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He Was, By All Accounts, The Last Of The Gentlemen Editors



He Was, By All Accounts, The Last Of The Gentlemen Editors

~By Saeed Naqvi

These are such desperate times for journalism that S. Nihal Singh’s departure at 89, triggers memories about a phase in the profession that dreams are made of.

My personal journalistic trajectory trailed his rather closely. He was The Statesman’s Special Correspondent in Singapore when I entered the portals of that once great newspaper as a cub reporter.

I was, in fact, following Nihal’s footsteps because this was how he entered the profession a decade earlier – as a cub reporter. There were no schools of journalism then, but we received training of exactly the thoroughness which our respective letters of appointment had promised:

“We do not guarantee you employment at the end of the six month training period, but the training you will have received here will enable you to find work elsewhere.” It remained something of a puzzle why the pocket money Nihal was offered during the training period was infinitely higher than mine which was a meagre Rs.300 per month.

Like most of us who entered the profession after him, Nihal covered New Delhi courts, Tis Hazari courts, Municipal Corporation, Delhi State Assembly, Police Commissioner, Chief Minister. The drill of dwelling on nodal points of governance and power, moving upwards in measured step, imparted to the journalist that most precious of attitudes: an indifference to power, an ability not to be overawed.

He Was, By All Accounts, The Last Of The Gentlemen Editors

As the profession expanded behavioural contrasts magnified. Untrained entrants at senior levels, who had romanticized political power from a distance, became unsteady on their feet because they found corridors of power too heady. A sense of balance was a frequent casualty.

This is where Nihal could not go wrong. In 1982, when the nation was convulsed by the Meenakshipuram conversions, Nihal, then Editor-in-Chief of the Indian Express, sent a teleprinter message to me in Madras where I was then posted as editor of five southern editions: “urgently need 700 words on Meenakshipuram.”

I put on my ultra-balanced hat and churned out the required wordage. It was a typical “while on the one hand” but “on the other” piece. Muslims shouldn’t be upto these tricks and Hindus shouldn’t get too excited. I mentioned “structural violence” in the Hindu social order: this was sacriledge and Nihal let it pass. Unaware of the gathering storm, he thanked me for having responded promptly.

What followed took him and me by surprise. We were both completely out of touch with the strength of feelings on the issue. Indeed, a certain indifference to religion which a whole generation cultivated as Nehruvian secularism was being jettisoned and we found ourselves flat footed.

After a brilliant career with the IAS and having established himself as a scholar of the Indus Valley script, Iravatham Mahadevan, had taken up a job as Executive Manager of the Indian Express’s southern editions. After reading my edit, he came charging to my room in a state of high agitation. “How could you have done it?” He looked at me in a daze, blabbering like someone in a motor accident. “How could you have done it?” I learnt later he was from the RSS, shakhas et al. I commend to the RSS to keep more Mahadevans in its stable. He was exceptionally erudite on subjects of his choice.

In the Express compound, in Hick’s bungalow, Ramnath Goenka was bringing the ceiling down: “Hindu Kahan Javey?” (Where should the Hindus go?) “Tum to Makkay chale jaao; Hindu kahan javey?” (You can go to Mecca, but where should the Hindu go?)

He commandeered his chartered accountant, S. Gurumurthy, senior RSS functionary, to write a rejoinder to my editorial. My “balanced” approach to Meenakshipuram, it transpired, was misplaced.

It was now Nihal’s turn to face the music. The piece, authored by Gurumurthy, arrived at his desk in New Delhi. His job as Editor was on the line. What should he do? But Nihal did what he had learnt in The Statesman. In a newspaper, the prerogative for taking editorial decision rests with the editor. He consigned the article to the waste paper basket. Ramnath Goenka too was a larger than life publisher. He allowed his Editor’s line to prevail. But separation was clearly on the cards; they belonged to different cultures.

So did S. Mulgaonkar “apparently” belong to another culture but he was both, a craftier man and a finer writer. In the projection of his image, Mulgaonkar was exactly Nihal’s opposite. Never having been to school, Mulgaonkar cultivated all the airs of English aristocracy. He was adept at bridge, horse racing, angling, and, believe it or not, keeping Oxford and Cambridge cricket scores. He was a gourmet cook, a fad for which he cultivated junior French diplomats as sources for herbs and white wine. All of this impressed the Marwari in RNG. Once an editor, devoted to the amber stuff, looked at his watch and dropped an obvious hint: “I suppose I will not get a drink here.” Pat came the reply from RNG “I keep, but only for English people.”

Nihal had no aristocratic pretenses of a Mulgaonkar. He was content with his buffalo undercut, marinated in garlic and pepper, roast potatoes and Dujon mustard on the side. He called it beef fillet. The Dujon, rather than English mustard was in deference to his warm hearted Dutch wife, Ge. He had first come to know her when she was a young KLM hostess. I remember him flaunt his European affiliation before friends in London: “I prefer the continent”, he would say with a sort of flat, ineffective pomp.

His understanding of politics and International affairs was uncomplicated. He made up in clarity what he lacked in deep insight. He was, by habit, a perfect gentleman.

It was a mistake, I believe, for both Pran Chopra and Nihal Singh to be parked respectively in Kolkata as editors of The Statesman. The only Punjabi that Bengal has ever tolerated was K.L. Sehgal in New Theatre cinema. This elicited no more than a smile from Nihal.

India News

Gunshots fired outside Salman Khan’s Galaxy Apartment in Bandra, Mumbai Police investigates

A firing incident took place outside Salman Khan’s home in Bandra today, and investigation is currently underway.



