The focus of the current issue of both Organiser and Panchjanya is on the completion of 70 years of the publication of two weeklies.
The editorial in Organiser claims, “Most of the media ventures after Independence are either individual-owned or started by corporate offices, while Bharat Prakashan has been a share-holding company of thousands of common people committed to the cause of creating a platform for ‘Voice of the Nation’.”
The editorial goes on to assert that “Now when there is a fierce contest among political parties and media groups to claim the nationalist space that is rooted in the Hindu ethos, the pioneering effort in this direction was (by) Organiser.” “Every publication has some ideological leanings, overt or covert, but they avoid accepting the same. Organiser openly accepted that our inspiration is the thought of ‘inherent cultural integration of Bharat’ propagated by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), especially when the nationalist voluntary organisation was an anathema to many. While doing that, instead of just being a mouthpiece of the organisation, Organiser chose to be the voice of the all marginalised who were speaking for the eternal ethos and there, people like Father Anthony Elenjimittam, Purushottam Das Tandon or K M Munshi also find space in the weekly,” it says.
Organiser adds that journalism is more a profession these days and therefore, commitment to truth, culture and a certain set of values is a rare commodity. “It is not that there are no committed journalists, but by and large, the media environment and market compulsions are pushing the large chunk to opt for commercial interests over the truth. Organiser has been one of the few exceptions in this regard,” the editorial says.
The weekly has carried a number of articles elaborating and celebrating its 70-year journey, including the challenges it faced. Organiser has also carried articles highlighting the association and contributions of its previous editors. There is also an article by veteran BJP leader and former deputy prime minister, L K Advani, written long ago. Advani had joined Organiser in 1960 as assistant editor and bore editorial responsibilities later as well. In the article, Advani writes that he had re-started wearing trousers instead of “dhoti and kurta” on the advise of some colleagues after working with Organiser. Advani first wrote a column on cinema in Organiser. The current issue also contains excerpts from interviews and speeches of former RSS chiefs, from the magazine’s archives .
The editorial in Panchjanya says that while the fearless voice of the weekly attracted readers, it also had to face challenges from government in the past. The editorial claims that the Jawaharlal Nehru government had issued a notice when “Panchajanya blamed the failure of the government’s foreign and defence policies after China’s attack on India in 1962”. It says the media has faced various hurdles in the past seven decades and several weeklies have had to shut down but Panchjanya kept moving ahead. Panchjanya too carried interviews of or articles by ex-RSS chiefs, “Guruji” Golwalkar, Balasaheb Deoras, Rajendra Singh, BJP ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya and current RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. These interviews and articles have been printed by Panchjanya in the past as well. Panchjanya has also carried an article on social equality by Ram Nath Kovind — now President of India — written in 2006 when he was president of the BJP’s Scheduled Caste Morcha, from the magazine’s archives. Panchjanya has also carried an article on the speech that Narendra Modi had delivered in Mumbai at an “anti-terrorism rally” in 2006, when he was chief minister of Gujarat. It has also re-published an interview of Modi from 2004 in which he had said that Hindutva could never be communal.