By Kulsum Mustafa
Disbelief is a big hurdle in way of acceptance and that is why when you wish sabr or solace for the kin who have lost a dear one you wish them sabr- a state where they come to terms with the physical departure of their loved one.
On Friday morning, when the shocking news of the passing away of Kamal Khan came in, his family and thousands of his friends and fans were inconsolable and they found it impossible to accept the shocking news. Just the previous night the world had watched in rapt attention Kamal’s sleek and informative report on Swami Prasad Maurya’s change of political heart, which was followed by Kamal’s unflinching support on Prime Time to Congress on its political initiative of giving 40 percent tickets in UP assembly elections to women on. Kamal looked healthy, agile, and at his vocal best. The news was unacceptable.
Ours has been a family as well as a professional association of over 30 years with Kamal and Ruchi and his sister Tehzeen. Simple, affectionate, and grounded, the couple has always kept a dignified social presence. Despite their hectic schedule they have both always been available for any professional fact-checking if needed for any of my reports.
It was only after watching Prime Time, full 12 hours after Kamal left this world that I could bring myself to react and accept the shattering reality. The entire day after hearing the news was spent in silent, reflective ‘tearless’ mourning. It was only when I saw Ravish Kumar’s Prime Time that the flood gates of tears opened. It was the iconic Ravish, unraveling in his simple, lucid narrative the magnificent reportage of Kamal that the bitter truth hit hard. It dawned then that the person who created magic with his words and imagery, that added depth and shelf life to each story that he covered is gone forever.
As clips from Kamal’s 30-year journey of electronic media moved before the eyes there was awe and admiration afresh. Seen in the sequel the presentations were a clear reflection of immense hard work, dedication, and honesty. It looked as if Kamal had in this work attempted to take along with him the entire era, the generation of journalists who had ‘invested a lifetime in upholding the nuances of professionalism. He was the flag bearer of unbiased reporting studded with secularism, punctuated with apt couplets, dohas, personal anecdotes, and above all he presented the Ganga Jamni tehzeeb with such finesse and aplomb. He seemed have conveyed so beautifully in all his reports that you do not have to be loud to make an impact, you do not have to be biased to drive home a point- you just have to let the camera do its work and let your voice sync with the images the camera captures. Kamal did simply that. But he worked so hard for conveying the simple truth.
This piece is written piece on behalf of all those who value professional ethics in media, especially those journalists who put their blood and sweat into their copy like Kamal. It is being written as a salutation for one who raised the bar for healthy journalism very high and that to in difficult times like these when journalism has lost all its credibility. Kamal saved from destruction two most valuable traits fast vanishing in this present scenario- professionalism and secularism.
To Ruchi, Aman, his sister Tehzeen I can as consolation just say that as you mourn your loss do also feel blessed that he left behind a rich legacy- one that will help generations of pen pushers hold their heads high and attempt bravely to walk the talk.
And one more time let me tell you what I always said each time our paths crossed Yehi to Kamal ka Kamal hain. Rest in Peace, Bro.