Kamal Lohani
Kamal Lohani

General Information
Cultural Personality, Journalist

Full Name: Abu Naeem Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Khan Lohani

Affiliation: Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB)

Current Position: Deceased

Date of Birth: June 26, 1934

Date of Death: June 20, 2020

Place of Birth: Bangladesh

Home District: Sirajganj

Nationality: Bangladeshi


Kamal Lohani (26 June 1934 – 20 June 2020) was a Bangladeshi cultural personality, journalist and Director General of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. He served as the head of the news department of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, which was formed during the independence war of Bangladesh in 1971. He was the first to read the news of Bangladesh's victory on December 16. In 2015, he was awarded the Ekushey Padak by the Government of Bangladesh for his special contribution to journalism.

Lohani was born in the village of Santala in Ullahpara Upazila of Sirajganj District. His father's name was Abu Yusuf Mohammad Musa Khan Lohani and his mother's name was Rokeya Khan Lohani. His real name is Abu Naeem Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Khan Lohani. Lohani lost his mother in early childhood and moved to Kolkata to live with his paternal aunt. As a young boy, Lohani closely witnessed the Second World War, recession, the drive to evict Bengalis from Assam in the name of "Bangal Kheda", and the 1946 riots in Kolkata. He came back to Pabna in Bangladesh in 1948 and got admitted into Pabna Zila School. In 1952, he passed the secondary examination from Pabna Zilla School. He later passed intermediate from Edward College while he was in jail. During college life, he joined leftist politics with Chhatra Union. Apart from politics, Lohani was famous in college for his skills in arranging cultural programmes and involvement in extracurricular activities which helped him to become a top cultural organiser of the country.

In 1955, Lohani left Pabna and came to Dhaka with only Tk 15. He chose journalism as his career and started working at the daily Millat newspaper as a sub-editor. He later worked in different newspapers including daily Azad, Sangbad, Purbadesh, and Barta as a senior journalist.

Lohani, truly moved by the philosophy of Marx, Engels and Lenin, always worked for the emancipation of people and raised his voice against all odds - for which he was imprisoned several times during his lifetime.

Lohani was a valiant freedom fighter, worked at Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra during the Liberation War of Bangladesh and was the host of the then popular show "Ognishikha" through which he boosted the morale of freedom fighters to continue their struggle against the Pakistani forces and their collaborators. He was extremely fortunate as he got the opportunity to announce the news of the nation's victory on Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra.

Lohani, an advocate for press freedom, had never bowed down to any unethical force in his illustrious political and journalistic life. During the presidency of Ziaur Rahman, Lohani was invited to be a part of the presidential entourage for a foreign tour. Lohani was told by government that he had to wear a suit instead of his regular attire, which he refused. In 1991, when BNP assumed office, Lohani was made director general of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. He later stepped down from the post protesting the misconduct of then state minister for cultural affairs.

Lohani devoted his life to cultural movement through Chhayanaut, Kranti Shilpigoshthi, Ganashilpi Sangstha and Udichi Shilpigoshthi and others. He participated in the language movement, liberation war and anti-military rule movements. He joined Chhayanaut in 1962 and served as the general secretary of the cultural organisation. Later, he established Kranti Shilpighosthi in 1967.

On December 25, 1971, Lohani was given the responsibility of Dhaka Betar. He also gave a briefing from Tejgaon Airport on the occasion of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's homecoming on January 10, 1972 and also at the then Dum Dum Airport on the occasion of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's visit to Kolkata in February 1972.

Lohani was also the first president of Bangladesh Journalist Union. He was the director of Bangladesh Press Institute and served as director general of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy twice from 1991 to 1992 and 2009 to 2011. He was the president of Bangladesh Udichi Shilpighosthi from 2012 to 2016. He tried to make people aware about their rights and dedicated his life in building a democratic, secular and freethinking society.

Lohani died from COVID-19-related complications on 20 June 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh.

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