Noted journalist, freedom fighter, language movement veteran and cultural personality Kamal Lohani passed away on June 20 at a city hospital. He was 86.
From his early life till his last breath, Lohani was associated with various historical and socio-cultural events of the country. Popularly known as Kamal Lohani, his full name was Abu Naeem Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Khan Lohani. He got involved in politics in 1952 as a final year student of Pabna District School during the Language Movement.
Kamal Lohani and his associates including the principal of Pabna Edward College were arrested in 1953 for resisting the arrival of Muslim League leaders.
At 19, he first went to jail. He was arrested again in 1954 and was released in July 1955. During the time of his imprisonment, he became an admirer of the communist ideology and remained steadfast in that ideology for the rest of his life. When he was arrested in 1955, he was imprisoned in the same jail as Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Tajuddin Ahmed and others. During that time, he came in close contact with Bangabandhu and was deeply respectful of him.
Kamal Lohani, along with many others, had a strong role in celebrating Rabindranath Tagore's birth centenary in 1961.
Born in Shantala village of Ullahpara upazila in Sirajganj on June 26, 1934, Kamal Lohani grew up witnessing India's independence movement and the partition. He got his first job as a journalist at the Daily Millat in 1955. In 1962, he joined Chhayanaut as its secretary.
Lohani was also the first president of Bangladesh Shangbadik Union. He served as the director of Bangladesh Press Institute and the director general of the Shilpakala Academy from April 2009 to April 2011. He was awarded the Ekushey Padak for journalism in 2015.
Lohani also became a follower of the Marxist ideology. Kamal Lohani married his cousin Deepti Lohani in 1960. The couple have one son and two daughters.
During the Liberation War, Lohani was in charge of the news department of Swadhin Bangla Betar. On December 25, 1971, he took charge of Dhaka Betar. In 1981, when he had a disagreement with the then information minister, he left 'Dainik Barta' and joined Press Institute of Bangladesh. In 1991, he became the director general of Shilpakala Academy. In 2008, he again served as the director general of Shilpakala Academy for two years.