18 June, 2021

Conscience Of An Era

What distinguished Nikhil Chakravartty's journalism was his independent, yet low-key approach

Conscience Of An Era

THE death of Nikhil Chakravartty, Nikhilda to generations of Indian journalists, marks the end of an epoch in the country's public life. His funeral in Delhi on June 28 reflected the diversity of the large mass of his friends and admirers as well as his cosmopolitan outlook. It was like the passing away of Gandhiji fifty years ago, at the national level. From the President of India to the lowliest automobile driver and kitchen help, besides persons with political persuasions ranging from Naxalism to Hindutva, men and women, thronged his overcrowded residence as Nikhilda's body was kept for the public to pay their last respects.

How did one with a Marxist label reach in his personal and intellectual relations such a variety of political and other opinions? During one of my early encounters with Nikhilda about 10 years ago I referred to what I called his graduation from Marxism to larger humanism. He corrected me, saying that Marxism as he studied and understood it was humanism. Sectarian and denominational approaches have no place in it nor...

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