An ever smiling, unassuming, guardian figure and lovable elderly image of a vetern journalist that used to fill our minds with the utterance of the name – Hasanuzzaman Khan – is in the other world today. Admitted to the Naional Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and Hospial on Sunday Hasan Bhai’s fight with heart diseases in the final bout lasted a day before he breathed his last at about 4 pm on Monday.
Life member and the last remaining founder of Jatiya Press Club, Dhaka, the hub of democratic movements in Bangladesh, Khan was 90. Hasanuzzaman Khan has left behind his wife, two sons and a daughter.
Born on 5 September 1926 at village Kalatia in Keraniganj, Hasan Bhai hailed from Muljan village in Manikganj. He started his career as a journalist at the Daily Azad (now defunct) in Kolkata in 1945.A witty and friendly man Hasanuzzaman Khan was a teacher and guide to a number luminaries in the profession of journalism in Bangladesh. His death marks the end of an era in Bangladesh journalism as well as the Jatiya Press Club that Dhaka Journaists fondly call their ‘second home’.
After rendering his services to the Daily Azad, Hasanuzzaman Khan, served many newspapers and news agencies including the Swadhinata, the Bangladesh Observer, the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha, the Bangabarta, The New Nation, the Bangladesh Today and the Financial Express during his long career that spanned six decades.
A former advisory editor, managing editor, and chief news editor of BSS, Hasanuzzaman Khan was a resource person of the Press Institute of Bangladesh. A forerunner of science journalism in Bangladesh he wrote columns for many newspapers during his long career. He edited a specialised book ‘Agriculture in Bangladesh’. He was a general secretary of the Jatiya Press Club.
Hasanuzzaman Khan was awarded the Ekushey Padak in recognition of his services to journalism.
This author is indebted to Hasan Bhai for the kind love and affection the elderly journalist had for him for neither any plausible reason nor material gain or transaction. Hasan Bhai used to occasionally call this author when he was at reporting job in leading English dailies of Dhaka to his office at BSS and shared many of his thoughts typewritten on pieces of papers.
As editor of The New Nation it was the proud privilege of this author to invite Hasan Bhai to be a senior member of the paper’s team of journalists and help the publication of well edited news reports and articles. He contributed a lot to a decisive push that transformed the old paper to regain its glory and turn into a self-reliant publication.
Hasan Bhai used to sit in the room of the editor in the discharge of his editorial functions. He used to bring with him snaks prepared by the respected Bhabi (his wife) and share some of it with his colleagues in the New Nation. He felt secured in movement is a frail health in his old age in the early second half of the last decade, as the editor used to drop him to his residence every night he came to office.
While he was still at word with the New Nation, Hasanuzzaman Khan was contracted back to his old institution, BSS, to look after the quality of dispatches, especially those news items creeded on the programmes and statements of the Prime Minister. He became jobless again when the Managing Director and Chief Editor of BSS who did hire him left at the close of his contract with the oficial news agency. When the came back to the New Nation with the same status and honour he used to enjoy before, Hasan Bhai attracted attention of peple of other newspapers who wanted to hire him for higher remuneration. Hasan Bhai commented, “They understand I am still capable as a journalist when they see I have been hired by Kamal (this author).” Eventually Hasan Bhai left and worked for The Financial Express for several years before finally retiring from active journalism due to old age related complications. Before his first coming to the New Nation Hasan Bhai did remain idle for four years after retiring from the BSS when he used to spend his time visiting the club daily.
His visit to the Jatiya Press Club was irregular for the last several years of his life as Hasan Bhai became unable to move alone. But whenever he came to the club he did not fail to call his favourite club members to come close to him and exchange pleasantries. His nice sons used to accompany him.
Hasan Bhai did cut Press Club’s diamond jubilee celebration cake on 24 October last year and attended the cultural programme. He shared with this author pleasant memories of working at the New Nation. Hasan Bhai enquired about some reporters and leader writers who used to write well as well as those whose compositons were not up to mark and had to be worked upon for significantl improvements.
This author feels sorry that Hasan Bhai’s last suggestion made at the diamond jubilee progamme of the club to be at his place (Mirpur) for a whole day to share more experiences of his eventful career. His demise has taken away a guardian who used to enquire about wellbeing of members of his profession and always encourage them for greater successes in journalism.
(The writer of this article is editor, GreenWatch Dhaka)