Saturday, December 14, 2019 | ePaper

Unforgettable Manik Mia

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Anis Fatema :
Tofazzal Hossain Manik Mia is remembered with great respect and honour. He is one of those respectfully remembered pioneers of the nation who were filled with just and sacrificing attitude towards the demand of a state that would be standing on democratic foundation and solid justified policies. The oppressed population of this eastern region of Pakistan had always been the platform of his dreams and thoughts. He worked in favour of the people. Working as the Editor of 'The Daily Ittefaq', he raised his voice against oppression and injustice towards the people of the then East Pakistan. He is one of the remarkable spokesmen behind our liberation, mouthpiece of the large number of oppressed people. His flaming words were the expression of the deprived commoners. Filling up his eyes with the dream for freedom, holding the mighty weapon within his fingers, the rebellious soul Manik Mia moved ahead with great courage. He was an unforgettable personality indeed. His writing was pouring the sense of democracy and right of the people. He was invoking the ideas of establishing a righteous lawful state where the population of this region won't face oppression and injustice. Manik Mia, the valiant, successfully supported the movements and paved the way of freedom. Being a great patriot he wrote, created sensation and became a part of history. He was holding a firm position in favor of democracy. To uproot the oppression enhancing social structure he kept on working with other pioneers of democracy and people's right. His inevitable role behind our democracy and liberation was bright. The oppressors could realize the weapon of Manik Mia i.e. his mighty pen as a great journalist was contributing successfully among the common people providing them with righteous demand and that was gradually taking them to the determination for freedom.
Tofazzal Hossain Manik Mia's presence with the remarkable personalities is respectfully remembered by them in various ways. Bangabandhu, the Father of the Nation, spent a number of influential moments of his life with his favourite 'Manik Bhai'. Bangabandhu in his article 'Amar Manik Bhai' mentions : , "In a meeting of mine with Manik Bhai he informed me that he had got a proposal for settlement from the government. I asked, "What did you reply ?" Manik Bhai answered, "I can accept the imprisonment of fourteen years but still there won't be any compromise in the question of principle. I have informed them (the government) that." Bangabandhu further says, "Till today I remember the words of that letter, " Don't come to Pindi or Karachi . Or else you will be killed." Every morning I used to take a cup of tea with Manik Bhai at his place. That morning I was also doing the same. We were discussing the country's political issues. Suddenly Manik Bhai said, "I have got a letter from Pindi. The writer's identification is not mentioned. But it is mentioned there that you and me should not go to Pindi or Karachi or else we will be killed". Then he (Manik Bhai) smiled and said,  " Who will kill me? And why should I be killed? If they want to kill , they will kill you." I said , "Still , what's the necessity to go? Isn't it better not to go Manik Bhai?"   But he didn't pay heed to what Bangbandhu said. He went there and never came back alive. But in Bangabandhu's memory his Manik Bhai remained alive forever.
According to Mahbub-ul-Alam, Manik Mia was a great personality. Afer Manik Mia's death, once he visited Ittefaq office. He met an office staff. In the office Mahbub-ul-Alam found an arm chair in a room. Actually he was looking for such a tranquil place to take rest. When he asked about the armchair the staff replied in a sorrowful voice, " That is Editor Saheb's (Manik Mia) room. He used to sit in that chair. After him nobody sits there." Honest respect and honor were there in his tone when he spoke of his Editor Saheb.  This also states that Manik Mia got highest respect from his companions and staff.
Manik Mia wrote under the name 'Musafir' . In his writing he mentioned the injustice and domination for which the people of East Pakistan was getting back footed.  The common people read the articles by Musafir, and realized their untold story of domination and deprivation. The Daily Ittefaq remind the people of his unparallel service to the nation.
Sirajuddin Hossain is another remarkable name beside Manik Mia. He spent fifteen years of his career as a journalist with him addressing him 'Editor Saheb'. Sirajuddin Hossain always remained with him being his shadow. He was deeply influenced by his moral excellence. Witnessing closely he realized that Manik Mia was a selfless person. He never made any compromise with the dominating ruling party. In the realm of the governor Monem Khan, Manik Mia got imprisoned. According to Sirajuddin Hossain, "Whenever I went to jail to meet him, I have seen only one request to be echoed in his voice. He said, "What does Monem want ? If any crime has been committed, that's committed by me. For that he (the governor Monem) may have the right to punish me. But what does he want to make understand by making so many office staffs jobless?" Even after two years and nine months we never got the answer of the question from the government of Monem." Manik Mia was a man of dignity and just principles. His colleagues including Sirajuddin Hossain witnessed his never ending determination.
Shahidullah Kaiser, the renown journalist mentioned Manik Mia's overwhelming personality as politician, as a warrior in the field of writing. He said, "To write regarding Manik Mia means to write a 'Maha Bharat'.  It is really difficult to write about him in a few words. Because the last twenty two years before Independence, he was intermingled with the ups and downs of national affairs, with each and every major or trivial political issues in such a manner that, even to write a single chapter of it, so many pages of the newspaper will be occupied."  Shahidullah Kaiser further said,  "His democratic principle is behind his contribution as the founder of Ittefaq, as Musafir, as a struggling journalist for the sake of the free and fair journalism. Inspired by this democratic principle he published newspaper, he held the pen.  Anybody will be proud of any one of these contributions. But besides all these contributions Manik Bhai has contributed largely in the sector of politics of this country." Mentioning Manik Mia's contribution towards the political establishment of this country Shahidullah Kaiser further said, "The first few years of Pakistan were very important. On that time, if fearless political workers would not stand firmly in support of open and fair conversation supporting democracy and freedom of thoughts then today democracy would be vanished from this country. In that period of primary organization of the country Manik Bhai was one of them who moved ahead with fearless thought and mind supporting democracy and formed the basement for larger and more effective democratic movement of the next period. That's why, Manik Bhai is the subject of everyone's respect."  
Manik Mia vowed to serve the country through words and he did it in the most effective and honest way. He opposed vehemently the domination and oppression made by the Pakistan government . This fearless journalist raised his voice boldly through his newspaper 'The Daily Iittefaq' for the sake of establishing democracy. The nation pays homage to this great personality whose untiring efforts and relentless struggle played a dynamic role in bringing about our Independence.

—The writer is a columnist, short story writer, poet and translator

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