presents a charming memoir of a journalist
Scent of a Story:
A Newspaperman’s Journey
by Shankar Ghosh
A moving tribute to a life
spent in romance of a newspaper
Part biography, part memoir of the longest-serving and the first Indian editor of one of the oldest newspapers in India
Combining biography and memoir, Shankar Ghosh writes of his father’s life as a journalist in his father’s own voice. As the longest-serving and the first Indian editor of the second-oldest English newspaper in India, the Pioneer, his father Dr S.N. Ghosh’s career matched step with the most profound changes in modern history, including India’s coming of age as an independent nation.
As a cub reporter for the Pioneer, Dr Ghosh saw the ‘whites only’ clubs of the British Raj. During the Bengal Famine he was one of the few journalists who wrote about the disaster, and even helped his wife smuggle grain to Calcutta, then a punishable offence. On the eve of Independence, he wrote the Pioneer’s editorial to mark the historic day. In the 1950s he witnessed the beginning of the Ram Janma Bhoomi movement – after an idol of Ram Lalla appeared surreptitiously in the Babari Masjid. He also chronicled the India–China war and the politicking in an incipient Uttar Pradesh.
S.N. Ghosh also had interesting anecdotes to narrate about some of India’s then most influential politicians: Acharya Kripalani, C.B. Gupta, Motilal Nehru and Rajeev Gandhi.
Shankar’s prose condenses, as a perfumer bottles a fragrance, his father’s remembrances, his father’s life in romance of a newspaper, and the spirit of an early Lucknow, all for us to get a whiff of those times. As memoirs go, Scent of a Story is a charmer of a book.
A son recounts the story of his father, set against the backdrop of a transforming India from the times of the Viceroy and the princely states to a modern democratic nation.
Shankar Ghosh was born in Lucknow in 1943. He majored in geology from the University of Lucknow and studied forestry in the Indian Forest College, Dehradun. After a brief stint in the Indian Forest Service, he worked in wood-based industries in India and East Africa. He headed a major agro-forestry poplar intercropping programme in the farmlands of north India, and helped initiate livelihood enhancement programmes in Africa through the introduction of rural poultry. He has worked with Arizona State University and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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PB | Non-Fiction | 224 pp | Rs 399