Book release and farewell reception held for journalist Lakshmana Rao

Lamplighting ceremony at the farewell reception for journalist and author J.V. Lakshmana Rao at Manav Seva Mandir in Bensenville, Ill., July 3, 2021. Seen in photo, from left, Rohit Joshi, Consul Ranjit Singh, J.V. Lakshmana Rao, Dr. Bharat Barai, Bhailal Patel, and Prashant Shah, publisher of India Tribune. Photo provided by organizers

On July 3, 2021, the Indian-American community in Chicagoland held a book release and farewell reception for journalist and author Lakshmana Rao, editor of India Tribune. The event was held at Manav Seva Mandir in Bensenville, Illinois.

Rao, who is returning to India and also releasing a book that describes his journey as journalist for over 60 years, was praised for his fair and objective writing and for holding “high” editorial positions, as Dr. Bharat Barai, a well-known physician and community activist, is quoted saying in the press release.

The book by Rao is entitled Sojourn of A Singular Scribe.

Dr. Barai began the meeting and spoke of the need to ensure that mainstream western media represented India accurately even as ethnic media was doing its best. However, the emergence of electronic media, and introduction of video and audio sources, print media had been facing decline, as was the newspaper reading habit among youth, he added.

Consul, Press, Information, Culture and Education Ranjit Singh, as a Guest of Honor representing the Consulate General of India in Chicago, said that he had heard a lot of good things about Lakshmana Rao’s role as editor of India Tribune.

Consul Singh said that he had gone through the book and found many interesting things. For example, “Lakshmana Rao mentioned that in the US the journalists and media persons, who accompany the high dignitaries like Presidents in foreign tours, foot their own travel and lodging bills, unlike in India, where the retinue of media personnel enjoy the freebies and hospitality of the government there.” T

Now however, he noted, the Indian government keeping its media entourage small with select media personnel, the press release said.

Prashant Shah, publisher of the India Tribune, said Rao’s contribution to the growth of the newspaper was immense.

“I am only an accidental publisher and journalist, but Lakshmana Rao is thorough in his profession, very objective, fearless and frank; and used to work all the seven days for several extended hours. Besides being a very prolific writer, he was meticulous about the content, spelling and grammar of every sentence that went into the newspaper pages,” Shah said.

Dr. Barai urged Rao and others in media to take seriously the idea of training youth in journalism to create a better understanding of the world and serve society.

Ceremony for release of the book, Sojourn of A Singular Scribe, by journalist and author Lakshmana Rao, at an event held July 3, 2021, in Manav Seva Mandir, Bensenville, Ill. Seen in photo from left, Bhailal Patel. Consul Ranjit Singh,Dr.Bharat Barai,J.V. Lakshmana Rao, and Prashant Shah. Photo provided by organizers.

Welcoming the gathering on behalf of the Indian community, Bhailal Patel, executive vice-president of Parikh Worldwide Media which publishes Desi Talk, said that he as a media professional and as a member of the community, had witnessed how Rao excelled in his profession and there was no important event of the community he had not covered.

Patel said Rao’s writings had brought lot of changes in many organizations.  He trained and mentored many budding journalists, taught at journalism schools of many universities, including Northwestern University in Chicago, and a few of his students are now working in the mainstream media.

Rao spoke briefly about his experience as a journalist.  He said that journalism was not a profession but a mission for him, and he thoroughly enjoyed working as a responsible journalist and all the newspapers he worked with had given him freedom to perform his duties. His most memorable days were with the Indian Express in India and the India Tribune in the U.S., he said.

Dr. S.V. Rama Rao, a noted artist and writer, Dr. Prakasam Tata, Dr. Shridar Damle, Dr. Sonty Sriram and many others also spoke at the event hailing Lakshmana Rao’s services as a journalist. Some organizations also felicitated him on the occasion.

Jitendar Singh Bedi, an emcee, proposed the vote of thanks.

Lakshmana Rao’s book is available with its publisher  An E-book edition will also be available soon with Amazon, the press release said.




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