Saturday, July 4, 2020 | ePaper

Manik Mia`s kind of journalism can't survive without democracy

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TODAY we observe the 51st Death Anniversary of the greatest legend in the realm of journalism in Bangladesh -- Tofazzal Hossain, also known as Manik Mia. Under his pen name Musafir, which was his most popular identity, he wrote his columns. No other column in the history of Bangladesh to this day has achieved that much popularity for political influence.
Manik Mia was a fighting journalist and more than a regular journalist and the Daily Ittefaq played a significant role in the movement against arbitrary rule, civil or military. He suffered most during the military rule of Ayub Khan. But Ayub Khan respected his brand of honest courage. He did not want favour for himself or for his relations. So those who differed with him knew no self-interest was involved.
He was one of the important founder members of the Awami League and his inspiration and courage came from the great leader and founder of Awami League Mr HS Suhrawardy. They were personally very close and understood each other's politics. Mr Suhrawardy was highly educated and earned the reputation of being the living example of democracy. Awami League was essentially a political family with a strong bond like that of family relationships.
Manik Mia suffered imprisonment as a journalist a few times without being a politician. He gave up his membership of the Awami League to be an undiluted journalist. He was Bangabandhu's Manik Bhai to help him politically when in need. But Bangabandhu changed his politics in the changed situation after independence but his gratitude to Manik  Bhai  survived till his death. The broadest road in front of the parliament was named by Bangabandhu as Manik Mia Avenue and it stands as a testimony to their trusted close relationship.
Manik Mia's contribution to make our people conscious of their rights and the need of fighting for securing those rights was immense. But things changed in Bangladesh due to the rise of war-like politics. The politics of Awami League was changed and Bangabandhu became a revolutionary leader to start the second revolution by nationalising the press and establishing one party rule soon after independence of Bangladesh.
Manik Mia's journalism cannot have importance and cannot be practised without a fully functional democracy.

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