The form of investigative journalism that we see today in India was laid by the Russian Karanjia many decades ago. While working in the Times of India, he once did a great scoop.
Dressed like Maharajas, he joined the secret meeting of the 'Indian Chamber of Princess' to be held at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai and his full details were published in his newspaper.
He got 100 rupees for this news, which used to be a huge amount at that time. Later he also wrote a book on this experience 'Theater of the Absurd'.
Karanjia launched a tabloid in February 1941 and named it Blitz after the German air strike 'Blitzkrieg' on Britain. Blitz's motto was 'Free', 'Frank' and 'Fearless', and under the leadership of Karanjia, keeping these values alive became the hallmark of the Blitz newspaper.
Famous journalist and Commonwealth Journalists Association President Mahendra Ved still remembers the day when Russian Karanjia gave him the opportunity to write in his newspaper Blitz.
Mahendra Veda says, "We first met him when we were students. I am talking in the mid-sixties. He was our hero in a way. He used to run a very big newspaper which was very popular." We had taken out a newspaper and we had gone to present his first copy to him. After that we had written a short story. When we gave it to him he said that come next week. Next week he The story was printed as a 'box item' on page three and also gave money. That money was my first income as a journalist. Although 30 rupees was considered a big amount in those days, but we were glad that our Story appeared in the blitz and he gave me money with his own hand. "
Got a job in the Times of India
Born in Quetta on February 15, 1912, Russian Karanjia's father was an eye surgeon, who underwent training in Edinburgh. His mother came from a wealthy family in Quetta. He used to have a house opposite Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai named 'Quetta Terrace'.
Renowned author Gyan Prakash has drawn an excellent portrayal of Karanjia in his book 'Mumbai Fabiles', "after studying at St. Xavier's School and Wilson College in Bombay, Karanjia wanted to go to Cambridge University to study so that she would later go through the ICS exam Could sit down. But then an innocent prank changed the direction of his life. He changed his name to 'Letters to Editor' of Times of India Wrote several letters for the column. When newspaper's deputy editor Ivor Jehu came to know of his real identity, he offered Karanjia a job in the Times of India which Karanjia accepted. Recognizing his talent, the Times of India He sent him to London to train with Evening Standard newspaper, but he did not like the training of that serious newspaper and he Started working with the tabular tabloid Daily Mirror. "
Criticism of Gandhi
Karanjia returned to India after a few days. He went to the Wardha Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi and published a critical report about him.
In an interview, Karanjia had said, "I wrote a very dirty article about Gandhi. I had a friendship with Bapps Talayar Khan. He once invited me to eat. There I met Jawaharlal Nehru for the first time. He met Nehru. Said that the article that I had shown you yesterday on Gandhi, it is the author of it. Nehru gave me such a lecture that I wrote a letter to Gandhi the next day and apologized to him. Not only this, the 250 rupees I received from this article, I also donated it to Mahatma Gandhi's Harijan Fund. "
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Secret of blitz success
It was from here that Karanjia came in contact with Nehru for the first time and he was a lifelong admirer. But despite this, the management of the Times of India began to 'groom' Frank Mores for his position as editor.
He quit the Times job and first edited Sunday Standard and then Morning Standard for a few days. Then in 1941 he started his newspaper Blitz.
It started with just Rs 3000 from Mumbai's current press. Anand K Sahay, a senior journalist who has worked with Karanjia, says, "At one time there were not so many newspapers. The weekly blitz was in three languages, in English, in Hindi and in Urdu. The most burning questions were about that. I used to speak in clear terms without any fear and hesitation, in such a way that it touches the public's heart. The last page of the blitz was also very famous. Like the British tabloid, it had a With required was picture but was also featured Khwaja Ahmad Abbas's column on the same page. "
Colorful and cheerful person
During the Quit India Movement of 1942, Blitz's office went underground and became a hideout of Congress leftists.
Then the newspaper, through its London correspondent Rafiq Zakaria, campaigned for Nehru's release. When the issues of Nehru's blitz in prison were not allowed to be read, Karanjia raised the matter through Lord Sorrenson in the House of Commons.
Within 25 years, Blitz's readership grew to close to a million. RK Karanjia's personality was very attractive. His way of talking was excellent, his understanding of politics was very sharp.
