Sunday, March 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


 S P E C I A L    E D I T O R I AL

Goodbye, my lords!
Hari Jaisingh

“My lords” here are the lakhs of readers of The Tribune and the people from all walks of life who see the Editor as a symbol of their hopes and aspirations and desire him to give expression to their inmost feelings, rights and problems unattended to by the powers that be. That is the strength of The Tribune as an institution of the people and for the people.

Freedom of the Press cannot be viewed in isolation; nor can it be an end in itself. Press freedom has a profound social relevance. No man is an island. Freedom has to be related to the promotion of just causes and the building of a liberal and egalitarian polity based on meritocracy and transparency and the accountability of those in authority.

Change is the law of Nature. As I bow out of the sacred chair at the end of the month after nine eventful years as Editor, I look back with satisfaction to the struggles and achievements of the past — whether it be the educated jobless Nisha Kaura or the hapless widow pitted against the nexus of land mafia and policemen or the Ruchika molestation case involving a Haryana DGP (“It is a question of dharma, Mr Chautala”, December 5, 2000), or the larger issue of maintaining maryada in holy places or the PPSC scam and related matters of corruption or the people's right to information and probity in public life (“No, My Lord!”, May 5, 2002).

Whatever be the issue and however grave the challenge, I have always viewed the Editor's position as a symbol of public trust. And it is by that yardstick alone, I believe, every Editor should be judged.

From Lahore to Shimla to Ambala to Chandigarh, The Tribune has grown taller under illustrious Editors like Kalinath Ray and Prem Bhatia, who set the highest standards of editorial leadership and professionalism.

I have tried my best to live up to the 123-year-long great liberal traditions of this institution founded by that remarkable statesman and visionary, Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia. The founder evolved the institution on the strength and fearlessness of the Editor and the broadmindedness and detachment of the Trustees. The Tribune Trust has been singularly fortunate to have been guided by Trustees of the calibre of Ram Chandra, M.S. Randhawa, Dr P. N. Chhuttani and B. K. Nehru. Institutions are certainly bigger than individuals. All the same, individuals do make a difference. They can make or mar even established institutions of long standing.

The Tribune is at the crossroads today. It has withstood successfully manifold trials and tribulations. As I move on with full satisfaction of having served the people and the right causes, it is my ardent hope that the paper will continue to meet the challenge of the market place without stooping to conquer and the challenge of authority without compromising with those in power. With apologies to Robert Frost (and Jawaharlal Nehru), the woods are disquieting, dark and deep and we have miles to go before we sleep.

Adieu, my lords!Back

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