Tribute to A. B. S. Jafri
Obituaries written by Mr A. B. S. Jafri’s worthy colleagues and admirers have dealt at length with his enormous courage, prolific writing, admiration for Ghalib’s poetry, love for classical and folk music, and passion for sports, specially cricket. Each of these obituaries is remarkable in its revelations because it is based on the author’s personal experiences in interacting with Mr Jafri.
I have the privilege of being his youngest brother. It is only proper that I add to what these obituaries so vividly described about Mr Jafri.
The death of Mr Jafri may have ended his 57 years of career as a journalist par excellence but the legacy he leaves behind should guide upcoming journalists. His career was the continuing quest for “khoob se khoobtar” because he strongly believed in doing justice to one’s profession.
According to him, nothing could be more embarrassing than eventually facing the Creator without having much to report on the use of the many creative faculties the Creator has so generously provided.
To those who had the good fortune of working with him, he taught not merely how to improve upon their writing skills but, more importantly, to be accurate and just in their analysis of any event that they choose to write about. He always said that the courage to defend what one writes (essential for any commentator) comes with conviction that is rooted in knowledge based on facts.
The changes that journalism underwent, particularly during the last decade, were a source of worry for him because he felt that newspapers were turning into profit-making enterprises rather than concentrating on their main function, i.e. reporting news.
To him, it was a bad omen because it posed a serious threat to the integrity of journalism. But, as an eternal optimist, he had faith in Pakistan’s upcoming journalists, many of whom he rated highly for being honest and orthright in their commentaries. It is this budding group that held out the promise of a return to true professionalism in journalism.