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Veteran journalist M.S. Mani is dead

M.S.Mani, long-time Editor of Malayalam daily Kerala Kaumudi and political-literary magazine Kala Kaumudi, passed away here on Tuesday morning.

He was 79. He had been serving as Chief Editor of the Kala Kaumudi daily.

Hailing from a family of journalists owning an influential newspaper, he was able to cut his teeth in the profession at the young age of 20. Kerala Kaumudi, which his grandfather C.V. Kunhiraman founded in 1911 and of which his father K. Sukumaran was the Chief Editor, became his learning ground.

In later years, having gained more than a foothold in the profession, he would steer it to further heights, leaving his own mark on the newspaper.

Within one year of joining the newspaper in 1961, he shifted to Delhi, where he covered Parliament proceedings and major happenings during a tumultuous period in Indian politics.

In 1975, when the country was under Emergency, he launched the Kala Kaumudi magazine, which with its mix of incisive political commentary and literary content achieved a strong readership in a short time.

With a view to nurturing quality literature, the magazine opened the doors for many young writers and poets. Writer Sethu remembers Mr. Mani as someone who paid the princely sum of ₹100 for a story at a time when hardly anyone paid money for stories.

In 1990, he launched the Kala Kaumudi daily from Mumbai, one of the first Malayalam newspapers to be printed and published from outside Kerala.

Clouds of fire over Sivagiri, one of his books, unravelled the internal conflicts and power struggle in the Sivagiri Madhom, which led to a much-criticised police action and violence at the madhom in 1995.

As an editor, Mr. Mani was someone who did not believe in hierarchy, being at equal ease with cub reporters as well as veterans.

He received the State government’s Swadeshabhimani Kesari award in 2018 for his journalistic work.

He was a committee member in the Indian Newspaper Society and a member of the India Newspaper Editor’s Conference.

Tributes pour in

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in his condolence message, said that Mr. Mani contributed immensely to society as a reporter and as an editor. He had taken a strong stand on several issues that had arisen in the state’s socio-political sphere.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said that Mr. Mani gave voice to the oppressed and made a mark with his investigative journalism in Malayalam.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan said that Mr. Mani enriched Malayalam journalism with a touch of courage and genuine concern for the welfare of the downtrodden.

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