– By a Correspondent in Chicago, United States
Journalism is a noble profession and J.V. Lakshmana Rao has proved amply by his fair, frank and objective writings during his 60 years of service holding high editorial positions in India and the US, said Dr. Bharat Barai, a well-known physician and prominent community activist, here on July 3.
The meeting was organized at Manav Seva Mandir in Bensenville by the Indian Community with twin objectives – to give a warm farewell to Lakshmana Rao, who had decided to return to India and also release his book that describes his journey as journalist for over 60 years.
Presiding over the meeting and releasing the book – Sojourn Of A Singular Scribe – Dr. Bharat Barai said that with the emergence of electronic media, and introduction of video and audio means, print media had been facing decline and hence the reading habit among the youth had been suffering.
“Gone were the days when people curiously waited to read a daily newspaper over a cup of tea first in the morning. I still enjoy reading a newspaper than nibble through a cell phone or a computer screen. The youth should be trained early in their lives to write and expose to journalism,” Dr. Bharat Barai said.
While Indian ethnic newspapers had been serving the community fairly well, the mainstream newspapers in the US had been distorting news. Quoting an incident some years ago how a mainstream newspaper, which distorted a well-attended meeting of L.K. Advani in Chicago, had to eat its humble pie, when a protest was led by him with a proof of photographs. As an objective, he asked Lakshmana Rao and others to take it seriously that training facilities in journalism for the youth were created for their understanding the world and serve the society.
Consul Ranjit Singh, as a Guest of Honor, representing the Consulate General of India in Chicago, said that he had heard a lot of good things about Lakshmana Rao’s role as editor of India Tribune. The Consul said that he had gone through the book and found many interesting things about him. “Lakshmana Rao mentioned that in the US the journalists and media persons, who accompany the high dignitaries like Presidents in foreign tours, foot their own travel and lodging bills, unlike in India, where the retinue of media personnel enjoy the freebies and hospitality of the government there,” the Consul said and added that now the Indian government is also practicing such entourage would consist only a small team of select media personnel.
Above: J.V. Lakshmana Rao and Dr. Bharat Barai, accompanied by others, lighting a lamp to mark the opening of the farewell and book inauguration function at the Manav Seva Mandir in Bensenville, Chicago, on July 3.
Prashant Shah, publisher of the India Tribune, said that Lakshmana Rao’s contribution to the growth of the newspaper was immense. “I am only an accidental publisher and journalist, but Lakshmana Rao is thorough in his profession, very objective, fearless and frank; and used to work all the seven days for several extended hours. Besides being a very prolific writer, he was meticulous about the content, spelling and grammar of every sentence that went into the newspaper pages,” Prashant Shah said.
Welcoming the gathering on behalf of the Indian Community, Bhailal Patel, Executive Vice-president of Parikh Worldwide Media, said that he as a media professional and as a member of the community, had seen that Lakshmana Rao had excelled in his profession and there was no important event of the community he had not covered. His writings had brought lot of changes in many organizations. He trained and mentored many budding journalists, taught at journalism schools of many universities, including the Northwestern University. A few of his students are now working in the mainstream media.
Lakshmana Rao spoke briefly about his experience as a journalist. He said that journalism was not a profession but a mission for him, and he thoroughly enjoyed working as a responsible journalist and all the newspapers he worked had given him freedom to perform his duties. His most memorable days were with the Indian Express in India and the India Tribune in the US.
Dr. S.V. Rama Rao, a noted artist and writer, Dr. Prakasam Tata, Dr. Shridar Damle, Dr. Sonty Sriram and many others spoke hailing Lakshmana Rao’s services as a journalist. Some organizations have felicitated him on the occasion. Rajendar Singh Bedi, who acted as a Master of Ceremony, proposed a vote of thanks.
Lakshmana Rao’s book is available with its publisher www.indianfolk.com. E-book edition would also be available soon with Amazon.
Cover Picture: Dr. Bharat Barai, who released J.V. Lakshmana Rao’s book, Sojourn Of A Singular Scribe, Consul Ranjit Singh, Bhailal Patel, J.V. Lakshmana Rao and Prashant Shah, are seen displaying the book, at the farewell and book inauguration function at the Manav Seva Mandir in Bensenville, Chicago, on July 3, 2021.