Rajendra Prabhu is no More

New Delhi (January 15, 2019): Veteran journalist and the stalwart of media trade union movement, Rajendra Prabhu, passed away at Sharda Medical College, Greater Noida, in the night of January 14, 2019 following brief illness. He underwent cardiac surgery about a month back and was not keeping well since then. He was 85. He is survived by his wife Smt Gracy Prabhu, five children—three sons and two daughters. His daughter Nivedita Prabhu has been a journalist, and one of his sons is a doctor in Dubai. All family members were beside him when he breathed his last. According to the family members, his last rites will be performed on Thursday (January 17).

DJA and NUJ(I) leaders today visited his residence in Greater Noida to pay their respect. In their tribute, National Union of Journalist (India) President Shri Ashok Malik and Secretary General Shri Manoj Verma said: “Rajendra Prabhu’s knowledge, dedication and courage will continue to inspire the journalist organisations and their leaders for generations. His demise is a major loss to the entire media fraternity. He was in the forefront of NUJ(I) work on Wage Boards from Palekar to Majithia. Generations of Journalists bow their heads in respect for this selfless, brave fighter.”

DJA president, Shri Manohar Singh said Prabhuji remained a leading light in the battle for media freedom and fair, decent wages for journalists. DJA general secretary Dr Pramod Kumar said: “We are shocked to express our feelings on the demise of our guide, friend and a great leader of the Indian media trade union movement. The Indian media trade union movement will miss such a great and a positive thinker.”

Born on January 7, 1934 in Kochi, Kerala, Rajendra Prabhu was active in trade union activities since his college days. He had to leave college because of the trade union activities. He shifted to Bhopal during the College days only and started working with the Railways. Then he joined ‘MP Chronicle’ in Bhopal. His perfect interpretation of the first Finance Commission Report impressed the then Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister so much that he used his report while preparing the government stand on the Finance Commission Report. Since then he has been a pioneer in reporting. Later, he joined the ‘Hindustan Times’ and worked for a long time there.

Prabhuji played a key role in the formation of the National Union of Journalists (India) in 1972 and since then moulded three generations of leaders in the Union. Right from the first Wage Board for journalists till the latest Majithia Wage Board he played a key role in ensuring fair wages and benefits to journalists. He fought for the rights of journalists till his last breath. When there were no computers, he along with L. Meenakshi Sundaram prepared big charts by hand on papers by collecting the latest data. When he appeared before the Wage Boards, he was always backed by strong data in favour of his demands. Even experts were taken aback from where and how he collected that data. His commitment and dedication to the NUJ(I) can be understood from the fact that at the age of 80, he conducted workshops for journalists on science and technology, nuclear energy and other topics.

Released by: Dinesh Kumar Yadav, Office Secretary, DJA