M A I N   N E W S

A New Milestone
PM launches Tribune’s 125-yr anthology
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Former Prime Minister I. K. Gujral, along with S.S. Sodhi and other guests, at the release of "The Tribune 125 Years: An Anthology" in New Delhi on Wednesday

A view of the audience during the function
Former Prime Minister I. K. Gujral, along with 
S.S. Sodhi and other guests, at the release of 
"The Tribune 125 Years: An Anthology" in New Delhi on Wednesday; and (below) a view of the audience during the function. — Tribune photos by 
Mukesh Aggarwal

New Delhi, April 30
It was a moment to cherish, as much as it was to celebrate. After setting the highest standards of journalism for 127 long years, The Tribune, which rose like a giant from the vision of Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, today crossed yet another milestone. And watching its steps was none other than the Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh, for whom The Tribune has always been “the morning paper.”

At the Prime Minister’s residence today, The Tribune was lauded for having “risen above the purely regional, local and offering a national perspective to news” and its editors and publishers for discharging the role of the fourth estate in an honourable way.

The compliments came from the Prime Minister, who released today “The Tribune: An Anthology”, the second in the series of the three commemorative volumes to mark the completion of 125 years of existence of The Tribune. The 402-page volume features excerpts from the newspaper ever since its inception in 1881 and provides a wide-ranging insight into the history of the contemporary world.

The finesse of the work, compiled by Mr Pran Nevile, found an early mention in the Prime Minister’s address on the occasion. “When I read through the first half of this volume, I was struck by how zealously the editors of The Tribune adhered to the founder’s original vision. The high-mindedness of the editorials, the patriotism and nationalism of many of the writers and the focus on public good is striking,” said the Prime Minister, impressed by the kind of people — from Mahatma Gandhi to Rabindra Nath Tagore — The Tribune attracted to its columns.

Addressing a select gathering comprising former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral, The Tribune Trust president Mr R.S. Talwar and Trustees, Dr R.P. Bambah, Mr N.N. Vohra, and Justice Mr S.S. Sodhi (retd), and Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune Mr H.K. Dua, the Prime Minister referred to the volume as “not just a source of daily news but also a record of history and an important opinion maker.”

It is these three roles, said Dr Manmohan Singh, that give the media a special role in a democracy. If the media is confined to “the here and now”, it ceases to play the role of the fourth estate. That important role is claimed only when the media is able to take a larger view of daily events and record history even as it is being made, said the Prime Minister, complimenting Mr Dua for taking the paper to newer heights.

The Prime Minister made a special mention of how The Tribune is taking an active interest in national affairs and how it is according well-informed support to the government’s initiatives in the realm of foreign policy and national security. And as he spoke, his fondness for the paper was amply reflected, especially when he recalled his participation in The Tribune’s 125th anniversary celebrations at Chandigarh.

At the time, Dr Manmohan Singh had recalled the statement of objectives penned by the founders of The Tribune. The statement began with the confession that The Tribune had no pet theories to maintain and no personal interests to serve. “It remains a bold vision for the media even today,” said the PM, hoping the commemorative volume inspires a new generation of journalists to dedicate themselves to the highest standards of journalism.

Earlier during the evening, Mr. H.K. Dua welcomed the guests, and introduced them to the volume as “an account of how The Tribune looked at the emergence of India from subjugation to freedom.”

While never compromising with its independence, The Tribune enthusiastically reported and commented upon momentous events that took place in these 125 years, said Mr Dua as he drove home the point that “non-partisanship, credibility and defence of public interest are the paper’s creed.” The third commemorative volume — A History of The Tribune — will be brought out by the end of this year, said Mr Dua.

Thanking the Prime Minister for being with The Tribune family, Mr Nevile for compiling the volume and Mr Ashok Chopra of Hay House for publishing the work, Mr Dua saluted the spirit of The Tribune founder, who entrusted the paper’s responsibility to a public Trust.

On behalf of The Tribune Trust, the President, Mr R.S. Talwar, fondly recalled what the Prime Minister had said at the event held to mark the 125th anniversary celebrations of The Tribune. “We still remember the words you said, about how The Tribune has been a part of — and even played a part in — your most distinguished career,” said Mr Talwar, tracing the history of The Tribune as a supporter of the freedom struggle through and through.




A powerful account of India’s history

Resting beneath a humble book cover, “The Tribune: An Anthology”, is a powerful account of India’s history, as it was being made and unmade. A literal panorama of landmark events of pre and post-Independence India and the voluminous commemorative work holds the readers’ attention through its 402 pages. The very first editorial, marked July 16, 1881, sets the mood for something that turns into a virtual journey through India’s tumultuous past and its struggle for social reform.

Titled “Remarriage of Hindu widows”, the editorial decries the practice of female infanticide, still a reality for several states in the country, especially in the north. It comments: “What we want to impress upon the minds of the educated country is their duty of doing everything that lies in their power to introduce the custom of widow remarriage into the Hindu society.”

Even after 127 years, The Tribune’s columns resonate with the concerns of female foeticide; its commitment to social change remains unswerving.

Not to forget the mention of the concluding piece, dated May 24, 2006, in the volume. Penned by eminent jurist Fali S. Nariman, it is titled “A Lawless Law: Blot on the Fair Name of Parliament”, and criticises the elected representatives for passing the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill, that grants them immunity from accountability). The cleansing of political system — an issue stressed by Nariman — remains one of the major campaigns for The Tribune. The work’s overall texture is bold, as bold as that of its contents. The future, too, beholds fearless.

Today, the paper’s tradition of non-partisan reporting yet again found a body in the address of Editor-in-Chief H.K. Dua, who said: “We in The Tribune are not afraid to criticise where criticism is necessary. Also, we are not hesitant to praise where praise is due.”




Agriculture needs creativity: PM

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today said India needed a new wave of creativity in agriculture. Assessing the developments in north India, where The Tribune is widely read, Dr Manmohan Singh said “this is a very diverse region and I find that the area around New Delhi has become a magnet of new economic activity in the past two decades. I find some activity spreading towards Jaipur and into Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.”

The PM, however, rued that the other parts of The Tribune hinterland are not doing so well. Referring to Punjab as the original homeland of The Tribune, he said its growth had slowed down in recent years and it needed a new era of industrial and services sector development.

“Our government has given the state’s agrarian economy a new boost with improved terms of trade for foodgrains and with new incentives for horticulture development. But in agriculture too we need a new wave of creativity,” said Dr Manmohan Singh, expressing confidence in the people of Punjab, Haryana, Uttaranchal, HP and J&K.

He urged the state government in the region to invest in infrastructure, education and urban development so that the regional economy could benefit from the new sources of growth in the economy.



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