The Ustad behind the printing machines | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 14, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:10 PM, February 15, 2021

The Ustad behind the printing machines

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.

After spending almost all his life behind printing machines of different presses, now it is very hard for Abdul Aziz to stay at home in the evenings, when he used to go out for work.

Even after retirement, he often goes to the press to spend time there and chat with former colleagues. But Covid-19 pandemic, took away that option.

"Now I am passing very boring and hard times. Never faced such a situation in my life," he said.

In the evening, he feels like going to the press just to listen to the noises of machines, take in the smell of newly printed newspapers, he said. 

 "I am so much into newspaper printing work that my wife says I often dream about the press and sleep talk with colleagues from the press," he added.

Aziz, the most experienced press machine operator, former web in-charge of Transcraft printing press, was talking about his long career with different newspaper printing presses.

For the last 42 years, Aziz sacrificed his nights' sleep and carried out one of the most important tasks, final printing of newspapers. 

In his long career, he witnessed the growth of the country's newspaper industry. 

The machine that printed the country's first magazine in four colours, was operated by Aziz. He earned respect from all employees of printing press industry. They call him "Ustad".

Aziz said he started his career with the daily Ittefaq in 1977 as a press machine assistant when he was just 20.

Even though he was not much educated, he was sincere and responsible and soon became one of the key operators of newspaper printing machines. 

In 1982, when publisher of the Dialogue, a new weekly magazine, was looking for an expert and responsible machine operator, Aziz was chosen.

"The Dialogue was the first colour magazine in the country. They imported a modern printing machine from London. So the authorities sent me to London to be trained on how to operate the new web printing machine," he said.

After returning from London, he joined the press of Dialogue as press machine operator. Later, he became the in-charge of the press there.

Eventually, he worked for the daily Bangla Bazar, Manabazamin, and Inqilab. He joined Transcraft printing press in 1998 when Prothom Alo started its journey.

"I started working there since the beginning of the newspaper and continued their till 2019," said Aziz.

He said bringing out newspapers on time is a big responsibility. Any delay in printing process could hamper delivery of newspapers to readers.

"And I did that for more than 40 years. I even lost two of my fingertips while working in a press. But I have never been negligent in my duty," he said.

"I love the noise of the press machine. It is my life," said Aziz with a smile.

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