Zaglul Ahmed Chowdhury: A modest tribute

Asjadul Kibria | Published: December 02, 2017 00:26:58


It was only two months before my joining The Financial Express.  Mr Zaglul Ahmed Chowdhury, the consulting editor of the newspaper, died in a road accident in Dhaka. In the afternoon of November 29, 2014 when he was heading towards a TV channel for taking part in a talk-show, the tragic accident took place. In the city's Karwanbazar area, instead of stopping the bus fully, the driver slowed down its speed and the helper literally forced him to get down from the moving vehicle. Zaglul Bhai couldn't keep his balance and fell on the ground. Later he was declared dead at a hospital in the city. I lost the opportunity to work with him.

Zaglul Bhai was a veteran diplomatic journalist and South Asian analyst. During his long career, he had served with the Bangladesh Sangbad Shangstha (BSS) for long and became managing director of the state-run news agency. Later he joined The Financial Express, the first and only English financial daily in the country. He regularly wrote news analyses, views and articles in the FE on regional as well as global geo-political developments. Many of us used to go through the pieces to follow and understand those developments. We also used to listen to his talks on different television channels. Going through those informative as well as distinctly analytic articles was really illuminating. 

Zaglul Bhai had a good rapport with the international diplomatic and journalist communities and also civil society organisations. In an event, organised by an international NGO (non-government organisation) in Dhaka, I found him discussing the challenges of the civil societies in the changing geo-politics of the world. Though I had very little interaction with Zaglul Bhai, his presence at different seminars and discussions as a speaker, expert or moderator sometimes surprised me. How active the man was! He was also an author and wrote and edited several books. His prolific and diverse writing skill was reflected in some of his pieces on different personalities. In one such piece on late writer and dramatist Humayun Ahmed, he vividly described his friendship with the eminent writer who used to call him 'Dosto' (dear friend).     

Despite being a long-time diplomatic journalist, he didn't confine himself to the area of typical diplomatic culture. That's why it was not difficult for even the younger journalists to talk with him. His nicely polished attires also drew attention. But it was his good soul that ultimately made him a man beloved to all.

After I joined the FE in January 2015, I was given a PC for my work. Incidentally, I found that it was earlier used by Zaglul Bhai and a number of pieces, he wrote for the FE, were still preserved there. At the beginning of some of the pieces it is written: `This is for POST' which means he wrote those as post-editorial pieces appearing on Page 5 of the FE. Again, file names of his news analyses started with the 'NEWS ANALYSIS' tag. He also wrote a column titled 'OFF THE CUFF.' His vast knowledge about history was reflected in this column.

I don't think I am the right person to write about a man of Zaglul Bhai's stature whose life and works are quite vast, diverse and encouraging. It is really unfortunate that we could not ensure discipline on the roads and it cost us so dearly that we lost a senior and contributory citizen like Zaglul Bhai who died an untimely, unnatural and tragic death.

asjadulk@gmail.com

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