Tag Archives: Napoleon

Ramnath Goenka: Courage of the 2 o’clock kind

Ramnath Goenka, extreme right, with C.R. Irani of The Statesman, Khushwant Singh and Kuldip Nayar, in protest against the defamation bill, in 1988

India’s foremost jurist, Fali S. Nariman, on India’s bulldog of a publisher, Ramnath Goenka of the undivided Indian Express, in his just-published memoirs Before Memory Fades*:

“Ramnath Goenka was founder and managing editor of the The Indian Express, and he had, what Napoleon called, courage of  “the two o’ clock-in-the-morning-kind”—unprepared courage that is necessary to meet an unexpected occasion!

“Goenka faced the Emergency of June  1975 with grit and determination. For the entire period that it lasted (upto March1977), he stood erect and defiant, a towering figure–the symbol of the free press in India.

“During the Internal Emergency, the Express group of newspapers faced criminal prosecutions all around the country prosecutions under the Companies Act, 1956, for not filing certain documents with the registrar and/or filing them beyond the stipulated time.

“Invariably, the magistrates (who looked upward for guidance) would not dispense with the personal appearance of the managing director, and Ramnathji spent most of his waking hours shuttling from one place in India to another, dutifully putting in his personal appearance before the courts across the country. But he was not deterred.”

*Before Memory Fades, Hay House, published pages 549, Rs 599

Also read: How Ramnath Goenka made Arun Shourie an editor