Bazlur Rahman, to us our dearest Bhaia, seems to have left us suddenly. He left us on 26 February 2008 and we are remembering him at his 7th death anniversary.
Over his long professional career, he reached a height with no one to be compared in his time. Due to a man of quiet nature, introvert and averse to publicity, his totality was unveiled in most of his lifetime, but not unknown to only those who had outright involvement with him. At this his social linkage seemed to be squeezed during his life. But it proved utterly false after his death when people from all strata thronged his coffin to pay their last homage. People thought his death caused a perennial loss to somewhere beyond his family to be felt in the days to come. Not only his colleagues, fellows, progressive intelligentsias but even very general people thought like this without having any nearness to him when he was alive due to his mannered life pattern. Here lies reality.
Nonetheless a middle class Bengali, he was successfully devoid of feudal culture and a self-possessed man of modern thinking and non-communalism. His stand and belief did not stick to any dogmatism. His evolving political and ideological stands had ever vibrancy and dynamism and ultimately reached a destination of rationality where Bengali nationalism, secularism, inclusive economic progress devoid of disparity and democracy got overwhelmed. In a word Bazlur Rahman was a successful man of a later age of nineteen century Renaissance. Here lies his distinctness.
In his profession as journalist he was a catalyst in spearheading the struggle for economic emancipation of the nation and played a vibrant role in war of liberation. After the independence of Bangladesh he struggled relentlessly towards building a resilient, productive and innovatively caring society comprising healthy, well educated and mannered people built on the enduring attributes of self-reliance, respect, tolerance, equity and integrity in his all writings and professional duties. His dream had always been to create a society in which every man had equal opportunities to achieve their fullest potential, where all men and women would enjoy a quality of life commensurate with the development stage of the nation, where all citizens were to be prepared to meet the human resource needs of a modern, progressive, and technologically advancing nation and there must have respect for the principles of democracy, rule of law, human rights ensuring gender equality and rights of people irrespective of caste, colour and creed. These were Bazlur Rahman's guiding philosophy enshrined in his life deeply. These were his distinctness that made him different, and people beyond his professional frontier realised him and broke open social barrier to reach him to pay their last respect.
His quality of pointedness and sharp-wittedness had overwhelmed in argument, in dialogue, in conversation and in his column 'Halchal'. In the last days of his life this quality had also reflected in talk shows. He could call a spade a spade and that is why Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina once told him her best critic. His sharp acumen and the retentive capacity of mind in his professional career were really admirable. His sincerity and seriousness in journalism also taught us to be so. The journalist community especially the progressive part in Bangladesh as a whole still feels his absence. It is difficult to fill the gap created by his absence.
Yet Bazlur Rahman was not far off debate. He was subject to (and equally prey to) liking-disliking. We think his ever evolving ideological stance from left dogmatism, uncompromising commitment to non-communalism, role as a catalyst in spearheading national issues and cultural variation with him made him debated.
The identity of Bazlur Rahman was not only that he was journalist and Editor. His another acquaintance was nationally he was a successful organiser of children movement in Bangladesh. The children organisation 'Khelaghar' has been able to become the largest one nationally due to his only farsighted guidance. He was its Bhaia though it has changes with. Still Bhaia remains unchanged. Bhaia connotes Bazlur Rahman and Bazlur Rahman stands for Bhaia to children and adolescents in Bangladesh.
Bhaia is no more. Seven years of his absence have already passed away. Still he is alive among us in our everyday works. In the words of William Wordsworth "In vacant and pensive mood, they flash upon that inward eye, which is the bliss of solitude." We pay our heartfelt homage to him at his 7th death anniversary on this day.
Haradhan Ganguly, a retired professor, is Assistant Editor, Daily Sangbad