He Never Wanted Fame

Jagdish Prasad Mathur

There is a thin line which differentiates between Journalism and writer, between the news and articles. If any body has written down something and somebody commented on it and it becomes some message for public, it makes a news. As there is a thin line of difference among articles, writer, journalism and news, a similar difference was there within character of Deendayal Ji. He did not fit into today’s definition of a journalist. I am saying today’s definition because who is a reporter today? One who’s passed out from any college, university of journalism, without it nobody selects you to become a part of the newsroom. Earlier big names like as Prabhakar and Chaalpati Ray did not have any degree. In that sense Deendayal ji was also a journalist.

Deendayal had a quality, that he would put forward his views in a clear manner without any hesitation. But he neither tried to impose his greatness nor tried to promote himself his articles and statement. Actually, it was just opposite. I won’t say doubtfulness but definitely there was some sort of paradox. Deendayal ji was brought up in tradition of Sangh Parivar. Perhaps he was greatly influenced by Guru Ji. As we all know Guru Ji never liked popularity, so much so that if any body took his photograph then he was quite uncomfortable.

Once he told me during a conversation it was his fifty first Birthday and on that very day a news photographer shot his photograph. Guru Ji immediately covered his face. Next day his photograph was published in The Times of India with a heading “Camerashy leader”. On this Guru Ji said, “I don’t know why whenever any body takes the photograph I feel uncomfortable”. Brought up in this tradition Pandit Deendayal was very popular and as he was involved in the political field so it was necessary for him to gives news and gain popularity. Between this traditional the need to be media savvy due to political compulsions, an altogether new aspect of Deendayal ji’s personality emerged.

I remember, when Jan Sangh was constituted, there was no depth in it. Everybody took it lightly. Today 100 to 125 persons attend BJP working committee meeting. At that time they could hardly find 25 to 30 people. The meeting used to be held in a small room. Though there was not much news content in this but still when I used to ask whether we should release a news item on the meeting to the Press he used to say there is no need for this. We are doing this work not for publicity but we are trying to lay some strong foundations. So is approach was that we should work and should not seek publicity.
I remembered that reporters were never called for many days during party conference. But then Advani ji joined us and he along with us emphasized the need for media coverage then Pandit Deendayal ji said that he agreed that things should be more open.

So that was the paradox he was facing, on one hand he did not want publicity and on the other hand as he was compelled to go for it. He said why it should be necessary to give it to newspaper or why it should be necessary to say as a reporter. He said whenever, I say anything or write or give a speech it has a purpose.

The purpose is that we should reach directly to the lowest level in villages. So he always said that let English journalism be there but is not of much use to us, we should concentrate on local language newspapers. He used to keep a dictionary in his bag to find out meanings of English words. Initially he was reluctant to write in English but he had that sharp intellect, focused mind and strong consciousness. So later on he wrote his column Political Diary in English and it was quite well written.

Another thing he said was that personal relations with scribes should be maintained but should not be used for self projection. Generally he did not visit people in this context. He had personal relations with the then editor of Navbharat Times Sh. Akshay Kumar. He was also well known to Mankekar and several other senior journalists but he was mainly close to journalist of Indian language newspapers. There are one or two pleasant incidents. Earlier there was a tradition especially with congress leaders to reach in a meeting late. What used to happen was that while the scribes used to reach at the venue of press briefing, the leaders were late. Deendayal ji changed this. He said we must be punctual. And if we don’t do this then who will do this. I remember we had small office at Ajmeri Gate so we used to have press briefing at a hotel. Deendayal ji always used to reach the venue in time while the scribes used to be late. We had to make him sit in some room in the hotel and as soon at the scheduled time when he used to sit at a table, one or two scribes who used to come in time had to request him to delay the briefing so that rest of their colleagues could also come. This was his penchant for adhering to time schedule.

There is another incident. There was a press conference at Venger Restaurant in Delhi. At that time also there was no tradition of introducing the journalists attending the press conference. There were a very few journalists at that time and all of them used to be known on the first name basis to most of the public figures. In this particular press conference, I recognized a person and asked Pandit ji, should I give his introduction, he is from intelligence. Pandit ji told me not to do so. Then when everybody was introduced, he said we have a special guest today and told everybody about him. As he tried to get up and go, Pandit ji stopped him and ensured that he left with the hand out distributed in the Press conference.

That is what I say that Pandit ji was not an established journalist in that sense. But he had great potential, had he lived for a few more years, it is not that he would have earned good money from journalism but he knew what is news, how to identify it, how to treat it and how to deliver it.

At times while making his statement he used to write intro. He used to say the news should com at the top and then the rest of the things follow.

There is another thing. Pnadit ji wanted to say what he thought fearlessly. When the movement for separate Punjab state was going on, our leaders there said that non-Sikh Punajbis should write Hindi as their mother tongue. Pandit ji tried to convince them with in the party. But then when he fot a go ahead from Guruji he said openly that Punjabi is the language of all Punjabis.

Similarly after the working committee in Poona, Pandit ji opposed the ideology of Socialism during his press briefing. I cautioned him as at that time as Socialism was the dominating ideology all over the country at that time. But he said that we should say what every we feel strongly about. His principle was that even if there is a controversy then we should even propound our view even more strongly as controversy creates news.

Remaining away from publicity Pandit ji started working as a simple and ordinary journalist but he kept on moving ahead. Had it not been for his untimely death, he would have definitely been guiding us today in the field of journalism. Though at that electronic media did not exist but I am sure even in present situation he would have dealt with this also.