D. Vijayamohan Nair, Deputy Chief of Delhi Bureau, Malayala Manorama has furnished the following information about the first Editor of Organiser.
The new generation of journalists may not have heard of A. Raghavan Nair. When Organiser turned fifty, many in the RSS wondered who this Nair was and how he came to edit the paper. If one were to ask RSS members who the first editor of the journal was, most would say K.R. Malkani. The fact is that Malkani took over from Nair.
Hailing from a farming family of Palghat, Raghavan Nair was the first journalist from Padampalakkode Asan Thodiyil family. After completing his matriculation, he left for Delhi in search of a job. At that time Delhi was a job pasture for the unemployed youth of Kerala.
Little is known about what Nair did in his early days in Delhi, but his breakthrough in journalistic career came when he got a job in China. He worked The Strait Times in Peking and Bangkok. The Strait Times is now a better known as a paper from Singapore. Nair worked in China till 1936 and then came back to Delhi. He joined The Statesman, owned by the British. Nair was the first Indian sub-editor in that paper. It was Nair'scommand over the English language, which impressed the British editors of the paper, which was acclaimed for its high standard of the language. In fact, later Nair was even offer job in the British Information Service where he continued till 1946.
Later he left it to join The Hindustan Times as senior Editor under Devdas Gandhi. It was at this time that he married Devaki Amma who was also from Ottappalam in Palghat.
That was the time the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was planning to start an English news weekly. But the biggest question was to get a good English-writing editor. Nair'swritings had been noticed by RSS leaders and they approached him to edit the news weekly.
Strictly speaking, Organiser was not an RSS paper in the beginning. RSS wanted to present the Hindu point of view or rather an Indian point of view against the demand for Partition of the country and the formation of a Muslim state Pakistan.
The first issue of Organiser came out in July 1947 under the editorship of A.R. Nair. Organiser used to be printed at Bharat Mudranalaya, a press which was earlier know as Latif Press. The Dawn was printed at this press. After Partition The Dawn moved to Karachi to them in exchange for the Latif Press. Guruji Golwalker thus became the owner of Latif Press and he changed its name in Bharat Mudranalaya.
The weekly continued publication till January 1948-exactly seven months. Gandhiji was assasinated on January 30, 1948 and consequently RSS was banned on the February 4. The Central Government confiscated the press and the office of Organiser and thus the weekly was also closed down for some time.
After the closure of Organiser, A.R. Nair started a paper of his own, The Delhi Times. It had the support of the Soviet Union. Started in 1950, The Delhi Times continued publication till 1960 when the Soviets withdrew support to it and extended their help to The Patriot, edited by another Malayali, Edathatta Narayanana Menon.
Nair then worked for The Hindu for a brief period and left Delhi in 1972 to settle down in Chennai. He used to write articles for various dailies till 1974. He died on June 21, 1975 just before the declaration of Emergency. Nair did not live to see the second ban on Organiser by the Congress Government at the Centre during the Emergency.
A.R. Nair'sson Krishna Raj followed in his father'sfootsteps and became Editor of the prestigious Economic and Political Weekly. Nair had three daughters Vijalakshmi, Malathi and Radha.
According to Krishna Raj, his father'sassociation with the RSS journal was purely professional and not at all ideological. “He was well-versed not only in English language but in Hindu philosophy and Indian culture. His association with Organiser lasted only seven months.” Later, said Krishna Raj, he started his own publication.
“In fact we have not a single copy of the paper edited by our father nor have we any clippings of his writings,” said Vijaya Lakshmi who now lives in Delhi.
Krishna Raj also did not have any of his father'sclippings. “Somehow when my mother and father moved from Delhi to Palghat his collection of clippings got misplaced”, he added. His old associates only recall that Nair used to write on foreign affairs, and his articles were noted for his sharp observations and penetrating remarks. When Chou En Lai visited India for an Afro-Asian summit, and when Marshall Tito and Sukarno came for Non-alighned summits, Nair'swritings were especially talked about in the diplomatic circles.
The family has some old photos of Nair. “We lived in Daryaganj at that time. That house is still there, though it has since been modified,” said Vijaya Lakshmi.
Organiser has travelled a long way from its inception in 1947. The RSS has also seen many ups and downs. The BJP, which may be called its offshoot, has become the ruling party at the Centre. A.R. Nair left his marks in journalism by editing a weekly, which became part and parcel of India'sdestiny, a great achievement indeed.