New Delhi: Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ) has condoled the passing away of Comrade Shitla Singh, a veteran journalist, well-known trade unionist and highly committed social activist. Comrade Singh has been the editor of the premier cooperative Hindi daily newspaper the ‘Jan Morcha’ of Ayodhya. At one point in time, it was the only newspaper which had the distinction of being published as a cooperative venture without taking the help of any business tycoon. In the early sixties, it was almost unthinkable to run a daily newspaper without capital support from any business establishment.
Jan Morcha showed the light to a new type of journalism where the capital from the Seths had practically no had no say. but the duo of Shitla Singh and Mahatma Har Govind took the challenge upon themselves to run a cooperative newspaper, that too, from a relatively small town like Ayodhya, which was then known as Faizabad.
Comrade Singh was a prolific writer and besides writing regular columns he had written books also. His book on the Ayodhya movement was praised and criticised in equal measure by his supporters and detractors. He was closely associated with some of the powerful politicians and tried his best to resolve the Ayodhya tangle through negotiations, but he could not succeed because his formula was not acceptable either to Hindus or Muslims. Despite having very close contact with powers that be he did not take any benefit from any of them, which kept him, head and shoulder above many of the journalists., who always hobnobbed with Ministers and Chief Ministers to grind their personal axes.
Shri Singh was the main architect of the Hindi Samachar Patra Sammelan and with his efforts, it got recognition at various platforms and media fora. He was instrumental in making the building of the Hindi Samachar Patra Sammelan in Lucknow, which houses many offices of the Hindi newspapers. His contribution to Hindi journalism will always be remembered by the posterity. He belonged to the proletariat section of society and always fought for the weak and downtrodden.
He was the President of the UP-Working Journalist Union (UPWJU), an affiliate of the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ). Widely travelled and well-read Comrade Sheetla Singh was from the rare breed of journalists. He never compromised with his principles and commitments and had once contested the UP-Assembly Election as the candidate of the CPI. He was in the late eighties of his life and was not keeping good health for many years but was very active and agile till the last.
He was a member of the Press Council of India for many terms, and he made many remarkable contributions in laying down the standard guidelines for journalists. It will be very difficult to fill the void caused by his death, who was congenial, well behaved and affectionate to young journalists.
IFWJ has lost one of its dearest comrades and the organisation has become poorer in the death of Sheetla Singh, who was ideal for working journalists. May he be remembered and followed for his good works by the future generation of journalists. IFWJ lowers its banner in respectful memory of Comrade Shitla Singh.