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May 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         May 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:May' 2018


A doyen of journalism

TVR Shenoy TVR Shenoy was a doyen of Indian journalism, Arguably, he was one of the tallest Malayali journalists in Delhi. He was widely respected because of his fearless and forceful comments, erudition and vast contact he cultivated and nurtured over the years. Though a Malayali, he was more popular and at ease in the cosmopolitan circuit.
Shenoy worked for many years with the pro-Congress Malayala Manorama group. In the 90s, especially after the failure of the V P Singh experiment and success of Ramjanmabhumi movement he developed a fascination for the BJP and Sangh parivar. He was especially attracted towards L K Advani, perhaps because of his closeness with the late Deenath Mishra, veteran Journalist and BJP MP. Later, he turned into a full fledged BJP sympathiser and a very articulate votary of the Narendra Modi brand of development agenda (sab ke saath sab ka vikas).
Shenoy belonged to that rare breed of journalists who enjoyed great credibility, readability and narrative skill. He always insisted on factuality, readability and credibility in a journalist. There were very few contemporary journalists as widely read as he was. Shenoy contributed regularly in the last one decade to about a dozen publications. He developed wide contacts in officialdom and politics. He was very close to a large number of Congress leaders and leaders in other regional parties like Shiv Sena, BSP, JDS, AIDMK and Kerala Congress. He built relations thicker than blood. For every aspiring Keralite journalist, he was the ultimate role model.
He gave great opportunities in reporting, and his tutelage helped me make some of the memorable copies. The famous by-election in Allahabad when V P Singh contested as independent, the Ayodhya agitation, Advaniji's famous Rath Yatra and many such major events were covered during this time. It was his encouragement that helped me to do the first cover story in a national magazine in 1987 on Kanshi Ram in The Week. The BSP had then not arrived even in UP politics, Kanshi Ram stood third in the Allahabad by-poll.
In fact, Shenoy played a role in bringing Kanshi Ram closer to the BJP later which resulted in the BSP-BJP coalition in UP which saw Mayawati as Chief Minister after her break with SP.
Shenoy was very eager for the defeat of the UPA regime in 2014. He was so excited after the Modi victory that he worked overtime to convince the Muslim and Christian leaders, with whom he had great rapport, that the real harmony will now become possible in India. In the run-up to the election with other Muslim leaders, he participated in a rally organized by the BJP intellectual cell in the wake of the Muzaffernagar riots.
After election he fondly remarked, how warm Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in a chance meeting at a Vigyan Bhawan function. Shenoy had a great desire to end the Ayodhya dispute in favour of Hindus by obtaining a fatwa from the chief priest of Holy Macca, with whom he enjoyed a great bonhomie. He had almost succeeded but for some last minute glitch.
For the Malayali reader, tired of the biased coverage of the local media, after the BJP came to power, his columns were a great relief. Weak after week, he analysed national events with clarity and perspective. His sense of humour and witticism made his columns highly readable, unputdownable. He was the former editor of The Week and Sunday Mail, Bureau Chief of Malayala Manorama daily in the national capital for almost three decades, and a regular columnist with many major publications, including Mathrubhumi Daily. He was also one of the directors of Manipal University.
Shenoy was 77 when he breathed his last in a Manipal hospital where he was under treatment for the last few months. He is survived by his wife Saroj, daughter Sujata and son Ajit. He dreamt of a glorious future for India and was waiting to return to Delhi for a renewed stint. Wanted to build bridges with communities to create a united, stronger India. He has left a huge vaccum in the sphere of communication and dialogue.

-- R Balashankar