31 July, 2021

George’s Medicine

A man who stood by his convictions, even if it offended others

George’s Medicine

With the possible exception of Shamlal, the legendary editor of the Times of India who died in 2002, no journalist has received as many deeply felt tributes and accolades as George Verghese did on his death. Every one of those is richly deserved, for in his half-a-century as a journalist, I never met anyone else with as deep and idealistic a love for his country as he felt. This diamond-hard honesty sprang from a belief that Indians could only serve their country if they were as honest with themselves about its failings as they were proud of its successes. A couple of decades ago, when George had not become the iconic figure he is today, we would sometimes fondly refer to him as ‘St George’. Today, most of us would agree that if any journalist deserves canonisation, it would be him.

George’s early writing is redolent of his faith in India’s future. In 1962, while an assistant editor in the Times of India, he decided to celebrate India’s 15th year of independence by travelling across the len­gth and breadth of the country...

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