S. Rangarajan passes away

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S. Rangarajan at the 125th anniversary celebrations of The Hindu in Chennai on September 13, 2003.
S. Rangarajan at the 125th anniversary celebrations of The Hindu in Chennai on September 13, 2003.

Congenial Chairman during a significant phase of The Hindu's growth

CHENNAI: It is with deep regret that we record the death of S. Rangarajan, Chairman of Kasturi and Sons Limited, proprietors of The Hindu group of publications. The end came at his Parthasarathy Gardens residence in Chennai on Thursday afternoon after a spirited and prolonged battle against cardiac disease and renal failure. He was 70.

Mr. Rangarajan, known as "Rangappa" to his large circle of friends, was a congenial personality with varied interests, including sport. He was the younger son of Kasturi Srinivasan, a great Editor of The Hindu, and a grandson of S. Kasturiranga Iyengar, who took over the newspaper in 1905 and set it on a new path.

He is survived by his wife Shanta Rangarajan; his son Ramesh Rangarajan, Director, The Hindu; two daughters, Vijaya Arun and Akila Iyengar; and six grand-children. His sons-in-law are Arun Sarathy and Vijay Iyengar and his daughter-in-law is Harini Ramesh.

Born on April 10, 1936, Mr. Rangarajan had his school and college education in Madras. He became a Director of The Hindu in 1958 and a whole-time Director in August 1965. He succeeded his paternal uncle, Kasturi Gopalan, as Publisher in December 1974. He became the Managing Director in January 1991 and was elevated to the position of Chairman in April 2006.

Sports lover

Mr. Rangarajan presided over the company during a significant phase of its growth and expansion. He had a sharp eye for proof and grammatical errors on the newspaper page. He took a keen interest in the coverage of sport in The Hindu and other publications of the group. He had special concern for the welfare of employees. He was deeply devout.

He was a keen promoter and follower of sports, in particular cricket, tennis, and horse racing. His passion for cricket was life-long. He promoted and captained a successful first division league team, Jolly Rovers, in Madras in the early 1960s. Much before league cricket became corporatised and professionalised, Mr. Rangarajan sponsored Test cricketer Salim Durrani and even the West Indian fast bowler, Roy Gilchrist, for a while to play for his team.

Till the end, he followed all major cricket and tennis tournaments round the world. Mr. Rangarajan was a Steward of the Madras Race Club and the Hyderabad Race Club. He took pride in owning his first racehorse at the age of 18.

A dog lover from childhood, "Rangappa" was Chairman of the Kennel Club of India for a quarter century. He was one of the best-known Indian faces in the international dog game. Over the decades, his kennel featured top-winning dogs of various breeds, the most famous being his beloved whippet "Saga," known to the dog show world as Ch. Shalfleet Showman of Courthill. He was inducted into the international panel of all-breeds judges in 1961.

Mr. Rangarajan was often described by his friends as "one of the last of the sporting owners." One of them said on Thursday: "He had an eye for horses and dogs and could judge them very early. Some of the horses he sold went on to become all-time greats."

He was associated with the film industry and produced several films in Tamil, including the award-winning Gouravam and Payanam. Another production, Ore Oru Gramathile, won a national award. It also set off a debate relating to the reservation issue and led, in the year 1989, to a landmark judgment of the Supreme Court setting new standards for the protection of freedom of expression.

The final obsequies will be performed on Friday at his residence, 15 Parthasarathy Gardens, Chennai 600018, between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m; and the cremation will take place at the Besant Nagar electric crematorium between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

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