KBG’s Abracadabra titled “News that drove me back to Bombay — Is it possible to live and die like Krishna Raj?” (Star of Mysore dated July 28) evoked “memories of the past” in me, too.
I fully endorse everything my friend KBG wrote about Krishna Raj. While KBG had the good fortune to work with him, when he was the Editor of Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), I didn’t. But I had the privilege of meeting and talking with him on numerous occasions, thanks to our late friend, Colin de Souza, who worked at EPW as a Sub-Editor for over 12 years.
Our gossip sessions at Irani restaurants and speakeasies in Bombay often meandered into what was going on at our workplaces. While Colin talked about Krishna Raj in superlative terms, KBG and I racked our brains, in vain, searching for something good to say about our bosses. A couple of things Colin shared with us about Krishna are worth mentioning in this context, because they bear testimony to the modesty and selflessness of the person.
Krishna Raj was second-in-command at Economic Weekly (later renamed Economic and Political Weekly) when its Founder-Editor Sachin Chaudhuri died, in 1966. He could have easily taken over as Editor, Colin told us. But the highly-principled man that he is, he put the interests of the institution before his own. It was on Krishna Raj’s initiative, according to Colin, that the Sameeksha Trust, the owners of the Weekly, brought in R.K. Hazari as its Editor.
Krishna Raj knew that Hazari’s presence at the helm would greatly enhance the reputation of the Weekly. And Hazari’s reputation as an Economist had gone sky-high by then, with the publication of the report prepared by him under the auspices of the Planning Commission. The report exposed the notorious industrial-licencing practices that prevailed in India at the time.
The mention of Krishna Raj’s appointment as a Director of Dena Bank brings back another piece of information Colin shared with me about Krishna Raj: Every time he received a cheque from Dena Bank, as honorarium for attending the Bank’s Board of Directors meeting, he would immediately endorse it to EPW and hand it over to the Office Accountant.
Krishna Raj was one of the finest human beings I met in my life. I put him in the category of the late B. G. Verghese. The likes of them are a rarity — not only in journalism, but in any profession.
– M. P. Prabhakaran, Editor-Publisher, The East-West Inquirer online monthly, New York, 31.7.2017
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