Mahendra Veda says, "He was a man of very colorful and good 'manners'. He was like the older generation of Parsi community who used to have English style. He wore nice clothes. He resembled people very much. And he used to take them along. He also had a socialist style. When you go to his office, he used to say, 'You have to be crazy to work here but this page.' The atmosphere that used to be in his office was different from other newspaper offices. "
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Nanavati case reporting
The way the Blitz newspaper reported the Nanavati murder case, it took them to the peak of popularity. Nowadays, the criminal's media trial is usually done, but then Blitz set a new example by conducting a media trial of the victim.
Professor Sabina Gadiok at a Qidwai Media Research Center in Jamia Millia Islamia states, "The Nanavati case was a huge media event in the pre-television era. Blitz exaggerated the incident. One incident to another." The linking went on. Blitz created incidents in many places which were also mentioned in magazines, other newspapers and films. This resulted in the Nanavati revolutions. Su started selling, Ahuja towels were being sold. When Nanavati used to go to court, the girls used to throw roses on him, because he was very 'dashing' and 'handsome' person. Thus for the first time a scandal got national importance. Gone. At this time political events were also taking place. Talk of fighting with Pakistan had started. India's relations with China had deteriorated. States had been reorganized and Kerala was first Mr. communist government went to be dismissed. Despite the Nanavati had engaged the attention of the entire country on a case that Wahid due Blitz reporting. "
Seven Star Hotel Owner Image
RK Karanjia differed from the common editors in every respect. Vinod Mehta, who was the editor of Outlook, wrote on Karanjia under the title 'More than a Maverick', "He was not at all like the editors of the 70s. Khushwant Singh, Girilal Jain, Shamlal and Mulgaonkar – one of the specials of all these editors The image used to be. Random, disorganized, too busy and a little bookish. In contrast, Russian Karanjia looked like the owner of a seven-star hotel. He had a mustache and was stylish He wore safari and laundered suits. His shoes were also very fashionable. Once I saw him kissing his girlfriend near the lift. He was not at all embarrassed. Rather he put his eyes in my eyes and winked. Granted. "
Fond of gossip
Vinod Mehta further writes, "Meeting Karanjia meant drinking fresh coconut water and reading foreign affairs lessons. His table kept pictures of Sukarnas, Nasir, Nehru and Tito, and the fun stories about each one. He used to narrate. He was very fond of gossip. He could write the whole book about the love of Sukarnas. Dwaja Ahmad Abbas used to meet. He had either come to give a copy of his column 'Last Page' or to take his salary. Karanjia did not pay money to his 'Freelasers' per column, but as a salary at the end of every month They used to pay them. They used to give 500 rupees of bundled notes of 5 rupees to Abbas every month. "
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Follow Morarji Desai
According to Karanjia, some politicians were his 'favorites', while some he did not like them at all. Morarji Desai was one of them.
Gyan Prakash writes in his book 'Mumbai Fabiles', "Morarji Desai was one of the ill-fated politicians behind whom Blitz lost his hands, Desai was the Chief Minister of Bombay in 1952, who also became Prime Minister of India in 1977. Blitz gave him Honor and moral integrity were ridiculed. Karanjia mocked his order on prohibition, started calling illegal liquor as 'Morarjina' and 'Morarjus'. In Blitz's view, Morarji Desai's biggest flaw was that he was showing loyalty to Nehru on the top, but at the same time he had ambitions to become Prime Minister in his place. "
Morarji Desai also disliked Karanjia
Moraji Desai also looked at the blitz as much as Hikrat did to him.
Mahendra Ved narrates an interesting part, "When I went to meet him and he was told that I work in Karanjia's newspaper 'The Daily', he immediately changed his face. He immediately asked that Karanjia's 'Daily'? I was very With folded hands he said 'Yes,' but he did not like my presence. After a while he started speaking against Karanjia Saheb. He said that he always wrote against me. When Karanjia met me, he used to call me 'Bapu'. I used to tell him not to call me Bapu because you have no respect for me in my heart. When I started getting up, he told me you did not find any honest editor. To work? I told Morarji Bhai that you should point towards that editor, I will go to him. "
Rajiv Gandhi's wishes
Karanjia had a 'love-hate' relationship with Indira Gandhi. But he loved Rajiv Gandhi very much and he had great affection for him.
