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Veteran journalist passes away

By Our Special Correspondent



S. Rangarajan, former Deputy Editor, The Hindu , at the newspaper's 125th Anniversary Celebrations in Chennai on September 13, 2003. — Photo: Vino John

CHENNAI, FEB. 5. Mr. S. Rangarajan, former Deputy Editor of The Hindu , and one of the most accomplished journalists in the newspaper's 125 year history, died here today after a brief illness. He was 93.

Born on January 9, 1911, Rangarajan studied at the National College in Tiruchirapalli and secured his Honours in English Literature from the Loyola College, Chennai in 1935. After trying his hand at journalism in local newspapers in Kolkata, he joined The Hindu as a Kasturiranga Iyengar scholar in 1936. He was recruited to the position of a sub-editor in 1938. Known to his colleagues as `SR', he moved up in the hierarchy through his talent, his meticulousness and his breadth of outlook at the News Desk, to become the News Editor of the newspaper in the 1950s.

Rangarajan took to writing in his career on the news desk, beginning with reviews of All India Radio programmes. His felicitous style and ability to write on new subjects were quickly appreciated. He had a flair for writing what were known as "third editorials." In the early 1960s he became a full-time editorial writer. Known for his erudition, professionalism and incisive writing, he developed into one of the finest leader writers in The Hindu's history. His breadth of field ranged from politics to the intricate details of budgets. His last editorial was on the 1977 budget. He was promoted that year as Deputy Editor and re-employed. He retired voluntarily in 1977, noting that all good things had to come to an end.

In 1959, Rangarajan went to the United States at the invitation of the American Consulate-General, Chennai, to visit the American Press Institute and several newspapers. Again in 1964, he visited France at the invitation of the Union Syndicate des Industries. He also wrote extensively about these visits.

Rangarajan was known for his progressive views and adapting to changing times. After retiring from The Hindu , he taught himself Hindi to be able to read Premchand and other literary texts. At the age of 88, he learnt to use a computer, browse the Internet and use e-mail to stay in touch with friends and relatives, especially the younger ones. He followed the stock market closely and monitored the share fortunes of companies. He was active till the end, except for a brief period of hospitalisation.

He attended the 125th Anniversary celebrations of The Hindu in Chennai, on September 13, 2003.

He was born to C. Srinivasachari of Gangadharapuram and Chellammal, the daughter of Kodiyalam Vasudeva Iyengar. He is survived by his wife, three sons — the eldest of whom is R. Vasudevan, who retired recently from the Indian Administrative Service — and a daughter.

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