He Fought with his Pen
There are various reasons for readers to remain loyal to a newspaper. For many a Dawn reader on Sundays, for a long time the reason for their loyalty was Ardeshir Cowasjee and his spirited columns.
If anything, Cowasjee was a fearless man, never to be intimidated by anyone, whether president or pauper. While in the shipping business and later, for a short stint in the ZA Bhutto days, as Chairman of the Port Qasim Authority, he probably never realized that he would be known more as a columnist of high repute in the dusk of his life rather than as anything else. His newspaper writing career started with missives in the Dawn ‘Letters to the Editor’ columns on issues of public interest and brought him into the column-writing domain in times much before Gen. Musharraf arrived on the scene and let the media breathe easy.
Once Cowasjee started gathering steam and was read in quarters where it mattered, his columns became a sort of a platform for aggrieved people who would approach him concerning all kinds of complaints and injustices done to them by the corruption-mongers, the bureaucracy and the power elite. While he personally knew many of the people in government, business and politics and rewarded his favorites with his own interesting monikers, his readers often wondered where he got all the classified information that he often reproduced in his columns. It is said that documents and files were provided to him by those who brought him their problems to give him a snapshot of the issue at hand – and then, if Ardeshir Cowasjee was convinced, it was his pen that spoke. It is also a fact that he would never be forced to write on any issue but once he took up the cause, nothing would stop him and he would make sure the wrong was ‘righted’.
Those whom Cowasjee’s writings hit below the belt, particularly in the