Almost all my friends were killed in the Corona attack. One of them still survives like the leaves of a Chaitra tree. He ate toab. He also went to fall in the attack of Corona. Survived the key magic. There is hope in my mind that his age is endless. Today, April 24, Toab Khan will turn 7 years old. I’ll do it in December. In short, we are peers and comrades-in-arms. Journalism is our lifelong profession. The actual editor-species in Bangladesh is now almost extinct. Toab Khan is still alive as the last lamp of the lighthouse. May he complete his centenary — this is my prayer.
He is also editing magazines at the age of 8. He did not retire from this work even when he was ill at home. What is it but war? He has been waging this war since his early youth. War for the people. People fight to print news. The fight for the establishment of human rights. He fought for the independence of the country. He fought to build a secular secular Bangladesh. Still fighting. Where can you find such a fighting editor?
My pride, I have been able to be his peers and comrades-in-arms, still on the battlefield with a pen in hand. Now the monster of communalism and bigotry is trying to rise again in Bangladesh. Rabindranath wrote — ‘Those who are fighting with monsters / are getting ready in every house. ’Toab Khan is a shining archer in the field of anti-monster struggle from house to house. Went to jail. Heard death threats. The burden of age. Yet he did not stop fighting.
In Bangladesh, Manik Mia, Zahur Hossain, Abdus Salam have created a militant trend in editing and journalism. Perhaps Toab Khan is one of the last stars of that genre. In undivided Bangladesh, a professional and genuine editor-species developed from the time of that God Gupta. That species is now on the verge of extinction in the two divided Bengalis. Toab Khan is probably the last lamp of that proud species. Wishing him a happy, healthy, safe, healthy and long life.
My first acquaintance with Toab Khan was in the fifties. He was then the news editor of the daily news. I just left the news and went back to university student life to take the Honors exam. Our profession and intoxication are also one. Profession Journalism, intoxication left and being associated with progressive cultural movement. Toab Khan has shown devotion in both this profession and intoxication. When the country was in turmoil, when the BNP and Jamaat were forcibly shutting down the Janakantha newspaper, Toab Khan was still holding the post of militant advisory editor of the newspaper. Wealthy did not go to any newspaper or any government official.
He was only once in government service. It is not of one’s own will, it is called by the father of the nation. That too is not an ordinary government post, but the post of press secretary of the father of the nation. After independence he was the editor of the now defunct daily Bangla. This time he was removed from the post of editor of the newspaper for publishing an unwanted news. Everyone feared that Toab Khan would be arrested. Instead, it was understood that Bangabandhu drew him very close to him and how much the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu also valued Toab Khan and his journalism.
While Bangabandhu was the press secretary, I had the good fortune to go to the non-aligned summit in Algeria with Toab Khan. I went as a member of Bangabandhu’s accompanying editor team. Before that I went to Rawalpindi with Toab Khan during the Pakistan period. Then began the military rule of Yahya Khan in Pakistan. The National Assembly has been canceled. The country’s budget was presented to reporters in Rawalpindi. Nawab Muzaffar Ali Khan Kizilbas was the Finance Minister. I don’t know what the other editors did after his press conference. Toab Khan and I have traveled all over Rawalpindi. Toab Khan will buy a pair of Kabuli sandals, for which I have visited the shoe selling area of Rawalpindi. The city of Islamabad was just being built then. Filled with brick-wood all around. There are only a couple of tea shops. I sat in that shop and drank tea. I have traveled to Khyber Pass. That story is irrelevant here.
Toab Khan has been the advisory editor of this paper since the birth of Janakantha. In fact, you have become a full-time editor. The office did not earn even during the spread of this great corona. When asked, he laughed and said, ‘Corona won’t touch me at this age.’ He went to visit his daughter-in-law’s house in America for several months. He contracted the disease on his return to Bangladesh. But the 90-year-old man has also won the war. He is 6 years old today. My heartfelt congratulations to him.
Today I will confess to him one of my innumerable debts. All paper editors allow me to write independently on their paper. But Toab Khan in his paper gave me the courageous right to unmask the dictator with a pen. I wrote that column about the disgusting history of Justice Sahabuddin’s joining the presidency as part of a conspiracy hatched by domestic and foreign reactionary forces to defeat the Awami League in the 2001 general elections. When the editor of my regular column daily (I don’t write in that paper anymore) refused to print it, Janakantha’s advisory editor Toab Khan eagerly printed it on his paper despite fears of government resentment. The writing caused a stir all over the country. The title of the article was ‘Death of a God in Bangabhaban.’ Greetings to Emperor-Editor Toab Khan. I wish him eternal life.