Rest in peace: Jyoti Sanyal

14 April 2008

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)

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One Response to “Rest in peace: Jyoti Sanyal”

  1. hemant gahlot Says:

    just chanced upon sanyal’s INDLISH- a thought provoking and very interesting reading for any indian english user. we do need plain english in all walks of life but specially in the field of public dealing i.e. documnets related to judiciary and commerce. rest will be taken care of once these two major hurdles are removed.


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