New York, NY: Friends and colleagues of journalist Arthur J. Pais, who died in January this year in New Jersey at the age of 66, fondly remembered the legendary Indian-American scribe during a memorial service at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in midtown Manhattan, New York City.
Arthur, an Editor at Rediff.com and India Abroad — the Indian-American newsweekly owned by Rediff.com — was 66. After a distinguished career in Indian journalism, Arthur and his wife Betty moved to the United States in the early 1980s.
He was a prolific writer and no subject — films, literature, social trends, news — escaped his attention. His insatiable curiosity and diligence enlivened every feature he wrote and his loss is an irreplaceable loss to all of us at Rediff.com
Tributes to Arthur from colleagues and friends in the US and India were posted on Facebook. When informed about Arthur’s passing, Salman Rushdie replied: ‘This is sad news indeed. My condolences to his family and to all of you, his colleagues. Thanks for letting me know.’ Actress and cook book writer Madhur Jaffrey wrote: ‘Very sad to hear the news.’
“Today we have gathered here to celebrate the life of Arthur,” Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the co-founder of South Asian Journalists Association said at the outset of the memorial service. Many of Arthur’s former colleagues from India Abroad weekly where he worked as an editor till his death packed the auditorium, sharing their memories of Arthur described by journalist Lavina Melwani, as “our community’s story-teller.” Sreenivasan described the event as a “lovely, joyous celebration of a man who made us all smile.”
Besides his friends and admirers, Arthur’s wife Betty Pais and some of her relatives, were present as well. Some shared anecdotes about Arthur who was a writer, a foodie, a movie aficionado and mentor for some, and above all a friend of almost everybody who came to know him. Some described Arthur as a man who lived for the story.
Among those who paid tributes to Arthur included Aseem Chhabra, Rediff.com columnist and contributor, Suleman Din, Managing Editor, Sourcemedia Investment Advisory Group, P Rajendran, Deputy Managing Editor, India Abroad, and Arun Venugopal of WNYC. The memorial which was webcast live were watched by an estimated 30,000 people.