May 1, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Veteran journalist D. Shah Khan’s death is sad news to everyone who knew this kindest gentleman and I grieve at this passing away.
I knew him since 1965 when I went to work at a government office in Chittagong. He was working for the daily newspaper Eastern Examiner. It was a very well-edited newspaper, owned by a kind lady who was its editor.
Eastern Examiner had few reporters and subs. Shah Jee would write most of the stuff in the newspaper, including reports and editorials.
The newspaper’s office was located atop a hill and it was quite difficult to get there. But Shah Jee would be there and so would many of his fans who loved talking to him. Later, he became the editor of this paper.
The newspaper was sprightly, and had a twang and quality about it, which many readers would admire. Its masthead was red, an innovation at that time, since all other newspapers had black mastheads.
I was transferred in 1957, and I lost track of this great newspaper man until I reappeared in Islamabad and found him working for the old well-loved newspaper The Muslim and later The News. He would always offer tea whenever we went to meet him, a tradition he had kept up since his days at the Eastern Examiner.
Always a gentleman, he would make enquiries from contributors whenever he
looked at some manuscripts, because he always wanted to be certain about facts, and was meticulous in editing a piece.
Although he was a popular personality in Chittagong, he had turned quite recluse after arriving in Islamabad. I invited him home a number of times, but he would decline, except once when he suddenly arrived one evening unannounced. That was perhaps to keep up old acquaintances but he never came again, notwithstanding my protestation.
This was a gentleman editor without fault, always polite and extremely helpful. Maybe his qualities would serve as inspiration for journalists, copywriters and editorial writers.
His memory would be etched in the minds of all those who aspire to do neat newspaper work.
(Jonaid Iqbal is a senior journalist who has worked for several newspapers)
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