Anand Sahai says, "He had very good rapport with Rajiv Gandhi. I used to criticize Rajiv Gandhi sometimes in his articles. On this he expressed his displeasure twice. He used to say that you were such a good leader. You are trying to trouble me with your articles. I used to fight with them on this. It was a very good thing in Karanjia. An adorable reporter right from the bottom but an editor like him Shout could have been heard. "
Interested in interviewing big leaders
Karanjia interviewed every major leader of the world, be it Fidel Castro, Jamal Abdul Nasser or Marshal Tito.
Nasser was so impressed with him that he gave his country's highest civilian honor 'Republican Order of the Merit' to him.
Famous journalist Veer Sanghvi has made a very accurate assessment of RK Karanjia in one of his articles. Sanghvi writes, "At the time of independence, the Indian press was held by British companies and jute owners. Jawaharlal Nehru used to call them 'lie presses'. Blitz then presented an alternative picture of India. Russian Karanjia spoke only English and only English. Although I doubt that he even knew a few words of Gujarati. Karanjia linked Blitz to Nehru's development model. Thk might say, but 50 Indian politics more complex than today in the 60s. "
Veer Sanghvi further writes, "In Russian Karanjia's view, the Congress party was a passive and corrupt party with a lot of reactionary elements. But in their eyes, Nehru was untouched by this. At a time when the government's press release in Indian newspapers was printed. Was, Russian Karanjia used to interview the big leaders of the world and that too at an equal level. Their confidence is so amazing Was that by looking at his picture with world leaders, no one could tell who was interviewer and who was interviewer. "
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पाकिस्तान के एटॉर्नी जनरल से पंगा
विवादों को हवा देना, चुटीली हेडलाइंस लगाना और बेबाकी करंजिया की शख़्सियत की ख़ास बात थी. वो अपने साथ काम करने वाले पत्रकारों से भी इसी बेबाकी की उम्मीद रखते थे. और उनके मुश्किल में आने पर कभी उनका साथ नहीं छोड़ते थे.
महेंद्र वेद एक क़िस्सा सुनाते हैं, "उस ज़माने में जब पाकिस्तान के पूर्व एटॉर्नी जनरल ए के ब्रोही दिल्ली आए थे तो हमने उनका इंटरव्यू लिया था. मेरे साथ इंटरव्यू लेने एक दूसरे अख़बार के प्रतिनिधि भी गए थे. ब्रोही साहब ने कुछ ऐसी बातें कहीं जिससे उस समय के ज़िया उल हक़ प्रशासन को बहुत शर्मिंदगी हुई. उन्होंने अपनी सफ़ाई में पाकिस्तान के उच्चायोग से कहा कि उन्होंने ये इंटरव्यू दिया ही नहीं था. हमने वो इंटरव्यू छापा और ये भी कहा कि अमरोही ने ये बातें वास्तव में कही थीं. करंजिया साहब उन दिनों दिल्ली आए हुए थे. उनको जब ये पता चला तो उन्होंने कहा तुम कल मेरे होटल आ जाओ. वहीं हम लोग मॉर्निंग वॉक करेंगे और साथ नाश्ता करेंगे."
महेंद्र वेद कहते हैं, "वो अशोका होटल में ठहरे हुए थे. जब मैं उनसे मिला तो उन्होंने मुझसे कहा कि मैं अख़बार में स्पष्टीकरण छापूँ. और लिखने से पहले उन्हें फ़ोन पर उसे पढ़ कर सुना दूँ. मैं दफ़्तर गया और जैसे करंजिया साहब ख़ुद लिखते हैं, मैंने लिखा, मिस्टर ब्रोही आप और मैं इस होटल में इस कमरा नंबर में इतने बजे मिले थे. मिले थे कि नहीं बताइए? उन्होंने ये सुन कर कहा कि अगर तुम बुरा न मानो तो क्या मैं इसे अपने संपादकीय में इस्तेमाल कर सकता हूँ? मैंने कहा ज़रूर करिए. मेरे जैसे रिपोर्टर के लिए ये बहुत फ़क्र की बात थी कि मेरी लिखी हुई चीज़ को मेरा संपादक अपने संपादकीय में जगह दे रहा है. वो चीज़ दूसरे दिन करंजिया 'फ़्रंट पेज' एडिटोरियल के तौर पर छापी. करंजिया साहब पुराने तरह के संपादक थे जो आपके समर्थन में खड़े हो जाते थे."
करंजिया का ग़ुस्सा
मैंने आनंद सहाय से पूछा कि अपने मातहत पत्रकारों के साथ करंजिया का व्यवहार कैसा होता था.
