28 February, 2021

Sailing Down A Century

Nirad Chaudhuri completes a 100-year voyage through the intricacies of the English language

Sailing Down A Century
NONE of us who worked with Nirad C. Chaudhuri in the newsroom of All India Radio would have imagined that he would grow into a legendary figure, and among other things complete his century in November 1997. His most noticeable characteristic was his eccentricity and his limitless egotism. Perhaps the legend has its roots in these factors, but there is a lot more to the man which history has revealed.

Nirad Chaudhuri joined the news department of AIR in 1942 as a news commentator. His commentaries were mostly devoted to the war. His favourite themes were Churchill, who he greatly admired, and matters concerning the navy. The tonnage of warships was at his fingertips. But if in doubt, he would ring up his house and ask his sons to check the facts from his own reference books. He did not trust the news department's reference officer.

I joined the news department a year after Niradbabu, and we served together for the next seven years. Then I was appointed station director and was posted to Shillong.

During these years I saw him almost...

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