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MG: Time to say Khuda hafiz!

Unless a capable executive editor is found by early coming December, The Milli Gazette’s print edition will cease publication while MG website and facebook editions will continue. We have advertised repeatedly seeking a capable executive editor who can take off the operational burden from my shoulders. Since this seems unachievable, the second issue of coming December may be our last print edition. I am giving this advance warning so that there is no last minute lamentation by our readers and well-wishers that they were not warned.

MG will be completing its 17th year with the second fortnightly issue of next December but it still remains an economically unviable project. Somehow, I have kept it afloat. The idea of closing it down was seriously considered at least twice in the past -- in 2004 and again in 2014. On both occasions, many well-wishers came forward committing sustained financial help to mitigate our financial woes but in reality those who really contributed were hardly 10 percent of those who had made sentimental offers.

But the financial aspect is not the sole reason why I will finally be closing down the print edition. The real reason is my own deteriorating health (I will soon be 69) as a result of the continuous strain and pressure to bring out the next MG issue relying on a small staff which struggles to do the job. Most of the writings published in MG are heavily edited and made printable.

The other reason is that many of my own writing projects have severely suffered due to this continuous preoccupation for the last 17 years. When I started MG in January 2000, I hoped that it will become self-sufficient in 2-3 years leaving me to concentrate on more serious work. No less than 40 of my writing projects are pending in various stages, waiting to be completed and published. The much-delayed White Paper on Terrorism, and revision of Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English translation of the Holy Qur’an are on top of my current priorities. Hence, at present there are only two options: either a committed and capable executive editor takes off my burden or the paper is closed.

This was not an easy decision, especially in these days of Hindutva onslaught and paid-media vilification and misinformation about our community.

I know this decision will be pretty hard on hundreds of our very loyal readers but it is equally hard on me. This decision has been taken after mulling over it for years. To close down something after nurturing it for so long is not an easy decision but it had to be taken in view of my health situation and my preference of what will prove to be more important and lasting.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 October 2016 on page no. 1

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