M K VIDYARANYA writes: Karnataka’s seniormost journalist Y K Rajagopal, who passed away in his sleep last night after a glorious 60-year innings in journalism, was a walking encyclopaedia who had trained many journalists right from the days when he was the chief reporter of Deccan Herald, one of the country’s popular newspapers, in the early 1960s.
A bachelor and a celibate he practised what he preached and was sincere to the core. Having participated in the freedom struggle, YK, as he was popularly called by his friends, was a socialist.
Born on September 19, 1920 to Yapamakula Krishna Setty, a leading cloth merchant of that time, YK, who pursued his higher studies at Maharaja’s college in Mysore, jumped into the freedom movement . He started manufacturing crude bombs inside the Kaveripatnam Hall in Mysore city. He used to wear only a khadi jubba and a dhoti.
A college mate of H Y Sharada Prasad, former information advisor to three Prime Ministers, internationally known photojournalist T S Satyan and others, YK traveled in the forests around Mysore, Bangalore and Hindupur to keep alive his anti-British activities, published information hand outs and supplied bombs.
After the country gained independence YK helped his father in his business and spend his time in marrying off his six sisters and a brother. However, he himself remained a bachelor.
YK who left for Bombay for business, got an offer from Deccan Herald to become its stringer and when he came back to Bangalore he was asked to join the organisation as a staffer.
Aa chief reporter of that paper he was the first to publish the Mahajan Commission report on Karnataka-Maharashtra border issue. He was also the first to interview Dalai Lama who had fled Tibet took refuge in India and visited the Tibetan refugees colony at Bylakuppe near Kushalnagar in Kodagu.
Had he continued in that paper, he would have ended his career as one of the country’s top journalists. But after a tiff with the editor of Deccan Herald, YK decided to resign as chief reporter to ‘save’ the owner K A Nettakallappa from embarrassment.
After quitting Deccan Herald, YK worked as correspondent of INFA news agency of late Durga Das and also as state correspondent for now defunct Motherland English daily during Indira Gandhi‘s infamous emergency.
During the evening of his life, the destiny was so cruel that a man who rubbed shoulders with governors and chief ministers right from Karnataka’s first Chief Minister K C Reddy up to S M Krishna, had to spent his days waiting in queue for food at the ‘Ashakta Poshaka Sabha’ in the VV Puram area of Bangalore as there was no one to look after him.
YK had refused to accept the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award as a matter of principle.
Rest in peace.
(Cross posted on sans serif)