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Tamil Nadu

Vikatan group chief passes away

S. Balasubramanian.

S. Balasubramanian.  

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Junior Vikatan, a pioneer in the field of investigative journalism, is his brainchild

S. Balasubramanian, the chairman of the Vikatan group of publications, died here on Friday night.

He was 78 and is survived by his wife, a son and six daughters.

Son of film producer and owner of Gemini Studios S.S. Vasan, who founded the magazine, Mr. Balasubramanian made many revolutionary changes in the content of Ananda Vikatan and persuaded Tamil writer Jayakanthan, who had been writing till then only in smaller magazines, to contribute to Vikatan.

Junior Vikatan, a pioneer in the field of investigative journalism, is his brainchild. He also introduced a scheme to identify talent among college students in Tamil Nadu and many journalists now dominating the field are actually the products of the ‘student journalists scheme.’

Mr. Balasubramanian was arrested and lodged in jail for three days for a privilege issue in the Tamil Nadu Assembly in 1987 after he refused to apologise for a cartoon on legislators published on the cover of the magazine. “He was not averse to the idea of apologising. But wondered why he should do it after the Privileges Committee decided everything without giving adequate opportunity to explain his position,” said S. Ashokan, Editor, The Hindu in Tamil and a former editor and publisher of Ananda Vikatan.

He was released after protests across the country. He later filed a suit in the court against his wrongful arrest.

The Madras High Court decided in favour of Mr. Balasubramanian and even awarded compensation. “After encashing the cheque, he framed it and kept it as a memento along with the cartoon drawn by R.K. Laxman, in support of the Vikatan cartoon,” said Mr. Ashokan.

According to his son B. Srinivasan, his body will be donated to the Sri Ramachandra Medical College as per his father’s wishes.

Mr. Balasubramanian was also known for his serious hobbies. He was an expert farmer with a special interest in the cultivation of high-yielding winter vegetable crops. He also had notable success in the breeding of high-quality German Shepherd dogs. But the hobby that made him the leading Indian name was the breeding of rare and new varieties of parrots.

From The Hindu archives:

>A trophy to remember

A picture frame featuring the scanned image of a cheque, two 500 rupee notes and two paper cuttings hung like a trophy on a wall behind the Vikatan group Editor S. Balasubramanian's chair. It is testimony to an important legal victory of 1994 — which gains relevance in the midst of a fresh debate over the privileges of legislative bodies in India, the `sky-high' powers sometimes claimed for them, and the urgent need to codify them.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2018 7:40:05 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vikatan-group-chief-passes-away/article6709624.ece