The Daily Azad (Bengali: আজাদ) was a Bengali-language daily newspaper published from 1936 to 1992. The Azad became Dhaka's first daily newspaper. The newspaper, while based in Dhaka, played an important role during the Bengali Language Movement for its advocacy of Bengali.
Other important supporters were The Sainik and Insaf, which was an English-language daily . Weeklies from East Pakistan that supported the movement were Zindegi and Insan from Dhaka, NaoBelal from Sylhet, and Sangram from Feni. Other newspapers that supported the movement from India were Ittehad, edited by Abul Mansur Ahmed, Ananda Bazar Patrika, Yugantar and Satyayug.
The newspaper was founded in Kolkata on 31 October 1936. The first editor of the daily was Maulana Mohammad Akram Khan. In its early days, the daily supported the Muslim League in both Bengal and Assam languages. In the 1940s, the editor was Mohammad Modabber; he published The Azad with his son. Mohammed Sadrul Anam Khan and Nazir Ahmed were also associated during that time. The daily regularly published Dhaka-based and regional news from reporter Khairul Kabir.
When the partition of India took place, The Azad was transferred to Dhaka on 19 October 1948. It became the first newspaper to move to Dhaka. Abul Kalam Shamsuddin was nominated editor at that time. Khairul Kabir acted as news editor. Mujibur Rahman Khan and Abu Jafar Shamsuddin worked in the editorial section. Soon afterward, the daily became the leading newspaper in East Pakistan.
The publication of The Azad was prohibited in 1949 when editorial content turned against the government, which responded by prohibiting advertisements in the paper. The Azad supported the Bengali Language Movement and defied the government's threats. When the killing of February 21 took place, The Azad released a special edition on February 22. Editor Shamsuddin, who was also member of the Legislative Council, resigned in protest of the killing. Though it was a Muslim League based paper, it showed its love and respect for the Bengali language and movement. As a result, The Azad later become the main source to collect the historical happenings of that time. But their vision also fluctuated from time to time. Specially After March 1, 1952 they followed government's desire and became partisan. During the autocratic regime of General Ayub Khan, the daily again stood up under the leadership of Maulana's youngest son Mohammed Quamrul Anam Khan to protest against corruption and unjust rule. It also played an important role in the Agartala Conspiracy Case.
The daily quickly lost its appeal after Maulana Akram Khan died and ownership controversies arose. It lost readership from competition with Ittefaq which became increasingly popular. After the independence of Bangladesh, the daily lost government financial aid. Later, the daily was given to its legal owner and managing director, Mohammad Quamrul Anam Khan to be run under private administration. Due to lack of financial support and government policies, The Daily Azad was shut down after 1992.
- Musa, ABM (February 22, 1999). "Language movement and the press". The Independent (Bangladesh).
- Al Helal, Bashir, Bhasha Andoloner Itihas. pp-513