G. Kasturi is the only editor who had thorough knowledge of both editorial and production matters

In April 1976, I confided in a friend of mine my plan to approach The Hindu for a job. “You are a bloody day-dreamer, do you think The Hindu would employ someone from outside the southern region,” he replied.

Brushing aside the discouraging comment, I met Mr. G. Kasturi during his visit to New Delhi. For nearly one hour that I was with him in his room at Ashoka Hotel, he asked me all manner of questions relating to what I told him were subjects of my interest in reporting. Not even for a moment did I get the impression that any consideration other than professional had weighed on him. I got the appointment letter after a week — to start an association that lasted some three decades.

Yes, he was a professional — a complete professional — perhaps, the only editor in the print media who had thorough knowledge of both editorial and production matters. And yet, he was modest to the core, a quality enhanced by his soft temperament.

The Hindu saw a major expansion during his tenure. Particularly noticeable was the publication of the New Delhi edition on September 11, 1986, the first in the north. He had completely identified himself with this project. Waiting anxiously in the press for the auspicious hour, he gave the go-ahead signal, setting the rotary in motion, picked up the very first issue of the edition, and, with child-like curiosity, turned the pages, expressing satisfaction. And yet, he was a realist. When the manager of the news agency, entrusted with circulation, gave his estimate of the circulation, Mr. Kasturi thought it was on the higher side at the starting stage. He cut it down to half.

Some of us in The Hindu adjusted ourselves to the technical innovations introduced by Mr. Kasturi, somewhat hesitatingly. When, for instance, we were asked to fax our story to the Madras office, we were not sure whether it would land there safely and took the precaution of transmitting it by the tele-printer as well. His was a charming way of getting work done from the staff members. When someone would mention the difficulties in the way of a particular job, he would say, disarmingly: “I tell you how to do. Just do it.”

Even after retirement, he kept himself posted with developments in the country and abroad with the old zeal. He had specific ideas on how some of the problems, facing the country, could be resolved. Those of us from New Delhi, who were in touch with him, found him fully alert and lively. His death is shocking, indeed.


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