सहाय का जवाब था "बहुत अच्छा. कभी-कभी उनको ग़ुस्सा आ जाता था. एक बार वो मुझे फ़ोन पर कुछ कहने लगे. मुझे उनकी भाषा पसंद नही आई. मैंने भी उनसे कहा कि अगर आप अपनी भाषा नहीं बदलेंगे तो मैं भी आपसे उसी लहजे में बात करूंगा सबके सामने. उस समय चुप हो गए. लेकिन जब यहाँ आए तो बोले तुम बिल्कुल बच्चों और नादानों की तरह बात कर रहे थे. मैं तुम्हें थोड़े फटकार लगा रहा था. मेरा इशारा दूसरों की तरफ़ था. एक बार मुझे इस बात बात पर तैश आ गया कि बंबई के एक लड़के ने कहा कि उसकी तनख़्वाह काट ली गई है. मैंने रूसी को लिखा कि मुझे ये सुन कर बहुत तकलीफ़ पहुंची है. अगर ऑफ़िस उस के साथ न्याय नहीं कर पा रहा है तो आप मेरी तन्ख़्वाह से पैसे काट कर उसे दे दीजिए."
उनके मुताबिक़, "वो बहुत नाराज़ हुए मुझसे. उन्होंने कहा तुमने अपने आप को समझ क्या रखा है? तुम्हें ज़रा भी अंदाज़ा नहीं है कि उसने किया क्या है. मैं चुप हो गया. रूसी में एक बड़ी बात थी कि एक सड़क का भिखारी भी उनके कमरे तक पहुंच सकता था और वो ख़ुद अपने मेहमान को छोड़ने दरवाज़े तक नीचे तक आते थे."
बांग्लादेश जाने के लिए दिए दस हज़ार रुपए
करंजिया का अख़बार इतना लोकप्रिय था कि उन्हें विज्ञापनों की ज़रूरत नहीं पड़ती थी. विज्ञापन न आने की वजह से वो अपने पत्रकारों को उतना वेतन नहीं दे पाते थे जितना उन्हें दूसरे अख़बारों से मिल सकता था.
महेंद्र वेद बताते हैं, "करंजिया का 'वन मैन शो' था. वो कहा करते थे कि उनके पास पैसे नहीं हैं. लेकिन उनकी बात करने का तरीक़ा बहुत अच्छा होता था, इसलिए पैसे कम होते हुए भी हम लोग ख़ुश रहते थे. उन दिनों में बांग्लादेश में वहाँ के राष्ट्रपति ज़ियाउर रहमान की हत्या हो गई थी. उसके बाद जब वहाँ चुनाव हुए तो मैंने वहाँ जाना चाहा क्योंकि मैं बांगलादेश में पहले रह चुका था. लेकिन लोगों ने कहा कि 'पितामह' इन सब चीज़ों पर पैसे नहीं ख़र्च करते. ब्लिट्ज़ के लोग उन्हें पीठ पीछे 'पितामह' कहा करते थे. लेकिन अगर तुम्हारा मन है तो तुम प्रस्ताव भेज दो. मैंने प्रस्ताव भेजा और तीन घंटे के दर मेरे पास करंजिया का संदेश आया कि आपको दस हज़ार रुपए स्वीकृत किए जाते हैं. आप वहाँ ज़रूर जाइए."
यह भी पढ़ें | ठाकरे कहते थे 'कमलाबाई (बीजेपी) वही करेगी जो मैं कहूंगा'
जीवन के आख़िरी पड़ाव में पकड़ा बीजेपी का हाथ
अस्सी के दशक के मध्य से वक़्त बदलना शुरू हुआ और ब्लिट्ज़ की लोकप्रियता में भी कमी आनी शुरू हो गई. करंजिया भी बूढ़े हो चले.
ताउम्र समाजवाद और नेहरू के आदर्शवाद को सलाम करने वाले रूसी करंजिया ने अपने जीवन की अंतिम बेला में भारतीय जनता पार्टी का हाथ थामा.
लेकिन तब तक उनका स्वास्थ्य बहुत ख़राब हो चुका था और उनकी याददाश्त क़रीब-क़रीब जा चुकी थी. एक फ़रवरी 2008 को भारतीय पत्रकारिता के इस दिग्गज ने इस दुनिया को अलविदा कहा. इत्तेफ़ाक से ये वही दिन था जब उन्होंने 67 साल पहले ब्लिट्ज़ का पहला अंक छापा था.
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