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Dhaka Tribune

Kazi Shahid Ahmed: Our point of light

Kazi Shahid Ahmed now joins the stars, away from the banality of life

Update : 29 Aug 2023, 08:54 PM

It was my good fortune to come across him quite a few times. When that happened, I went up to him, salaamed him and let him know I was an avid reader of Aajker Kagoj. He smiled. And I was happy.

I speak of course of those glorious days when Aajker Kagoj was part of our lives, for there was about it a spirit that was new, that informed us that the future for Bangladesh’s journalism was good, indeed encouraging. Those were times when an entire nation was engaged in strenuous efforts to push a dictatorship into the woods and replace the darkness with the light of democracy.

And going through the news reports in Aajker Kagoj, reading with great interest the columns contributed by reputed individuals of the country, were signs that there were better days ahead. I did not miss reading a single article in it. And, of course, there was Khoborer Kagoj, the weekend magazine of the newspaper. It was sheer joy traipsing from one column to another in it, the joy being a natural result of enlightening oneself on the richness of the subjects covered by those columnists.

It was Aajker Kagoj and the weekend Khoborer Kagoj which instilled in me a sort of curiosity about Kazi Shahid Ahmed. Here he was, a self-effacing individual who had reached the conclusion that journalism, if it was to be purposeful, needed a fresh new dimension. Aajker Kagoj was synonymous with that dimension. In very frank terms, I have in all these years missed the newspaper. Indeed, at one point I wondered if Kazi Shahid Ahmed had gone silent, had abandoned his mission.

But then came Dhaka Tribune, a harbinger of spring in the media landscape of Bangladesh. A batch of creative young men, in management and in the news and editorial rooms, went into the job of letting readers know that a new force for good had emerged on the media landscape. At some point, I began to write, thanks to the support and cooperation of the editor, weekly columns for Dhaka Tribune. That the management has systematically and proudly upheld the core principles on which Bangladesh’s history is based was an added factor behind my contributions to the newspaper. I have gone on writing for Dhaka Tribune.

And that, I might add, has been my tribute to Kazi Shahid Ahmed. The man’s integrity has been a byword for all the work he has done in journalism and beyond it. Bangla Tribune, Gemcon and so much else are testimony to his creativity, proof that the mind in him was consistently in search of new ideas and the heart in him always felt the passions which throb in all of us every day of our lives. He branched out into education, a brilliant instance of which is the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB). 

It has been my good fortune to conduct a few semesters at ULAB, an experience which not only burnished the teaching experience I had accumulated earlier but also revived the old truth of teaching truly being a noble profession. Today ULAB is a point of light in Bangladesh’s higher education system, comprising as it does a body of eminent scholars whose contributions to education give us reason for pride. 

There was a remarkable sense of aesthetics which defined Kazi Shahid Ahmed. His books remain testimony to the richness of his character. He was never one to be in the limelight, for his humility did not permit him to be there. Not many men and women we know in life possess that kind of self-esteem.

One last point: back in the old days, Kazi Shahid Ahmed’s dedication to history had him and his media organisation produce busts, rather weighty ones, of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. I procured one for my home in Lalmatia. And I was grateful for such a tribute to the Father of the Nation by Kazi Shahid Ahmed.

Kazi Shahid Ahmed now joins the stars, away from the banality of life. And we, in his starry brilliance, wish he were yet around --- to instill in us more of ideas, to educate us on the meaning of unfettered journalism, to instruct us on the nature of purposeful education.

Timeline: Death of Kazi Shahid Ahmed
29 Aug 2023, 20:21
Kazi Shahid Ahmed: Our point of light
29 Aug 2023, 18:19
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