Ataus Samad: A life defined by fearlessness | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 29, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 29, 2012

Ataus Samad: A life defined by fearlessness


Ataus Samad was full of camaraderie and bonhomie. He never let you down. For him I was some Joan of Arc, who had come to Dhaka before the Liberation War. He himself was the pride of Shamim Ahmad, editor of The Sun [Karachi, Pakistan].
As head of the The Sun bureau in Dhaka, Samad was the icing on the cake. He was ever so nice, kind and understanding. If he had some suggestion or correction, he put it carefully -- through a fellow journalist. “Tell her to make her articles shorter,” he advised. He laughed and joked, full of merriment.
When he had serious things to tell you, he did so but with much care -- as if afraid to hurt his sister in whom he took so much of pride. He was never a man to mince his words. I used to pour all my anger and disappointment in him -- and he lapped it up -- like the parent and wise big brother that he was.
His birthday celebrations were planned by his daughter Shanta, who put much creative flair into the arrangement. His children were precious to Samad. Shanta, for instance, had to be encouraged with her drawing and painting. The elder daughter Shati had returned from abroad to take care of her mother and sister. Both were soft spoken and warm. It must be Renu, his wife, who was hurt most by his passing away.
When the TV announced late at night that Ataus Samad, the veteran journalist, had passed away, it was as if a member of our own family had left us. We respected him, and cared for him deeply. For his fearless journalism, he was awarded the Ekushey Padak, and he taught journalism at the Dhaka University. In 1987, he was incarcerated for his bold reporting.
I can't imagine an Eid without his kebabs, my birthday without his guffaw and endless jokes. He was full of high spirits and gentle advice. I always felt that I meant so much to him as a sister whose opinions he cared about.
We were like best buddies. Life without him is surely going to be dull.

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