Sells newspapers and serves the people | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 14, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:11 PM, February 15, 2021

Sells newspapers and serves the people

The Daily Star recognised Izahar Ali and Abdul Aziz for their lifelong contribution to the newspaper industry during its 30th anniversary celebrations yesterday. They were each given a crest and Tk 1 lakh each as a symbol for inspiring those who struggle to enlighten people.

When Md Izahar Ali became a newspaper hawker in Jashore, the price of a newspaper was only 10 paisa and some papers used to reach Jashore a day later.

"I am talking about 1958 when I started this profession. I was a 12 year old. Some newspapers used to come from Dhaka and also some from West Pakistan. They used to put the date of the next day on the Dhaka edition of newspaper published from West Pakistan," Izahar said.

"So people would think it is today's newspaper, but actually it was yesterday's edition from West Pakistan," he said.

Izahar became a newspaper agent in 1963. 

When he started his agency, only 400 copies of dailies Ittefaq, Azad, The Morning News, The Observer, and then newly launched Sangbad and weeklies Begum and the Holiday used to reach Jashore.

Slowly his business grew. Now Izahar's and two other agencies distribute around 20,000 copies of different newspapers in the district.

"While doing my newspaper business, I got the opportunity to be acquainted to different kinds of people, like politicians, bureaucrats, teachers, students and people of other professions. I realised education is the key," said Izahar.

"So I planned to start a school in our village. I talked to some people from the village and donated a piece of land where we started a school," said Izahar.

"Most of the students of the village were poor. They did not have any ability to pay tuition fees. The school was about to be shut down. So I decided to give a part of my income to pay for the salaries of 11 teachers. I did that for 18 years until the school became a government affiliated school a few years ago," said Izahar.

Now Dakatia High School, initiated by Izahar, is a government school with a two-storied building.

Talking to this correspondent, Izahar was humble. He insisted, "It was the villagers who helped start the school. Otherwise, it would not have been possible."

When The Daily Star correspondent went to Dakatia in the suburbs of Jashore, the villagers explained how Izahar changed their lives in other ways.

The farmers were in trouble with irrigation. So Izahar came up with an idea of forming a farmers' association, which set up a deep tube well.

"Operation of such a tube well is expensive but when nine farmers share the cost, it becomes easier," he said.

Now nearly 50 acres of land, owned by 200 farmers, are irrigated from that well.

Izahar has been in the newspaper distribution business for 62 years but his heart is with the people. "With my little ability, if I could do something for the people, it would be the biggest achievement."

He said he was glad that he was able to give his children good education. "You know what, two of my grandchildren are doctors."

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