Two days before ShujaatBukhari was martyred in Srinagar’s Press Enclave, I was assigned to attend an event organized by Zakat Foundation of India at Nigeen Club where Shujaatsahib was the chief guest.
After the event ended, I was not having any lift to reach my rented room in Srinagar. Shujaat sahib asked his driver to drop me at my room and then waited for 40 minutes for the return of the driver.
It was the last day when I saw him face to face.He could have easily ignored my presence as I was a cub reporter at that time but he came out to me not just like an editor as expected but like a father.
Shujaat Sahib was a great human being and an editor par excellence.
After two days, it was the last day of Ramadan on June 14, 2018, I was traveling to my home in north Kashmir. It was my father who informed me about this fateful news.
It was a shock for me as well as my whole family. It was hard to believe that the editor had left us too early.
At Rising Kashmir office, during our editorial meetings, he would talk to each one of us. He would always encourage us. He was always ready to help and was just a call or message away.
Whenever I used to meet him, he would always ask me about my family.In 2016, I met Shujaat Sahib at Rising Kashmir office.
After a short introduction, he asked me to report from north Kashmir and instructed me to send the story ideas.
I remember his words he once said “You are from my native place and there are already two reporters from the area, Mansoor Peer and Javid Ahmad will also help you in getting the story ideas.After one month, meet me again,” he said.
It was a turning point in my life as I joined the organization. Each day, I used to file brief news items mostly from my locality. After sending stories to him he would reply promptly with suggestions, improvements and spelling errors.
After one month, I was asked to report from Srinagar and was assigned City beat. I remember, once I filed a story of a cultural event.
On the same evening as I left the office after five minutes, I got an email from Shujaat Sahib and till that time I had reached near Clock Tower and he wrote to rectify the name of a poet.“Correct the name of Syed Aijaz to SaeedAijaz (who was the main speaker in the event),”
I sat down in the park and updated my story.Though it was a mistake but learning from mistakes is important for a reporter.
He was like a friend of all reporters. He would always come to the newsroom and ask each one of us about our stories.
Shujaat Sahib was an important figure in Kashmir’s media fraternity and was the first person who would always be relied upon for any kind of help.
He would often participate in seminars and programs, which would boost the confidence of students.In 2017, he was the chief guest at an event at GDC Baramulla and his interaction with the media students is still being remembered in the college.
He had signed an MoU with the college for regular internships for mass communication students. It was the first time any media organization had given an opportunity for aspiring and budding journalists.
Shujaat sahib had a different vision for the working of media. For him Rising Kashmir was an institution and he would always encourage interns to work for the newspaper. He was the editor who started culture of internship in the paper.
He was not just an editor for us. Shujaatsahib was like a father and a guide for us. He was a very friendly, confident, courageous, and would always raise his voice against injustice.
Shujaat Sahib will always be remembered for his unbiased journalism. May Allah grant him the highest place in JannahAmeen.
(Author works as defense and security correspondent at Rising Kashmir and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)