Remembering ‘Mr. India in New York’

Arthur Pais (Photo via News India Times)

Arthur Pais (Photo via News India Times)

In reporting on the death of Indian-American journalist Arthur Pais, 66, on Jan. 8 due to an illness, News India Times and The American Bazaar lauded the veteran journalist – for his ability to cover a multitude of topics and for treating journalism as “more of a passion than a profession,” as Suman Guha Mozumder writes for News India Times.

A native of India, Pais dedicated more than three decades of his life to the field of journalism in the United States, with nearly 15 of those years spent as editor of India Abroad as well as a stint teaching journalism at New York University.

Freelance journalist and co-founder of Children’s Hope India, Lavina Melwani, said: “Arthur was the story-teller of our community. He had looked increasingly frail in recent years but his writing was always strong, top-notch, be it on any subject.”

Indeed, Mozumder notes that Pais’ stories covered a wide range of topics – among them, film, politics, food, economics. He remembers advice Pais gave him when he was starting out as a reporter.

“Don’t look for what is the most important element in a story. Focus on what is the most interesting. For, that is what will keep your readers engaged, and remember that you write for your readers.”

Sujeet Rajan, meanwhile, writes in The American Bazaar that he never got to know Pais well, having only met him a dozen times or so in his 15 years as a reporter in New York City. However, even before meeting Pais, Rajan knew his name.

Arthur Pais was an editor at Rediff.com and India Abroad newspaper. After a distinguished career in Indian journalism, Pais and his wife Betty moved to the United States in the early 1980s, according to Rediff.com.

I knew Arthur Pais before I met him, through his bylines in India Abroad newspaper and India in New York newspaper. I began editing The Indian Express North American edition, in New York, summer of 2001. The one Indian-origin journalist who impressed me the most as I went through some of the local Indian weeklies to get an immediate handle on the city’s diaspora issues was Arthur Pais.

Arthur Pais was in one word: voluminous.

Rajan goes on to say:

Perhaps India in New York should have been better known as ‘Arthur Pais’ India in New York’ or better yet ‘Mr. India in New York’. It really belonged to him.

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