It is Mizan's second death anniversary today, 11 January. Mizanur Rahman Khan, journalist extraordinaire. Prothom's Alo's joint editor. The restless soul, seeking, searching, reaching out, researching, never an idle moment in the life of Mizan. It is hard to believe that even now, wherever he may be, he is docilely enjoying eternal rest. Surely, there too he is asking, probing, poking and continuing his relentless pursuit of knowledge.
I will not reminisce here. I have written a lot about my memories of Mizan in the past. I have shared innumerable anecdotes with my colleagues about him. Today I just want to say a few words about how he, though so many years younger than me, remains a source of inspiration down to this day, a pick-me-up when things aren't going right, a reminder that no matter how overwhelming a task may seem, nothing is insurmountable.
Perhaps Mizan had also played a small role in drawing me out of my introvert shell, to forge ahead, confront my demons, take interviews with more ease than in the past, attending events I would have otherwise avoided like a plague, thrusting my hand out to say "hello" if I sniffed a scoop, a story, a valuable source or contact. Mizan had no hesitation to rush where angels feared to tread, but he was no fool! Far from it.
I remember when he interviewed Masdar Hossain, the legendary judge who fought for independence of the judiciary. After reading the interview, I called Mizan and said, "Masdar Hossain is still alive? He is such an iconic figure, I had no idea he was still alive!"
Mizan burst out in that loud laugh of his, "Apa, he is a good friend of mine! I even shared your translation of the interview with him!" Yes, Mizan would befriend such luminaries as easily as he would a vegetable vendor in the Karwan Bazar marketplace.
It was through him I met Maung Zarni, the researcher, the rights activist, the outspoken defender of the Rohingyas and other victims of the Myanmar military junta's atrocities. The former Chief Justice Mustafa Kamal once told me how comfortable and confident he felt opening up to Mizanur Rahman Khan, knowing he would never betray his confidence.
I remember how once we were on an official trip abroad, part of a delegation, when Mizan disappeared from the scene. He came back hours later and explained how he had tracked down the former Chakma king Rajah Tridiv Roy and managed to get an interview. That was big news… that was Mizan. A juicy scoop was more important than pretentious five-star dinners and verbose events.
I started off with the promise that I wouldn't reminisce, but here I am –taking a trip down memory lane again. I can't help it. He was such a strong presence, even in his absence he stands there before me, bold and blustering, ready to take on the world. To para phase a song:
'There ain't no mountain high enough/Ain't no valley low enough/Ain't no river wide enough'/ to keep Mizan from getting a story!
Mizan, take a break. You have shown the way, let your successor scribes take over your task – just give them an occasional nudge if they falter along the way. Rest in peace, dear brother.