Posts Tagged ‘Padma Bhushan’

The Editor who declined the Padma Bhushan

3 November 2013

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Today, 3 November 2013, is the birth centenary of Nikhil Chakravartty, the “barefoot reporter” who founded the journal Mainstream.

NC or Nikhilda, as most who knew him called him, plunged into active journalism as a special correspondent with the Communist Party organ People’s War (1944-46) and People’s Age (1946-48), and later Crossroads (1952-55) and New Age (1955-57).

He then set up a feature news service, India Press Agency (IPA) in collaboration with another Communist journalist David Cohen.

In 1959, IPA shot into prominence with a report of the then prime minister’s personal assistant M.O. Mathai, that rocked Parliament, forcing Mathai to resign.

Nikhil Chakravartty quit the Communist Party for its support of Indira Gandhi‘s emergency and played a key role in opposing press censorship (1975-77) and Rajiv Gandhi‘s anti-defamation bill in 1989.

Tellingly, he declined the Padma Bhushan conferred on him by the National Front government In 1990, with a dignified letter to the then President, “pointing out that a journalist carrying out his professional obligation should not appear to be close to any government and/or any political establishment.”

A commemorative issue of Mainstream, released at a seminar organised by the Editors Guild of India in New Delhi yesterday, records:

“He always called himself a ‘reporter’. He did have the finest attributes of a reporter, and despite airing his own views in commentaries and editorials never discarded fairness in reporting or tampered with facts.

“His fidelity to facts was extraordinary. And he knew what to report and what not to report—always preserving the confidence reposed in him by his interlocutors.”

Nikhil Chakravartty passed away on 27 June 1998, by which time he had stepped down as editor of Mainstream to become its editorial advisor.

Mainstream is now edited by his son Sumit Chakravartty.

Also read: Why Rajdeep, Barkha must decline Padma Sri

Lessons for Vir Sanghvi & Barkha from Prem & Nikhilda

Did Radia tapes impact Padma awards for journos?

External reading: Usha Rai on Nikhil Chakravartty

Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria gets Padma Bhushan

25 January 2010

Fareed Zakaria, the Bombay-born editor of Newsweek International and the host of CNN’s GPS, has been decorated with India’s third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan.

Zakaria’s name finds mention in the annual Republic Day honours’ list released by the ministry of home affairs.

Zakaria, whose mother Fatma Zakaria was one of the stellar names of the now-defunct Illustrated Weekly of India under Khushwant Singh, is the only journalist on this year’s list of 130 names, in this the 60th year of the founding of the Indian republic.

“I am deeply honoured and humbled. I am absolutely delighted to be in the company of people with extraordinary achievements,” Zakaria told Press Trust of India.

“I believe India and the US are moving on a path of inevitable partnership. (There are) so many broad forces pushing these two countries together — from strategic forces to cultural forces to intellectual force. I believe that we would see the 21st century in which the US and India ideas, interest, values and increasingly cooperate on the global stage.”

Also read: Will this man be the next US secretary of state?

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Why Rajdeep, Barkha must decline Padma Shri

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