It is always fascinating to read how one gets into their profession – especially, if there is a "real" story behind it. Serajul Islam Quadir's Somoyer Pothey, Prithibir Pothey starts with the eventful younghood memories that shaped the journalist in the future.
This is not a biography; nor is it a chronicle of Serajul Islam's career in journalism. Rather, the writer presents some important glimpses of his professional life that define the philosophy of life of a seasoned journalist.
Serajul Islam's early induction in left politics, his early experience of prison life, and that wonderful moment of meeting Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – the book begins with such beautiful, strong memories.
The book is written in the fashion of a diary – although it is not one in the true sense of the term. Each chapter is dated at the end – as if Serajul Islam sat at his work desk, predetermined, and wrote down his memories of events, interviews and chats with people. These people range from journalists – both native and foreign – to politicians, to social work pioneers, to successful bankers, to industrialists. And all of them influenced and inspired Serajul Islam as a journalist.
Every journalist faces the inevitable dilemma between their professional duty and their responsibility as a human being. Serajul Islam presents that dilemma through the anecdote told by AP's Arnold Zeitlin of the renowned photojournalist Kevin Carter – who shot the Pulitzer-winning moment of a severely malnourished toddler and a vulture waiting for the kid to die in the famine-stricken Sudan in 1993.
Serajul islam could have told these tales chronologically, but he did not do so. The only reason that felt right is – he wanted to focus on the issues of journalism, its responsibility and ethics, its dilemma and dichotomy.
Some chapters begin with some anecdotes that seem to be Serajul's own, but later it becomes clear that he is rather presenting the accounts of the renowned journalists he met and heard these stories from them. This might be a little confusing for some readers at first, but ultimately the reader gets to the point that the author makes.
Serajul Islam's writing is fluid, story-telling ordinary but the events he narrates are what paved the path for his career. His quotes from Baul Lalon, Jibanananda Das, William Shakespeare and Nazim Hikmat, et al, give a strong touch to that simplicity. He explores through the most inevitable nature of life – uncertainty, and yet reaches some certain norms and ideologies that helped him find his truth.
Published by Papyrus, Somoyer Pothey, Prithibir Pothey is a good example of a journalist's journey in his life.