MG may soon cease publication but you can keep it alive

#SaveMG — We are publishing this notice to give our readers a chance to come forward and save this publication. The print edition may continue if our readers and well-wishers commit themselves and mobilize one lakh subscribers.

It is my unfortunate and tough duty to inform you, our dear readers, that a decision to stop the print edition of this publication has now been finally taken after a very long deliberation over years. Our 1-15 October issue will be our last unless our readers and well-wishers step in to stop this.

This idea was being discussed within my close circle and kept nagging my mind for at least a decade now and was made known time and again to our readers and well-wishers in this publication as well as through others.

Will this be the last issue?
MG first edition which came out on 1 January 2000

When MG was started in January 2000, we had hoped that it will stand on its feet within 2-3 years, and that once self-sufficiency is achieved, it will be turned into a weekly and entrusted to a capable team while my own role would be limited to that of a supervisor. During the initial 2-3 years’ period, I was ready to finance it and offer my free services as the editor.

But despite all sacrifices, the great success, reputation and respect MG earned during these years nationally and internationally, it could never become self-sufficient. Our community, which we thought would support it by buying enough copies and advertising in the paper, failed miserably to do so. As a result, we could never employ first-grade journalists and correspondents and I had to do the bulk of editing as well as sometimes writing many stories and even designing the pages. This was a continuous drain on my time since, being initially a scholar, I had many pending academic projects which have disastrously suffered due to my almost total involvement with the MG. At least two members of my family also kept serving the publication free of cost. Moreover, most of my house slowly housed MG staff and stored its old copies and filing cabinets.

My own earnings as a journalist writing for some foreign publications and websites and offering services as a commentator and analyst to various television and radio stations as well as exports done by our company, kept supporting the paper while costs kept spiraling due to rising costs of staff, production and newsprint.

Obviously this could not go on endlessly. A decision had to be taken to check the ever-rising deficit. With increasing age (I am 66 now) and declining health, I am also anxious to finish a number of unfinished projects before it is too late as has happened with so many scholars in the past. The most important of these is a revision of the English translation of the Holy Qur’an by Abdullah Yusuf Ali.

I am sure the appeals for an “English newspaper of the community” appearing in our Urdu press, will continue. I started to hear and read this since early 1960s when I first became conscious about milli issues. No doubt some crazy person(s) will stand up again to start an English-language publication like MG. I wish him/her good luck.

I take this opportunity to offer my sincere thanks to all our readers and sympathisers who stood by us and supported us in many ways all these years but somehow that was simply not enough to keep us afloat.

All these years I have consciously tried to offer a truthful and sincere picture of the community and never allowed it to become a mouthpiece of some people or a commercial venture controlled by advertisers or vested interests. In one instance, we instantly refused an offer which came to us about a decade ago from the army in J&K to publish “good news” they would provide us and for this paid news we were offered a substantial monthly payment which at that time was enough to see us through.

It is also a regrettable fact that we failed to report many events due to paucity of staff, writers and correspondents as well as due to constraints of space. We also did commit some mistakes during this long journey - one was to publish a report on Dr Hamidullah Bhat and another on Dr Najma Heptullah - both were supplied by interested persons and had mixed facts with fiction. As soon as we realised this, we removed those reports from our website but the damage was done. I publicly apologise to both of them and seek their forgiveness.

During these long years we have fought many battles and successfully focused on many issues - the most important being the fake terror campaign against our youth, especially since LK Advani became the home minister in 1999. We have followed this up by publishing a number of researched books which exposed this sinister plan to malign our community mainly on the basis of IB, ATS and Special Cell fairy tales. We will continue to do so until this charade is stopped by the powers that be in Delhi.

Our publishing wing as well as the MG portal will continue to be active. Our portal is huge and offers a treasure of information on the Indian Muslim community issues and hosts most of our previous issues. We are publishing this advanced notice to give our readers a chance to come forward and save this publication. The print edition may still remain afloat if our readers and well-wishers commit themselves and mobilize one lakh subscribers for at least three years (please click here). If you strongly feel that this publication must continue, please take the initiative to renew your subscription for three years at the normal rate, convince your relatives, friends and institutions to take subscriptions. You too can pay for others as well as for institutions, libraries and public figures who you think should read MG. We also expect you to advertise in the MG and also to motivate others to do so. You may send your subscriptions by cheques which will not be cashed if we do not reach our target and decide to close the print edition after the 1st October issue. I am giving you this advance notice and suggesting a way out to save MG so that no one should say later that we were not warned.

Save The Milli Gazette from Shutting down

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 August 2014 on page no. 1

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