Disappearing

February 18th, 2018 / 03:03 PM  
Some of the events that have fascinated my mind and inspired me to write including fiction have happened even before I was born. That is why out of natural curiosity I sometimes search the internet hoping to find newspaper cuttings or even the entire newspaper from that day. But this search is not always fruitful because back in the day when the digital medium was non-existent most of what existed now has dissipated over time. It is extremely hard to find any newspaper from that time in a good and legible quality. In the last year or so that I lived in Lahore I was living kilometres away from where I used to go daily. My path involved a bus stop from where I used to grab a newspaper everyday. That was my time killer on the way. When I moved to Karachi I was able to look back into time and probe through old news which for a person like me is always inspiring and thought provoking. But as the years have progressed I have come across a knowing that much of these old archives of the newspapers are being deleted. This can be very deliberate for either of the two reasons. First, people want to save data centre space which is why they delete old stuff from their servers. Second, somebody high in the corridors of power wants data deleted or at least not easily accessible by some member of the public for God-knows-what nefarious reasons. That someone ought to be a very powerful man because beyond a particular date I am not able to retrieve any Pakistani newspaper from the archive in any language. With time even I face the dilemma of space shortage in my digital life especially after the advent of extremely high resolution cameras that are capable of taking clearer memories for the years to come. Still this has not stopped to me from making new data which I know would also take up space. As technology is evolving so is the medium on which we save our memories. The prices of hard drives have fallen drastically in the last decade. I know that newspaper agencies or the publishers have many tricks up their sleeves to make more money from something already published like old newspapers and maybe they have done it themselves so as to release all old papers on a digital medium or a website with a paid model. As a student of life I still firmly believe that some information which has reached the public domain is bound to stay public and this includes newspapers but we as a failing Nation lack libraries and newspaper repositories which can help in a lot of fields including the potential solving of unsolved crimes just buy research. But that research demands a source of information. There is no better resource than a newspaper. Now the big dilemma stands in front of me “Where to find the old ones?”  This is why I have already saving at least three different newspapers on a daily basis at my end so that after some years if their footprint vanishes from the wonderful internet at least I would have a copy of them to upload for somebody seeking answers. You never know, that very well be you!  
 

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