N Murali, Co-chairman, Kasturi & Sons Limited pays tribute to S Balasubramanian, veteran journalist and Chairman of Vikatan Group of Publications; speaks on the loss of a courageous man in the media fraternity. (As told to exchange4media)
Mr. Balasubramanian belonged to the era or generation of editors who were idealistic. He had pioneered in getting Ananda Vikatan to a level where it is considered even today as a serious news magazine with in depth information provided to the readers. He had pioneered in bringing in new and fresh writers like Jayakanthan for instance. Junior Vikatan which focused on investigative journalism was his brain child.
He was a bold editor who always stuck to his principles. In 1987, Balasubramanian was arrested and lodged in jail for three days for a privilege issue in the Tamil Nadu Assembly after he refused to apologise for a cartoon on legislators published on the cover of the magazine. But he didn’t mind going to jail. I remember there was a huge nationwide protest and finally the Madras High Court decided in favour of him and even awarded compensation. This was a great example of how he stood up for freedom of press which is a lesson for modern editors of today.
He was a man with courage and as one would know he was serious even in his hobbies such as nurturing birds and animals. He will be remembered forever.