RIP: Indian American Journalist Arthur J. Pais

"Mr. India in New York" was 66.

Tributes have been pouring in since it was revealed that Indian American editor and globetrotting reporter Arthur J. Pais died Jan. 8 in New Jersey at age 66. Pais worked in the U.S. for rediff.com and sister weekly newspaper India Abroad, after relocating professionally to New York in the 1980s.

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Among those praising the journalist’s skills and legacy are Salman Rushdie, film director Mira Nair and Metropolitan Museum of Art chief digital officer Sree Sreenivasan. Heading into the weekend, Sujeet Rajan, editor in chief of Washington D.C.-based The American Bazaar, joined the chorus:

Arthur Pais was in one word: voluminous.

He had a mind-boggling grasp of diaspora issues in the city and in the U.S., especially all things arts, books, food, travel and cultural-related. It seemed he knew every minuscule of South Asian affairs, nothing escaped his detection. It was hard to get an exclusive piece out on the Desi cultural sphere before he did too.

Anybody who has an eye for bylines – mostly journalists themselves – would be struck by the amount of indefatigable work Arthur Pais did, week after week, month after month, year after year, almost with frenetic passion. Pages upon pages of the tabloids India Abroad and India in New York flowed seamlessly, almost in astonishing manner, with his bylines.

The Jan. 22 edition of India Abroad includes a spectacular section devoted to Pais (the image, above, is the lead illustration). The 12-page tribute starts off with Aziz Haniffa recalling Pais as a “mercurial, cranky, crochety, quirky, charming” man and includes a number of very inspiring full-page essays, such as for example one by India Abroad chief photographer Paresh Gandhi that retraces some of the travels the pair shared.

Kudos to everyone at India Abroad, North America’s oldest Indian newspaper with print editions in New York and five other cities, for one of the most heartfelt and well laid out such sections we’ve seen in quite some time. RIP.

[Image via: indiaabroad-digital.com]