Homage paid to Journalist Ajoy Paul
■ Muhammed Shahed Rahman ■
On Monday 16 January UK Bengalis paid their last respects to prominent journalist Ajoy Paul. On the day, from 1.30 to 2.30 pm, the body of the recently deceased journalist was kept at the altar of the central Shaheed Minar in Altab Ali Park, East London, for the tributes of all people.
The event was organised under the supervision of the Citizens’ Committee of the United Kingdom, formed on the initiative of friends and journalist colleagues of the deceased to pay their last respects to journalist Ajoy Paul.
The Member Secretary of the Civic Committee, journalist Ahad Chowdhury Babu, conducted while Dilu Naser read a brief biography of the deceased.
Later, a minute’s silence was observed as a mark of respect for the deceased. Himangshu Goswami and Gauri Chowdhury, paid their last respects by singing the national anthem.
Bangladesh High Commission Minister (Press) Ashequn Nabi Chowdhury, President of UK Bangla Reporters Unity Matiar Chowdhury, Shottobani Editor, UK Nirmul Committee President Syed Anas Pasha, Janomot Editor Syed Nahas Pasha, Senior Journalist Abdus Sattar, London Bangla Vice President Rahmat Ali, Abdul Ahad Chowdhury on behalf of UK Awami League, Altabur Rahman Mujahid on behalf of Shahid Minar Committee, Dipayan Paul, youngest son of the deceased on behalf of the family, Lead Councillor for Culture & Recreation Iqbal Hossain, Councillor Abdal Ullah, Tower Hamlets Mayor’s representative Mohammad Zubair, former president of London Bangla Press Club Nobab Uddin spoke briefly reminiscing Ajoy Paul.
Following that, the representatives of Bangladesh High Commission, London Bangla Press Club, UK Bangla Reporters Unity, Sanatan Association, Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, United Kingdom JASOD, Weekly Shodesh Bidesh, BisshoBangla News24, Udichi and other cultural organisations paid their respects.
The coffin of Ajoy Paul was taken for last rites after being showered with last respects and floral tributes from community figures, colleagues and relatives.
It is to be noted that on Saturday 7th January 2023, at around 8:30 pm, 71-year-old veteran journalist, lyricist Ajoy Paul died while undergoing treatment at the Royal London Hospital. Earlier, he was admitted to the hospital after suffering a brain stroke on Wednesday, 4 January.
At the time of his death, he left behind his wife, two sons, relatives and many well-wishers.
In December 1970, a young Ajoy Paul sent his first report from the turbulent coast to Sylhet’s oldest newspaper, Jugaveri. More than five decades of journalistic life is therefore full of rare experiences and gems of huge achievements.
The most shining chapter in the account of these achievements and glory is the experience of working in Daily Jagaran published from Agartala, India during the Liberation War of Bangaldesh in 1971.
Ajoy Paul is one of those talented journalists who in the 1970s and 1980s started a new trend. The language of the news was clear, the subject was diverse. It will not be an exaggeration to say that Ajoy Paul has also made a special contribution to modernity in Bengali journalism. He, however, deserves the credit of connecting greater Sylhet to the changing era of Bangladeshi newspapers. This achievement is confirmed by the fact that he worked in all reputed newspapers of Bangladesh, UK, Canada.
Among the national dailies, apart from Banglar Bani, Dainik Sangbad, Desh Bangla and Bangla bazar, he also worked for Sylhet’s local daily Sylhet Bani for some time and for Jugaveri, Sylhet Samachar, Deshbarta and Sylhet Dhani.
In the beginning, he served as Sylhet correspondent for Surjer Desh newspaper published from Sunamganj. He was associated with UK’s weekly Surma, Jagran, Patrika, Deshbarta, Purbodesh and Bangla News published from Canada. In 2008, he was the acting editor of Monthly Hridaye Bangladesh Magazine published from London. Bangla bazar newspaper selected him as the best journalist in the country.
In the interest of journalism in 2001, Ajay Da joined the Inter-Parliamentary Convention held in Havana, Cuba as a journalist representative with the Bangladesh Parliamentary Party.
Apart from journalism, Ajoy Paul was also unique and incomparable in poetry. That is why he was very fluent in composing songs. Renowned artistes like Subir Nandi, and Himanshu Goswami have given voice to his songs.