Sans Serif records with regret the passing away of editor, teacher, writer and language terrorist, Jyoti Sanyal, in Calcutta on Saturday, 12 April 2008.
A former assistant editor with The Statesman, whose stylebook he wrote, Sanyal spent 30 years in the Calcutta newspaper, where he gained a well-earned reputation, in his own words, of being “hot-headed, choleric and impatient.”
As the paper’s editor Ravindra Kumar writes:
“Mercurial and acerbic, Jyoti favoured a personal style that rubbed many people the wrong way. It wasn’t enough to correct someone who, in his view, was talking nonsense; he did so with a raised eyebrow and a sneer that was intended to leave his victim in tatters.”
Over the last decade, he left a lasting imprint on the minds of hundreds of journalism students and student journalists. In 1997, he played a key role in the setting up of the Asian College of Journalism in Bangalore, of which he became dean. He later set up the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, also in Bangalore.
In recent times, Sanyal had made it his life’s mission to encourage people “to use good contemporary English instead of Raj-day commercialese”. In 2006, he wrote Indlish, a 418-page book on the hotpotch of languages, expressions, meaningless fads “we, 80 millions” like to think is English.
Read the Mid Day obituary here: Enemy of the cliche
The Statesman tribute: A man of style, and great substance
Interview: David Juman in conversation
Tribute: Viju Hegde on her teacher
Visit Jyoti Sanyal’s blog: Plainly Speaking
Photograph: Sanyal (middle) with two titans of Indian journalism, M.J. Akbar (left) and T.J.S. George (courtesy Mid Day)