Today is the 13th anniversary of death of New Age founding editor and weekly Holiday editor-in-chief Enayetullah Khan.
A titan of Bangladeshi journalism of regional and international repute for his fearlessness for more than four decades, Enayetullah died in Toronto in Canada, where he had been undergoing treatment for cancer of the pancreas, on November 10, 2005, at the age of 66.
Having begun his career as a reporter with the erstwhile Pakistan Observer in 1959, Enayetullah Khan went on to found the weekly Holiday in August 1965, before taking over as editor of the paper in 1966.
He founded the daily New Age as its editor and publisher in June 2003. He was also the editor of the Bangladesh Times between 1975 and 1977. He was awarded the Ekushey Padak for excellence in journalism.
The columns Enayetullah wrote for over four decades earned him the reputation of a journalist with courage and conviction at home and abroad.
Enayetullah’s death was a moment for the nation to remember a lustrous titan of journalism that the country produced.
Newspaper readers and colleagues remember Enayetullah Khan for his dauntless comments.
Known for his progressive and fearless outlook he never hesitated to use his pen against autocracy and regressive forces. His writings opened minds and stirred hearts.
A friendly person known for his extraordinary amiability, Enayetullah Khan led a carefree life and many simply adored him as Mintu Bhai.
He served as minister of the government of Bangladesh (1977-1978) and as an ambassador to China, North Korea, Cambodia and Myanmar (1984-1989).
He was president of the National Press Club (1973–76) and the Dhaka Club (1984–85).
Known for upholding democracy in his writings, Enayetullah Khan drew the wrath of the powerful time and again. He was arrested and detained in jail for a brief period for publishing a write-up in the Holiday in 1975.
Enayetullah Khan was at the forefront of the Buddhijibi Nidhan Tathyanusandhan Committee constituted on December 18, 1971 to investigate the murders of intellectuals in the final days of the 1971 War for Independence by the notorious Al-Badr and Al-Shams, killer gangs of the Jamaat-e-Islami.
He was among the organisers of the Civil Liberties and Legal Aid Committee in 1974, formed to defend the political victims of the Rakkhi Bahini, and the Famine Resistance Committee of 1974.
He was on the 1976 Farakka March Committee led by Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani and the Committee Against Communalism in 1981.
Enayetullah Khan did his master’s degree in philosophy from Dhaka University. In his student days, he held leadership positions as general secretary of the Ananda Mohan College Central Students’ Union in Mymensingh, member of the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (1958–59) and vice-president of the Dhaka Hall (now Shahidullah Hall) Students’ Union (1959–60).
He was a member of East Pakistan Students’ Union and general secretary of Dhaka University Sanskriti Sangsad.
Born on May 25, 1939 in Mymensingh, Enayetullah Khan was the third son of the late Justice Abdul Jabbar Khan, a former speaker of the Pakistan National Assembly. His siblings include the late intellectual Sadek Khan, the late poet and bureaucrat Abu Zafar Obaidullah, social welfare minister Rashed Khan Menon, former state minister for cultural affairs Selima Rahman and New Age editorial board chairman ASM Shahidullah Khan.
His writings were published in a volume, A Testament of Time. He kept on writing even in sickbed in Canada.
His last full essay titled ‘Jamaat: the enemy within’ was printed in three instalments in New Age on September 23, September 30 and October 7 in 2005.
According to his friends and colleagues, Enayetullah achieved greatness by dint of his valour. He used to be the centre of attraction in social gatherings and people used to be impressed by his personality, knowledge, and way of talking. He achieved eminence and distinction by virtue of his unflinching courage and composure to firmly withstand intractable impediments that came from the establishment, be it under Pakistani domination or in the independent Bangladesh.
He was a multi-faceted personality — commentator, writer, editor, orator and institution builder.