By Asad Ullah Ghalib - Today, I will put forward excerpts from my cherished old memories, some of which may sound strange but these stories must be told, keeping in view the times we live in. In 1970, I met Dr. Majid Nizami at his office of the Daily “Nada-i-Millat” in a professional capacity. I was working at the weekly “Zindagi” and I had to do a title story on him. Afterwards, I worked at the “Nawa-e-waqt” magazine as deputy editor, and in the last ten years in particular, have been fortunate to get the opportunity to know him better. I used to meet him at his home in Lahore, usually early in the mornings. Our friendship now spanned 45 years, and in all this time, I always found him to be a man at peace.
I will now tell you the lessons he taught me; lessons I have not revealed so far. He taught me that we should all live in the hope of finding a purpose to our lives. Majid Nizami always wished for the independence of Kashmir in his lifetime.
He struggled and waited for 86 years for this to happen, and watching him, I realized that life becomes so much more beautiful if you live it in the hope of achieving your dearest goals.
Love for freedom ran in the blood of the Nizami Family. Majid and his brothers always fought against the mightier for the rights of weaker- always. He went against the flow whenever his principles required it; he supported Fatima Jinnah against Ayub Khan; he stood against Bhutto when the love of power drove him away from the initial ideals of the party. Once, at a gathering in Lahore, Zia-ul-Haq proclaimed, “Some people’s head are stuck with democracy,” and Majid Nizami stood up, pointed to his head and said, “I have got the same head.” In one instance, Nawaz Sharif attempted to intimidate some journalists, but he openly told him in a meeting that if he won’t stop intimidating the free press, he would have to pay for his act. He was against the policies of Pervaiz Musharaf regarding Kashmir and he always conveyed his thoughts boldly to him. When it came to the matters of right and wrong, Majid Nizami was afraid of no one.
Throughout his life, he remained unstoppable and untouchable. He showed the world that when you take a stand against what is wrong, God gives you strength and motivation. Nobody ever dared to stop his printing. Wealth to him was secondary. When he received the ads ban, one of our seniors, Mustafa Sadiq, took him to Bhutto but Nizami Sahib never requested him for ads; he would not stoop.
His staff, specially column and feature writers followed in his footsteps and bluntly presented the truth to their readers. He always owned his staff. He always expressed his differences boldly against whichever political party was in the wrong.
When Saddam Hussain captured Kuwait and the US was against him, all of Pakistan was supporting Saddam Hussain. In those days, he asked me if anybody in the office truly supported Saddam and I replied in the affirmative. He was a great listener; he listened to the perspectives of his employees and never tried to impose his ideas.
Things changed quite dramatically after 9/11, and the whole world including America was after Osama bin Laden. Unlike our government however, Majid Nizam stood behind his own ideas and thoughts and would declare that America could lock him up in Guantanamo but he would continue speaking the truth. He chartered the ship with his head held high; he acted like a true leader throughout his life.
We must all learn the art of living and standing up against injustice, from Majid Nizami. Nobody had the capacity, the potential to influence this mountain of a man. He lived a long and meaningful life, and provided guidance to countless people. To live and to live with your head held high; that is what he taught me above all else.
And to him I say today, that I am willing to give my blood but I won’t let his dream die. That is my promise to you, Nizami Sahab.