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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Tribune, Lahore My First Love

Dear Amitji,

“People say that the age of the newspaper is over and that their relevance has been challenged by the ‘digital revolution’ ..
I do not seem to find that relevant. The number of print media that exists now has been more than what it was earlier. The joy of picking up that entire bunch of newspapers, and running through them, even though by midnight they are available on the net, is a habit that shall not be easily removed…” (DAY - 3086)

Sir, the above lines from your post on print media, particularly the newspapers - “The joy of picking up the entire bunch of newspapers…” - touched my heart and soul to the extent I cannot ever overemphasize. They brought back beautiful memories of my lifelong romance with reading newspapers right from my childhood days in Lahore, immersed in my love for The Tribune, my first love. A glimpse into this journey of joy and love will give you an idea of why I got so emotional and sentimental after reading your simple, yet truly real statement of facts from your life:

Lahore: I was not even ten yet when I had a crush on Lahore’s most popular and politically most important paper, The Tribune. It used to be still dark, 4-5 am when the hawker at his loudest would be heard from a distant location in the neighborhood…”Aaj ki taza khabar… London per bhari bambari etc. etc.”. I would instantly jump from my cosy bed and come down running at my fastest to be the first in the family to fondly hold my favorite paper, before my eldest brother Bodh - celebrated his 100th birthday February this year - or Raghu - my brother who motivated me to contribute in Film Critic, the magazine he edited - both equally fond of being the first to read the paper. Of course, I would pass on the paper to them as soon as any of them showed up - normal courtesy to elders. And once the paper was gone from my hand in the morning, it would disappear for me for the full day - everyone in our large family had something of his or her interest to read, and being the youngest in the family there was no way I would get a second chance to see the paper. Apart from the WWII news from the front (censored version because of the British Raj) and politics of the day, what interested me most was the review of the latest release in Sunday Tribune. It made be prepared for what to expect in the movie which I was to watch on the next Wednesday with my mother in the ‘Ladies Only’ matinee at half the rates. Sad to say, even The Tribune could not escape the horrific happenings that we all the non-Muslim Punjabis suffered in the aftermath of the Partition and the paper, without its bag and baggage moved out of Lahore to start afresh from a scratch,  in Simla to start with and then from Ambala.
It speaks volumes of the strength and resilience of The Tribune that it resumed publication soon after the Partition. It had stopped publishing for 40 days. After the Partition, the first issue of the paper appeared from Simla on September 25, 1947. After his return from Kashmir, Rana Jang Bahadur Singh (interestingly my teacher in class for Diploma in Journalism which I did from Punjab University, Chandigarh) tool up his duty as Acting Editor and The Tribune wrote:
The last seven or eight weeks have been weeks of great tribulation for the people of Punjab. They had to pass through terrible experiences. Not only have they been uprooted, but also complete ruination stares lakhs of them in the face. Their sufferings are unimaginable; words cannot describe them. We felt that at such a time we should be by the side of our people and try to serve them and champion their cause to the best of our ability. But certain difficulties stood in our way. Now we have succeeded in overcoming those difficulties, though partially, and have arranged to bring out The Tribune in a smaller size, for the time being, from Simla.
It was ,indeed, a very sad separation from my first love in print media as our family had opted for  New Delhi to settle down after leaving Lahore, where we chose The Hindustan Times as our daily paper. But as they say the first love lives with you for life even if in memory, I have never been able to forget my beloved paper from life in Lahore - The Tribune.

With regards and best wishes for PINK

Tilak Rishi
PS: Sir, not to make my response too lengthy, as advised by a dear Ef, someday, I would love to continue my contribution with a few lines on my second sweetheart from the print media, The Hindustan Times, New Delhi.