Today we honor Shujaat Bukhari and what he stands for.
Shujaat began his M.A. in Journalism in 2007 when he was 39 years old. He was no neophyte dipping his toes to see if journalism was the place for him. He was already swimming in its deep and turbulent waters in a place where stories were plentiful but where danger and conflict lurked.
He was at that time correspondent for the newspaper The Hindu and reporter for The Kashmir Times and the Samachar Post.
Like quite a number of us who sought admission into the M.A. Journalism program, Shujaat at that time was in the middle of his career, seeking new directions and also affirming his commitment to the craft amid the changes that were taking place in journalism. He wanted to be equipped with new skills and new lenses, and explore how journalism could better serve the common good in a region torn by territorial conflict.
Eric Loo, his professor in international reporting, remembers Shujaat and how the two of them communicated long after he completed his course, about Shujaat’s vision for what would become his newspaper, Rising Kashmir.
That’s the effect the M.A. Journalism program had on its students – some went back to their jobs reinvigorated, continuing leadership roles, rising up the ladder in their organizations or forming new ones that they thought responded to the demands of the times. Others took the knowledge they gained to new endeavors.
When he was taking his M.A. Shujaat was already facing threats to his life because for reportage in Kashmir. The threats never stopped him from forging on.
And the threats never stopped. They actually took different forms. One newspaper article talked about how Shujaat was being attacked online in Facebook and by a blogger.
That he continued with his work of bringing the news and telling stories in Kashmiri and Urdu speaks of Shujaat’s immense dedication to journalism. We remember him and send our thoughts out to the many like him to toil in far away places in search of the truth.
Goodbye Shujaat Bukhari.