G. Kasturi, former editor of The Hindu is dead (Lead)

September 21st, 2012 - 3:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Sep 21 (IANS) G. Kasturi, former editor of The Hindu group, passed away here Friday, said a family member. He was 87.

He was also the former managing director of Kasturi and Sons Ltd that owns the paper and other publications from the group.

He passed away peacefully early morning, N. Ram, a relative and former editor-in-chief of The Hindu and other group publications and a director in Kasturi and Sons, told IANS.

Kasturi is survived by his wife Kamala Kasturi, two sons K. Balaji, K. Venugopal and a daughter Lakshmi Srinath.

“My uncle, Shri G. Kasturi was a major figure in the post-independence history of Indian journalism and the newspaper industry. Along with his uncle, Shri Kasturi Srinivasan, under whom he trained as a newspaperman, he was the longest serving editor of The Hindu,” Ram said in his tribute.

Ram said Kasturi was ahead of his media contemporaries and fellow editors by foreseeing the need for the newspaper industry to embrace the state-of-art technology and adapt it to Indian conditions while preserving the core values of journalism.

“Many a leap in newspaper technology - offset printing, facsimile transmission of whole newspaper pages, photocomposition, full-page pagination, colour scanning - found its first Indian champion in my uncle, who was always hands-on, side by side with the technical experts,” Ram said.

K. Narayanan, former associate editor of The Hindu and the paper’s first Reader’s Editor, told IANS over phone from Coimbatore: “He was totally dedicated to the profession. I used to wake him up even at 3 a.m. to get certain things clarified. He gave full freedom to the journalists subject to the well laid down parameters.”

Terming Kasturi as a fast decision-maker and a hands-on person, Narayanan said: “When I met him in July, he was discussing about the industry. He was a true professional but unknown outside The Hindu.”

Though Kasturi and Sons modernised its press and other operations, not a single person was sent out, Narayanan added.

It was Kasturi who helped develop the facsimile system of transmission of page images, the first of its kind in Asia.

Kasturi was the principal driving force behind making The Hindu the first mainline newspaper in India to go for computerised phototypesetting during 1980.

Creditably, The Hindu kept on board during this major technological transition from hot metal technology to computer-based technology — that demanded a new skill set — the people who were working in the earlier technology: the company gave them training and re-orientation to take on the new roles.

Ram said Kasturi was also enthusiastic about internet journalism and digital technology and almost till the end was regularly on his iMac working on page design and photographs and savouring the best of international newspaper.

“Significantly, he lived to see the 134th anniversary of the founding of The Hindu on Sep 20 and passed away a couple of hours into Sep 21. The Hindu was his life,” Ram said.

Born on Dec 17, 1924, he had his school and college education in Madras. After acquiring an M.A. degree from Madras University, he joined the organisation in 1944.

In 1959, he was designated Joint Editor.

Kasturi was the editor of The Hindu from September 1965 to January 1991.

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