ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Remembering the Past, Continuing with the Present

One of the EPW’s long-time writers reminisces about his association with the Economic Weekly, and then, from the late 1960s–early 1970s, his relationship with the EPW (and Krishna Raj) as a regular correspondent.

When I joined the Statesman newspaper in Calcutta more than half-a-century ago in 1962 as a journalist, most of my seniors in the reporters’ room were usually left-inclined. Some among them were ex-card carrying holders of the Communist Party, and one of them (the late Prasanta Sarkar) had been a jailbird, having spent some time in prison for his involvement with the communist insurrectionary movement in 1948. But the Statesman in those days (still owned by British business houses like the well-known Andrew Yule and other similar concerns, and run by English editors), followed the ethics of privileging professional efficiency over whatever political prejudices they could have inherited from the colonial past. These senior colleagues of mine advised me not to remain confined to the comfortable environs of Statesman-type journalism of the mainstream press, but reach out also to the alternative media that were developing in those days.

The two weeklies that they recommended for my reading were, one, the New Statesman (ironically echoing the title of my newspaper, but run by one of the greatest dissident editors of those days, Kingsley Martin), from London, and two, the Economic Weekly (brought out from Bombay by another maverick editor, Sachin Chaudhuri). I never met Sachin Chaudhuri, but knew his brother Debu Chaudhuri, who was much senior to me, but was a regular partner in the evening sessions over drinks that we used to have in the early 1960s with our elders like Samar Sen (forgotten as a poet, but remembered as the rebel editor of Frontier; Niranjan Majumdar, again forgotten as a writer in Bengali, but celebrated for his brilliant editorials in English in the Statesman). These sessions were held in Olympia (now renamed as Olypub) in Park Street, where we were often joined by the renowned painter Gopal Ghosh, who used to sketch on the paper serviettes, which were probably thrown away, or collected and retained by connoisseurs who cared to pick them up.

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Updated On : 18th Aug, 2017
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