Organiser has treaded a new path in English journalism with translating the great idea of national integration into action
Even after the advent of social media and modern communication techniques, people from down South are often seen raising lamentable outcry over the less representation of the news pertaining to the region in the national media. Despite the increased demand from the readers from all over the country, it still remains a riddle as to why the news emanating from beyond the Vindhya attracts scant attention in the national mainstream. It seems to be a colonial construct, which is still carried forward even after 70 years of Independence, that the news from the Lutyen’s Delhi and surroundings alone must constitute the ‘national news’ disregarding the news value. Perhaps, Organiser was the first ‘Lutyens’ media’ to break the prevalent perception by giving due space to the southern peripheries of the country, especially my home state Kerala. Thus, Organiser has treaded a new path in English journalism with translating the great idea of national integration into action.
My acquaintance with Organiser dates back to the early days in my college life in 1980, when I used to stay at RSS Prant Karyalaya, Kochi. Hailing from a village in one of the southern districts of Kerala, I had no privilege to see a copy of the Organiser till I reached a city like Kochi for higher studies. Those were the days after the dark period of Emergency, the weekly was widely available on news stands in the cities like Kochi, Kozhikkode and Trivandrum, and of course, in several villages where dedicated swayamasevaks, many of them prefixed their names with Organiser, used to distribute copies without any profit or compulsion. The articles published in the Organiser, especially by the then editor VP Bhatia and former editor K R Malkani, brought home to me the role of Organiser in shaping a nationalist opinion in various issues. By the time I finished my studies, I became a regular reader of Organiser that still continues. Later, when I took to journalism, during my stint as the Chief Editor of Kesari, Kerala’s largest circulating weekly, the path trodden by Organiser in the realm of nationalist journalism came to my help.
Apart from my personal experience, the influence of the Bharat’s only nationalist English weekly in the intellectual sphere of Kerala was profound. Organiser has been instrumental in providing a national platform for the nationalist intellectuals in the south as well as in bringing the news of national importance to the mainstream. It happened to be an arena of fierce intellectual fight, led by the stalwarts like Shri Parameshwarji, P Madhava ji and R Hari ji against the Leftist-Evangelist-Islamist narratives of history, education, economy, politics and culture. Being one of the strong Communist bastions, the nationalists and nation first thinkers in Kerala have persistently faced multiple challenges, from physical attacks to social ostracism. Organiser gave due space to those nationalist thinkers and, simultaneously, brought the communist violence which was rampant in the state from the late 1940s.
The issues like the struggle for erecting a fitting memorial for Swami Vivekananda in Kanyakumari, that later materialised as the Rock Memorial, had remained unacknowledged till Organiser made it the front page lead and carried a series of follow up stories.
As far as Kerala is concerned, Organiser has extensively covered its polity and culture since its inception in 1947. Interestingly, the first editor of the weekly, A R Nair was a Malayali. A weekly published from Delhi, Organiser had couple of other people beyond Vindhya as its editors. It is a fact that Kerala has always enjoyed a prominence in Organiser as it had published special issues dedicated to Kerala even in 1980s. Organiser is a rich source of tracking the history of Communist violence in Kerala as it has never missed out any major attacks on Sangh Swayamsevaks.
The role of Organiser in changing the false Communist narrative of political violence in Kerala was truly a praiseworthy effort in which the magazine upheld its true spirit of journalism once again. It was due to the Organiser reportage of the Communist brutality and murders, the hitherto neglected news came to the national discourse and triggered a heat debate on visual media and social media. Even now, the Organiser archives is perhaps the only available and reliable source in English that gives the whole picture of the Communist violence in Kerala, started right from late 1940s, which took an ugly turn with the murder of Vadikkal Ramakrishnan in Kannur.
Along with many incidents, unforgettable in many ways, Organiser carried a full page story of the gruesome murder of three ABVP activists on DB College campus, Parumala in Kerala. On September 17, 1996, in broad daylight in full public view, as many as 30 Communist goons, cadres of CPM, CITU, DYFI and SFI, drove innocent students of tender teenage into the nearby river and stoned them to death. Organiser was the only national publication which brought out a non-partisan view of the incident. The memories of the incident still ache my heart as I still vividly remember the agonies and lamentation of the grieving mothers that gave birth to a poem which was later translated into English by Organiser correspondent T Satisan under the title ‘Final Adieu’.
It is a matter of great pleasure for me to know that Organiser, India’s only oldest surviving nationalist English weekly, is completing 70 years. I pray and wish that the values and valour for which Organiser came into existence become backbone of the mainstream journalism.
(The writer is National Convenor of