Like every week, I received a trademark letter typed with an old fashioned Remington typewriter. As usual I was expecting a column, self-typed, neatly written and edited by none other than veteran MV Kamath. The letter was from the ailing veteran journalist to an editor, half of his age, written gently to request ‘support and sympathy’, just to excuse him writing regular columns for a weekly. That was also on medical advice. That shows the professional commitment and zeal of the journalist.
Kamath Sir for many was not only a journalist but an era. Many students have opted for journalism after reading his books. While discussing with him his gentle but firm convictions and commitment to the profession was always one could feel. Even after being in 90s, passion of looking for news and putting them in right perspective never stopped.
Last year, while working on a special issue dedicated to Uttarakhand Tragedy, we took an editorial decision to hold all regular columns. A call came from the legend asking me whether he should stop writing if I don’t find his columns useful. The moment I explained him the situation and about the editorial plan, he pleasantly supported me.
When carrying a secular tag was a fashion, he was upright in expressing his views on nationalist line. Encouraging professional journalism without any biases was natural to him.
That is why, perhaps, he was ‘Kamath Sir’ to many in the field.
His sudden demise after a promise of returning after two weeks is big loss to the readers who eagerly wait for his master comments through Organiser. We have lost a journalist of highest caliber and a thorough gentleman. We are going to miss a “NARAD” who use to keep an eye on the world through “Media Watch” and a “Moving Finger” who use to write prolific commentary on contemporary issues. A solemn tribute to the soldier of democratic values.
-Prafulla Ketkar (Editor, Organiser)