NEW DELHI, July 19: Mr Girilal Jain, a doyen among journalists and the former Editor of ‘The Times of India’ died here in the early hours of Monday, following a prolonged illness. He was 71. His end came at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, where he was admitted about a month ago and operated upon. He was in coma since the operation and his condition deteriorated last night.
Born on July 26, 1922, at Pipli, Mr. Jain came to Delhi for higher studies after initial training in his village. He was attracted by the Quit India movement and was even jailed for a while in 1943. Mr Jain, who had a short stint at teaching, joined the ‘News Chronicle’ under the editorship of his mentor and friend, Mr Sham Lal. In January 1950, the ‘Times of India’ started its Delhi edition. Six months later, Jain with Mr Sham Lal joined the newspaper as sub-editor.
After joining the ‘Times’, in 1961, he was posted to Karachi and then London as the correspondent. Three years later, he was made the Assistant Editor, because the then Editor, Mr N J Nanporia, felt that “this boy Giri will be good at writing edits”. He later became the Resident Editor of the Delhi edition of the daily in 1970.
Paying rich tributes to him, the Prime Minister, Mr PV Narasimha Rao, said he was a distinguished journalist whose writings were appreciated equally by the admirers and critics. In a message, Mr Rao said he maintained high professional standards throughout his life and career. “He was awarded Padma Bhushan in recognition of his meritorious service”, the PM recalled.
The Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mr KP Singh Deo, condoling the death of the veteran journalist, said his death has left a deep void in the Indian journalism. He said the editorials and articles of Mr. Jain fell in a class of its own. His writings always provided a new insight and set the standards for the young professionals.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting also moved a resolution which said the world of journalism had lost one of finest spokesmen. Mr. Jain, with his outstanding erudition and incisiveness, always provided a new dimension to the issues on which he commented upon, the resolution noted.
The BJP leader, Mr LK Advani while paying tributes at a meeting organised at BJP headquarters, said Mr Girilal Jain had set special records in the field of journalism. His writings were based on principles and values. He was a high- profiled journalist, great thinker and believed in cultural nationalism and the void created by his death will be felt for a long time in the journalistic quarters.
In a joint statement issued here by the President, Mr. Nitish Chakravarty, and the Secretary-General, Mr Balbir K Punj, of the National Union of Journalists, and the Delhi Journalist Association President, said that Mr. Girilal Jain was the ‘quintessential journalist’ who rose from a reporter to be the editor of one of the largest newspapers in the country by the dint of his hard work and dedication to the profession. Mr. Jain was also sympathetic to the working journalists’ cause and sought to uphold editorial freedom.
The mortal remains of Mr Jain were consigned to flames in the presence of an august gathering at Nigambodh Ghat on Monday evening.
Financial Express, New Delhi, 20 July 1993