In 1996, during the final stage of my English prose rendering of Kamba Ramayanam, the publishers — Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan — deputed Lalitha Thyagarajan and me to interact with G. Kasturi to prepare the cover design of my book. I met GK in his office-cum-residence. He sat with us and spent a couple of hours, very precious for him, and designed a cover with poet Kamban sitting against the background of the Rameswaram temple. The book was sold all over the world with the fantastic cover. No work was too small for GK because he was too great a person.
The supplement, Friday Review, was launched during GK’s time. I contributed to it almost from its launch, reviewing arts and films. No other newspaper, including regional papers, gave such a wide coverage to arts and culture at that time. GK gave me new ideas to expand my work to different areas like commenting on AIR broadcasts and contributing to the Sunday Magazine.
I was overawed by the manner in which he involved himself even in the running of our printing machines. I stood by his side when he fixed a snag during the launch of our edition in Hyderabad.
On reading the extensive coverage on Mr. Kasturi, the doyen of journalism who passed away on Friday, my memory went back to the 1970s. I was in college then. I met him in the newspaper shop owned and run by my father. He spared a minute to talk to me. He said: “Send me many things of your interest, I will publish something. If you don't send anything, I can publish nothing.” My first letter on cricket was published in Sportstar.
Vazuthur R.S. Raghavan,
Mr. Kasturi’s passion for modernisation and technology did not stop with The Hindu. He was instrumental in starting B.E., Printing Technology, in Anna University in 1984 with the help of the then Vice-Chancellor, V.C Kulandaiswamy, and the British Council, Chennai. It was the first of its kind in India. He took special interest in the programme and allowed our students to use The Hindu infrastructure. The newspaper staff taught our first few batches. GK was on our syllabus committee. The students and staff of Anna University will remember the great visionary with gratitude forever.
“GK” was a life-long user of personal technology who decided early on that there was no equal to the Apple Macintosh family of PCs. The latest iMac PC with a large 27-inch monitor was his constant companion.
As The Hindu IT correspondent for over 15 years, I was his sounding board whenever any development in IT stirred his interest. I recall many memorable sessions in his home when he gave me impromptu but sharp lessons in Photoshop editing tricks.
I continue to preserve two letters, dated October 16, 1967 and December 6, 1967, written along with the dispatch of cheques for two articles I contributed to The Hindu. The letters ended with the words “We thank you for your contribution” and were signed by G. Kasturi. The immense pleasure the personal touch gave me cannot be described in words. I have treasured the letters signed by the legend although I have lost the clippings of both the articles.
As a Kasturiranga Iyengar Scholar in The Hindu (1957), I had the fortune of observing the way Mr. Kasturi instilled in all editorial staff respect for anyone who improved or corrected copy. He himself was a model of humility, despite his power and stature.
No detail was too small for him and everyone mattered to him. We learnt more than just journalism from his style of management.
Mohan Sundara Rajan,
Thanks for offering such a good insight into both the newspaper and the man behind it for such a long time — G. Kasturi. When I came to live in India, I wondered how I could do without The New York Times; soon The Hindu filled that space and very admirably.