The death of Com. K.L. Monga, many times General Secretary of the Bennett Coleman and Company Employees Union, is not only sad and shocking but has shaken me to the core. I really got so benumbed with this tragic news that I went into silence for a few minutes. The saddest part of it is that youngsters working even for the Times of India do not know who he was. For the last, nearly two decades he had virtually gone into oblivion.
He was a person, who was loved by colleagues and comrades but was also respected by the managements of newspaper industry, particularly the Bennett Coleman and Company, the publishers of the Times of India, the Economic Times, the Nav Bharat Times and the whole host of magazines in the eighties. In October 1987, he called for a one-day strike in his newspapers in the support of the struggling employees of the Indian Express Group of Newspapers. Lo and behold! All offices of his newspapers were closed in no time. Hundreds of workers of the Times of India came out in open and started shouting slogans in support of Indian Express employees. Monga became the ruler of the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi. The late Girilal Jain, the then editor of the Times of India, wrote a very long editorial condemning the police high handedness on the workers of Indian Express.
Comrade Monga, a graduate in Humanities from the prestigious Kirodi Mal College of Delhi University was the card holder of the CPI but he became so disenchanted with intrigues of his party colleagues that he decided to quit the party. Com Vikram Rao, by that time, was elected the president of the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ) by defeating the CPI’s veteran A Raghavan. Journalists belonging to the left ideology were not able to digest the victory of Com Rao and they had virtually choked his functioning in the IFWJ. Ultimately, they formed a parallel organization. All-India Newspaper Employees Federation (AINEF), a powerful body of non- journalists in those days was in total control of the CPI. Its General Secretary Com (late) K.L. Kapur was leading from the front against the IFWJ.
It was then decided to form the National Federation of Newspaper Employees (NFNE) to get rid of the AINEF. Fed up with machinations of the left leaders Com. Paritosh Mukhopadhyay of Anand Bazar Patrika of Kolkata came forward to lead the new organisation. Within a short span of time NFNE caught the fancy of newspaper employees and, it became so powerful that many state governments and the Central government had to recognize it. As a result of it,Com. Paritosh Mukhopadhyay represented the NFNE in the Manisana Wage Board and in Majithia Wage Board; Com Uma Shankar Mishra became its representative. In fact, it could not have been possible if Com. Monga had not swung into the formation of NFNE with tan, man aur dhan.
I was fortunate to have worked with Com. Monga. I used to write pamphlets for him during elections in the Times of India. He was friend of friends and could go any extent to help them. Down the memory lane, there are many stories related to him and other comrades. I feel writing a book on them.
Com. Monga had shifted to Gujrat after his retirement but a few years ago again came back to Delhi. He, however, remained cut off with all Union activities. His two daughters and his highly qualified wife survive him. I pay my tearful homage to you dear Com. Monga.
Secy. Gen. IFWJ