Aziz Burney has launched his much-awaited newspaper Azizul Hind at a grand function held in Deoband in Uttar Pradesh.
Ever since he was sidelined in Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (Urdu), which he had helped launch [and establish], Burney was silent for almost two years.
Now, he has come up with plan for an entire media house that includes newspaper editions from different states, English and Hindi daily newspapers, magazines and weeklies apart from TV channels.
Though controversies have surrounded him, one can't ignore Burney's role in reviving Urdu journalism in
India. His full page editorials that began during the invasion on Iraq and his later 'Azad Bharat ka Itihas' series that was published in both Urdu and Hindi in Sahara, invited readers' attention while he also got flak from certain quarters.
Still, he proved that running an Urdu daily newspaper could still be a profitable venture in India.The success of Sahara, which now has edition from ten cities across India, led to rise of new dailies like Sahafat, Aag and the expansion of Inquilab afer Jagran group bought it.
Many other media groups understood the power and influence of Urdu journalism after the success of Sahara. Sahara also brings out Aalami Sahara, a periodical, apart from monthly magazine Bazm-e-Sahara,
Clearly, despite the criticism, he energized Urdu media scene. Questions remain about his agenda, intent and whether he could have been more responsible. Doesn't everyone have an agenda? Eminent Urdu writer Musharraf Alam Zauqi in his recent article about the impending launch of Aziz-Ul-Hind, expressed his apprehensions about Burney's new media venture.
Zauqi mentioned that Burney's journalism thrived on sensationalism, which didn't help Muslims understand and tackle their real issues. He said that new generation of Muslims shouldn't get caught into emotional traps and look towards future, rather falling for those who use emotional sloganeering to catch their attention.
There are other accusations like the famed journalist's political aspirations and his 'shakhsiyat-parasti' or projecting himself too much. Many other journos harbour similar ambitions. Criticism aside, it is not correct to see things in black and white only. Zauqi is also an intellectual and his concerns could be genuine.
But it is premature and unfair to judge so early. Burney has had a long innings in journalism. Now, he has come with another paper.
Those who oppose him or have issues with his style can better come up with their own plan for newspaper or channel. Else, they should keep writing and expressing their dissent strongly. Healthy criticism is good for society.
Roznama Sahara published positive stories and did constructive journalism as well. While some of his Burney's theories and his articles may not be palatable, he did raise questions and spoke [and wrote] fearlessly.
In case of firing at Gopalgarh in Congress-ruled Rajasthan and riots in towns in Samajwadi Party-ruled UP, Sahara set new standards in journalism, by going to the spot immediately in the aftermath of the incidents, and posing tough questions before the 'secular' regimes.
Burney's plans are indeed ambitious. He has announced starting editions of Urdu daily from Lucknow, Delhi, Bhopal, Patna this month. Can he amass such gargantuan funds that are needed for running this huge new media group [empire]?
Using Facebook and Twitter to create a stir, connect with readers, he announced the 'media plan'. It does seem a bit complicated but he has said that it would be a trust that would run these newspapers and other publications.
Amid the presence of large number of Ulema [Islamic scholars], the Urdu daily has been launched. Let's wait and watch. Give him sometime before we judge his new venture in terms of positive journalistic practices and success.
Indscribe blogs at http://www.anindianmuslim.com