Early in the morning, gunshots were heard outside Salman Khan’s Bandra house. An unidentified person fired a gun into the air while riding a bike about five in the morning. Police are currently looking into the matter and conducting searches.

It has been reported that two men fired bullets outside Salman’s Galaxy Aparetment at around 5:00 am. A gunshot fire was found close to the air conditioner mounted on the wall beside it. An investigation has been launched by Mumbai Police to identify the gunman. The forensic team and the crime branch also arrived at the location.

However, there are currently no reports of injuries. The security around Salman Khan’s home has been inxcreased, according to the police. On the other side, the Bandra Police Station has received an official complaint (FIR) against unidentified attackers. DCP has also arrived at the location. Images of the two suspects who opened fire at Salman’s house on the bike appeared. In the images, the two accussed can be seen wearing helmets to prevent identification. Salman’s home has CCTV installed, and the image was taken using it.

This is not the first time that Salman Khan has been attacked or threatened. Several people have threatened to kill him. Gangster Lawrence Bishnoi had planned ahead of time to use his goons to attack the Bollywood actor. The man who was given the idea to kill Salman Khan is none other than Naresh Shetty, the mentor of mobster Kala Jathedi and the most important person in Bishnoi’s gang.

In addition, mobster Sampat Nehra had set up camp in Mumbai for a few days in order to attack Salman Khan. Not only that, but after escaping, infamous mobster Kala Jathedi also made Mumbai his home. At one point or another, all of these mob figures resided in Mumbai’s Vaasi area.

Meanwhile, on the occasion of Eid, Salman Khan frequently waves to his followers from the balcony of his first-floor Galaxy Apartment.

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India News

Lok Sabha elections 2024: BJP releases manifesto Sankalp Patra in presence of PM Modi, focuses on women, poor and youth

The BJP released its manifesto or Sankalp Patra, with tagline Modi ki Guarantee, for the Lok Sabha election 2024



At the party headquarters in New Delhi on Sunday, April 14, the Bharatiya Janata Party unveiled their manifesto, or Sankalp Patra, for the Lok Sabha election of 2024, with the slogan Modi ki Guarantee. The manifesto was presented in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president JP Nadda, and other senior leaders.

The day marks on the anniversary of the birth of BR Ambedkar, a notable Dalit leader who drafted the Indian Constitution. A 27-member committee to draft the party’s manifesto, led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, was constituted by the BJP and convened twice to discuss its contents. Ahead of this, the party conducted several campaigns on social media and sent out vans across the nation to get recommendations from the public.

The four pillars of Viksit Bharat—women power, youth power, farmers, and the poor—are the core of the manifesto, according to the prime minister. The PM said that the manifesto emphasizes both the quantity and quality of opportunities, as well as the dignity of life and quality of life.

According to the PM, the government will prioritize installing piped gas in every home and provide free solar-powered electricity.

A five-year extension of the Centre’s free ration system was promised in the manifesto. To stabilize prices and safeguard the plates of the impoverished, the government said it will concentrate on achieving self-sufficiency in the production of vegetables, edible oils, and pulses. It stated that every home will have access to drinking water and that the Ayushman Bharat scheme and the PMAwas Yojana would be increased.

As per the BJP manifesto, farmers would still receive Rs 6,000 in annual support, and the crop insurance program will be strengthened with the use of technology. According to the manifesto, the government will keep raising the minimum support price for crops on a regular basis, establish new clusters for the production of necessities, and construct more storage facilities.

JP Nadda, speaking to the media, outlined the accomplishments of the BJP government during its ten years in office. He restated that the central campaign slogan of the BJP, Modi ki guarantee, is a guarantee that all guarantees will be fulfilled.

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Rameshwaram Cafe blast: Karnataka Home Minister reveals how police inputs helped NIA arrest accused

The blast at the cafe occurred during lunch hour on March 1 at around 1 pm, which left 10 people injured



Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara said on Saturday that inquiry teams were attempting to determine whether the two suspects in the Rameshwaram cafe blast who were detained by the NIA had any connections to other terrorist groups. He also praised the state police for their contributions, some of which resulted in their arrest. Meanwhile, the suspects have been placed in 10-day police custody on remand.

The Karnataka police and the NIA have both performed incredibly well. In the beginning, they obtained all of the CCTV footage and monitored one of the accused, which helped in their arrest, he said.

The minister disclosed how the NIA was able to arrest the accused, which was possible because of a tip from the police.

He said the police shared very good inputs with the NIA, like the cap the accused was wearing, which was purchased from Chennai, and the telephone number he had given in the shop.

According to G Parameshwara, the services were also looking for connections between them and other crimes related to terrorism. He said that they might be attempting to flee from West Bengal to Bangladesh, where they were apprehended by the NIA.

He said the team is investigating the real motive behind the blast and their involvement with other terror outfits (ISIS), as these two (accused) are supposed to be involved in the earlier Shivamogga blast and kept running for three to four days ahead of getting arrested in this case, Parameshwara stated.

Since they were apprehended in West Bengal, a state that shares a border with Bangladesh, it’s possible that they wanted to leave the country. However, currently, they don’t have any precise information on this. He continued, They will discover in due course if there is someone assisting from that side (Bangladesh).

Meanwhile, the blast at the cafe occurred during lunch hour on March 1 at around 1 pm, which left 10 people injured. On March 3, the NIA took over the case from the police and announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for any information regarding the two accused.

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