He did not just stand for journalism, its language or its policy. He also sided with his city Lucknow and his country Hindustan through his report. Kamal stood up for old Lucknow before it was transformed into a fire of hatred in the name of religion. Before the language of its ruler changed. Before taking office, people talked about violence, bullets and sending people to their afterlife. Nevertheless, Kamal stood as tall as his Imambara, without which Lucknow would be incomplete.
No one will understand by removing Kamal from Lucknow. The identity of a journalist who was always known for his work is now associated with his religion. Some in the government began to distance themselves from him. Kamal lived it with the famous grace of Lucknow. “You know what it’s like,” he would just say occasionally; “If I ask, they will say he is a Muslim.” As they continued to push him towards his religious identity, he drew himself to the people. Witness his every last report.
It is a testament to Kamal’s achievement that even though people remember him today, people still remember his work. It often becomes a ritual, but the way his work is spread across social media today, from his work links to his iconic PTC (Peace to Camera), shows how Kamal influenced his audience. Twitter is flooded with parts from his report. This is Kamal Khan. His work is his monument.
We know Kamal Khan through that work. And it was important for him to know that Kamal Khan does not become by reciting shers Ahmed Faraj and Habib Jalib. Even for a two minute report he would think all day, read all day and write all day. This is how Kamal knew those who worked with him Brother Is working. It’s an inspiration to see someone treat their work with so much respect and dedication. If one collects his hundreds of reports on Ayodhya, one will know that Ayodhya was different from Kamal Khan’s political description of Ayodhya. How easily he could talk about Ayodhya burning in the fire of hatred. His words cooled the flames. He also immersed himself in Tulsidas’s Ramayana and Gita. He wasn’t a journalist who would pick up a line or two from somewhere to brighten up his report and call it a day. He knew that society in Uttar Pradesh was immersed in religion. And politics turned that devotion into anger. Kamal must have read countless religious books to speak of that society. And that’s why when he spoke, they stopped and listened.
Because Kamal Khan can go through your eyes, into your soul and move your conscience with subtle hands and remind you that at the end of it all, what really matters is love and brotherhood. And this is exactly what the religions and elders of Uttar Pradesh have taught. The authority with which Kamal Khan could report disputes between Rama and Krishna was incomparable. Because he had a lot of hard-earned knowledge to back it up. Whenever he went to Varanasi, he would return with a bundle of books. Before Google, Kamal Khan used to take books wherever he went to report.
He was as disciplined as he was hard-nosed. He didn’t say often and he was never a reporter who would say yes to everything. As soon as Kamal Khan said yes, someone in the newsroom breathed a sigh of relief. He did not say it accidentally or stubbornly but explained in detail the reason behind not telling a story. In doing so, Kamal Khan would remind the people around him of a policy that no one would forget – whether he was a seasoned editor or a new reporter. The more a reporter does not say, for good reason, the more he protects his organization from weak and inaccurate reporting.
There will be no more Kamal Khan. Because this country has lost the moral strength to repeat the process through which one would become Kamal Khan. Although there are numerous journalism institutes in this country where there are journalists who are acclaimed by Kamal Khan and want to be like him, those institutions no longer have the backbone to visit them. Let them be nurtured for three decades. Otherwise, the eloquence and compassion that is being celebrated by every other channel today will be reflected somewhere in their content. NDTV star Kamal Khan. His words will continue to shine in the light of peace and compassion.
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