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Veteran journalist RK Karanjia dead

Veteran journalist, war correspondent and former editor of the Blitz weekly Russi K Karanjia passed away in Mumbai on Friday. He was 95.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2008 00:32 IST


Veteran journalist, war correspondent and former editor of the Blitz weekly Russi K Karanjia passed away in Mumbai on Friday. He was 95.

His last rites will be performed at Chandanwadi crematorium in South Mumbai Saturday, in a departure from Parsi tradition, as per his wishes.

Born on Sep 15, 1912, Karanjia introduced an aggressive brand of journalism through his popular weekly tabloid, Blitz, launched in the early 1940s.

He started writing while he was still in college and also worked briefly as an assistant editor for the Times of India in Mumbai.

After launching his own newspaper, his aggressive style of writing earned him the admiration of thousands of readers in India and abroad.

During World War II, he functioned for some time as a war correspondent, reporting from the action lines in Burma (now Myanmar) and Assam regions. In 1945, he shot into the limelight by publishing exclusive photographs of late Indian revolutionary leader Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army.

Later, he launched a campaign and successfully raised a sum of Rs.125,000 for the treatment, relief and rehabilitation of Indian soldiers at the British General Hospital, Pune.

During the historic Quit India Movement, Karanjia launched a Blitz campaign to release former Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru from jail. For this, he was fined Rs.3,000 by the British rulers of India.

Karanjia interviewed former British prime minister Winston Churchill and former French president Charles De Gaulle. He also interviewed world leaders like Nehru, A.G. Nasser of Egypt, N. Khrushchev, Fidel Castro, Zhou En Lai and Yasser Arafat.

Along with Feroz Gandhi, former prime minister Indira Gandhi's husband, Karanjia had exposed a financial scam involving noted industrialist Haridas Mundhra.

In June 1965, Nasser decorated Karanjia with Egypt's top civilian honour, Republican Order of Merit Grade I.

Karanjia, who was senior film journalist B.K. Karanjia's brother, is survived by his daughter Rita, also a journalist.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the passing away of the renowned journalist.

"Shri Karanjia was a respected and veteran journalist who received acclaim and recognition within and outside India for his rich contribution to the world of journalism. His outstanding achievements as a media personality set many new landmarks in the field of journalism," Manmohan Singh said in his message.

"I pray that the departed soul may rest in peace," he added.