Overview for Warrior of the Fourth Estate: Ramnath Goenka of the Express
Ramnath Goenka was a man of many parts' freedom fighter, Gandhian worker, politician, merchant, industrialist and newspaper magnate. But more than anything else he was an indomitable warrior for the freedom of the Press, whose frontiers he fearlessly defended and pushed, often at enormous cost to himself. His mission as a newspaper publisher was to empower the citizen, uphold his right to know, and to make all those in power and authority accountable to the people's a mission that he carried out with unflagging, if sometimes excessive, zeal. During the Emergency, Ramnath Goenka' or RNG as he came to be popularly known' waged an epic battle of defiance against a vindictive government, and in later years launched a relentless campaign against corruption, which won him staunch admirers as well as bitter enemies. The targets of his campaigns included prime ministers, political leaders, corporate raiders, trade unionists and tycoons. B.G. Verghese' s biography charts the tumultuous course of Goenka' s life, from his modest beginnings to his building of the vast Indian Express empire with its multiple editions, which reached out to readers in the remotest corners of the country. It also paints a compelling portrait of a man who was a bundle of contradictions' a wealthy man of property who lived an austere life; who was parsimonious to a fault yet could be exceedingly generous; who adored gossip and intrigue and was at the same time deeply spiritual; one of the most powerful men in India who was deeply lonely in his personal life; a man you could love or hate but never ignore. This book has all the excitement of a roller-coaster ride as it takes the reader through the extraordinary twists and turns of fortune that characterized Ramnath Goenka' s life, including scandals and scoops, fiery public campaigns, dramatic court battles and the making and unmaking of political leaders and governments,. Along the way, it tells the story, too, of a newspaper that not only recorded history but also made it.
B G Verghese (Author)
B.G. Verghese read economics at St Stephen's College (1944-46) and is a columnist and author, writing on water resources, the North-East, current affairs and the media. He is currently Visiting Professor at the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi and Chair of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and of the Media Foundation. He served as editor of the Hindustan Times and Indian Express and received the Magsaysay Award for Journalism in 1975. He was Information Adviser to the Prime Minister (1966-68), has served on numerous official and non-official bodies and is associated with a number of NGOs. He is the author of many books, including Waters of Hope, India's Northeast Resurgent, Reorienting India: The New Geo-Politics of Asia, Warrior of the Fourth Estate: Ramnath Goenka of the 'Express', and editor of Breaking the Big Story, published by Penguin.