Veteran journalist and former managing editor of Hindusthan Samachar multi lingual news agency Baleshwar Agrawal passed away in New Delhi on May 23 after a brief illness. He was 91. He was creamated at Nigam Bodh Ghat the next day. He was a bachelor.
Before the cremation at Nigam Bodh Ghat many distinguished personalties paid tribute at Antar Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad office. Prominent among them were BJP leaders Shri LK Advani, Shri Rajnath Singh, Shri Ravishankar Prasad, Shri Ananth Kumar, Shri Vijay Goel, Shri JP Nadha, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Shri Santosh Gangwar, Janata Party President Dr Subramanian Swamy, senior journalists Shri Ashok Tandon and Dr Nand Kishore Tirkha and Shri Lakshminarayan Bhala of Hindusthan Samachar.
Prominent among those who paid tribute at Nigam Bodh Ghat included Kshetra Pracharak Shri Rameshwar, Kshetra Sanghachalak Dr Bajrang Lal Gupta, BJP general secretary (organisation) Shri Ramlal, senior journalists Shri Rambahadur Rai and Shri Seshadri Chari, Delhi Prant Karyavah Shri Vijay Kumar and others.
Baleshwar Agrawal was born on July 17, 1921 at Balasore (Orissa) and graduated in Engineering from Banaras Hindu University in 1945. He was founder secretary general of the Antar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad. Through the Parishad he developed good contacts with the NRIs settled in different countries. His death spread a shock way across the world. That is why condolence messages came from world over including the Government of Mauritius, Nepal, Trinidad and many other countries.
Baleshwar Agrawal’s public life began in 1949—first as managing director of Chandragupta Prakashan Ltd., which was set up as a public limited company for publication of patriotic literature in Hindi and English. He also brought out a Hindi weekly paper under the title Pravartak for a few years.
It was in early1951 that he was called upon to take up the challenging task of establishing the Hindusthan Samachar multi lingual national news agency. He began his journalistic career from Patna and established the centre in four years. It was during this period that he came in close contact with Nepal, which he maintained till the last breath. He moved to Delhi in 1955 as Bureau Chief.
Baleshwarji was instrumental in registering the Hindusthan Samachar Cooperative Society. The expansion of the agency began during the next decade to almost all the state capital. He was instrumental in using Devnagari script teleprompter for transmission of news from one centre to another. The agency started distributing its service in various Indian languages in Devnagari script. All the important Indian language newspapers became its subscribers. The All India Radio started subscribing its service. During Emergency it was merged with the PTI and UNI as Samachar. It again started its activities in 1978 and restarted all its branches. The Government of India took over its management in 1982.
It was during this period that Baleshwar Agarwal was entrusted the responsibility of a new organisation Antar Rashtiya Sahayog Parishad, registered in 1978 for strengthening the links with People of Indian origin living in different parts of the world. During the last two decades the ARSP grew as a powerful non-governmental organisation for the people of Indian origin outside India. During this period it organised several seminars, symposiums, conferences on all current subjects related to Nepal, Fiji, South Africa, Burma, Sri Lanka, etc. from time to time. The ARSP organised delegations visit to different countries having sizable Indian origin population for better interaction. It organised the first International Conference of PIO Parliament in Delhi which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister.
During the last 50 years Baleshwarji has been able to develop personal contacts with various countries particularly Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka besides Burma, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Fiji, South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Netherlands, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica, etc. Several Prime Ministers, Speakers, Parliament Members are personally very well known to him. (FOC)
A link between PIOs and India—Rajnath SinghBJP president Shri Rajnath termed the demise of Baleshwar Aggarwal as the great loss in public life. In a condolence message issued in New Delhi on May 24, he said Baleshwarji held the post of secretary general of Antar Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad for about four decades and worked with full sincerity to keep non-resident Indians living abroad associated with their motherland India.
“Baleshwarji was basically a journalist and was one of the leading personalities of Hindusthan Samachar. After Emergency when Antar Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad was set up in 1978, he held its post of secretary general. He had very close relations with non-resident Indians. He lived a very simple life and as a devotee throughout his life he with complete sincerity remained engaged with the task of establishing deep relations of non-resident Indians with India as also strengthening India’s relations with international world,” he said in his condolence.