21 January, 2021

A Piece Of The Continent

K.A. Abbas wrote an iconic column, but will be most remembered for the socially relevant films he produced

A Piece Of The Continent

Once upon a time there were only two news weeklies, Blitz and Current, owned and edited by two feuding Parsis. The Cold War was in full swing and one of them, Blitz, was staunchly pro-Soviet. The other was firmly in the American camp. Paradoxically, Blitz was also a fervent supporter of that despot, the Shah of Iran. Why that was so remains a mystery to this day. The two tabloids were highly opinionated and very loose with facts. Television and a more discerning readership killed them both.

I met Khwaja Ahmad Abbas in 1967 in the corridors of the Blitz’s decrepit office in downtown Bombay. He wrote ‘Last Page’, the paper’s popular column that he had brought along with him from Bombay Chronicle after that daily folded. The column began in 1935 and continued till Abbas’s death in 1987. It holds the distinction of being the longest-running column in the history of Indian journalism.

My column in Blitz was somewhere in the middle pages, under...



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