G. K. Reddy

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Gunupati Keshava Reddy, better known as G. K. Reddy (1923–1987), was an Indian journalist that attained national and international acclaim for his articles and news stories.[1][2] He was a major contributor to the newspaper The Hindu for more than two decades, becoming a household name with his front-page articles every day.

Early life[edit]

Reddy was born in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, in 1923.[3]

Career[edit]

Kashmir[edit]

Reddy's journalistic career began as the editor of the newspaper Kashmir Times in the-then princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in the 1940s. Reddy also served as the correspondent for the Associated Press of India in Srinagar, reporting to its Lahore chief Malik Tajuddin.[4]Kashmir Times, owned and published by Abdul Rahman Mittha in Srinagar,[5] advocated accession of the state to the Dominion of Pakistan. Reddy's coverage of the events in Kashmir was highly prized in Pakistan and regularly reported on Radio Pakistan in Lahore.[4]

By 7 October, the Government of Maharaja Hari Singh imposed rigorous press censorship in the state and told Kashmir Times to cease the publication of accession matters. The newspaper suspended publication in protest.[6][7] Reddy was detained at Domel near Muzaffarabad for 10 days in mid-October. After that he was transported to Kathua under military escort and expelled from the state at the Pathankot border.[8] Mitha was also externed at the same time and sent over to Pakistan, and he worked with the Muslim Conference leader Sardar Ibrahim leading a rebellion against the Maharaja's government.[4]

Reddy went to Lahore to work for the Associated Press of India, which was still a united agency across India and Pakistan (but would later split into the Associated Press of India and the Associated Press of Pakistan). Reddy was incensed with the treatment of Muslims by the Maharaja's government. On 26 October, he gave a detailed interview to the Lahore-based daily Civil & Military Gazette, where he described the `mad orgy of Dogra violence' against unarmed Muslims in the Jammu province.[9]

While in Lahore, on 21 October 1947, Reddy received a phone call from Lt. Col. Alavi, the Public Relations Officer of the Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi, stating that the Ramkot post of Kashmir was being attacked that night and the news should be published as coming from the Azad Kashmir Headquarters in Palandri. He was also told that all further news of the invasion would come from the Rawalpindi headquarters and the practice of a Palandri dateline should be maintained.[10]

In Rawalpindi, Sardar Ibrahim was proclaimed as the head of a provisional government of Azad Kashmir on 24 October, with nominal headquarters at Palandri. Mitha and Reddy worked with the new government to create press releases. They stayed at the 'Poonch House' in Rawalpindi.[4][a] They were also close to the Chief Minister Abdul Qayyum Khan of the Northwest Frontier Province, and acted as press advisors to him as well.[7] At some point, Reddy is believed to have been interned by Pakistani authorities who regarded him as a spy. He escaped to India in 1948, and the evidence he carried with him of the US and Pakistan involvement in the invasion of Kashmir was published in the weekly Blitz in a series of articles starting 9 June 1948, causing a national and international sensation.[12]

India[edit]

Reddy worked for the Blitz from 1948 to 1951, writing incisive articles that put him up against the Government authorities. His journalistic accreditation was cancelled twice by the authorities due to his irksome coverage.[13] While at Blitz, Reddy also wrote a "Delhi Daily" column with humorous coverage of Delhi's developments, which used to rock the capital into splits of laughter. B. K. Karanjia mentions that Reddy's output from Delhi was so prolific that they had to sometimes produce mid-week editions of Blitz.[14]

In 1951, Reddy became the foreign correspondent to the The Times of India reporting from Korea, Beijing, Bandung and London. He wrote a lively "Letter from London" published in The Times of India every week. In 1962, he returned to Delhi to become the chief of the news bureau, and took to political reporting with panache.[15]

In 1969, Reddy moved to The Hindu as its chief of news bureau in Delhi, a position that he developed into one of "considerable power and prestige." He was widely read, and enjoyed the confidence of many in the corridors of power.[16] According to Inder Malhotra, "he made it his business to explain every complexity with clarity."[17] President Neelam Sanjiva Reddy summed up the nation's feelings in the words, "G.K. Reddy's rich experience mellowed his political reporting and analysis so much so that his byline meant authenticity, in depth reporting, an eye for detail and above all fairness and balance."[18]

Honours[edit]

Death and memorial[edit]

Reddy died of cancer in 1987 in New York City.

In his memory, the G. K. Reddy Memorial Award for Outstanding Journalism was established by T. Subbarami Reddy, whose recipients over the years include:[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The 'Poonch House' was one of the palaces of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, which was apparently usurped by Pakistan.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rao 2000, p. 222.
  2. ^ a b "GK Reddy memorial award panel reconstituted". The Hindu. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-01. 
  3. ^ Bhagyalakshmi 1991, p. 423.
  4. ^ a b c d Mir Abdul Aziz, Good old days, Greater Kashmir, 3 January 2011.
  5. ^ Mitha is said to have been a native of Bombay, the son of its former mayor Suleman Qasim Mitha.
  6. ^ Snedden 2013, p. 40.
  7. ^ a b Defence Journal (Pakistan), Volume 11. 1985. p. 4. 
  8. ^ Snedden 2013, p. 51.
  9. ^ Snedden 2013, pp. 51-52.
  10. ^ Singh, Brigadier Jasbir (2013). Roar of the Tiger: Illustrated History of Operations in Kashmir by 4th Battalion. Vij Books India. pp. 4–5. ISBN 9382652035. 
  11. ^ Naipaul, V. S. (2012), Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey, Pan Macmillan, p. 69, ISBN 978-1-4472-0936-2 
  12. ^ Bhagyalakshmi 1991, p. xxii.
  13. ^ Bhagyalakshmi 1991, p. 424.
  14. ^ Bhagyalakshmi 1991, p. xxiii.
  15. ^ Bhagyalakshmi 1991, p. xxv.
  16. ^ Bhagyalakshmi 1991, p. xx.
  17. ^ Bhagyalakshmi 1991, p. xxvi.
  18. ^ Bhagyalakshmi 1991, Foreword.
  19. ^ Recipients of Nieman Fellowships.
  20. ^ "G. K. Reddy Award for Vinod Mehta". The Hindu. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-01. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bhagyalakshmi, J., ed. (1991), Capital Witness: Selected Writings of G. K. Reddy, New Delhi: Allied Publishers, ISBN 9788170233169 
  • Rao, R. Ananta Padmanabha (2000), G. K. Reddy, Dhilli Andhra Pramukhulu (in Telugu), Hyderabad: Potti Sriramulu Telugu University 
  • Snedden, Christopher (2013), Kashmir: The Unwritten History, HarperCollins India, pp. 51–52, ISBN 9350298988