We pay our respectful homage to Shri Surya Narayan Sharma, a veteran journalist, who passed away yesterday in Mumbai at the ripe old age of 92. He was fearless journalist, who wielded very facile pen in Hindi and English as well. He worked for many Hindi and English newspapers but retired from the Hindustan Times of Delhi some 35 years ago. For the last nearly a quarter of a century, he was mostly living in Mumbai with his son.
He used to often telephone me from Mumbai and was always full of verve, vigour, energy and enthusiasm. Shri Sharma, popularly known as Pandit ji, had also to bear the brunt of Chaudhary Bansilal during emergency. His proprietors albeit succumbed to threats of Chaudhary Saheb but he did not. He never compromised with any amount of blandishment, threat or browbeating.
He was full of innovative ideas even in his old age. I have had the opportunity of meeting and talking to him many times at great lengths. During a long train journey in sleeper class from Delhi to Ahmedabad, when the dark clouds of imminent war between India and Pakistan were hovering, he told many anecdotes of the sacrifices of freedom fighters. There was a general mobilization of troops and at many stations he got down to pat jawans and offer them cups of tea. The armies of both countries were arrayed against each other eyeball to eyeball, Shri Sharma made a monologue in the train that either there should be no war between the two countries or if there was an unavoidable war, it should be decisive one as it was fought in 1971 by Mrs. Indira Gandhi.
Pandit ji had a great love for Hindi language and literature. He was a freedom fighter who had actively participated under the leadership of the late Shankar Dayal Sharma, the former President of India and fought against the Nawabshahi of Bhopal. He would, without doubt, continue to be a beacon light for all those who consider that the journalism was a profession full of lofty ideals. Of late, he used to rue that the profession had been appropriated by brokers and corrupts but in the same breath he never failed to exhort the youngsters to get it cleansed to restore its credibility.
We pay our heartfelt tribute to the great and intrepid journalist that Pandit ji was. He may not be physically present among us but he would continue to watch us from the Heaven.