Nonagenarian journalist and former chief editor and managing director of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) Deba Priya Barua passed away on Wednesday morning at his Maghbazar residence.
“He breathed his last at 5.30 am at his own house . . . he was asleep as he died,” Barua’s youngest son Deepa Barua said adding his father was suffering from various old age complications for long.More known as DP Barua, the veteran journalist left behind three sons, a number of admires in his profession and in other professional and social groups and a host of relatives.
A 1952 language movement veteran Barua made his debut in journalism in 1958 when he was recruited by now defunct The Morning News newspaper. He also had a brief background in PR profession as a pubic relation officer in the then State Bank of Pakistan.
He later joined BSS and eventually became the Chief Editor and Managing Director of the state owned news agency BSS in 1991. Ahead of his appointment as the BSS chief he served as its managing editor for years.
His interview of the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in New Delhi for BSS was widely acclaimed while he visited the Indian capital along with Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1974.
Born on April 10, 1930 in a respectable and enlightened family Mohamuni village of Raaojan upazila of Chattogram, Barua had his academic background in English literature while he secured his honours and masters degree from the University of Dhaka (DU).
Barua was the first Buddhist student to become General Secretary of DU’s Jagannat Hall dormitory Students Union.He was the President of Bangladesh Institute for Mentally Retarded, Executive Member of the Trustee Board of Bangladesh Independent University, former executive members of Bangladesh Editors Council, Commonwealth Press Union.
He served for three tenures as Vice Chairman of Special Olympics of Bangladesh for Disabled Athletes.
A prolific writer Barua authored the biography on Dr BM Barua, the first D Lit in Asia, which was published from Bangla Academy.
He also authored ‘Culture and Tradition of Bengali Bouddha’ , ‘Bangladesh–China Relationship from a Buddhist Perspective’ and ‘His Holiness Sangaraj Shilalankar, 8th highest religious leader of the Buddhist – a short biography .
Considered as a Bangladeshi Buddhists spokesman he represented the community abroad as general secretary of Bangladesh Boudha Krishti Prachar Sanga, Bangladesh chapter of Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace (ABCP) and World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB).
Barua was honoured with ‘International Buddhist Peace Award’, ‘Atish Dipankar Sreegyan Gold Medal Award’, World Peace Envoy , ‘Biddabaridi’ by Supreme Sangha Council (monastic order) and ‘Dr BM Barua Memorial Award’ for his contributions to the cause of humanity, establishing rights and struggle for secular and equality based state.
Incumbent BSS Chief Editor and Managing Director Abul Kalam Azad mourned Barua’s death particularly recalling to his service to the national news agency and conveyed his sympathy to the members of his bereaved family.
Jatiya Press Club (JPC) President Saiful Alam and General Secretary Farida Yasmin issued a joint statement condoling Barua’s death as he was the senior most member of the club and its frequent visitor until recently.