Leaders and journalists holding diverse views paid tributes to eminent journalist late Giri Lal Jain, the former editor of The Times of India and columnist at a meeting organised by Friends of Girilal Jain in New Delhi on July 24.
RSS leader Prof. Rajendra Singh, Union Welfare Minister Sita Ram Kesri, Congress leader Vasant Sathe, Maulana Waheedudin Khan of Islamic Centre, journalists Nihal Singh and Dilip Padgaonkar and Shri Ram Swarup, writer and friend of Shri Jain.
The Bharatiya Janata Party president, Shri L.K. Advani, said that no attempt should be made to bind Giri Lal Jain to any political party. He said that Shri Jain had the capacity to think in an unconventional and unorthodox manner, for, he had the strength of conviction. He was endowed with a strong sense of history and his writings did not simply aim at provoking. Instead, his writings were the result of deep thought, Shri Advani said.
Pointing out that Shri Jain was a supporter of Nehruvian model, Shri Advani said, later on he criticised his views also and became a supporter of Hindutva. But there was one constant concern in his writings – it was the nationalism and national interest.
Professor Rajendra Singh said that unlike Pandit Nehru, Giri Lal Jain would listen to others’ point of view. Although he was a supporter of the Nehruvian model, he did not feel any inhibition in criticising it when he realised what it meant to the country. The RSS leader said that Shri Jain had the distinction of putting forward in English journalism the Sanatani view of Dharma and culture by supporting the Hindutva movement and Ramjanmabhoomi. In doing this, he brought about a change in English writing.
Shri Kesri said a person’s life cannot be assessed piecemeal and “who knows four years from now, if Shri Jain had lived, he would not have railed against Hindutva.” Shri Jain, he said, had been a fighter during freedom struggle and had been to jail for six months. At one stage, he was also virtually an adviser to Mrs. Indira Gandhi, he added.
Shri Sathe said that Shri Jain wielded a forceful and powerful pen. He was an ardent patriot and nationalist. There was no obstinacy in his writings.
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan said there were several lessons to be learnt from the life of Giri Lal Jain. Beginning his studies in a village school in Sonepat, he went on to study at the Hindu College in Delhi. The Maulana noted despite having done his initial schooling in a small place, Shri Giri Lal Jain went on to become a leading writer in English.
Moreover, the Maulana observed, even though one did not agree with the late editor’s views, they were compelling, since he always had “something new and forceful to offer’’.
Girilal Jain after the Babri mosque had been demolished on December 6 welcomed the incident in “uninhibited, clear and unambiguous’’ words and even called on the Muslims to accommodate themselves to the new realities, said an old friend of Mr Jain, Ram Swarup, who had known him from school days.
Ram Swarup said that Mr Jain talked of Hindu civilisation during last few years which was something not given due importance to by pseudo-secularists, and linked the Hindutva movement to that of the Independence struggle. Others who spoke on the occasion included journalists S Nihal Singh, Dilip Padgaonkar, Swapan Das Gupta, Chandan Mitra and Tarun Vijay.
Organiser, 8 August 1993