Edi­tor who fought the Emer­gency

Was hon­oured for op­pos­ing Prime Min­is­ter Indira Gandhi dur­ing the dark years

The Hindu - - NEWS - Smita Gupta

Veteran jour­nal­ist Suren­dra Ni­hal Singh died here on Mon­day, fol­low­ing a brief ill­ness. Mr. Singh, who would have turned 89 later in April, breathed his last at the Na­tional Heart In­sti­tute.

With Mr. Singh’s death, the era of grand, old edi­tors who be­gan their jour­nal­is­tic careers in the years fol­low­ing In­de­pen­dence is wind­ing to a close.

A firm be­liever in the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing a wall be­tween the edi­to­rial and busi­ness sec­tions of a news­pa­per and the role of jour­nal­ists in putting ev­ery gov­ern­ment under scru­tiny, Mr. Singh had the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing per­haps the only edi­tor-in-chief who re­signed from three news­pa­pers fol­low­ing dif­fer­ences with the pro­pri­etors of those or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The pa­pers were The States­man, The In­dian Ex­press and the The In­dian Post (of which he was the found­ing edi­tor). He was awarded the pres­ti­gious In­ter­na­tional Edi­tor of the Year Award in New York for his role in op­pos­ing the Emer­gency im­posed by the then Prime Min­is­ter Indira Gandhi.

His last as­sign­ment was as Edi­tor of the Khaleej Times of Dubai in 1994. Af­ter that, he turned in­de­pen­dent colum­nist.

Mr. Singh be­gan as a re­porter with The States­man, cov­er­ing pol­i­tics in Delhi as well as abroad — posted at dif­fer­ent times in Moscow, Lon­don, the U.S. and In­done­sia, years which he was to de­scribe later as the best in his jour­nal­is­tic ca­reer, and which made him a for­eign af­fairs ex­pert.

It was those long years of re­port­ing that made him such a good edi­tor: for those who worked with him, it was also a rich learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

He would en­cour­age his re­porters when they needed it; he would de­press any pre­ten­sions when that was called for — but it was al­ways done with such a light touch and such charm that no one ever felt he was be­ing harsh.

He was born to Gur­mukh Ni­hal Singh, who be­came Delhi Assem­bly Speaker, then Chief Min­is­ter and Gover­nor of Ra­jasthan, and Lac­chmi Devi in Rawalpindi on April 30, 1929.

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