Narad vs Sanjay: Who is the better journalist?


Narad vs Sanjay: Who is the better journalist?

The latter tells the story, but is never the story. He would remain the journalist of journalists: the unsung chronicler.

|  METROSOCIAL  |  2-minute read |   10-05-2015   

 In every area of worthy human endeavor, India laid the seeds and plants grew world wide . So it is with journalism, a honorable profession, dedicated to spread of truth with a purpose to achieve well being of the worlds. We come across sage Narada, himself a great devotee and scholar, a Purana is there called Narada Purana, he also gave us a treatise on Bhakti, philosophy behind it, Narada Bhakti Sutra. He covers, coveys information not just all over this globe we live on, but to all over creation, the universe.
Then there was Sanjay, an aide for blind Dhrutharastra, technically emperor of vast empire with capital city in Hastinapur , present day Delhi. He narrates like a TV reporter entire events as they were happening on the battle field of Mahabharat war to  aged emperor.
To this we may even add Suta, narrator of Puranas , episodes of events spread over even longer and extensive periods and on various  vast areas covering the universe, to sages assembled in Naimisaraynya in present day Uttar Pradesh.
It is good hence to note Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh decided to observe Narada Jayanti as a day to honor journalists.
As you know we often complain about fallen standards in journalism in India which in many cases became vehicle to broadcast anti-India, specifically anti-Hindu propaganda. In contrast to such modern trend, traditionally journalism used to be a patriotic endeavor to mobilize public opinion for freedom of India. Khasa Subbar Rao who edited Swarajya in the days of freedom struggle , yes, the news paper Hindu then come to mind readily in this regard. During freedom movement, Hindu used to be a truly a national and nationalist daily news paper.
Balagangadhar Tilak too was a journalist and published “Kesari” fearlessly articulating the cause of freedom of India, earning the title , Father of Indian Unrest. Here are some of images of news paper he ran. You can click , read the Marathi text.
More recent, during Emergency, brave souls stood up and challenged the dictatorship replacing democracy, another freedom struggle for people of India. Ramanath Goenka of Indian Express was one such. Like Hindu news paper once, Goenka’s Indian Express then was fearlessly nationalist .
Then there was K.R. Malkani. He was editor of weekly magazine, “Organizer”. This was one of first news paper that got shut down by our lady of Emergency because the editor correctly predicted imposition of Emergency before it was inflicted. He was taken to jail straight from his office in Delhi and place was locked by police. Only after 19 months , when Emergency was lifted and he was released  from prison , he could return to office to find his office , the cup he left on his desk all intact as he left 19 months back. His editorials were always optimistic and uplifting even during darkest of days.
  • Kewalram Ratanmal Malkani (November 19, 1921 – October 27, 2003) was an Indian politician ,journalist, historian who served as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry  .. He was born in Sindh Pakistan. .
Incidentally many saintly people, some PhDs , Professors and such spent 19 months in prison during the emergency that was not meant for any higher purpose than to save the chair of Mrs. Gandhi.
Abroad too Indian journalists made a mark, though not well known, nevertheless remain distinguished. Here is a brief note from Times of India about one of them;
……”That honor goes to Gobind Behari Lal, a 1937 Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and science editor emeritus of Hearst newspapers who engendered specialized science coverage in the U.S in the time of Edison and Einstein. A staunch Indian nationalist and Ghadr Party activist, Lal died in 1982 having worked right till his death at 92, just about the time a few brown Indian faces were starting to show up on American copy desks and in newsrooms. “
Hope functions like the one noted  below , conducted by RSS brings out again the best of Indian journalism to the fore as well as make people remember best of journalists of yore.Best wishes, G V Chelvapilla
Abhijit Majumder



The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Saturday observed Debarshi Narad Jayanti as the day to honour journalists. To choose sage Narad as the prototype of today’s journalists is a particularly curious piece of myth mining, given how Sangh and its social media army view scribes of the Delhi durbar.
Narad is the embodiment of the ace Lutyens’ journalist: has unhindered access to the powerful, carries gossip as efficiently as wind carries pollen, goes glibly from advocacy to influence-peddling, is a steadfast devotee, master of silken flattery, backroom adviser, provocateur, lover of quarrels and a consummate mischief-monger. He is also well-read, well-travelled and bit of a celeb himself. He is also possibly the first lobbyist.
If one were to hire a gossip columnist or opinion page writer, it would be Maharshi Narad. But if one were to hire a reporter, the choice would be Sanjay, King Dhritarashtra’s charioteer and narrator of events.
Sanjay, not Narad, is the finest example of a journalist in Indian mythology. He reports the Mahabharata war to the blind king truthfully, amorally… delivers information with the honesty and transparency of a crystal sheet. He never turns away from reporting death after death of his master’s sons at the hands of the Pandavs.
Sanjay’s first and unwavering commitment is to the metaphorical reader or viewer who is eager to be informed — in his case the blind Dhritarashtra. He tells the story, but is never the story. He pleases none, doesn’t flirt with fame, carries word to no one other than his primary reader or viewer. What he narrates may often be controversial, but he never narrates it controversially. He is less of a Jeff Jarvis, the former television critic and former columnist for theSan Francisco Examiner, who says, “If it’s not advocacy, it’s not journalism”, more of a David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorkermagazine.
As The New York Times says about Remnick: “He has no interest in being a court painter to the powerful and makes certain to note the moral or political warts of even those people he most admires. He goes places, talks to many people (including the wives of his subjects) and comes back to tell his readers what he has learned. And like any reporter who learns from what he experiences, he knows that the world contains very few saints.
“Above all, Remnick wants to see the subject clearly, and if that is not possible, to offer evidence that the person is too elusive for any final word to be written.”
In the digital age when a raging ocean of information crashes the gates of our mind, both Narad and Sanjay would exist and excel.
Narad would certainly be the more exciting teller of tales and an effective and entertaining campaigner. He would be the Julian Assange or Alexei Navalny, liberally spilling state secrets or crowdsourcing disclosures of corporate corruption. But Sanjay would remain the journalist of journalists: the unsung chronicler, and the more dependable one.

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