EDITOR’S NOTE : Remembering Enayetullah Khan

spc01THE ordinary mortals usually miss the existence of some great individuals, particularly in times of difficulties, political and otherwise, in the anticipation that had such a great one been alive, s/he would have played a determining role in changing the situation for better. Many of us, thus, miss Enayetullah Khan (1939–2005), an extraordinary Bangladeshi journalist of regional repute, particularly when various legal and extra-legal government measures, supported by mercenary intellectuals, have stood in the way of Bangladeshi journalism to represent the dissenting views of society.
A passionate journalist, Khan was brilliant and courageous. His passion for journalism found expression not only in his pursuit of the profession in the face of various odds in his journalistic career that began as a cub reporter in 1959 but also in an inspiring written delivery that he had made before a South Asian audience in May 2003, where, taking a clue from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, he proudly argued that journalism is the best profession of the world. Not surprisingly, he founded two reputed newspapers, Weekly Holiday and [daily] New Age for the critically thinking
journalists.
In his long career, Enayetullah Khan repeatedly displayed an acute sense of history and political insights that stunned many of his contemporaries. For example, two days before Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the most popular leader of the Bengalis, entered into the fatal dialogue with General Yahya Khan on March 16, 1971, Khan wrote in his Weekly Holiday, ‘Anticipation of a settlement notwithstanding, the uneasy truce between Bengal and the military establishment of General Yahya Khan may finally turnout to be a deceptive stratagem of repressive violence. Faced as they are with a people’s war, or at least the beginning of one, when they cannot isolate the fish from the sea, and when counter-insurgency techniques have failed to work, they might as well go for indiscriminate violence or genocide which literally means the total extermination of an intransigent people’. Predicting a Pakistani ‘brutal assault’ on an ‘unarmed mass of rebellious populace’, Khan wrote, ‘Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who has displayed an acute sense of history, must realize this danger and come out of the trap. […] He must choose between glory and power, and it is now or never’. His prediction came literally true.
Khan’s political insights remain intact until his death in November 2005. From his deathbed Khan wrote a piece on the Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s suicidal political association with the Jamaat-e-Islami. Khan died, but many a BNP leader realise these days the correctness of Khan’s analysis, ignoring which has not only affected the political party severely but also has paved the way for the Awami League to become a completely autocratic party. None, let alone the political process for democratic transformation of our state, has been benefited.
Be that as it may, in honour of Enayetullah Khan’s fond memories, we reproduce three of his journalistic pieces that remain an embodiment of the great journalist’s sense of history, ability of critical analysis and passionate love for journalism.

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