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Tributes to Sohail Chowdhury : A gentleman and professional

Tributes to Sohail Chowdhury : A gentleman and professional

by Sir Frank Peters

I read with profound sadness about the death of Blitz Executive Editor Sohail Choudhury last Sunday at 4.25am. I’m grieved, saddened, and astounded by the shocking news – he was only 57.

Much to my regret, he and I never actually met, but we communicated by phone and WhatsApp on a regular basis. So much so it would be easy for my mind to think that we had actually met, several times.

Countless times Sohail and I vowed we would get together for lunch or dinner ‘soon’, but like the forever elusive ‘tomorrow’, that ‘soon’ also never materialized.

He often shared some of his thought provoking writings with me and likewise, I with him. He was a staunch supporter of my anti corporal punishment campaign and offered every encouragement and sympathy when Blitz didn’t publish some of my reports, but as a former Editor I understand the reason for the knock-backs and I roll with the punches.

Sohail was rich in spirit and all the noble qualities one would hope to find in an honourable human being. I never heard him say a bad word or speak nastily about anyone. The love he had for his family was immeasurable and the foundation of his very existence. This became evidently clear early in our friendship.

The tribute by Editor-in-chief of The Eastern Herald, Muzaffar Ahmad Noori Bajwa, was accurate in every respect. Sohail was indeed a force to be reckoned with and his career in journalism was distinguished by his passionate commitment to truth and journalistic integrity. Indeed the same can be said about his brother and Blitz editor Salah Uddin “Shoaib” Choudhury. Perhaps it’s a gold vein that runs through the entire family.

Mr Bajwa went on to say Sohail had a deep passion for aiding those in need, and his heart bled for those who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of Bangladesh or through no fault of theirs, suffered later.

He had wanted to do so much for the downtrodden of Bangladesh, but his meager earnings did not permit. He felt pain whenever he read about corruption and skullduggery that robbed the poor people – many of whom had put their lives in the line in 1971 only to embrace poverty as a reward

His dedication to social welfare was not just a part of his professional ethos, but a personal mission that defined his strong character and actions.

He was a much admired and honourable member of society, a loving father, consummate professional, a thought-provoking and talented writer, journalist, editor and a gentleman. He will be remembered for his valuable contribution to the Bangladesh media tapestry, missed by the fraternity, and I doubt if there will ever come a time when I see his trademark sunglasses somewhere and not think of him.

 

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