for all seasons – both in disposition and interests.
A man of sparkling dry wit, he was an avid cricket buff, voracious reader, honest to his craft, profession and in every avenue of life; sometimes brutally blunt and at most other times, completely devoted to the cause and welfare of any underdog.
His tremendous love for animals took him to the famous elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka and made his two Labradors the centre of his life.
For someone who knew how to love unconditionally, Irfan was also meticulous about his likes and dislikes. However, those he took to never left his heart and soul.
Budding journalists and writers would do well to follow Irfan’s oft-repeated Mark Twain quote – “The difference between the almost right word and the right word…is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning” – a phrase that best defines his passion for the power of words.