In the death of Mr Girilal Jain, Indian journalism has lost one of its outstanding practitioners. Mr Jain joined the profession at a time when it was emerging on its own from the shadows of the freedom struggle. He distinguished himself as a reporter first with the Indian News Chronicle and then the Times of India where he came up from the ranks to become Editor. He had an eventful, though short, stint as the Times of India’s correspondent in Karachi and London before he switched over to leader-writing. It was as an edit writer that he made a mark. He was able to lend a distinct flavour to his analysis of events and issues. What made his writing incisive, thought-provoking and analytical was his deep understanding of the ground situation, gained through close contact with the people, and his uncanny ability to see things in their historical perspective. He had a sense of history which he imbibed through voracious reading and a natural style which enabled him to present his well thought-out views in a lucid manner.
Mr Jain belonged to that genre of editors who considered the edit page as the most sacrosanct and, therefore, gave it unalloyed attention. Small wonder, he did not mind calling himself a thinking editor, who measured each and every word that went into his pieces which some found pontifical. He might have in the course of time changed his views on men and matters but his was a view which few could ignore. It is a measure of the esteem in which he was held that he was given freedom which few of his peers enjoyed. Even after his retirement in 1988, which gave him more time to indulge in his passion for reading, he did not give up writing. Discerning readers could not have missed Mr Jain’s disenchantment with Nehruvian traditions and growing affinity with the Hindutva forces. But then whether one agreed with him or not, one found it compelling to read him. That was because he always had a few new and forceful points to make.
The Hindustan Times, 20July 1993