Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Remembering ‘The Blitz’

Flipping Through my diary 2008 …

 The World of Journalism becomes poorer by the sudden death of Rustom Khurshedji Karanjia, the editor of the Blitz, a magazine that reveled in felling many a bad sky during its regime. The prominent place Karanjia had occupied in the portals of journalism will never get filled-up. True to his journal’s mantras – ‘Free, Frank and Fearlessness’, and the masthead of a bulldog-- Russi Karanjia, with a rare daredevilry, uncovered corruption in all walks of life.

 Blitz never trotted on beaten tracks like its fellow-journals who, for their existence, chose to play safe. Being a different mettle, and a wrought iron at that, Karanjia took up cudgels against corruption and aberrations in public life; unmasked those who’d used their positions and public offices for their self-aggrandizements; and he thus caused ripples in the stagnant waters of Indian journalism. A true, no nonsense investigative journalist, Karanjia strove hard to bring cleanliness and order in public life thru various scoops and investigations, which stoked fires of a neo idealism in the young and budding minds of his days.

 Quality Journalism and honest reporting of truth were the watchwords of the Blitz. Features like ‘The Last Page’ by Mr. Abbas, and the ‘I don’t know son’ humor lines heightened the mag’s standard and brought to its fold scores of young and old. I still remember that I’d walked miles from my house just to get a copy of the paper every Saturday from a faraway railway bookstall. I never regret having done so because Blitz had then become one of my acquired tastes and, holding the paper on hand, I tried to convey to the youth of my age that I was a notch or two higher than them in realm of knowledge and intelligence.

On the flip side, damsels [with wardrobe malfunctions] appeared in the pin-up columns of the journal hooked us every week and made our young hearts palpitate so rapidly. We were thrilled and excited when the pin-up girls started doing rounds in the classroom under the cover of note books. But as bad luck had it, our caressing of the girls with our eyes would not last long. For, our History Prof, a la Vishwamitra, caught us red handed many times and sent us out of the class as punishment. But then, such a happening came as a blessing in disguise for us and enabled us to go to a nearby theatre and watch an English movie more profane than the pin-up girls.

 I got all my memories and thoughts of Blitz relived when I recently read Mr. Sainath’s tribute to Karanjia in ‘The Hindu’. The fact that Karanjia had memory loss at the fag end of his life triggered me thinking: how could a colossus of intelligence, a sterling journalist of great acumen, and a fire-breathing dragon loose his memories and live with a mind, so bald and blank. I still keep some of the back copies of the paper in my scrapbook as my treasure-troves. Whenever I glance at them I feel as if I’m being transported back to the world of my youth, - my dreamland-, which in every respect was different and distinct from the intriguing one that’s going around me now.

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