A gem we lost far too early!
Remembering Tanveer Ul Ahad Founder GNS !
By: M S Nazki
Many years ago, my mother suggested to me, in reference to a splendid school-teacher who had died, that in life one came across only a few truly special people. Lots of good ones she said, plenty of fabulous folk, but only a few who are special. Tanveer, conclusively, was one of those, one of those special people, destined to carve a niche for himself in the world of journalism but not destined to live long enough. Not so much because he was so extraordinarily good at his job, but because of the way in which he applied the various gifts, knowledge amongst them, which were given to him first by his parents then by his teachers and then whatever he learnt by experience. Tanveer was no waster not of time, not of talent nor a shirker of any situation or challenge which confronted him. He was a package, a dynamo always on the job and trying to find ways and means as to how it could be done better.
Going by his last letter in which he passionately disclosed that what he is going through but the ship by the name of GNS that has been put on voyage should keep moving to new harbors of glory was his everlasting desire. This earnest request he had made to his seniors in the institution of which he was the Editor. For as long as perhaps the last two months before his death, maybe more maybe less, he knew, deep down I think, that the game was up. But he was damned if he would let others know. He was such a stubborn fellow. It was as if he was more concerned about the suffering of those around him, those few intensely close friends kept by this very private man, than about the suffering he was going through himself. The qualities of thoughtfulness and caring, of courage and bravery – and didn’t he so often show that in his work ethics were among the finest. For all the flamboyance and bravado as a journalist, Tanveer was not one to over-dramatize. He said things as they were and he resolved that his dreadful illness would be his own problem and as it escalated he would not panic, till the end he never did!
Honestly admitting I have never met him. It was only when my friend Er M R Kazafi sent me a two liner that an eulogy should be paid to the journalist then I scrambled around the net to find out a few details about the young man. Those very details I have knitted in my own words for the eyes of the readers. He always said, ‘I would tell young journalists to be brave and go against the tide. When everyone else is relying on the internet, you should not; when nobody’s walking, you should walk; when few people are reading profound books, you should read. rather than seeking a plusher life you should pursue some hardship. Eat simple food. When everyone’s going for quick results, pursue things of lasting value. Don’t follow the crowd; go in the opposite direction. If others are fast, be slow. Trust me you would be th winner’. Probably he had been brought up like that and later on molded his path way. He in fact had his own news paper Kashmir Glory which he had tendered like a baby and it is doing well but Tanveer is not there to see it. Maybe from the heavens he is smiling and feeling proud that there are people following the imprints that he had left on the sands of time.
He was a diehard follower of spine straight journalism, he always said, ‘I think journalism anywhere should be based on social justice and impartiality, making contributions to society as well as taking responsibility in society. Whether you are a capitalist or socialist or Marxist, democrat or anything else journalists should have the same professional integrity.’ He followed this principle till the time he lived and can easily be termed as one of the greats in Kashmir journalist history. The only flaw was that he did not live long.
Tanveer, 38, was a resident of Muqam-e-Shahwali of Drugmulla area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district. He was admitted at district hospital Handwara after vomiting and dehydration but was referred to SMHS hospital Srinagar where doctors put him on life support system. He finally lost the battle for life. His demise was widely condoled in Jammu and Kashmir. But the man knew that he was going to die and it was time to drop the pen in the holder and plan out the eternal rest. Some excerpts as to what Tanveer said in his end game with life:
*While discharging his professional duties, Tanvir remained committed to facts till he breathed his last.
- ‘I’m Going to Die, sir ensure continuity of GNS’ he told the Editor-in-Chief GNS. That was the bond he had with the institution. The show must go on because the characters keep coming and going on the world stage.
- His friends recall Tanveer-ul-Ahad, was not only a colleague but also a dear friend to everyone. He was always on the lookout for stories, he would often go an extra mile to help those in need recall his mates.
*Tanveer, or Tanu as friends would call him, had a knack for digging extraordinary details from even the most shrewd officials. Working under the most trying circumstances, he would often break exclusive stories.
- One of his colleague recalls, in 2017, he worked for several weeks on a story (could have easily found its way to any big crime show all over the world) that eventually led to the arrest of a Handwara resident in Maharashtra, who had been impersonating as an Army doctor and a NASA scientist, and had abandoned five women after marrying them besides extorting money from people. A senior police officer was so impressed by his reporting skills that he jokingly asked him to join the police as an investigation officer. That was his caliber and the level he could achieve.
*There are several other such stories Tanveer broke but never got the credit for since he never gave much importance to bylines. Tanveer was instrumental in turning GNS into Jammu and Kashmir’s leading news agency with bare minimum resources at his disposal. Great men work on frugal space and resources but what they produce has its worth in gold. This young lad was of that make up.
*People in the fraternity would vouch for the correctness of information in GNS stories. We will try to maintain the sacredness of facts and unbiased news and try to live up to the last wish of Tanveer is what his colleagues have vowed and they are again on the move. The pathway has been made. It’s just to move on and keep constructing it.
He is gone now and of course we’re sad. We’re heartbroken. But he is a man we must celebrate for he gave life all that he had and from him came an unforgettable warmth and always a sense of direction. We can only assume the great Maestro is in the sky but in Tanveer we all saw the greatest enthusiasm for the profession. Let’s be honest, he’d hate us not to smile from within each time we think of him the Tanveer memory really is one to treasure. He always referred to himself as a lucky man. Well, we’re the lucky ones, to have known him. What a privilege it has been!
I used to think the most important thing for a reporter was to be where the news is and be the first to know. Now I feel a reporter should be able to effect change. Your reporting should move people and motivate people to change the world. Maybe this is too idealistic. Young people who want to be journalists must, first, study and, second, recognize that they should never be the heroes of the story. A journalist must be curious, and must be humble. That is precisely what Tanveer was! Great man, who came, who saw, who wrote and then vanished!