Last week, a false report of a death came as a sad shock to many, including myself. It was like hearing that an elderly and ailing relative, whom one had close touch with for a while but had nostalgic memories of, had finally passed away.
The wrongly reported death was not that of a person but of a newspaper. The Statesman. For many, like my father, ‘The Statesman’ was more than a newspaper; it was a living legend.
My father would make my sisters read it every day, not so much for the news it carried but for the purity and precision of its language. He would not know that his son who was yet to be born would one day work and write for his beloved Statesman.
By chance, I became one of the four-member team which in 1967 launched ‘The Junior Statesman weekly,’ The Statesman’s youth magazine. Relations between the paper and the young magazine were like those between a conservative parent and a brash teenager, paradoxically linked by a generation gap. When the Junior Statesman, JS, was shut down in 1977 by the diktat of the then managing director of The Statesman, I was inducted as an assistant editor in the paper.
The sanctum sanctorum of The Statesman was its editorial page, and its high priests were its editorial writers. I had never met them, but my hero was Niranjan Mazumdar, editorial writer par excellence.
The story went that when the editor asked Niranjan what the editorial he was about to write was about, Niranjan replied ‘I don’t know—but my typewriter does.’
I never aspired to be a Niranjan. For one thing I could never type but when my first editorial was published, by Niranjan’s boon companion, Lindsay Emerson, I felt as though I’d been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
By the time I left The Statesman in 1987 to join The Times of India in Delhi, titans like Niranjan and Lindsay belonged to the mythic past. The Statesman had become a shadow of its former self.
But those who remember its past glory hold it in enduring affection.
Moral of the story: The life of an organisation no matter how big depends on its people and performance. Performance creates the name, name doesn’t create the performance.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:
NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION
Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)
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GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE
(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)
ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY
(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)
AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES
(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)
REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD
(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)
TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN
(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)
RHYTHM … in poems
(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)
(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)