The Times of India doesn’t usually run obituaries of its staffers. But the paper makes an exception today, June 22, to mark the demise of its first Indian employee who passed away on June 1:
“Veteran journalist, historian and author Alfred D’Cruz died in Bandra after a brief illness. He is believed to be the first Indian to have been employed by the editorial department of The Times of India way back in 1947. D’Cruz was 91. D’Cruz is survived by his son and three daughters, one of whom was also employed at TOI.
“D’Cruz was handpicked for the job by the then British editor, Sir Francis Low. “There were no Indians as part of the editorial team at the time. My father often recalled working till 4am, struggling with the hot metal press to prepare the blocks for photographs because computers were yet to arrive on the scene,” his son Sunil said from Muscat.
“In 1982, D’Cruz retired as editor of TOI‘s ‘Who’s Who’ yearbook but remained active for years after that. At the age of 69, he joined a newspaper in the Gulf and worked there until the Gulf War.”
Let the record state that the news of D’Cruz’s death was reported by the Bombay-based Afternoon Despatch & Courier on June 7 and the Oman Observer on June 14 and The Times of India on June 22.
The obituary in the Oman Observer records:
Writing under the pseudonym Afie, Alfred D’Cruz was the only scribe to write the Round & About column in the Evening News of India [the now-defunct evening newspaper from The Times of India group] for some time when the late ‘Busybee’ [Behram Contractor] was on leave.
Also read: Tarun Sehrwat, 22 and killed in the line of duty
Chari, a lens legend at The Hindu
Harishchandra Lachke: A pioneering cartoonist
T.N. Shanbag: Man who educated Bombay journos
Rajan Bala: cricket writer of cricket writers
Jyoti Sanyal: The language terrorist and teacher
Russy Karanjia: The bulldog of an editor
Sabina Sehgal Saikia: The resident food writer
M.G. Moinuddin: The self-taught newspaper designer
Naresh Chandra Rajkhowa: Journo who broke Dalai Lama story
J. Dey: When eagles are silent, parrots jabber
E. Raghavan: Ex-ET, TOI, Vijaya Karnataka editor
Prakash Kardaley: When god cries when the best arrive
Pratima Puri: India’s first TV news reader passes away
Tejeshwar Singh: A baritone falls silent watching the cacophony
N.S. Jagannathan: Ex-editor of Indian Express
K.M. Mathew: chief of editor of Malayala Manorama
Amita Malik: the ‘first lady of Indian media’
K.R. Prahlad: In the end, death becomes a one-liner
M.R. Shivanna: A 24×7 journalist is no more
C.P. Chinnappa: A song for an unsung hero
Indian cinema’s biggest star—the BBC’s star of the millennium—Amitabh Bachchan has had a more-hate-than-love relationship with the media, except when the demands of public relations on the eve of a movie release weighed heavy on him.
But in a surprising intervention, Bachchan has spoken out in favour of the beleaguered CEO of Bombay’s Afternoon Despatch & Courier, Farzana Contractor, and commended the way the widow of Behram Contractor conducted herself during her clash with the company’s chairman, Kamal Morarka.
“Despite all the severe criticism and adverse reactions you had to face, you walked with your head held high. One of the most important lessons in life is to just continue walking and do what you have been doing. This puts the opposition and rivals in complete disarray,” Bachchan said, at a food and wine event organised by Upper Crust, the magazine Contractor edits. “Do not get bothered by the questions posed to you. If they are asking questions about you, it is fine. Because it indicates they fear you.”
Sales of ADC, founded 22 years ago by Behram Contractor, who wrote “Round & About”, the paper’s popular column on Bombay life, under the pseudonym Busybee, declined after Behram’s death in 2001. The paper stopped printing on September 27, a few days after Morarka, the larger shareholder, objected to Farzana describing herself as “editor” in a photo caption. Officially, she was chief executive officer of Courier Publications. The company board later removed her.
Also read: Vinod Mehta on the ADC saga