Memoirs of a journalist: The Emergency was announced

I was working with The Searchlight when emergency was proclaimed.Believe it or not, head of the IB, who used to visit the newspaper office to collect" waste" press releases of the Sangharsh samiti or signed statements of JP during the students movement, was not aware of the proclamation when he visited the newsroom occupied by morning desk.

He had many friends on the desk and reporting.When the chief sub who was leading the morning desk told him "now you will not get leftovers" ( press releases / statements).He did not appreciate it, but when informed emergency has been imposed,no leader would dare to come to the Press, he asked for the details and made a hasty retreat on his Willy's jeep without waiting for the tea offer.

The Press Information Bureau was literally next door,behind petrol pump.Yadunath Sinha was heading the PIB, friendly with the senior reporters/ chief subs and always a perfect host after sunset.

A joint secretary of home department acted as censor officer for some time, little knowledge and dangerous thing, he perfected.

One day editor SR Rau, in his edit, talked of rising prices of vegetables, whichi was not allowed. The Edit went blank next morning.

Later,PIB took over as censor officer,he had knowledge of news and views. The cooperation between reporters, desk with the censor increased with mutual respect.Releases of DPR/ PIB got more space.

Chief minister, Dr Jagannath Mishra , himself a former Journalist,was not Harsh.As the Searchlight was delisted by his predecessor, Abdul Ghafoor for "publishing false and concoted stories", Dr Mishra was careful.No Journalist was arrested.

SR Rau maintained the high standards set by his brilliant predecessors,Murli Babu,MSM Sharma,K Rama Rao,TJS George and Subhash Sarkar,did not bow down.That was the reason that leaders like Vajpayee,Rajmata Scindia, Karpoori Thakur visited him in the Searchlight to consult him on political issues too.

People have made it a ritual.Ab Kitna royoge,50 saal purani kahani par,aage badho,Aatma nirbhar bano

IDN
IDN  

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